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USians: K5 Jargon, Slur or Sniglet?

By ajkohn in Meta
Fri Jul 20, 2001 at 10:18:38 AM EST
Tags: Culture (all tags)

I am new to K5 and in reading a number of articles found the term 'USians' used.

Humm, I thought. That's sorta interesting. A bit of insider jargon, mixed with a tongue-in-cheek PC attitude, and a dash of truth for good measure - or so I assumed.

I made the mistake of using the term in an article currently under moderation.

Suffice to say, the term has generated as much, if not more, debate then the actual topic of the article. Certainly not my aim.

It was also not my aim to offend anyone with the term, a term that brought sniglets to my mind. My favorite sniglet being cinemuck.

Reponses to the word from fellow residents of the United States of America have been to lump it in with words like 'nigger' and 'gook' - extremely ugly words.

Again, certainly, CERTAINLY, not my intent.

Others seemed to feel the term, being 'made up', had no place on K5 or the article. So if I happened to make a typing mistajke. I might be in trouble if I said I fat-fingered it?

All in all, I seem to have wandered unknowingly into a rather sensitive area on K5 and its denizens. Personally, I have no problem with the 'word' since we do live on the North American continent with a whole bunch of folks who are not from the United States. South Americans, Latin Americans. I guess even those Canadians could say they were American eh?

But given the strong reaction, and the diversion from the true subject of the article, I feel it necessary to steer clear of the term.

And I'm not at all sure that's a good thing.

Would A Clockwork Orange be nearly the book and movie it is without the 'made up' words by Anthony Burgess?

Given context and inflection almost any word can be derogatory. "It's those biz dev people ruining the Internet." See.

I'm not saying people can't have their feelings or voice them ... but I am saying that I think this is a mountain out of a molehill. Or, did I just offend moles?

I'd rather stick to topic, rather then tangent


Voxel dot net
o Managed Hosting
o VoxCAST Content Delivery
o Raw Infrastructure


USians is ...
o No big deal. 34%
o Jargon. 15%
o Anti-USA slur. 14%
o Stupid PC word. 20%
o Not worth talking about, in fact I can't believe it's in a poll. 14%

Votes: 150
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o sniglets
o A Clockwork Orange
o Also by ajkohn

Display: Sort:
USians: K5 Jargon, Slur or Sniglet? | 116 comments (109 topical, 7 editorial, 0 hidden)
Estadounidense (3.85 / 7) (#2)
by J'raxis on Fri Jul 20, 2001 at 02:25:37 AM EST

I'm not sure about this, but I thought the term came out of some flamewar about the broad term "American" being used to describe citizens of the United States of America, hence: "USians."

This term may be made-up jargon, but it is more accurate. It does sound sort of stupid, being an acronym with "-ian" stuck on the end of it. Maybe "United-Statesians"? Similar terms actually do exist in other languages, for example Estadounidense in Spanish. (Estados Unidos, EEUU, is Spanish for the USA.)

-- The Raxis

[ J’raxis·Com | Liberty in your lifetime ]

Usana (3.25 / 4) (#23)
by mrBlond on Fri Jul 20, 2001 at 08:45:44 AM EST

I've used the Ido words: Usana (of the USA), Usano (a person from the USA) and Usani (people from the USA) on my (F1 Grand Prix (GP)) web site, simply because if I were to say the American GP, a lot of people could think it's the Brazilian or Canadian GP. There are 2 GP in Germany: the German and the European. Add that most people who read the site don't speak English as a 1st language, so using ambiguous words can easily confuse us. I also use "2nd" as the ordinal, and "second" as the measurement of time: "He came 2nd for the 2nd time, this time only a second behind Montoya.". Of course when writing/speaking to people from the USA only, I use "American" because that is what they are comfortable with.
Inoshiro for cabal leader.
[ Parent ]
Fi! 'Usona' is correct! (none / 0) (#60)
by brion on Sat Jul 21, 2001 at 02:11:51 AM EST

Think we can start an Ido/Esperanto flamewar on k5? :)

Chu vi parolas Vikipedion?
[ Parent ]
[ot] Ido vs Esperanto (none / 0) (#83)
by mrBlond on Sun Jul 22, 2001 at 05:06:40 PM EST

> Think we can start an Ido/Esperanto flamewar on k5? :)
> -- brion

While learning Esperanto I kept thinking that certain things were just not, erm, as good as they could be. While doing the email course I discovered Ido - and it was scary how much Ido was the way I thought Esperanto should be, my brain is probably just wired for Ido.

Since then I've discovered Lojban (which could learn from Ido's way of adjusting neutral words). Before I learn Lojban's basics I'll probably find something else, again :)
Inoshiro for cabal leader.
[ Parent ]
[ot] konstruitaj lingvoj / konstruktita lingui (5.00 / 1) (#84)
by brion on Sun Jul 22, 2001 at 06:17:40 PM EST

If you haven't already, I'd recommend taking a look at the mostly-finished lojban lessons book. I'm about 5 chapters in, and my head isn't spinning too badly so far. :)

As far as Ido, I find that some of the reforms are things I might have done (consonant cluster simplification; some of the spelling changes; clearer gender affixes/pronouns), and some are the exact opposite (ch, sh digraphs while wasting qu, x as duplicates for kw, ks; dropping many mal/dis words for additional roots, dropping the regular correlatives for yet more roots). For me at least, the relative utility of Esperanto is much greater than the potential advantages of Ido, even ignoring what I consider to be Ido's flaws. But hey, that's a personal choice!

I notice from the occasional browsing I have done into Ido-lando, that while the basic philosophy of Esperanto is to be a "good enough" language (and therefore a usable tool for communication), the basic philosophy of Ido is to strive toward being a "perfect" language (and therefore more likely to be *accepted* as a tool of communication). This inevitably leads towards schism! But at least we can be civil about it, I've seen too many discussions devolve into [or start as] flamewars...

(Also, a lot of changes to morphology and vocabulary appear designed to make Ido look more like a Romance language than Esperanto does, with the dubious goal of appearing more familiar to Romance and English speakers. If you want that, Interlingua does a much better job, but it's even less regular than Esperanto...)

You might also be interested in Ceqli, which was based somewhat on lojban with heavy Mandarin and English influence.

Chu vi parolas Vikipedion?
[ Parent ]
Etatsunien (4.00 / 1) (#44)
by ixache on Fri Jul 20, 2001 at 04:00:47 PM EST

It's not an official word in French, but at least one newspaper (Courrier International) use it, because since it reports about every country around the world, it has to make a difference between Americans and "the inhabitants of the country south of Canada and north of Mejico.


[ Parent ]

Mexico (4.75 / 4) (#50)
by Ken Arromdee on Fri Jul 20, 2001 at 05:12:22 PM EST

Mexico is officially "United Sattes of Mexico" (in Spanish). Saying "USians" instead of "Americans" so you can exclude Mexico is no help at all.

[ Parent ]
Did you mean: Russian (4.25 / 12) (#3)
by J'raxis on Fri Jul 20, 2001 at 02:28:39 AM EST

Rather ironic correction on Google's part when I did a search for this term.
Did you mean: Russian
-- The Raxis

[ J’raxis·Com | Liberty in your lifetime ]

Don't get the same results (4.00 / 2) (#33)
by StrontiumDog on Fri Jul 20, 2001 at 10:52:55 AM EST

Google returns a list of pages beginning with the inevitable University of Southern Indiana Association of Nursing Students (USIANS), but a number of quite valid uses of the word "USian" (in the k5 sense) follow: about 80% of the first 50 results use the word "USian" in the k5 sense.

[ Parent ]
Google (none / 0) (#39)
by J'raxis on Fri Jul 20, 2001 at 01:25:10 PM EST

Those're the same results I got, I think. First usian.org, then two links to the "USian Pie" song (one being mine, heh), then some more stuff.

But you're not seeing the "Did you mean..." line above all the results?

-- The Go0o0ogling Raxis

[ J’raxis·Com | Liberty in your lifetime ]
[ Parent ]

I've mended my ways (3.62 / 8) (#7)
by John Milton on Fri Jul 20, 2001 at 02:45:47 AM EST

I use to be one of those shallow cads that thought it was alright to call Americans USian. I thought the fact that I was one gave me the right to refer to myself as anything I pleased.

<cue emotional violin music>But I was wrong! *sob* There, I've said it. I will no longer refer to myself as a USian or Brits as UKians. From now on your either a Usanian or a Ukanian. I'll never do that again. We'll just consider this a slap on the wrist okay? Tell me I'm not going to be thrown in the Gulag for my insensitivity!

"When we consider that woman are treated as property, it is degrading to women that we should Treat our children as property to be disposed of as we see fit." -Elizabeth Cady Stanton

But the problem of the USA is rather unique (4.00 / 1) (#43)
by ixache on Fri Jul 20, 2001 at 03:55:08 PM EST

Shouldn't the Brits rather be called GBians ?

Anyway, my point is that UK has also another "real" country name, Great Britain, as any other country in the world, and not a generic name like "the US" which could apply to a lot of countries around the world: for example, the two others north-american countries, Canada and Mejico can be seen as "united states", since they are federations.

So the problem with the US of (N)A is quite unique: it is the country without a proper name.


(This was my first K5 post. Be lenient on me.)

[ Parent ]

We have a proper name (5.00 / 2) (#48)
by physicsgod on Fri Jul 20, 2001 at 04:54:12 PM EST

United States of America. And since we're the only country on either continent to include that last word in the official name, American is a unique identifier.

--- "Those not wearing body armor are hereby advised to keep their arguments on-topic" Schlock Mercenary
[ Parent ]
I agree... to a point. (4.00 / 1) (#82)
by ixache on Sun Jul 22, 2001 at 04:11:13 PM EST

I agree that, as a name for nationals, "American" is a unique identifier. But the world is also used for the inhabitants of the whole continent

Anyway, my main point is that "US of A" is not unique at all, since the other two major north-american countries are also united states of America.


[ Parent ]

A good idea (4.00 / 1) (#49)
by John Milton on Fri Jul 20, 2001 at 04:57:20 PM EST

It would be nice if our nation decided on a national name, but I'm afraid most non-(US Americans) would be disappointed. Most likely, it would end up being America

"When we consider that woman are treated as property, it is degrading to women that we should Treat our children as property to be disposed of as we see fit." -Elizabeth Cady Stanton

[ Parent ]
UK != GB (none / 0) (#71)
by Nurgled on Sat Jul 21, 2001 at 12:33:00 PM EST

The full name for the UK is "The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland", which notes that it consists of the country Northern Ireland and the further grouping of Great Britain, which encapsulates England, Wales and Scotland.

Since neither the UK nor Great Britain are actually countries, but rather groups of countries (which happen to overlap) the term "British" is perhaps a strange one. I don't mind if you call me British, English or European, though, despite the fact that the latter is only really true geographically since our government aren't 100% pro-EC.

This doesn't, of course, help the USian vs American debate, but I thought it was prudent to note it nonetheless.

[ Parent ]
It's fairly simple (3.16 / 6) (#8)
by suick on Fri Jul 20, 2001 at 02:52:44 AM EST

As you yourself said, "I'd rather stick to topic, rather then tangent," and as such I don't understand why you feel the need to confront this subject here. It's not that I particularly believe "USian" to be a dirty word, but I do think that it has no place on a public forum such as K5. Also, as you will come to notice, most users here tend to fall into one similar category of thought (it's the same with most tech sites--particularly slashdot); any dissent you see is usually trolls trying to be cute.

I dunno, if you'll read the diaries and the frontpage for a couple hours you'll start to see a pattern of like-minded whining and "hey this is cool" articles. If you'll give them a brief look-through you will pick up on what topics K5 believes in, while hanging out in the queue will show you what they don't (an example of non-group-think was an informative article posted by "sexyblonde" about Microsoft earlier today. It was killed however, because it didn't portray Microsoft as being an "evil corporate entity." ::sigh::). My advice is that you should lurk for a day or so in order to pick up on the basic opinions of the average K5 user. Hopefully then you can respond in step to the rest of K5's audience, and not anger the sysops like this poor fellow did.

order in to with the will I around my effort sentences an i of more be fuck annoying.
what do you mean ? (5.00 / 3) (#32)
by neuneu2K on Fri Jul 20, 2001 at 09:56:04 AM EST

...Not a dirty word...
No place in a public forum...

Why would a simple word, that you do not think dirty (or I suppose specially offensive) not belong in a public forum ???
- "And machine code, which lies beneath systems ? Ah, that is to do with the Old Testament, and is talmudic and cabalistic..." - Umberto Eco
[ Parent ]
It doesn't belong here (none / 0) (#53)
by suick on Fri Jul 20, 2001 at 07:08:14 PM EST

Two reasons, really:

The supposed purpose of K5 is to inform and persuade others on various subjects. To that end, throwing around the made up word "USian" will ultimately give others the perception that you don't really care about basic grammar. Ask anyone who's taken a pesuasive writing class and they'll tell you--one of the major steps in convincing others of a truth is how well you present your topic. It may be fine and good to throw the word around in the various incestual "arguments" we have here, but to an outsider it looks ridiculous, devaluing an otherwise valid argument.

Secondly, "Americans" is more accepted for a reason. Of all the countries in North and South America, only two speak english. As such, when I say "The Americans" who am I talking about? Also, if even common sense doesn't lead you to the conclusion that I'm talking about U.S. Citizens, there's only one other option--and who the hell really cares about canada? Given three days and a girlscout troop we'll make them into a territory that rivals guam. Considering that they're practically integrated with us already--they rely on our military, our money, our jobs, and our commerce, anything that happens to Americans also happens to Canadians--we're basically the same people.

order in to with the will I around my effort sentences an i of more be fuck annoying.
[ Parent ]
To play devil's advocate for a moment (none / 0) (#55)
by ajkohn on Fri Jul 20, 2001 at 07:37:25 PM EST

*putting on red horns*

Often times, to persuade an audience you must alter your style of writing to obtain the desired effect. Presenting to a group of poets will call for a radically different style then, say, accounts, or for web site engineers.

Yes, it's a made up word, but plenty of those float around and then *blink* show up in the dictionary.
"Just because something bears the aspect of the inevitable one should not, therefore, go along willingly with it." - The Transmigration of Timothy Archer
[ Parent ]

Oh please. (none / 0) (#64)
by suick on Sat Jul 21, 2001 at 04:29:12 AM EST

Obviously different styles will get used when replying to different audiences. And without a doubt, poets won't have a problem with being confronted by made-up words. Yet does the header here say "Kuro5hin, poetry from the trenches?" I'm pretty sure it doesn't--and considering the technical slant most K5 users have, I'd venture to say that most would readily ignore an argument consisting of made-up words.

As for "*poof* they're in the dictionary," yes, made-up words get stuck in there all the time--but only when the words describe something new, like "internet" or "email." Slang only enters when it becomes so commonplace that you hear it on morning talk shows--not when it's heard once or twice on a low-budget weblog.

order in to with the will I around my effort sentences an i of more be fuck annoying.
[ Parent ]
poetry from the trenches (none / 0) (#76)
by anewc2 on Sun Jul 22, 2001 at 09:14:19 AM EST

Yet does the header here say "Kuro5hin, poetry from the trenches?"
Wouldn't that be cool, if it did.

Someone did once tell me to get a life, but due to a typo, I got a file instead.
[ Parent ]
Whoa.. let me get this straight... (none / 0) (#86)
by Sunir on Mon Jul 23, 2001 at 04:19:39 AM EST

You find the term "USian" offensive because it violates accepted orthography? (And yes, Captain Clarity, that's o-r-t-h-o-g-r-a-p-h-y, not g-r-a-m-m-a-r) You do this on a site named kuro5hin? Are you on crack?

Wait, of course you are. You're USian.

Serves you right for dissing Canadians. Eat it, yank. I shall have to do the Terrance and Philip dance now. *fart*

"Look! You're free! Go, and be free!" and everyone hated it for that. --r
[ Parent ]

k5 groupthink? (5.00 / 4) (#45)
by cory on Fri Jul 20, 2001 at 04:28:17 PM EST

Since when do all K5 users fall into one category of thought?? The opinions of people on this site run the gamut from socialist to libertarian, from atheist to christian, from nationalist to internationalist, from hard core Free Software types to Microsoft apologists, with all kinds of blending and mixing and everything in between.

And where do you get off dismissing "dissent" as "trolls trying to be cute"? Are we all suppose to follow some party line, or feel free to share our opinions with others?


[ Parent ]
American works for me... (4.33 / 15) (#9)
by lordsutch on Fri Jul 20, 2001 at 02:54:16 AM EST

American seems to be appropriate since no other countries in the Americas use the word "America" in their names, and other countries that use the form (government type) of (place) have their citizens identified as (place)ians (or something similar).

For example, los Estados Unidos Mexicanos (the United Mexican States) have citizens called Mexicans, the Federal Republic of Germany (Bundesrepublik Deutschland) has Germans, la Republique Francaise (the French Republic) has the French, the People's Republic of China has the Chinese, the former Dominion of Canada (now just Canada) has Canadians... ad nauseum.

FWIW, I'm a Southerner or a Mississippian, but American will do in a pinch.

Linux CDs. Schuyler Fisk can sell me long distance anytime.

Germans ... (3.40 / 5) (#24)
by StrontiumDog on Fri Jul 20, 2001 at 08:49:57 AM EST

... don't call themselves "Germans", the Chinese don't call themselves "Chinese", Mexicans don't call themselves "Mexicans" and the French don't call themselves "French". That's what English speakers call them.

Long live the word "USian". USians don't have to use it, either.

[ Parent ]

Great point (4.50 / 4) (#35)
by Wah on Fri Jul 20, 2001 at 11:26:50 AM EST

That's what English speakers call them.

Using English, no less. Huh?
Some things, bandwidth can't buy. For everything else, there's Real Life ©® | SSP
[ Parent ]

That would be insightful, except that (5.00 / 1) (#59)
by brion on Sat Jul 21, 2001 at 01:48:44 AM EST

People in the Bundesrepublik Deutschland do call themselves Deutscher, people in the 中華人民共和國 do call themselves 中國人, people in the Estados Unidos Mexicanos do call themselves Mexicanos, and people in the Republique Française do call themselves Français. The principle still stands.

Chu vi parolas Vikipedion?
[ Parent ]
I'm always insightful (5.00 / 1) (#69)
by StrontiumDog on Sat Jul 21, 2001 at 11:52:07 AM EST

People in the Bundesrepublik Deutschland do call themselves Deutscher, people in the 中華人民共和國 do call themselves 中國人, people in the Estados Unidos Mexicanos do call themselves Mexicanos, and people in the Republique Française do call themselves Français. The principle still stands.
the point being, that USians don't call deutschers "deutsch", or the français "français", so why the outcry when k5 (or the non-USian part of k5) decides to call USians "USian"? After all, no-one is telling USians to call themselves "USian", USians are telling others to call them "American".

[ Parent ]
Speaking as a USian (none / 0) (#75)
by brion on Sun Jul 22, 2001 at 03:58:58 AM EST

Feel free to call me such. Who is doing this outcrying anyway? Sigh. Idiots, I assume. I'm ashamed to share a country with them.

Anyway, the point that you appeared to be trying to refute was that, quote: "American seems to be appropriate since no other countries in the Americas use the word "America" in their names, and other countries that use the form (government type) of (place) have their citizens identified as (place)ians (or something similar)." This point is solely (in my interpretation, at least) about the appropriateness of calling citizens of the United States of America "Americans".

The appropriateness of calling citizens of the United States of America "USians" is in fact a whole separate point. I call my country "America", "the US", "the United States", "the States", "the United States of America", "les États-Unis", "Usono", and "le Statos Unite" on various occasions, and all of them strike me as appropriate at the time.

So what's wrong with using "American" (typical, familiar form) and "US citizen" (specific, and more formal) AND "USian" (specific, and much shorter, and less formal)?

Chu vi parolas Vikipedion?
[ Parent ]
Just to be picky, (none / 0) (#87)
by odaiwai on Mon Jul 23, 2001 at 05:21:17 AM EST

People from &#20013;&#22283; tend to call themselves &#20013;&#20154; (Chung-yan) rather than &#20013;&#22283;&#20154; (Chung Gwok Yan). It's 'Middle People', not 'People of the Middle Kingdom'
(transliteration in cantonese rather than mandarin)
-- "They're chefs! Chefs with chainsaws!"
[ Parent ]
I stand corrected (none / 0) (#91)
by brion on Mon Jul 23, 2001 at 08:25:27 PM EST

The dictionary I checked in included 中人 as ethnic Chinese (Han) people and 中國人 as citizens of China, not necessarily ethnically Chinese. I don't know how frequently the distinction is actually made.

Chu vi parolas Vikipedion?
[ Parent ]
Well you can sit down again. (none / 0) (#98)
by odaiwai on Wed Jul 25, 2001 at 10:01:25 PM EST

I spoke to the wife about it - she speaks mandarin and cantonese fluently - and you were right the first time.
So mea culpa - must remind myself never to trust the very rough cantonese that I speak.

-- "They're chefs! Chefs with chainsaws!"
[ Parent ]
This gives me an idea: UTF-7 (none / 0) (#85)
by Sunir on Mon Jul 23, 2001 at 04:07:19 AM EST

There must be some appropriate Kanji for that endearing country to the south of me. Maybe we can refer to them by the UTF-7 encoding?

Example usages.

  • "Oh, smeg. Our embassy has just been bombed by for the third time this week."
  • "Let's go throw some rotting fruit at that 褐ian."
Now, I wonder if historians will look at this post in fifty years and question whether I was making fun of the 褐ians or the -bashers. Little do they know that I have larger secret emotional issues with katakana, &characterEntityTranslation;, the bold tag, and my trusted moderator status.

"Look! You're free! Go, and be free!" and everyone hated it for that. --r
[ Parent ]

USian is a really frickin ugly word. (3.69 / 13) (#12)
by Anonymous 6522 on Fri Jul 20, 2001 at 03:30:51 AM EST

I'm being serious. How about using the term US American instead? It's much more visually pleasing, I'm pretty sure it won't get you flamed, and it eliminates any confusion as to who you are referring to. Is that someone from the USA or one of the lesser American nations? :p Take that you USian using scoundrels!

US americans... sounds good to me. (3.60 / 5) (#15)
by Fred_A on Fri Jul 20, 2001 at 04:56:47 AM EST

As one of the US-ian using scoudrels :) I find the "US americans" to be a fairly good alternative.

My main gripe with "Americans" is that it's akin to calling, say, Coreans, Asians, and keep national names for all other countries of that continental block.

America is a continent and all people living there are Americans by definition, from Chile to Canada. There is therefore a clash between the two uses of the term. Asians are people living in Asia, Europeans are people freom Europe, Americans are people living in America. This special case is problematic IMO.

So US-Americans it is for me from now on, I find it to be a very good compromise.

On a side note, if the European Union ever becomes a full fledged entity, the problem will repeat itself with the term "Europeans" which will likely be misused for people from the EU while lots of Europeans are outside of it. EU-Europeans maybe ?

Fred in Paris
[ Parent ]

EUropeans (3.75 / 4) (#21)
by YesNoCancel on Fri Jul 20, 2001 at 08:28:48 AM EST

On a side note, if the European Union ever becomes a full fledged entity, the problem will repeat itself with the term "Europeans" which will likely be misused for people from the EU while lots of Europeans are outside of it.

You may not believe it, but this is already happening. I've often heard people saying "European" when they clearly meant "European Union".

A friend of mine once said "I don't think the former eastern European countries should join Europe yet". That's two contradictions in one sentence. :)

Btw, the term "US Americans" is widely used.

[ Parent ]

Continental drift? (none / 0) (#58)
by brion on Sat Jul 21, 2001 at 01:22:47 AM EST

I'm just waiting for regular people to finally figure out that Europe and Asia are the same continent... :)

Chu vi parolas Vikipedion?
[ Parent ]
That's why it's called... (none / 0) (#63)
by YesNoCancel on Sat Jul 21, 2001 at 04:23:14 AM EST

...Eurasia. :)

[ Parent ]
Eurasian Union? :) (none / 0) (#67)
by brion on Sat Jul 21, 2001 at 10:55:02 AM EST

I don't think so...

Chu vi parolas Vikipedion?
[ Parent ]
Actually,... (none / 0) (#62)
by Kaki Nix Sain on Sat Jul 21, 2001 at 03:40:45 AM EST

... just because I'm feeling pedantic tonight, America is not a continent. You might be thinking of the two continents North America and South America.

Note that you can't use the "you knew what I meant" argument as a defense of your mistake. Since that would work in favor of calling US Americans by the term Americans.

Good day to you.

[ Parent ]

Other terms you might consider... (2.83 / 6) (#13)
by the trinidad kid on Fri Jul 20, 2001 at 04:06:01 AM EST

* Yanks
* Septics/seppos
I'm sure us Johnny Foreigners can come up with any number of suggestions...

But seriously, ask people how they refer to themselves, and then call them amerigans or vespuccians.

Yanks (3.00 / 1) (#38)
by MrAcheson on Fri Jul 20, 2001 at 12:26:03 PM EST

The only problem is that in the States "yanks" or yankees refers to people from the North, primarily people from New York and New England. Its not a term in regular use anymore but it occasionally shows up in 19th century period movies and in baseball of course. So calling all Americans "yanks" doesn't really work because it may lead to some confusion depending on your audience.

As for "seppo", well I have no problem with USian as an abbreviation for American, but if you refer to me as a pile of shit I will have a major problem with that.

These opinions do not represent those of the US Army, DoD, or US Government.

[ Parent ]
Only in the bible belt.... (2.75 / 4) (#41)
by SvnLyrBrto on Fri Jul 20, 2001 at 03:03:29 PM EST

Seriously... the only place left where "yankee" or "yank" is derogatory slang for New Yorkers or New Englanders is in the deepest south... where they still fly the confederate flag, beleive that the south shall rise again, the Klan will save them from them non-WASP devils, and think that the negros (and all other non-WASPs while you're at it) should be put back into chains.

To pretty much anyone else in the US, it's just the name of New York's baseball team.

And, although I'm not exactly an extensive world traveller, in most of the countries outside the US that I've visited: (UK, Japan, Canada, Australia, and Jamacia... Ibiza is next on my list (next summer hopefully))...

... sometimes "yankee", but most often the shorter "yank" *IS* indeed used as (very) informal, but non-derogatory slang for Americans... just like "brit" is often used as an informal shortening of Briton.

Ya know... this whole discussion reminds me of that part of Cryptonomicon, where Waterhouse (I forget which one) wonders why "Yank" and "Brit" and "Aussie" are acceptable shorthand for citizens of those respective nations, but "Jap" and "Nip" are racial slurs instead of simple shorthand.... wierd.


Imagine all the people...
[ Parent ]

Not really (none / 0) (#101)
by El Volio on Thu Jul 26, 2001 at 07:42:32 PM EST

There are a lot of people from the South (like those of us in Texas) who don't want to be associated at all with the redneck racists, yet are proud of where we're from and think of Yankees as referring to people from the northern part of the US. Racism, the Klan, and Confederate flags have nothing to do with it -- my family has been in Texas for generations, and I'm proud of who I am, the same as anyone should be. If you really are a Yankee, by all means be proud of it. If you're Vietnamese, or Italian, or Ukrainian, really, no matter what your background or ethnicity is, you should be proud of it.

[ Parent ]
People from the USA are Americans (4.40 / 15) (#14)
by ZanThrax on Fri Jul 20, 2001 at 04:12:53 AM EST

I've already had this discussion, but I'll say my piece again. I'll even quote the CIA World Factbook this time around.

noun: American(s)
adjective: American

Now, the reason for this is obvious. The noun for people of a nation is based on the name of the nation (obviously)

Country name:
conventional long form: United States of America
conventional short form: United States
abbreviation: US or USA

Now, what we have here is a nation whose name is <Descriptive Phrase> <Name>. As is the case in other such nations, the people are named after the <Name> section. Calling Americans USians is akin to calling Britons UKians (which is what caused the previous discussion) or Germans FRians. It makes not only sounds idiotic, but it makes little sense to describe the origin of a person or thing by the manner of government that their home country consists of (which is what the <Descriptive Phrase> is mostly used for) The USA's name is unfortunate for the small amount of confusion that it can ocassionally cause (especially to the sort of irritable, anti-American, "too US centric, -1" voting wankers that caused the term to show up here in the first damned place) is simply because there really wasn't a better name to describe a subregion of the North American continent at the time the USA was founded. (was the differenciation of North, Central, and South America even concieved of at the time?) They could have called themselves the United States of New England, I suppose, but that would have lead to a completely different problem today. (And I doubt that the founders would have been too keen on having "England" in the name of their new nation; or that the name would have stuck as the country grew.)

In the end, the important thing to know is that certain members (mostly of the sort who automatically vote down anything about events in the USA, especially political events) complained that calling Americans Americans wasn't acceptable. So some of the less anal members started saying "USians" specifically to mock the first group. Once people started to use it as an actual term rather than just as a method of mocking those posters who needed to remove the sticks from their asses, a backlash against began. (Which I admit to being part of).

If there's nothing you'd die for, then what do you have to live for?

Nationalistic Pedantry (4.40 / 5) (#16)
by loaf on Fri Jul 20, 2001 at 04:58:41 AM EST

"Calling Americans USians is akin to calling Britons UKians"

It's actually the other way around.

You can be from the UK without being British, in the same way as you can be American without being from the USA.

My passport says something like "The United Kingdom of Great Britain, Northern Ireland, the Channel Islands and dependent territories", which territories include the Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Belize and, until 1997, Hong Kong.

Similarly, Canadians, Mexicans, Brazilians and such are all, in my eyes, American.


If you're from Belize, that'll make you from the UK and American.

[ Parent ]

Belize. (3.33 / 3) (#19)
by shippo on Fri Jul 20, 2001 at 06:19:39 AM EST

Belize is not a dependant territory.

There are not that many left now. Other than the one's mentioned I can think of the Cayman Islands, Bermuda and Ascension Island.

Most of the non-soveriegn states of the world are now fairly small islands. The non-polar exceptions are Puerto Rico and French Guyana.

[ Parent ]

What's so great ... (4.66 / 3) (#42)
by ajkohn on Fri Jul 20, 2001 at 03:47:02 PM EST

about the CIA World Fact book exactly? Particularly when:

"The World Factbook is prepared by the Central Intelligence Agency for the use of US Government officials, and the style, format, coverage, and content are designed to meet their specific requirements."

I'm not saying it's really wrong, but given that it is a product of the USA made to meet our requirments, and that those residing in the USA, particularly those in DC, call themselves Americans, this seems like biased source material.
"Just because something bears the aspect of the inevitable one should not, therefore, go along willingly with it." - The Transmigration of Timothy Archer
[ Parent ]

After the Kyoto betrayal... (3.52 / 21) (#18)
by billybob2001 on Fri Jul 20, 2001 at 06:18:50 AM EST

After the Kyoto betrayal, and on top of all the gas-guzzling and resource over-use, it's obvious that the inhabitants of the most demanding nation on the planet should be referred to as


hmm (2.40 / 10) (#20)
by genux on Fri Jul 20, 2001 at 06:54:21 AM EST

your forgot the L in front of USers
What you do is insignificant, but it's important that you do it...
[ Parent ]
AMUSers (none / 0) (#56)
by eLuddite on Fri Jul 20, 2001 at 09:25:01 PM EST

Short for American USians. For example, their argument that the United States of Mexico, a factual statement about Mexico, is strictly analogous to the United States of America, a false statement about a continent which includes Mexico and a few other countries, is amusing. Plus, if the price is right, they're known to climb onto tabletops and shake it like dancing dogs. Dancing dogs are amusing. Thus, the chain of logic is shut.

God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

How 'bout Merkin? (3.33 / 3) (#22)
by monstrousbird on Fri Jul 20, 2001 at 08:37:16 AM EST

Personally I find USian perfectly factual and don't see how it can be insulting. If I want to be (very mildly) funny or insulting, I use Merkin.

Monstrous Bird

Those who dream by day are cognisant of many things which escape those who dream only by night.
Edgar Allan Poe

Just checked on dictionary.com to make sure (5.00 / 6) (#26)
by billybob2001 on Fri Jul 20, 2001 at 08:54:42 AM EST

mer·kin (mûrkn)
A pubic wig for women.

You're on your own on this one, mate.

[ Parent ]

You're not going to believe this. (none / 0) (#65)
by static on Sat Jul 21, 2001 at 06:04:36 AM EST

But the newsgroup alt.fan.pratchett claim to have invented the alternate meaning of "merkin" to mean (North) American. Let's see if I can find a suitable link... Well, you can go to L Space and enter "merkin" into the search box, or go to AFP Timelines (Original) and search the page with your browser for "merkin".


[ Parent ]

afp and merkin (none / 0) (#88)
by odaiwai on Mon Jul 23, 2001 at 05:26:37 AM EST

generally, it's 'merkin for those between Canananadadadia and Mexico. The Apostrophe is important..

-- "They're chefs! Chefs with chainsaws!"
[ Parent ]
I may be USian.. (3.33 / 3) (#27)
by USian on Fri Jul 20, 2001 at 09:06:35 AM EST

But I'm also 'merkin, too!

I think it is hard to offend anyone who can take these things with a grain of salt..

Now, if you were to call me an inbred, pickup truck drivin', redneck hillbilly.. then I might get a little mad..

but then again, probably not.

"I just wish all spam would be so flattering, instead of telling me I have a small penis all the time."
Comment by ChiPHeaD
[ Parent ]

At last (4.33 / 3) (#30)
by billybob2001 on Fri Jul 20, 2001 at 09:11:36 AM EST

Paw - my long-lost daddy!

And I see you've got my mom and my sister there with you.

How are the two of you?

[ Parent ]

Merkins, Strains, Canuks, and the British. (none / 0) (#47)
by moggo on Fri Jul 20, 2001 at 04:39:23 PM EST

Don't have a good one for the English folk.

Usians is objectionable if not correct in that it
infers a culture of consumerism and global trade
dominaton, those who use.

[ Parent ]
Poms (none / 0) (#68)
by cam on Sat Jul 21, 2001 at 11:34:20 AM EST

>Don't have a good one for the English folk.

Australian slang for the English is "pom" as in "We beat the Poms at Cricket again."

Freedom, Liberty, Equity and an Australian Republic
[ Parent ]

Well.. (4.20 / 10) (#25)
by mindstrm on Fri Jul 20, 2001 at 08:51:28 AM EST

I see nothing derogatory about this word; however...
I'm Canadian, and I'm as fond of a good Canada - Us debate any day.
Americans = Citizen of the United States of America. (the last word in this title is where the term 'American' comes from). The whole world, canadians included, call our southern neighbors 'Americans'.

There is no longer a continent called 'America'. Arguing that 'American' means all of North & South America is incorrect. It has, for a LONG LONG time, referred to those in the good 'ol US of A.

If I say 'North American people' we all know I mean everyone north of the Panama Canal, right?.
If I say 'South American' people, we automatically think of Brazil, Argentina, Etc...
But nobody in the world gets confused when you say 'American'. They all know what it means.

And of course, some talk of 'Central America' or 'Latin America' which really isn't a continent, but sort of defines everything in the middle.

Saying 'USian', I cannot see how it equates to 'nigger' or 'gook' or any other derogatory term, but it DOES imply they should not be calling themselves 'Americans'; in that respect, it is disrespectful, no pun intended.

Canadians (3.16 / 6) (#28)
by USian on Fri Jul 20, 2001 at 09:08:24 AM EST

Canadians are just USians with the good sense to deny it.

"I just wish all spam would be so flattering, instead of telling me I have a small penis all the time."
Comment by ChiPHeaD
[ Parent ]

Ehh (4.00 / 1) (#72)
by mindstrm on Sat Jul 21, 2001 at 05:01:08 PM EST

care to elaborate on that, eh?

[ Parent ]
canuck -- the american substitute (none / 0) (#92)
by backplane on Tue Jul 24, 2001 at 02:56:51 AM EST

Nah. Canucks are American-wannabes. Why else would they be cluttered up next to the border, calling their currency "dollars", and use coins that work in our vending machines (oh wait, that last one is their attempt at distablizing our economy. ("We really hosed them this time, eh? We bought this coke for 34 cents, rather than their 50. They're so hosed!") We're getting them back though. We've got their hockey teams.)?

It all comes from their inadequacies as a country. Screwy european spelling involving lots of superflous 'u's and dyslexic spellings of the sound "er". ("So you gouing to call the plumbre eh?"). Right handed people eating with their left hands, Head of State being a foreigner. Colored money. Offical languages. Having a forigen flag (in total or in part) fly over it's "soverign" territory until 1965. It even has it's own renegade provience.

However who I really feel sorry for is the Aussies. They have all the problems of Canada, except they still use a foriegn flag, voted against true independence, and sadly of all, they screwed up the timezone system.

(You have no idea how much disfunctional timezones pisses me off. I'll admit that the US isn't perfect here either. We've got Indiana. Of course what more do you expect from the state that voted to define PI as 4.)

[ Parent ]
Says who? (5.00 / 1) (#81)
by persimmon on Sun Jul 22, 2001 at 03:52:38 PM EST

My Spanish teachers (who were from Argentina, Venezuela, and the US) corrected my use of "americano" in reference to US residents. When I made comparisons between industrialised and less industrialised countries in the western hemisphere, the correction was generally to "norteamericano" (hence including Canada, I suppose?) and when I referred specifically to the US the correction was generally to "..de los EEUU" or "..de los Estados Unidos". The usage was the same when I was an exchange student in Argentina and Spain.

So in my experience, the Spanish equivalent of "American" refers to residents of both Americas, and the residents of South America that I've run into consider "American" to include them.

It's funny because it's a blancmange!
[ Parent ]
It's their language.. (none / 0) (#95)
by eightball on Tue Jul 24, 2001 at 10:43:52 PM EST

and they can do whatever they want with it.

This isn't a discussion about what the citizens of the USA (pardon the abbr. :) are referred to in all languages, only english.

[ Parent ]
Why not all languages? (none / 0) (#109)
by johnny appleseid on Tue Jul 31, 2001 at 06:24:24 PM EST

If the name for someone from The United States of America is a little unclear in several languages, that's all the more reason for a more universal and definite definition (err.. right).

[ Parent ]
Huh? (none / 0) (#113)
by eightball on Fri Aug 03, 2001 at 09:13:56 AM EST

I just said they can call us whatever they want in their language. Please point out one thing that all languages call the same thing. I really doubt there is such a word. (just a cya, even if there were, it would be in the extreme minority among words)

This hasn't been a discussion about, 'we are america, change all your languages to reflect this'. It has been about calling those residents a certain term in this almost exclusively english forum.

I am not sure whether you are suggesting that I was in favor of the 'universal and definite definition' or whether that was your point. Please clarify..

[ Parent ]
Another big issue (none / 0) (#100)
by El Volio on Thu Jul 26, 2001 at 07:31:53 PM EST

As a fluent Spanish speaker, white American, married to a Mexican, this issue comes up a lot. I fail to understand how "norteamericano" is a better distinguishing term, given that Mexico and the whole of Central America are part of North America. Some Mexicans are also against "estadounidense", since Mexico is correctly named "United States of the Republic of Mexico".

To which I say, look, we have to call ourselves SOMETHING!

[ Parent ]

I just thought... (none / 0) (#29)
by Gully Foyle on Fri Jul 20, 2001 at 09:08:44 AM EST

...it was a nice play-on-words. Humour.

http://tuxedo.org/~esr/jargon/html/entry/hacker-humor.html - Entry 4

If you weren't picked on in school you were doing something wrong - kableh

aspects of the same thing (none / 0) (#52)
by mrBlond on Fri Jul 20, 2001 at 06:35:31 PM EST

I thought is was entry 3.

Of course, sometimes there is a good reason for it.

Inoshiro for cabal leader.
[ Parent ]

Call me what you want (4.60 / 5) (#31)
by Anatta on Fri Jul 20, 2001 at 09:17:46 AM EST

I'll refer to myself as an American both in geographical terms and in national terms. Both are 100% accurate, if arguably vague, terms.

You may call me what you wish. If, in a debate, you disagree with me (or agree with me), I would prefer you stick to logic, reason, and facts, rather than get into fruitless arguments over what we can call ourselves.

Getting upset over a discriptive word attributed to hundreds of millions of people seems really foolish to me, however I'm sure it's a great way to feel like you are discussing things while not saying anything of substance.
My Music

Somebody ask Estanislao Martinez (4.00 / 3) (#34)
by Skippy on Fri Jul 20, 2001 at 10:53:41 AM EST

As I'm almost positive he's the first person to use it on K5, if not the coiner of the phrase. I remember him going off on one of his "linguist" rants about using the term American. Personally I think he was just using us as experimental fodder to see if he could get a new term into general use.

# I am now finished talking out my ass about things that I am not qualified to discuss. #
You kids today (4.00 / 1) (#36)
by elfusiono on Fri Jul 20, 2001 at 11:52:05 AM EST

Hey, anybody remember Kibo? alt.religion.kibology? Kibologists have been using the phrase for, like, forever. Click here for amazing proof.

[ Parent ]
Clockwork Orange slang (4.00 / 1) (#37)
by fluffy grue on Fri Jul 20, 2001 at 12:23:20 PM EST

Just as an aside, most of the slang in Clockwork Orange is derived from Russian.
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]

How should it be pronounced? (1.66 / 3) (#40)
by scross on Fri Jul 20, 2001 at 02:56:45 PM EST

I think the real question is how do pronounce it? Is it "yoo-ES-ee-an", or is it "YOOS-ee-an"?
I have to say I'm partial to later because it sounds like you, the second person pronoun.
Cheers, Sarah
Yeah, the latter (none / 0) (#70)
by Nurgled on Sat Jul 21, 2001 at 12:17:55 PM EST

I always tend to go for the phonetic pronounciation if it's pronouncable. I generally say "Usians" and "Ukians" (the latter being the UK equivalent, which I've seen used elsewhere too.)

[ Parent ]
We aren't the only "Americans" & wor (3.62 / 8) (#46)
by panck on Fri Jul 20, 2001 at 04:32:52 PM EST

First of all I have some friends who are from Brazil, and they were of course asked numerous times after first entering the US "So, how do ya like being in America?". This question confused them, since they were, of course, Americans as well.
We are quite blind to the rest of the world, most of the time. Not just Europe/Asia/etc., but our own nextdoor neighbors.
Thank god the rest of the world isn't quite so blind.

Second of all, I take offense at someone arguing that since a word is "made-up" it doesn't belong in an K5 submission.
I'm a poet by aspiration, and I'm a big fan of the English language, and one of the coolest things about it is the ease and frequency with which we just "make up" words and start using them. Where do you think all the other gaddam (sic) words we use came from? The Dictionary?
Anyone who thinks that the dictionary is the definitive guide for what words should be used is a lamer (sic) and shouldn't be posting on a web-site (sic) which wasn't a gaddam word until the 1990's.

That's how words get made-up, we just "make them up" and start using them. The English language is the whole of the language we use to communicate, and if I say "USian" and you know what it means, we're communicating, and it's now a new gaddam word.

Please... (none / 0) (#96)
by eightball on Tue Jul 24, 2001 at 10:54:25 PM EST

show me on the map where it says 'America'.. Your friends already have a snappy good sounding country name. What is wrong with that?

It really is tiring going through "United States of America" and I don't care for acronyms myself. Those are three extra words I could use for something else (or not use at all)

Perhaps it is reading too much k5, but I can't imagine anyone wanting to associate themselves w/ the United States of America if they don't have to.

[ Parent ]
Whats wrong with 'yanks' (none / 0) (#51)
by steve m on Fri Jul 20, 2001 at 06:16:01 PM EST

it's british slang for 'american'

and it's been around a bit longer than the term 'USians'

What's wrong with "yank"? Pull up a chai (none / 0) (#57)
by darthaggie on Sat Jul 21, 2001 at 01:11:35 AM EST

A "yank" is a Yankee. One of Those People who thinks the US Civil War was fought over slavery (it wasn't the only issue), that iced tea is made without sugar (it is), and they accept a Bah-ston or Brooklyn accent, but look down upon any other accent as being uncooth and an indicator of a poor education (not any more so than a Bah-ston or Brooklyn speaker).

Go ahead, insult me. Call me a "yank".

I am BOFH. Resistance is futile. Your network will be assimilated.
[ Parent ]

Brooklyn? (none / 0) (#61)
by rusty on Sat Jul 21, 2001 at 02:58:15 AM EST

A Brooklyn accent is certainly not acceptable! Godless New Yorkers. We are willing to accept a Southie (Note: "Southie", not "Southern". I.e. South Boston) or Maine accent, but only because everyone needs some comic relief sometimes.

--rusty, unreconstructed Yankee. ;-)

Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

Well, sure. (5.00 / 1) (#73)
by ghjm on Sun Jul 22, 2001 at 01:03:11 AM EST

But the moment you depart the borders of the good ol' USA, "Yank" means any American. I can imagine the following conversation in, say, Sydney:

USian: Can I rent a car here?
Aussie: Funny accent. You a yank?
USian: No. I'd just like to rent a car.
Aussie: Oh. Canadian then?
USian: No, I'm from Georgia.
Aussie: You mean in Russia?
USian: Georgia, you know, USA.
Aussie: Thought you said you weren't a yank!
USian: I'm not. Can I rent a car?
Aussie: Er...can I see your passport?

[ Parent ]
Following on from "yank"... (none / 0) (#116)
by jbrw on Sat Aug 11, 2001 at 08:00:54 PM EST

...is the rhyming slang "septic", from "septic tank". Ho ho!
"We beat the .usians at their own game of zero tolerance"
[ Parent ]
If you ask me.... (3.00 / 1) (#54)
by hackboy on Fri Jul 20, 2001 at 07:14:56 PM EST

I'll tell you I'm a Kansan who happens to live in Texas. You ask the people born around here and they'll call themselves Texans. The lady in the cube next to me is from New York.

Who cares? (5.00 / 1) (#66)
by jcolter on Sat Jul 21, 2001 at 07:04:31 AM EST

As a citizen of the United States I could really care less what you call me (to be honest I thought your term was rather clever). This debate reminds me of the SNL Chris Rock sketch in which Nat X complained how Honky never really caught on. I can see the point of the joke. As a straight white male how could I realistically be concerned about the way I am described? It's funny, no big deal.

OTOH since moving to NYC I have heard all sorts of slavery throw backs that are still in usage (uniquely here?). Go into a corner deli and everyone calls each other boss and chief. I was a little uncomfortable about these conventions until an African American acquaintance of mine told me he didn't find it offensive because it's used indiscriminately to describe everyone.

I could care less when my roommate rips on the fact that I hammer those open vowels. Don't get me wrong I'm not proposing a lack of sensitivity when dealing with people. Its just that as a white male American I am not really concerned about discrimination.

None of the above. (none / 0) (#74)
by watchmaker on Sun Jul 22, 2001 at 01:04:40 AM EST

Call me a Human. Or a person. Or an earthling, if you must. I am classified as a citizen of the United States of America by accident of birth only. I didn't choose it. It's a country led by an unelected official, placed there through the lies and trickery his brother, and the influences of his father. A man who can barely string together a grammatically correct sentence and who uses, in clear violation of the constitution, religion as a weapon to validate his pet issues.

Who wants the name "American?" (3.33 / 3) (#77)
by garbanzo on Sun Jul 22, 2001 at 12:28:48 PM EST

USian. Like "us" plus "ian"? Like "you" plus "shun"? Maybe "you" plus "seein"? You seein what I'm seein?

Well, being the fat bastards running roughshod over the rest of the planet (dragging our environmentalists along for the ride to keep them guilty by association) I don't guess we USians can complain about what anyone chooses to call us.

But who else wants the term "American" to refer to them? None of the Mexicans or Canadians I've known were hot for the term whenever it's come up for conversation. The Canadians, in fact, got pretty hot about it--nothing seemed to piss them off more than being mistaken for USians. Mind you, they all of them still wanted green cards, but let's don't consider that a fair sample.

"American" derives from the name of an Italian explorer (Amerigo Vespucci--anyone know Italian to give us a literal translation of "Amerigo?") and I can't imagine the people who settled that hemsphere ahead of Europeans (aka First Nations, Native Peoples, etc.) lining up to take it. They'd rather be known (as I understand it) by their cultural nation-names (e.g. "Navajo, Inuit, Apache, Lakota"). A number of these names, in turn, translate to "The People" in their respective languages.

If the term USian is supposed to simply take something (anything!) from the fat bastards, well, we fat bastards are remarkably hard to shame and potential offenders will have to try harder. With the thin-skinned respondents to this article noted as exceptions.

If you want to really offend the fat bastards, you'll have to be more direct. Remember, we USians are the same people who chiseled up Lakota holy ground to make big giant face statues of our some of our favorite CEOs (Mt. Rushmore).

If you really want to get our attention, take "our" oil.

sure, it's all fun and games--until someone puts an eye out

USian (3.00 / 1) (#78)
by DJBongHit on Sun Jul 22, 2001 at 01:37:47 PM EST

I'm an American, and I don't particularly care if you want to call me a USian. But I think it sounds stupid, and I'm not going to use that term. If you want to, go right ahead.


GNU GPL: Free as in herpes.

Heh (2.25 / 4) (#79)
by Kasreyn on Sun Jul 22, 2001 at 02:07:18 PM EST

Ah, who gives a shit about the people who get so uptight about all this? I can see that USians can be used to seperate sane Americans (from Central America, South America, and Canada) from U.S. Americans. It's kind of an insult to those other groups to call them Americans if we also include the U.S. in that term.

It's already enough of an insult to be called an American, that perhaps we need a new term so we can retire "Americans". "USians" is a bit klunky though. USies? USers? Hmmm.

How about, "dumbfucks"? =)


"Extenuating circumstance to be mentioned on Judgement Day:
We never asked to be born in the first place."

R.I.P. Kurt. You will be missed.
i love it (1.00 / 2) (#80)
by strlen on Sun Jul 22, 2001 at 02:18:10 PM EST

as a non-american-citizen, living in the hole known as the US of A (leading the world in illegal under-age, mentally retarded executions!; the country where in some schools evolution is illegal to teach!; a country where majority think atheists are traitors!), i love the term USian, mainly because it insults the USian. also many USians get pissed when some devises a non-insulting term like homosexual or african-american, and gets pissed when someone talks about being offended. so if it offends the USian, why not use their own medicine on them?

i *LOVE* american hipocricy, and it seems foreign policy is not the only place where it shows (<sarcasm>hey we can violate international treaties all we want in our country and our back yard (Latin America), but if you do, we can use that as an excuse to bomb the shit out of you (a new form of human rights activism)</sarcasm>).

and since i hate united states and am proud to be un-american, and moving here wasn't my choice and getting out won't be an option for quite a few years, i'll use the word to insult as many USians as possible.

plus americans is a dumb term. there's also canada, mexico, and plenty of other countries on the continent. and most people residing in the united states aren't native to the area -- we killed all the natives anyways. another good term in use of USian is a dumb ass, illiterate, redneck piece of trash. but i guess that's not really politically correct.

[T]he strongest man in the world is he who stands most alone. - Henrik Ibsen.
Pot, kettle, black (5.00 / 1) (#90)
by xaositec on Mon Jul 23, 2001 at 10:04:29 AM EST

Before posting a comment that might incense someone, follow two simple rules...

  1. check your spelling... if you are going to call us redneck trash, at least try and make yourself *look* better, even if you aren't
  2. check your grammar... nothing smacks more of idiocy
Following these two rules will make it harder for a "dumb ass, illiterate, redneck piece of trash" to discredit you.

[ Parent ]
Would it be a proper troll... (none / 0) (#112)
by Locus27 on Thu Aug 02, 2001 at 07:30:14 AM EST

if spelling, punctuation, and grammar were correct? Let's go beyond the mechanics and consider the logic. Trolls and flames must start out with a simple idea, and expand exponentially into nothing remotely meaningful. More rules on writing a proper flame or troll can be found at The Reg

And please, whatever you do, don't use the preview function to proof read what you've written.

"You're one fucked up cookie."
-Shawn R. Fitzgerald

[ Parent ]

It's easier to spell.... (none / 0) (#89)
by ajduk on Mon Jul 23, 2001 at 07:37:46 AM EST

I admit it, I'm not enough of a geek to add spellchecking to form submission..

Soy yo un gringo (none / 0) (#93)
by isdnip on Tue Jul 24, 2001 at 08:00:32 PM EST

But everybody south of the border knows that the folks in the USA are called gringos!

Although I suppose that the term can, loosely, be applied to Canadians as well, at least the Anglophonic kind. But doesn't it usually mean usian?

No, I don't think USian is an insult, but it's a coarse-sounding neologism. Frank Lloyd Wright coined a similar term for his style, but I can't recall exactly what it was.

usonian (none / 0) (#97)
by eightball on Tue Jul 24, 2001 at 11:08:39 PM EST

united states of north ~i america ~n

[ Parent ]
That's what Wright used (none / 0) (#99)
by isdnip on Thu Jul 26, 2001 at 12:00:46 AM EST

Yep, I remembered. He called his style "Usonian". Better-sounding than USian. But it'll never be as widely-used as gringo.

[ Parent ]
Present at the birth (none / 0) (#94)
by Otter on Tue Jul 24, 2001 at 09:19:50 PM EST

The earliest use of "USian" in these circles, in my recollection, was in a Slashdot comment by "Estanislao Martinez". I think it was one of those trolls responding to some new technological development with, "You selfish stupid geeks think this is worthwhile. Children in the Third World are dying!"

I had points that day and tagged him with a -1: Troll. And the rest is history.

hah, finally i get the credit I deserve ;) (none / 0) (#110)
by Estanislao Martínez on Wed Aug 01, 2001 at 02:58:54 AM EST

Though your story is not quite right.

I first used the term "USian" in a really bad AC troll, maybe a month before I created the Estanislao account. Spiralx then picked it up. Then I created the account, and there is where you saw it...

So yeah, I guess I'm the guilty party here. Hahaha.

[ Parent ]

I have a reaction to this term too (none / 0) (#102)
by El Volio on Thu Jul 26, 2001 at 07:51:15 PM EST

I was on K5 a few months after it began -- and was on here for a while. But I'll be honest: while K5 is obviously not a collective, the majority opinion seems to be "The USA is evil, those USians think they are the only thing that matters, any story or post that has anything to do with that hellhole of a country is entirely too US-centric."

Excuse me? Whereas the US has it's share of faults, no doubt -- as does any nation composed of imperfect humans -- that sort of opinion is every bit as biased and uninformed as the stereotypical "American" which they disdain. Now, there's no doubt, that stereotype is accurate for some folks, it's far from the only sort of person here.

In any sufficiently large group of people, a fraction of them will be idiots. Unfortunately, those are the ones we tend to remember. That applies to Americans, and yes, it applies to K5ers too, which is why I'm trying to come back.

Yes, the term USian bothers me, not so much because of the term itself, but because of the opinion it (usually) demonstrates. The same as many black people objecting to the term "Negro" or "colored": the term itself isn't the issue, it's the prejudiced thinking usually associated with it. It's the same as many Mexicans living in the US not liking the term Chicano (this is especially true outside of California): it tends to bring up a certain stereotype.

Now maybe if the term were used to apply only to the stereotype, that would be one thing, but the problem still is that many people tend to think that all Americans fit that profile: and we don't.

Changing the name doesn't change the opinion (5.00 / 1) (#103)
by brion on Fri Jul 27, 2001 at 05:44:25 AM EST

"You stupid American!"
"You stupid USian!"
"You stupid blorkfnord!"

Which part am I offended by? "Stupid", not "American" or "USian" or "blorkfnord". Maybe I just haven't been looking to be offended, but I've never yet come across a use of "USian" that offended me, a USian born and bred. The term's come up in thoughtless and thoughtful posts, offensive and flattering.

So, while I'm glad that you object to mindless prejudice against 280+ million people as though they were a single entity comprised solely of their negative elements, I have to ask: Why do you feel that that has anything to do with "USian"?

Regarding your citation of "Chicano" as potentially offensive: "Mexican" probably brings up more of a stereotype to many people in my part of the country than "Chicano", a word which is only familiar to me from the names of student groups who seemed sufficiently happy with the word to emblazon it upon their posters and banners. (Admittedly I am in California, presumably elsewhere "Chicanos" would be ashamed to call themselves that? Or is it only offensive when other people say it?) What should I start calling citizens of Mexico that does not "bring up a certain stereotype" associated with "prejudiced thinking" so that I may avoid causing offense? Certainly "Mexican" won't do the job!

On the same tack, I've come across "American" used as if it were a supreme insult much MUCH more frequently than I've seen "USian" at all. Perhaps I should start complaining whenever I hear someone using the word "American"? After all, it only conjures up a negative stereotype in the minds of other people...

Chu vi parolas Vikipedion?
[ Parent ]
Individual variance (none / 0) (#104)
by El Volio on Fri Jul 27, 2001 at 11:40:39 AM EST

Both of these examples probably show the individual variance in our reactions to the same term. I live in Texas; most Mexicans here do not like the term "Chicano". In their minds, it conjures up the stereotype of the migrant farmworker; it's only a step above "wetback". I know that in California, it's much more commonly accepted. So different people have different reactions to the same terminology.

Likewise, the term "USian", as an invented term, seems (to me) to be conjured specifically to convey the stereotypical American, the uneducated, uncultured, ignorant monolingual boor that so much of the world believes we all are. What I object to is that stereotype, and for me, the term "USian" is all about that stereotype. Other Americans don't seem to mind it, and that's OK -- their opinion counts every bit as much as mine, and vice versa.

[ Parent ]

Simple solution (none / 0) (#106)
by brion on Fri Jul 27, 2001 at 06:40:12 PM EST

<sarcasm>Carry a list of terms which you find offensive. Before you begin a conversation with someone, exchange lists. Then you'll know which terms not to use. In the case of a public forum like K5, of course, things are more difficult. Perhaps an automatic search/replace filter based on your personal preferences?</sarcasm>

In all seriousness, "USian", as an invented term, seems (to me) to be conjured specifically to convey a light-hearted attitude contrary to the self-important, know-it-all, isolationist stereotypical American. Other Americans seem to mind it, and that's okay -- their opinion counts every bit as much as mine, and vice versa. Unfortunately, their opinion serves to confirm and propagate the stereotype.

Chu vi parolas Vikipedion?
[ Parent ]
The whole point of the article (none / 0) (#107)
by El Volio on Fri Jul 27, 2001 at 07:06:40 PM EST

The article was specifically written to elicit viewpoints, both of Americans and non-Americans. That's my view. No, I'm not into "politically correct speech" and such. But I believe in (when possible) respecting the feelings of others. Somebody doesn't like to be called a Jap, fine, I won't use that term, at least to them.

I guess my real point is that it's not an issue with a discernibly correct answer. I suspect there are as many different ways to feel about it as there are people who have an opinion on the subject. Of course, this leads into the question of whether it really makes sense to categorize individuals by nationality, but that's a topic for another day....

[ Parent ]

"USian" not polite (5.00 / 1) (#105)
by Chuck Messenger on Fri Jul 27, 2001 at 03:49:36 PM EST

It's generally considered polite to refer to people by the name they prefer. For example, in America, people of African origin used to be called "negros", in the 50s to 60s. That was taken to be derogatory, so the word became "blacks". That was taken to be derogatory, too, so the word has become "African-American". That's a word which African-Americans seem to like, currently, for the most part. If, like most people, you wish to show respect to the people you're referring to, then you try to use the word those people prefer. Therefore, the word "black" has been falling out of (polite) usage, and African-American has taken its place. Another example would be the new names which China came out with, say, 15-20 years ago. Their cities used to be called "Peking", etc. Now they're Beijing. That's what most Chinese prefer, so we defer to their wishes. Or when a country decides to change its name -- even if it is lunacy -- then polite people agree to use that name. Congo used to be Zaire, and now its Congo again. It's not _our_ choice -- it's _their_ choice. It's all a question of politeness. Few Americans want to be called USians. So don't call us that if you want to be polite. If you want to insult, then go for it. Be creative.

Why not American? (none / 0) (#108)
by Bridge Troll on Tue Jul 31, 2001 at 09:25:10 AM EST

I've seen that the argument most commonly used for calling people from the United States the term, "USians", instead of "Americans" is the fact that on the American continent(s) there are many peoples who may consider themselves as "Americans". Quiet frankly, I think this argument is utter horse droppings. Take Canada. They have the name "Canadians".
  • Mexico has "Mexicans".
  • Colombia has "Colombians".
  • Brazil has "Brazilians."
  • Etc.
What does the United States of America have? The nearly unpronouncaable "USians" and the more commonly used "Americans". To most people, when one says "American" they immediately know that you are referring to one from the United States. I wish the people of K5 could just be less anal about it, and say "Americans". If you mean someone from Canada, say "Canadians". Simple, no?

And besides, pounding your meat with a club is a very satisfying thing to do :) -- Sleepy
as the person who introduced `USian' to /. and k5 (5.00 / 1) (#111)
by Estanislao Martínez on Wed Aug 01, 2001 at 03:00:18 AM EST

i must say that the fact that there's a 110 comment story about it, I just find hilarious...


I really like it (5.00 / 1) (#114)
by anansi on Wed Aug 08, 2001 at 02:31:17 PM EST

I am deeply ambivalent about being a US citizen. On the one hand, I like to share ownership in a really fascinating story about memes and technology spreading over a young continent like a supersaturated soulution suddenly crystalizing.

On the other hand, this detonation of industry and ideas has brought out the worst in human behavior as well, and I'm not crazy about being a citizen of an empire that's just as cruel as anything the British or Romans ever did.

"USian" allows me to identify by nation-state of birth, without grouping me with those who wrap themselves in the flag with many assumptions about what it means to be a True American.

If Joe McCarthy had headed the invastigation of un-USian activities, then I wouldn't be so eager to use it. But It's way nicer than saying "Amerikan".

Don't call it Fascism. Use Musollini's term: "Corporatism"

but how do you pronounce it? (none / 0) (#115)
by anagram on Thu Aug 09, 2001 at 04:04:21 PM EST

uhs ee ens?

you ess ee ens?

They both sound pretty bad....

USians: K5 Jargon, Slur or Sniglet? | 116 comments (109 topical, 7 editorial, 0 hidden)
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