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Re: Consideration for obscenity

by jonadab (Parson)
on Feb 07, 2007 at 11:08 UTC ( #598732=note: print w/ replies, xml ) Need Help??


in reply to Re^2: Consideration for obscenity
in thread Consideration for obscenity

Calling the whole show England is not only incorrect, it irritates people.

I didn't make this usage up. Indeed, I have seen it labelled as England on maps (albeit, only on simple maps that label just the countries with little or no further detail), and in informal speech this usage is fairly universal here. Yes, sometimes it is also called 'Britain', which is just as technically incorrect. Technically, Britain is an island (or, arguably, an archipelago) and does not include Northern Ireland, Gibraltar, or cetera, nor probably the Isle of Mann, yet people happily refer to the entire nation as Britain, or as England. (In the US, "Britain" and "England" are synonyms. Of the two, "England" is the more common term. Both are *way* more common than saying "the UK" much less "the United Kingdom" or anything longer.)

Calling the US "America" occasionally irritates people too (mostly Canadian pedants), but that doesn't really stop anyone from doing it.

I have *occasionally* noticed people saying "England" or "English" when they mean the entire Commonwealth, but that is much less common. (One example I specifically recall is the time my sister told me "Color doesn't have a u in it. This isn't England." She knows perfectly well that they spell it the same way in Australia as in Scotland or Wales or England proper. As I said, however, this usage is not very common.)


Comment on Re: Consideration for obscenity
Just show people this.
by Anonymous Monk on Feb 07, 2007 at 11:42 UTC
      Very nice++ :)

      And that fits perfectly with the way that I've always understood it. Although I'm not really sure where my view of it came from - perhaps I was taught it at school. (Back in the days before we convicts started getting silly ideas about becoming a republic) ;)

Re^2: Consideration for obscenity
by papidave (Monk) on Feb 14, 2008 at 15:21 UTC
    While I was living over there (about a decade ago), people weren't using "England" to refer to more than just the smaller region -- it was "the UK" for the national identity. That may have changed, however; I don't know.

    As for "America", it is not merely the Canadians who can be irritated. Latinos from South and Central America may also consider themselves American, and refer to US persons as "Norteamericanos" when they want to lump us with the Canadians, or "Yanquis" otherwise. Whether or not "Yanqui" is offensive probably depends on where you're from.

    Update for clarity, 22-Feb-2008:

    The phrase "depends on where you're from" wasn't clear, and I apologize. jonadab makes a good point about the southern point of view; but I come from southeastern Massachusetts. When we refer to a fellow New Englander as a Yankee, it's a compliment. When we talk about New York Yankees, it's a pejorative. The folks in Sussex, England called me a "Yank" while I was there, and I don't think there was any intended coloration, positive or negative.

      Whether or not "Yanqui" is offensive probably depends on where you're from.

      The only place I can think of in the US where Yankee might be considered significantly pejorative is the deep south, where people who never got over the civil war use it as an epithet for meddling outsiders. Nonetheless, it is fairly universally (within the US) considered to refer mainly to people from the northeastern quarter or so of the country -- north of the Mason-Dixon line and east of the Mississippi, approximately. In other words, the area that was known as the North during the civil war. Calling someone from Alabama or Missouri or Texas a Yankee is not significantly different from calling someone from Wessex a Scott. I don't think it would generally be considered offensive, though, unless it's clearly done deliberately to provoke. Most folks I know would just write it off as a foreigner not knowing the local geography very well.

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