Sunday, March 16, 2008

Am I a "United States-ian"?

While talking about the differences between British English and American English in my class, I frequently use the phrase, “In America…” This week, one of my Brazilian students piped up, “Oh yeah? In which part? North or South?” after which, we discussed the meaning of "a smart alec." JK

I must confess I know very little about South America. Living with and teaching Brazilians this past month, I’ve discovered I have a lot of catching up to do! First of all, not all Brazilians are dark-haired, dark-eyed, and dark-skinned. In fact, most of the Brazilians on the base here have a fair complexion with light hair, and sometimes beautiful blue or green eyes. That was a surprise. Secondly, it is extremely offensive to a South American to tell them I am from “America” or I am an “American.” So I am learning to introduce myself as from “the States” or “the USA.” But I have yet to come up with a different title than “American”…”USA-er” or “United States-ian”?

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