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Bernieyeball
08-11-2010, 02:40 AM
I always get grief when I pose this question but I think it is a reasonable inquiry.
I suspect the humans who inhabited this continent before the arrival of Europeans did not call it North America or America.
How can they be Native "Americans"?

qpw3141
08-11-2010, 05:18 AM
It's not the most apposite of names because it means something completely different from native <anything else>.

On the other hand, it's arguably more apposite than 'Indians'.

MrDibble
08-11-2010, 05:51 AM
I like the Canadian "First Nations", myself.

tomndebb
08-11-2010, 06:03 AM
I always get grief when I pose this question but I think it is a reasonable inquiry.
I suspect the humans who inhabited this continent before the arrival of Europeans did not call it North America or America.
How can they be Native "Americans"?If you always get grief, it seems to mean that you are asking the question a lot. Since your question attempts to insist on some (undefined, yet rigid), definition of words with some implied but not explained logic; I can see why you would get grief for it. Language is rarely bound by external laws of logic.

Basically, the word used in English, (where the phrase occurs), to identify the two major land masses and related islands that are separated from Eurasia and Africa by the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans is "America," (North and South). The people who lived here before the arrival of the English speaking settlers from Europe would be considered natives. Hence, the phrase "Native American" can be used to identify them in English.

This, of course, is completely separate from the matter that the people so identified do not actually choose that phrase for self-identification, generally preferring their tribal name, (either in its original form or in its Anglicized variant), or accepting the equally "erroneous" term "indian."

Smeghead
08-11-2010, 07:13 AM
See, there's this place, right? And it's called "America", OK? And the people that live there, well, they're called "Americans". But a lot of them are descended from people who moved there recently, yes? And so to distinguish the ones that were there first, the "natives", we combine those two concepts into the term "Native American".

I hope that clears things up.

qpw3141
08-11-2010, 07:42 AM
See, there's this place, right? And it's called "America", OK? And the people that live there, well, they're called "Americans". But a lot of them are descended from people who moved there recently, yes? And so to distinguish the ones that were there first, the "natives", we combine those two concepts into the term "Native American".

I hope that clears things up.

Not really because it doesn't make a lot of sense.

Which of the following means something completely different to all the others.

Native Londoner
Native New Yorker
Native Californian
Native Italian
Native American
Native Texan
Native Mexican

BrightNShiny
08-11-2010, 07:51 AM
Not really because it doesn't make a lot of sense.

Which of the following means something completely different to all the others.

Native Londoner
Native New Yorker
Native Californian
Native Italian
Native American
Native Texan
Native Mexican

You do realize that words in English can have more than one meaning, right?

Latro
08-11-2010, 07:54 AM
How about "Aborigines" ?

But then, it now seems like there were people before the "American-Indians" arrived in the america's.

Would those be Pre-Aborigines.

Horatio Hellpop
08-11-2010, 08:00 AM
It would be nice if the Indians (a term most of them apparently use, however grudgingly) had some old pre-Columbian term that applied to all the tribes from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego, but they apparently didn't and saw no need for one.

qpw3141
08-11-2010, 08:05 AM
You do realize that words in English can have more than one meaning, right?

Yes, but in that case it's generally the context that let's you know which meaning applies.

You know: 'I filled the pitcher with water' is not usually understood to mean that you were torturing some baseball player at Guantanamo Bay.

If someone says: 'He's a native American', it could mean he's someone who was born and lives in the USA or it could mean that he belongs to the group of people also know as 'American Indians'.

Whilst it's good to try and use nomenclature that no one finds offensive it's also a good idea to avoid picking identifiers that already have a perfectly clear (and different) meaning.

Marley23
08-11-2010, 08:09 AM
Yes, but in that case it's generally the context that let's you know which meaning applies.
That's also the case here. I don't think I've ever heard a person born in America described as a "native American" (other than a joke on the Simpsons) because people know it might be taken as referring to Native American heritage.

Whilst it's good to try and use nomenclature that no one finds offensive it's also a good idea to avoid picking identifiers that already have a perfectly clear (and different) meaning.
This describes "Indian" perfectly.

And to the OP... they were native to the place that is now called America. See?

BrightNShiny
08-11-2010, 08:22 AM
You do realize that words in English can have more than one meaning, right?

Yes, but in that case it's generally the context that let's you know which meaning applies.

You know: 'I filled the pitcher with water' is not usually understood to mean that you were torturing some baseball player at Guantanamo Bay.

There are tons of constructions in English which are ambiguous on their face and require additional context to clarify. "He's an engineer." Does he work on a train or does he design circuits? "She's mad." Is she angry or is she crazy? Do you find yourself complaining about these too?

If someone says: 'He's a native American', it could mean he's someone who was born and lives in the USA or it could mean that he belongs to the group of people also know as 'American Indians'.

In most cases it will mean the latter, some times it will mean the former. So what?

Whilst it's good to try and use nomenclature that no one finds offensive it's also a good idea to avoid picking identifiers that already have a perfectly clear (and different) meaning.

As far as I know, most people understand what the term "Native American" is referring to, particularly if it's in the context of the discussion they're having. You've been given a clear definition of the term, and yet you somehow think that this clear definition is confusing. Your beef seems to be with the way the English language develops rather than this term in particular. ETA: Did you have trouble figuring out that "beef" here means complaint rather than the meat from a cow?

qpw3141
08-11-2010, 08:41 AM
There are tons of constructions in English which are ambiguous on their face and require additional context to clarify. "He's an engineer." Does he work on a train or does he design circuits? "She's mad." Is she angry or is she crazy? Do you find yourself complaining about these too?

In most cases it will mean the latter, some times it will mean the former. So what?

As far as I know, most people understand what the term "Native American" is referring to, particularly if it's in the context of the discussion they're having. You've been given a clear definition of the term, and yet you somehow think that this clear definition is confusing.
I'm not sure why you're getting so worked up about this.

It's really not a big deal. It's just that I've heard several people opine that it's not the most intelligent choice of name and that seems a reasonable comment.

Your beef seems to be with the way the English language develops rather than this term in particular.

Yes, I suppose it is a complaint about the way that stupid people take a phrase that already means something and make it mean something completely different thus creating the possibility for misunderstandings.

ETA: Did you have trouble figuring out that "beef" here means complaint rather than the meat from a cow?

Do you think you could, perhaps, work out the answer to that by yourself?

Do you find any ambiguity when the two interpretations are:

"Your cow meat seems to be with the way the English language develops rather than this term in particular."

and

"Your complaint seems to be with the way the English language develops rather than this term in particular."

Marley23
08-11-2010, 08:49 AM
Yes, I suppose it is a complaint about the way that stupid people take a phrase that already means something and make it mean something completely different thus creating the possibility for misunderstandings.

ETA: Did you have trouble figuring out that "beef" here means complaint rather than the meat from a cow?

Do you think you could, perhaps, work out the answer to that by yourself?

Do you find any ambiguity when the two interpretations are:

"Your cow meat seems to be with the way the English language develops rather than this term in particular."

and

"Your complaint seems to be with the way the English language develops rather than this term in particular."
All of this applies to native American vs. Native American, too. Native + American can meant something other than Native American but in almost all contexts it's obvious what people are saying. I've never heard anyone talk about Columbus' meetings with people-who-were-born-in-America, or talk about people-born-in-America living on reservations, or discussing tribes of people-who-were-born-in-America.

DrFidelius
08-11-2010, 08:52 AM
Which is why I always refer to my Wife's extended family as "Redskins," to avoid confusion (except with sunburned people).

qpw3141
08-11-2010, 09:01 AM
All of this applies to native American vs. Native American, too. Native + American can meant something other than Native American but in almost all contexts it's obvious what people are saying. I've never heard anyone talk about Columbus' meetings with people-who-were-born-in-America, or talk about people-born-in-America living on reservations, or discussing tribes of people-who-were-born-in-America.

Over the phone, you hear: "I was in the US last month. I had dinner with a Ian and Dave to discuss the merger. Ian emigrated there five years ago. Dave is a native American".

Was Dave simply someone who was born in the US or was he descended from people who were there before Columbus?

As I said, it's not a big deal. It just doesn't strike me as the most intelligent choice of nomenclature when, until some bright spark coined that usage, it would have meant something completely different. Something that makes the meaning of 'native American' quite different to the meaning of 'native <anything else>.

BrightNShiny
08-11-2010, 09:04 AM
I'm not sure why you're getting so worked up about this.

I'm not sure why you think you're personal projections apply to me. Who said I was worked up?

It's really not a big deal. It's just that I've heard several people opine that it's not the most intelligent choice of name and that seems a reasonable comment.

I've never heard anyone express confusion over the term Native American. I've never heard it used in the alternate way you're describing in my lifetime. Perhaps if I picked up a newspaper from a hundred years ago, it might be used that way, but since the majority of people aren't confused about it, and since you yourself don't think it's a big deal, then what is the purpose of this discussion?

Yes, I suppose it is a complaint about the way that stupid people take a phrase that already means something and make it mean something completely different thus creating the possibility for misunderstandings.

As in the stupid people who decided "mad" could either mean crazy or angry? Yeah, they were pretty stupid. And I guess the people who coined the term "Native American" were short-sighted in being unable to predict that some people would claim that there was some big confusion over the word when there really isn't any.


Do you think you could, perhaps, work out the answer to that by yourself?

Do you find any ambiguity when the two interpretations are:

"Your cow meat seems to be with the way the English language develops rather than this term in particular."

and

"Your complaint seems to be with the way the English language develops rather than this term in particular."

Can you work out a joke when you see one? I wonder why you got so worked up about that.

Marley23
08-11-2010, 09:10 AM
All of this applies to native American vs. Native American, too. Native + American can meant something other than Native American but in almost all contexts it's obvious what people are saying. I've never heard anyone talk about Columbus' meetings with people-who-were-born-in-America, or talk about people-born-in-America living on reservations, or discussing tribes of people-who-were-born-in-America.

Over the phone, you hear: "I was in the US last month. I had dinner with a Ian and Dave to discuss the merger. Ian emigrated there five years ago. Dave is a native American".

Was Dave simply someone who was born in the US or was he descended from people who were there before Columbus?
Since you're discussing national origins I'd assume he was born in the U.S. (And if I'm wrong, so what?) I understand there are situations in which this could be confusing. There are two ways to read the phrase. But most of the time the meaning is clear. It's the same as the beef example.

Ravenman
08-11-2010, 09:16 AM
But it seems that you don't have a problem with the term "American" being used to describe someone from the U.S. Shouldn't it really describe people from the ice floes of Canada all the way to the pointy part of Chile?

In your example, how do we know that Dave wasn't born in Costa Rica?

BrightNShiny
08-11-2010, 09:20 AM
But it seems that you don't have a problem with the term "American" being used to describe someone from the U.S. Shouldn't it really describe people from the ice floes of Canada all the way to the pointy part of Chile?

In your example, how do we know that Dave wasn't born in Costa Rica?

This is a good point. We should actually stop using the term "American" to describe someone from the United States, since that leads to confusion. As a bonus, that would remove any confusion with the term "Native American." Now, we just need to come up with a replacement term for "American."

Left Hand of Dorkness
08-11-2010, 09:25 AM
I always get grief when I pose this question but I think it is a reasonable inquiry.
I suspect the humans who inhabited this continent before the arrival of Europeans did not call it North America or America.
How can they be Native "Americans"?
Lemme ask you a question: was the poet Homer a European? He did not call the place he lived "Europe."

Is it reasonable to refer to Lucy, the early human, as an early African?

There's a type of bird called the American swallow-tailed kite. I'm pretty sure these birds don't call the place they live America. Is the name therefore a misnomer?

Tamerlane
08-11-2010, 09:31 AM
But it seems that you don't have a problem with the term "American" being used to describe someone from the U.S.


As noted many times before, the United States of America ( which is the full and official name of the country ) is the only country in the Americas to use America in its title. Consequently the use of "American" to refer to its citizens is both logical and justified. Now if the Federal Republic of Central America/United States of Central America ( 1823-1840 ) was still in existence, this might be confusing. Since it is not, it isn't.

qpw3141
08-11-2010, 09:36 AM
I'm not sure why you think you're personal projections apply to me. Who said I was worked up?
You just sounded very antsy. If you weren't, sorry. :)

but since the majority of people aren't confused about it, and since you yourself don't think it's a big deal, then what is the purpose of this discussion?
I don't know. I just ventured an opinion and got jumped on.

I'm quite prepared to accept that other people have other opinions to which they are entitled and have as much validity as mine.

OTOH, a couple of people here seem to want to prove that my opinion is actually wrong.

As in the stupid people who decided "mad" could either mean crazy or angry? Yeah, they were pretty stupid.

This is why I thought seemed to be a little worked up. That's not the same thing at all as it's just a linguistic evolution. People referred to people who were so angry that acted as if they were mad - mad with anger. It wasn't a case of someone sitting down and making a conscious decision to use an existing word to mean something completely different.

And I guess the people who coined the term "Native American" were short-sighted in being unable to predict that some people would claim that there was some big confusion over the word when there really isn't any.

Just because you believe there isn't any does not make that true for everyone under all circumstances. And, yes, it does seem to me to be slightly stupid to choose a term that already meant something quite different.

Evidently it doesn't to you but then not everyone is the same. ;)

Can you work out a joke when you see one? I wonder why you got so worked up about that.

Was it a joke?

You were trying to make an analogy between two uses of a word in a context where there is no conceivable possibility of confusion and one where it's very easy to demonstrate possible confusion.

It was a poor analogy because 'beef', although meaning two different things can almost certainly be understood from context whereas 'native American' can easily be used in a situation where the context would allow either interpretation.

To put it another way, if you didn't know the slang meaning of 'beef' it would be obvious that you didn't understand what was being said and you would need to look something up. OTOH, if you didn't know the more recent meaning of 'native American' you would quite naturally apply the classic meaning - the one that fits the pattern of 'native <anything else> with no way of knowing you had misinterpreted what was being said.

BrightNShiny
08-11-2010, 09:38 AM
As noted many times before, the United States of America ( which is the full and official name of the country ) is the only country in the Americas to use America in its title. Consequently the use of "American" to refer to its citizens is both logical and justified. Now if the Federal Republic of Central America/United States of Central America ( 1823-1840 ) was still in existence, this might be confusing. Since it is not, it isn't.

That is certainly a logical argument, unless you want to employ the reasoning being used in this thread to claim that the term "Native American" is confusing. People from Asia are Asians and people from Europe are Europeans. And if we want to refer to people from either Europe or Asia, we would use the term Eurasian.

And people from N. America are N. Americans and people from S. America are S. Americans, but if we want to refer to people from either N. or S. America.... uh, oh! Confusion city! (which is not actually a city, dang that English language.)

Left Hand of Dorkness
08-11-2010, 09:42 AM
I don't know. I just ventured an opinion and got jumped on.

I'm quite prepared to accept that other people have other opinions to which they are entitled and have as much validity as mine.

OTOH, a couple of people here seem to want to prove that my opinion is actually wrong.
To be fair, an opinion is something like, "It's dumb to call first-nations folks 'Native Americans' and not to use the term for anyone else." Well, sure, that's your opinion, and I guess it's neither wrong nor right.

But when you start offering reasons for those opinions, those reasons may be sensible or they may be ridiculous. And people are free to call you on it if you post ridiculous reasons to support your opinions.

BrightNShiny
08-11-2010, 09:48 AM
To put it another way, if you didn't know the slang meaning of 'beef' it would be obvious that you didn't understand what was being said and you would need to look something up. OTOH, if you didn't know the more recent meaning of 'native American' you would quite naturally apply the classic meaning - the one that fits the pattern of 'native <anything else> with no way of knowing you had misinterpreted what was being said.

That's only because I included additional context with the statement. And this is what you've been doing with your examples. You give an example of a short sentence with purposely ambiguous context ("Dave is a native American") and then compare it to a long sentence (such as my beef sentence) which does contain additional context. The two examples are not equivalent as written. But I can craft any number of scenarios with ambiguous context which won't give a clear indication of what the word "beef" means:

"Joe, I heard you had a problem with your order. Where's the beef?" I might be talking about a problem, but it's not clear from this series of statements. I might actually be talking about an order of beef.

qpw3141
08-11-2010, 09:55 AM
But when you start offering reasons for those opinions, those reasons may be sensible or they may be ridiculous. And people are free to call you on it if you post ridiculous reasons to support your opinions.

I presume you meant: "And people are free to call you on it if they believe the reasons you give to support your opinions are ridiculous".

In which case I'd have to agree.

However, what isn't clear is how the view that someone making a deliberate choice to use a phrase that already has a clear meaning to mean something quite different even when used in the same context and, further, to make the meaning different to any other meaning using the same construct, can be considered 'ridiculous'.

They may not agree - that's their prerogative - but it seems a perfectly sensible view.

BrightNShiny
08-11-2010, 09:56 AM
Oh, I missed this:

[That's not the same thing at all as it's just a linguistic evolution. People referred to people who were so angry that acted as if they were mad - mad with anger. It wasn't a case of someone sitting down and making a conscious decision to use an existing word to mean something completely different.

Unless there was some spontaneous mutual agreement between a large group of people to use the word "mad" both ways, somebody had to be the first person to do it. In other words, someone had to "make it up." And to me, this sounds like some kind of just-so story, so unless you have an OED cite or something, I'm not prepared to take your version of how "mad" evolved linguistically at face value.

Death of Rats
08-11-2010, 10:05 AM
Which is why I always refer to my Wife's extended family as "Redskins," to avoid confusion (except with sunburned people).

Your in-laws play football in Washington DC? Can you get me tickets? :D

All of this applies to native American vs. Native American, too. Native + American can meant something other than Native American but in almost all contexts it's obvious what people are saying. I've never heard anyone talk about Columbus' meetings with people-who-were-born-in-America, or talk about people-born-in-America living on reservations, or discussing tribes of people-who-were-born-in-America.

Over the phone, you hear: "I was in the US last month. I had dinner with a Ian and Dave to discuss the merger. Ian emigrated there five years ago. Dave is a native American".

Was Dave simply someone who was born in the US or was he descended from people who were there before Columbus?



Native Americans are also native Americans, so it is being redundent, too.

In your example, what is the need for the distinction between emigrant and native? If Ian is naturalized, then both of them are Americans. If Ian is not a ciziten the Ian is <nationality> and Dave is American. Why would you overcomplicate what you are saying to add confusion?

qpw3141
08-11-2010, 10:07 AM
You give an example of a short sentence with purposely ambiguous context ("Dave is a native American") and then compare it to a long sentence (such as my beef sentence) which does contain additional context.

Well, obviously it was 'purposely ambiguous'. I was trying to demonstrate how the phrase could be ambiguous. It would have been pointless to write a piece that was not ambiguous. :rolleyes:

The two examples are not equivalent as written. But I can craft any number of scenarios with ambiguous context which won't give a clear indication of what the word "beef" means:

"Joe, I heard you had a problem with your order. Where's the beef?" I might be talking about a problem, but it's not clear from this series of statements. I might actually be talking about an order of beef.

Nope, that's not the same thing because there is already an underlying context. They are clearly discussing an order that either is or isn't about cow meat (and whether it is or isn't is known to both parties). Only a cretin would use the term 'where's the beef' to mean complaint in a context where the location of some cow meat was uncertain. Even then you've changed the wording from the somewhat more common "what's the beef" just to force the ambiguity.

OTOH, it's actually quite likely that someone - particularly someone for whom English was not their first language - would read: "x was a native American" and naturally assume it followed the pattern of "x was a native <anything else>".

qpw3141
08-11-2010, 10:12 AM
Oh, I missed this:

Unless there was some spontaneous mutual agreement between a large group of people to use the word "mad" both ways, somebody had to be the first person to do it. In other words, someone had to "make it up." And to me, this sounds like some kind of just-so story, so unless you have an OED cite or something, I'm not prepared to take your version of how "mad" evolved linguistically at face value.

Your prerogative, of course.

People using 'mad' as a short form of 'so angry he acted as if mad' seems a very sensible and logical explanation for the genesis of the usage.

Using Occam's razor it seems the most likely.

Unless you can come up with some more credible alternative?

smiling bandit
08-11-2010, 10:13 AM
I like the Canadian "First Nations", myself.

I dislike this because it's so faux respectful, and possibly not true. They weren't really particularly connected in any meaningful way, so given a choice I wouldn't call them anything as an arbitrary group. They definitely weren't nations and they might not have been first.

Thus, I prefer the nom de guerre Amerindians if I must use something. Tacking the "-indians" on may not make that much sense, but it's not like the people who first called them that had ever met actual the other kind.

qpw3141
08-11-2010, 10:21 AM
Native Americans are also native Americans, so it is being redundent, too.

LOL - what a perfect example of how the term can become mired in ambiguity. :)

In your example, what is the need for the distinction between emigrant and native?

That's irrelevant. It would depend on the rest of the conversation. Had it had something to do with the cultural environment that the people he had met were brought up in, quite a lot. Whatever, the point is that because of the ambiguity information that was intended to be passed may have been misinterpreted.

If Ian is naturalized, then both of them are Americans. If Ian is not a ciziten the Ian is <nationality> and Dave is American. Why would you overcomplicate what you are saying to add confusion?

Not quite sure what you're trying to say here.

One person is trying to convey some meaning to another. Because the term 'native American' has two meanings, both of which make perfect sense in exactly the same context, the recipient can misinterpret the intended meaning if he is not aware that said term has the alternative meaning.

Marley23
08-11-2010, 10:21 AM
I was trying to demonstrate how the phrase could be ambiguous.
Didn't everybody already acknowledge it can be ambiguous? Given the way people speak, it's not likely to be ambiguous.

qpw3141
08-11-2010, 10:30 AM
I was trying to demonstrate how the phrase could be ambiguous.
Didn't everybody already acknowledge it can be ambiguous?

Hard to say.

Given the length of the exchange that came about because I made the observation that deliberately adopting a phrase that can be ambiguous is not the brightest way to behave it seems that some people, at least, are not happy to accept that possible ambiguity.

Given the way people speak, it's not likely to be ambiguous.

Well, that's one take. :)

Marley23
08-11-2010, 10:42 AM
Didn't everybody already acknowledge it can be ambiguous?

Given the length of the exchange that came about because I made the observation that deliberately adopting a phrase that can be ambiguous is not the brightest way to behave it seems that some people, at least, are not happy to accept that possible ambiguity.
You're projecting. What people are saying, I think, is that the ambiguity is almost always resolved by context. I have never encountered a situation where I was not sure if a speaker meant "native American" or "Native American" (and when they are written down the capitalization is another clue). You managed to make up an example where it deliberately wasn't completely clear, but that doesn't match most people's experience. You could do the same with a lot of other idiomatic phrases. And while it's euphemistic, Native American is definitely more accurate than Indian, which in that case is based on a huge geographical error.

Hello Again
08-11-2010, 10:57 AM
[QUOTE=qpw3141;12789486
OTOH, it's actually quite likely that someone - particularly someone for whom English was not their first language - would read: "x was a native American" and naturally assume it followed the pattern of "x was a native <anything else>".[/QUOTE]

Except that Native American, meaning indigenous occupant of North America at the time of European settlement, is a descriptive noun referring to a cultural grouping that should always be capitalized. Like European, Mongolian, or New Yorker.

It should also be noted however, that purely as a matter of culture and usage, the United States of America is not said to have a native population, other than the displaced Native Americans. Thus the term "native American" in common usage, has overtones many perceive as racist/anti-immigration and it is a usage to be avoided. The much more common and traditional term "natural born citizen" is preferred, if distinguishing a born citizen from a naturalized citizen is relevant and necessary.

So, since you are avoiding controversial usages, and always capitalizing correctly, (right?) no confusion normally occurs.

TWDuke
08-11-2010, 11:00 AM
[Abe Simpson mode]I first recall hearing the term Native American on an episode of the TV show Alice in which Larry Hovis corrects someone who says "Indian." At the time it offended me a bit, because I thought it implied that the rest of us who have lived our entire lives here aren't native Americans. I had no problem with saying native American peoples or native American culture, but applying it to individuals of a particular ancestry seemed to exclude the majority of native Americans.

But you know what? I've realized in the past 20-odd years it doesn't hurt me a bit. Most people who meet me assume I was born in this country, and if someone happens to think I'm from Canada, it's no skin off my nose anyway.

Now, what if someone who looks Asian or Hispanic or speaks with an accent but was born in the United States wants to distinguish himself from immigrants? He can always say he is a native-born American. Yes, it's an extra syllable, but it doesn't seem like an undue hardship.

Finally, the term Native American seems to be one I only hear on TV or radio anyway. In conversation, I think people are much more likely to say Indian or, when more clarity is needed, American Indian. (I'm fairly certain I've never heard "Amerind" or "Amerindian" spoken aloud, although I've seen them in print.)

The much more common and traditional term "natural born citizen" is preferred, if distinguishing a born citizen from a naturalized citizen is relevant and necessary.Someone can be a "natural born citizen" without ever having been to this country, which is why I suggested "native-born" for someone who was actually born within its borders.

Left Hand of Dorkness
08-11-2010, 11:06 AM
qpw, all languages are rife with ambiguities. This is how language works. Examine your last response to me: grammatically it doesn't even make any sense, given that it appears to be missing a predicate to a nested dependent clause. But again, how language works is that I'm able to figure out your meaning without difficulty.

You're complaining about a central feature of language. What's interesting is the particular example that you're harping about.

If the phrase "Native American" virtually never causes confusion, and if it pulls in the connotations the speaker wishes to pull in (pointing out that the referent comes from a culture that's been here many centuries longer than the cultures of more recent immigrants), then it's a successful usage. The fact that you can't come up with any real-life examples where the term causes confusion, needing to create hypotheticals, is telling.

And in your example, the speaker should have rephrased his information: "I was in the US last month. I had dinner with a Ian and Dave to discuss the merger. Ian emigrated there five years ago. Dave was born there". It has the advantage of fewer syllables, parallel construction, and no ambiguity.

DanBlather
08-11-2010, 11:43 AM
I always get grief when I pose this question How do you 'pose' it, do you put a little dress on it? Sheesh:

assume a posture as for artistic purposes; "We don't know the woman who posed for Leonardo so often" [syn: model, sit, posture]

Or maybe this:


Pretend to be someone you are not; sometimes with fraudulent intentions;

Lemur866
08-11-2010, 11:52 AM
The thing is, the concept of "Indians" or "Native Americans", to refer to people descended from people who lived here before Columbus, is a European construct. The various tribes and empires who lived in the Americas before Columbus didn't have a term that meant "people who live in the Americas", because they didn't need to.

You have to be aware that there's another continent out there before you need a name for the particular continent you live on.

And when Indians came in contact with Europeans, they didn't have the idea that there were two types of people--Indians in one category, Europeans in another. Rather, Europeans were just one more type of people. Sure, they spoke different languages and dressed funny and had funny technology, but so did every other group that wasn't your group.

Anne Neville
08-11-2010, 11:57 AM
You expect language usage to be logical and unambiguous? That's your problem, right there. That's like expecting golfers to follow the rules of basketball.

Jamaika a jamaikaiak
08-11-2010, 12:03 PM
I don't know. I just ventured an opinion and got jumped on.

I'm quite prepared to accept that other people have other opinions to which they are entitled and have as much validity as mine.

OTOH, a couple of people here seem to want to prove that my opinion is actually wrong.
Welcome to the SDMB. If you post an opinion in a debate forum, and someone responds, they are neither jumping on you nor disrespecting your right to hold an opinion. Instead, they are responding to you.
You give an example of a short sentence with purposely ambiguous context ("Dave is a native American") and then compare it to a long sentence (such as my beef sentence) which does contain additional context.

Well, obviously it was 'purposely ambiguous'. I was trying to demonstrate how the phrase could be ambiguous. It would have been pointless to write a piece that was not ambiguous. :rolleyes:

Well, I would like to argue with your implied premise. Namely, conversation doesn't generally work like your purposely ambiguous example. That is, people understand the ambiguities in their language and thus work around them in conversation.

And while it's euphemistic, Native American is definitely more accurate than Indian, which in that case is based on a huge geographical error.
And yet, oddly enough, Charles C. Mann in Appendix A of 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus argues for the term Indian. He did a lot of field work around the hemisphere and says that every native person he met used "Indian" rather than "Native American." He goes on to quote Russell Means, an early leader of AIM:
I abhor the term Native American. We were enslaved as American Indians, we were colonized as American Indians, and we will gain our freedom as American Indians, and then we will call ourselves any damn thing we choose.

Miller
08-11-2010, 04:21 PM
It's not the most apposite of names because it means something completely different from native <anything else>.

On the other hand, it's arguably more apposite than 'Indians'.

Okay, your arguments have convinced me that "Native Americans" is pointlessly ambiguous and clearly coined by people who have trouble counting past ten with their shoes on. So, what term should we use instead, particularly given that "Indian" is even more ambiguous?

BrightNShiny
08-11-2010, 04:28 PM
Oh, I missed this:

Unless there was some spontaneous mutual agreement between a large group of people to use the word "mad" both ways, somebody had to be the first person to do it. In other words, someone had to "make it up." And to me, this sounds like some kind of just-so story, so unless you have an OED cite or something, I'm not prepared to take your version of how "mad" evolved linguistically at face value.

Your prerogative, of course.

People using 'mad' as a short form of 'so angry he acted as if mad' seems a very sensible and logical explanation for the genesis of the usage.

Using Occam's razor it seems the most likely.

Unless you can come up with some more credible alternative?

So you just made it up then? You're the one making a factual claim, therefore, you're the one who should provide evidence of the claim.

BrightNShiny
08-11-2010, 04:33 PM
Well, obviously it was 'purposely ambiguous'. I was trying to demonstrate how the phrase could be ambiguous. It would have been pointless to write a piece that was not ambiguous. :rolleyes:

So, you accuse other people of getting worked up. But then you throw around words like stupid and use the roll eyes. But, way to completely miss the point of my statement.

Nope, that's not the same thing because there is already an underlying context. They are clearly discussing an order that either is or isn't about cow meat (and whether it is or isn't is known to both parties). Only a cretin would use the term 'where's the beef' to mean complaint in a context where the location of some cow meat was uncertain. Even then you've changed the wording from the somewhat more common "what's the beef" just to force the ambiguity.

You're not king of the language, so you don't get to arbitrarily decide who is a cretin for using what. I can just as easily say that only a cretin would use the term "Native American" to refer to someone other than an American Indian. That's not an argument, that's just you throwing around insults. If you can't comprehend that there are multiple phrases in English that contain ambiguity, that's not our problem, that's yours.

OTOH, it's actually quite likely that someone - particularly someone for whom English was not their first language - would read: "x was a native American" and naturally assume it followed the pattern of "x was a native <anything else>".

Quite likely? Again, more made up stuff. At this point, you need to provide polling data or survey data to back these statements up, or you should just admit that you're making stuff up.

Peremensoe
08-11-2010, 05:26 PM
This is Bernieyeball's second try at this (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=574190). Many here are addressing a slightly larger question (the overall usefulness and accuracy of "Native American") than what he actually asked (about that term's incorporation of "American," which wasn't a pre-Columbian word).

I suspect the humans who inhabited this continent before the arrival of Europeans did not call it North America or America.
How can they be Native "Americans"?

In English, we call it America. "Native American" is an English-language term.

As it happens, the word for the continent in some Native languages is "America," or something close to it, simply because individual tribes had no basis for thinking in terms of the whole continent before European arrival.

In Cherokee Tsalagi, the word is Ameliga.

Before the European "discovery," there was no concept, for anyone, of a collective body including all the human populations indigenous to the American continents, but distinct from all human populations elsewhere. Therefore the only possible terms are retrofits. If you speak English, it makes sense to use an English retrofit term. "Indian" was the first such, but is obviously more susceptible to misunderstanding in most contexts.



Over the phone, you hear: "I was in the US last month. I had dinner with a Ian and Dave to discuss the merger. Ian emigrated there five years ago. Dave is a native American".

Was Dave simply someone who was born in the US or was he descended from people who were there before Columbus?
Since you're discussing national origins I'd assume he was born in the U.S. (And if I'm wrong, so what?) I understand there are situations in which this could be confusing. There are two ways to read the phrase. But most of the time the meaning is clear. It's the same as the beef example.

If the speaker was concerned about the possibility of misunderstanding, he could say "Dave is an American by birth." Ian's "emigration" implies he has relocated permanently, and may become a citizen. But given the parallel presentation of the two, I would say it's easy to comprehend as a statement on each man's personal origins and relationship to the United States, not his ancestry.

I like the Canadian "First Nations", myself.

They definitely weren't nations and they might not have been first.

They were nations (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nation).

A nation is a group of people who share culture, ethnic origin and language, often possessing or seeking its own independent government.

qpw3141
08-12-2010, 04:43 AM
Well, obviously it was 'purposely ambiguous'. I was trying to demonstrate how the phrase could be ambiguous. It would have been pointless to write a piece that was not ambiguous.


So, you accuse other people of getting worked up. But then you throw around words like stupid and use the roll eyes. But, way to completely miss the point of my statement.

So, you believe that someone needs to be 'worked up' to recognise the concept of 'stupidity'? That's an idea I haven't heard before.

And, really, I can't see anything wrong with rolling your eyes at someone who says of an example you're made up to illustrate a point about possible ambiguity: "You give an example of a short sentence with purposely ambiguous context ". Yes, obviously. There would be no point in giving an example that was not ambiguous in context. :rolleyes: I can't understand why you are having so much trouble with that.

You're not king of the language, so you don't get to arbitrarily decide who is a cretin for using what.

Could I respectfully suggest that you try and understand the difference between stating an opinion and asserting that you are 'king of language'?

I can just as easily say that only a cretin would use the term "Native American" to refer to someone other than an American Indian.

Well, you could, but as you would be suggesting that people were cretins for using two words in their normal English sense I don't think you'd get much traction. ;)

That's not an argument, that's just you throwing around insults.

Really?

So, in your view, saying that you don't believe anyone would do something because it would be stupid constitutes an insult? Another new concept; although I suppose it helps to explain 'May cause drowsiness' warnings on bottles of sleeping tablets. :D

If you can't comprehend that there are multiple phrases in English that contain ambiguity, that's not our problem, that's yours.

Ah, the 'everyone else does it so it's OK to do it', argument. Not one that goes down well with everybody.

OTOH, it's actually quite likely that someone - particularly someone for whom English was not their first language - would read: "x was a native American" and naturally assume it followed the pattern of "x was a native <anything else>".

Quite likely? Again, more made up stuff. At this point, you need to provide polling data or survey data to back these statements up, or you should just admit that you're making stuff up.

Sometimes you need to poll people to decide something - e.g Do you believe that GWB was an idiot?

Sometimes you can just use deductive logic and no poll is necessary.

Ask yourself these questions:

Why would anyone who had not heard that the expression 'Native Americans' have any reason to assume it meant anything other than the equivalent of 'Native <anything else>'?

Is everyone who is likely to read English, particularly those for whom it is not their first language aware of this irregular usage?

BrightNShiny
08-12-2010, 05:17 AM
So, you believe that someone needs to be 'worked up' to recognise the concept of 'stupidity'? That's an idea I haven't heard before.

Well, if you're going to continue to fling insults (which indicates that you can't back up your argument) then I'd say the stupid person is the one who can't comprehend a word with a clear definition, such as Native American.

And, really, I can't see anything wrong with rolling your eyes at someone who says of an example you're made up to illustrate a point about possible ambiguity: "You give an example of a short sentence with purposely ambiguous context ". Yes, obviously. There would be no point in giving an example that was not ambiguous in context. :rolleyes: I can't understand why you are having so much trouble with that.

Yes, when you give your arbitrary ambiguous examples, they're peachy. When anybody else gives an ambiguous example, there's some mysterious logic in your head that makes them cretins. Talk about a statement needing rolleyes.

Could I respectfully suggest that you try and understand the difference between stating an opinion and asserting that you are 'king of language'?

Oh, please, there's nothing respectful about what you're doing here. You're throwing a tantrum because nobody wants to play along with your pedantic word games.

Well, you could, but as you would be suggesting that people were cretins for using two words in their normal English sense I don't think you'd get much traction. ;)

I've gotten plenty of traction here. You're the one who's not coming off well in this thread. You're flailing around makes it clear you have no argument.

Really?

So, in your view, saying that you don't believe anyone would do something because it would be stupid constitutes an insult? Another new concept; although I suppose it helps to explain 'May cause drowsiness' warnings on bottles of sleeping tablets. :D

Ah, yes. Even more insults. The fact that you have to resort to insults (even though you initial threw a tantrum over the tone of other people's posts) just shows that you have no argument.

Ah, the 'everyone else does it so it's OK to do it', argument. Not one that goes down well with everybody.

This makes no sense. Language is inherently about what "everyone does." If you can't grasp that basic concept, then you have no business trying to lecture people about language.

Sometimes you need to poll people to decide something - e.g Do you believe that GWB was an idiot?

Sometimes you can just use deductive logic and no poll is necessary.

Ask yourself these questions:

Why would anyone who had not heard that the expression 'Native Americans' have any reason to assume it meant anything other than the equivalent of 'Native <anything else>'?

So, you're not planning to back up your attempted factual statements? You know, there's a whole group of people who study language as their career. You could check them to see if what you're saying is true. But instead, you've just decided to pretend that what you think is reality. Have fun, but I doubt many people are going to take your viewpoint, since you clearly have no idea what you're talking about.

Is everyone who is likely to read English, particularly those for whom it is not their first language aware of this irregular usage?

That's why we have these things called dictionaries. To make people aware of potentially irregular or idiomatic usages (although the term "Native American" is neither idiomatic or irregular). But apparently, you've never heard of a dictionary. So, you think you're limited understanding of the English language applies to everyone.

BrightNShiny
08-12-2010, 05:23 AM
Or, to sum up, you're entire argument is: I'm going to make up stuff and people who don't agree with me are stupid cretins. Big deal. It's not a persuasive argument, but have fun trying to convince yourself that it is.

BrightNShiny
08-12-2010, 05:42 AM
Oh, and yes, I do realize that I incorrectly used the word "you're" in my previous posts. I missed the edit window.

qpw3141
08-12-2010, 06:06 AM
So, you believe that someone needs to be 'worked up' to recognise the concept of 'stupidity'? That's an idea I haven't heard before.

Well, if you're going to continue to fling insults (which indicates that you can't back up your argument) then I'd say the stupid person is the one who can't comprehend a word with a clear definition, such as Native American.

Firstly, there is no insult in the piece you quoted.

Secondly, 'Native American' is not a word, it is a phrase and it has two meanings. One is clear by using the normal rules of English semantics on the constituent words. The other requires that you are aware of the irregular meaning when you use 'American' rather than any other nationality.

Yes, when you give your arbitrary ambiguous examples, they're peachy. When anybody else gives an ambiguous example, there's some mysterious logic in your head that makes them cretins.
Except that isn't what I said. You are again conflating 'only a cretin would do <x>' with 'you are a cretin'. The two are in no way equivalent.

Oh, please, there's nothing respectful about what you're doing here. You're throwing a tantrum because nobody wants to play along with your pedantic word games.

I'm far from throwing a tantrum. I just have an opinion to which I'm perfectly entitled. I fully accept that others have a different opinion. You are the one who is working herself up into a furore because you disagree with my opinion. I'm merely defending the logic upon which my opinion is based.

I've gotten plenty of traction here. You're the one who's not coming off well in this thread. You're flailing around makes it clear you have no argument.

So, you are claiming that other people agree that 'it would be stupid if A did B' is the same as saying 'you're stupid'? I think you may be misunderstanding what others have been saying. :)

Ah, yes. Even more insults. The fact that you have to resort to insults (even though you initial threw a tantrum over the tone of other people's posts) just shows that you have no argument.
Where was the insult? All I'm saying is that I don't think two phrases are equivalent and you are somehow getting that that is an insult.

This makes no sense. Language is inherently about what "everyone does." If you can't grasp that basic concept, then you have no business trying to lecture people about language.

You seem to be suffering very severe confusion here. Yes, language comes about because 'everyone' tends to understand the same thing from the same collection and ordering of words. That is in no way the same thing as saying because the language contains ambiguities it's intelligent to deliberately introduce even more.

So, you're not planning to back up your attempted factual statements? You know, there's a whole group of people who study language as their career. You could check them to see if what you're saying is true. But instead, you've just decided to pretend that what you think is reality. Have fun, but I doubt many people are going to take your viewpoint, since you clearly have no idea what you're talking about.
There is no reason to 'check with people who do something as a career' when simple logic will suffice. Do you go and check with a mathematician every time you want to know what 2+2 equals? Do you consult a dietitian before every meal?

Is everyone who is likely to read English, particularly those for whom it is not their first language aware of this irregular usage?

That's why we have these things called dictionaries. To make people aware of potentially irregular or idiomatic usages (although the term "Native American" is neither idiomatic or irregular). But apparently, you've never heard of a dictionary. So, you think you're limited understanding of the English language applies to everyone.

ROFLMAO.

How can you say that "Native American" is not irregular when it means something quite different to "native <anything else>"?

And, please explain why anyone who had never heard of the expression "Native American" (as meaning something different to "Native <anything else>" would know that they need to look in a dictionary to find that they may need to treat the phrase differently.

Or, to sum up, you're entire argument is: I'm going to make up stuff and people who don't agree with me are stupid cretins. Big deal. It's not a persuasive argument, but have fun trying to convince yourself that it is.

That is a complete misrepresentation of any argument I've made.

Originally I simply said that I didn't think deliberately choosing a nomenclature that already meant something quite different was the brightest of things to do. I still don't but it isn't a particularly big deal.

The only reason that it might look like a big deal is that you've been banging away criticising any arguments I make (with such gems as stating that an example I made up to demonstrate possible ambiguity is deliberately ambiguous, or conflating "it would be stupid to do X" with "you are stupid"). Thus I feel a natural desire to defend the arguments I've made even though the underlying proposition is not of any great importance.

BrightNShiny
08-12-2010, 06:46 AM
More tantrums and more making stuff up. I'm done here. Have fun pretending that you have a point.

qpw3141
08-12-2010, 07:02 AM
More tantrums and more making stuff up. I'm done here. Have fun pretending that you have a point.

B&S, there is no evidence of anything even remotely approaching a tantrum in my post above.

All I have done is to calmly highlight the errors in your assertions and reasoning.

I notice that you are very loath to actually argue points, instead preferring to assert that things are insults or 'made up' without ever addressing the underlying arguments. Either that or you argue by diktat - for example, stating that "Native American" is not an irregular construction without ever explaining how that can possibly be the case when it means something different to "Native <anything else>".

Again, this is not a particularly big deal - it has only been made to appear that way by your continued insistence that my opinion has absolutely no validity and only yours can be considered 'correct'.

On the other hand, I'm perfectly prepared to accept that my opinion is not the only one that exists and may well be a minority one. I merely defend the logic upon which that opinion is based.

Have a good day. :)

BrightNShiny
08-12-2010, 07:20 AM
Please. You haven't actually responded to any of the arguments presented to you in this thread. All you've done is hand-wave the arguments away. You've also hypocritically applied one standard to yourself (you're ambiguous constructions are great) while trying to apply another standard to others (others ambiguous constructions are used by cretins). You've also made up stuff, and when you're called on it, you claim you're using "logic." Logic doesn't consist of making stuff up. If you want to claim an etymology for a word, then provide proof. There's no reason to take you seriously at all. And now, I've got work to do, so I'm really done. This is a pointless argument with someone who thinks that just because something exists in his head, it must be true.

qpw3141
08-12-2010, 07:43 AM
... I'm done here. ...

OK.

But:

Please. You haven't actually responded to any of the arguments presented to you in this thread. All you've done is hand-wave the arguments away. You've also hypocritically applied one standard to yourself (you're ambiguous constructions are great) while trying to apply another standard to others (others ambiguous constructions are used by cretins). You've also made up stuff, and when you're called on it, you claim you're using "logic." Logic doesn't consist of making stuff up. If you want to claim an etymology for a word, then provide proof. There's no reason to take you seriously at all. And now, I've got work to do, so I'm really done. This is a pointless argument with someone who thinks that just because something exists in his head, it must be true.

I would have to say that the above looks somewhat like an unfocused rant to me.

To try and calm things down a little, I'd like to ask you to justify three things that you have come up with. If you would like to do the same I would be happy to oblige.

1) Why do you think it is valid to complain that someone has used a 'purposely ambiguous context' when they are attempting to demonstrate possible ambiguity.

2) Why do you conflate saying 'only a cretin would do <x>' with calling someone a cretin when no evidence of anyone doing that thing has been presented or even suggested?

3) How can you claim that "Native American" is not irregular when it means something different, mutatis mutandis, to "Native <anything else>"?

Try and answer those questions calmly and accurately without resorting to vague accusations about insults and making things up and I will do the same for any questions you might care to pose.

tomndebb
08-12-2010, 09:45 AM
TWEEET!

The next post that continues the bickering over who should be able to say what or whether or not another poster is "worked up" will receive a Warning for hijacking the thread.

Address the specific issue of the OP, or take it to the BBQ Pit.

[ /Moderating ]

Anne Neville
08-12-2010, 11:42 AM
Ah, the 'everyone else does it so it's OK to do it', argument. Not one that goes down well with everybody.

It may not be a good argument in other contexts, but it is how language works. If enough people use a word to mean something, it does mean that. It doesn't matter if that meaning is illogical.

tim-n-va
08-12-2010, 11:55 AM
I have the solution. We'll call them donarbea for "descendents of north american residents before europeans arrived".

Anne Neville
08-12-2010, 12:04 PM
I have the solution. We'll call them donarbea for "descendents of north american residents before europeans arrived".

Good luck with that. Ask the Academie Francaise just how successful a campaign to change language usage can be. They've been trying, without too much success, to get rid of English loan-words in French.

qpw3141
08-12-2010, 12:06 PM
Ah, the 'everyone else does it so it's OK to do it', argument. Not one that goes down well with everybody.

It may not be a good argument in other contexts, but it is how language works. If enough people use a word to mean something, it does mean that. It doesn't matter if that meaning is illogical.

That was not the point I was making. It is well known that there is much about language that is ambiguous - even very formal language. In most cases the ambiguity come about through gradual evolution.

What I was suggesting is that just because there are aspects of language that have evolved to be ambiguous does not mean that actually consciously choosing a name to mean something when it already has a natural meaning that is quite different in very similar contexts is a very clever thing to do.

Before whoever it was came up with the term 'Native Americans' to mean what it, to many, now means, it already meant something that was a superset of the new meaning.

It would be rather as if an aircraft manufacturer produced a new range of wide bodied jet aircraft using a new alloy that caused them all to glow brilliant white and decided to identify the range by the name 'light aircraft'. Not clever because 'light aircraft' already has an established meaning at odds with the new range. On the other hand if that's the term the public evolved to identify them there's not much you can do about it.

qpw3141
08-12-2010, 12:08 PM
I have the solution. We'll call them donarbea for "descendents of north american residents before europeans arrived".

Good luck with that. Ask the Academie Francaise just how successful a campaign to change language usage can be. They've been trying, without too much success, to get rid of English loan-words in French.

Which is odd when you consider how impoverished the English language would be if we were to remove all the words we originally 'borrowed' from the French.

The Flying Dutchman
08-12-2010, 12:08 PM
Basically, the word used in English, (where the phrase occurs), to identify the two major land masses and related islands that are separated from Eurasia and Africa by the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans is "America," (North and South).

That doesn't cover the native Hawaiins, also considered native Americans.


The people who lived here before the arrival of the English speaking settlers from Europe would be considered natives. Hence, the phrase "Native American" can be used to identify them in English.

This should be news for the French and the Spanish settlers here before Jamestown.

tomndebb
08-12-2010, 12:52 PM
Basically, the word used in English, (where the phrase occurs), to identify the two major land masses and related islands that are separated from Eurasia and Africa by the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans is "America," (North and South).

That doesn't cover the native Hawaiins, also considered native Americans."Native American" is pretty much never used by Yanks to refer to aboriginal Hawaiians. They tend to be called Hawaiian or Polynesian. I would not claim that the term is never applied to them, but is so rare as to be insignificant. (The same thing tends to be true of the Eskimoes, although as mainlanders associated with neighboring non-Eskimo peoples, the term might occasionally show up there.)
The people who lived here before the arrival of the English speaking settlers from Europe would be considered natives. Hence, the phrase "Native American" can be used to identify them in English.

This should be news for the French and the Spanish settlers here before Jamestown.A rather pointless nitpick, given that the Spaniards were driven from Florida and the French were vastly outnumbered by English in Detroit and Vincennes as soon as the English arrived. A tiny number of outliers does not change the general movement or the language. (And remember, "Native American" tends to be a U.S. term, so the people employing it are not really looking at Quebec or Mexico City when they use it.)

tomndebb
08-12-2010, 01:00 PM
That was not the point I was making. It is well known that there is much about language that is ambiguous - even very formal language. In most cases the ambiguity come about through gradual evolution.

What I was suggesting is that just because there are aspects of language that have evolved to be ambiguous does not mean that actually consciously choosing a name to mean something when it already has a natural meaning that is quite different in very similar contexts is a very clever thing to do.OK. You have made your point.

However:
Lots of terms--even those deliberately chosen--have flaws in their underlying logic;
"Native American" is not really a commonly used phrase, given that the peoples to whom it applies generally do not use it and the people who do use it tend to have no contact with the people to whom it refers;
To the extent that it is used, it immediately conveys its intended meaning in 99.99999% of those occasions, making objections to its "logic" rather pointless.

If you need to fight over a poorly chosen word, go pick a battle over the misuse of "shrapnel" for "shell fragment."

Now can we drop the hijack?

Lemur866
08-12-2010, 01:05 PM
The same thing tends to be true of the Eskimoes, although as mainlanders associated with neighboring non-Eskimo peoples, the term might occasionally show up there.

In Alaska, Eskimos are called Eskimos. But the more usual term is "native" or "Alaska native", which means Eskimo or Athabaskan or Indian or Aleut. Most white people just lump everyone into the "native" category unless there's a particular reason not to. And of course, "native" can be used with a certain tone of voice that turns it from a neutral descriptor into an ethnic slur, I'm sure everyone has heard "black" used the same way.

qpw3141
08-12-2010, 01:35 PM
OK. You have made your point.

Thanks. I know I have. :)

Lots of terms--even those deliberately chosen--have flaws in their underlying logic;
"Native American" is not really a commonly used phrase, given that the peoples to whom it applies generally do not use it and the people who do use it tend to have no contact with the people to whom it refers;
To the extent that it is used, it immediately conveys its intended meaning in 99.99999% of those occasions, making objections to its "logic" rather pointless.

If that is your opinion I completely respect your right to hold it.

If you need to fight over a poorly chosen word, go pick a battle over the misuse of "shrapnel" for "shell fragment."
I wasn't looking for a fight. I made a simple point (something you have conceded) which seemed to cause a great deal of angst and a lot of strawman counter arguments that I felt I ought to defend.

Now can we drop the hijack?
If you go back and look at how the 'hijack' started you'll see that it was a perfectly sensible and, more importantly, on topic, comment; that to determine who native Americans are you first have to decide which definition you are using.

Nothing more than that.

I had hoped I'd finished with this thread until you posted this. As far as I'm concerned it's now dropped. Let's hope no one decides to pick it up and start again.

Hello Again
08-12-2010, 02:31 PM
[If you go back and look at how the 'hijack' started you'll see that it was a perfectly sensible and, more importantly, on topic, comment; that to determine who native Americans are you first have to decide which definition you are using.


You have fully ignored my point though.

Even if the determination of what "native American" means is given to some degree of doubt, the determination of what "Native American" means, is not. The same distinction may be made, for instance, between south African, and South African.

qpw3141
08-12-2010, 02:51 PM
You have fully ignored my point though.

Even if the determination of what "native American" means is given to some degree of doubt, the determination of what "Native American" means, is not. The same distinction may be made, for instance, between south African, and South African.

We've been asked not to continue with this so called hi-jack.

Just to answer your points, though: Spoken communications and 'Native' at the beginning of a sentence. And compass points should always be capitalised so you should never see 'south African'.

smiling bandit
08-12-2010, 05:59 PM
They were nations (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nation).

A nation is a group of people who share culture, ethnic origin and language, often possessing or seeking its own independent government.

Errr... not so much, no. We're not entirely clear just how closely connected even nominally-similar tribes were ethnically. Lingually, some seem to have been divided. Culture was usually shared significantly with a tribe, but the tribes were also spread out and intermixed, and rarely had a significant government over them as a tribe.

I will grant that evidence is sparse and incomplete now, because many languages have vanished, records never created or gone, and peoples assimiilated. But there's evidence of two or three migrations now, not just one. Languages seem to have been substantially divergent over area, with little commercial contact between people of the same tribe, let alone neighboring ones.

Lemur866
08-12-2010, 06:30 PM
Our notions of the systems of government in North America are skewed, because aside from early Spanish contact, European contact happened after the continent-wide pandemics. The Mississippi valley is full of earthworks from the Mound Builders, but by the time European settlers arrived the Mound Builder civilization was gone. These earthworks weren't constructed by a few scattered bands of hunter-gatherers. The Spanish famously encountered many state level civilizations during their conquests. The Pilgrims famously were taught how to farm by the Indians.

The vast majority of Indians in 1491 were farmers, not nomadic hunter-gatherers. State level social organization was common. Continent-wide trade networks existed, although we see interesting things, like tobacco paraphernalia showing up in Alaska in the 1600s--apparently tobacco was introduced from the Americas to Europe, and across Eurasia to Siberia, and showed up in Alaska the long way round.

The Flying Dutchman
08-12-2010, 07:30 PM
A rather pointless nitpick, given that the Spaniards were driven from Florida and the French were vastly outnumbered by English in Detroit and Vincennes as soon as the English arrived. A tiny number of outliers does not change the general movement or the language. (And remember, "Native American" tends to be a U.S. term, so the people employing it are not really looking at Quebec or Mexico City when they use it.)

This is pure bullshit. We simply do not define "native americans " any where in the New World continents or in the United States of America or anywhere else on the globe based on who lived where before English speakers arrived anywhere. It was a completely stupid statement on your part and frankly, I know that you know that as well.

"Native americans" is a term commonly used in Canada as well when we refer to your aboriginals or first nations. You Americans don't own the English language.

tomndebb
08-12-2010, 07:59 PM
A rather pointless nitpick, given that the Spaniards were driven from Florida and the French were vastly outnumbered by English in Detroit and Vincennes as soon as the English arrived. A tiny number of outliers does not change the general movement or the language. (And remember, "Native American" tends to be a U.S. term, so the people employing it are not really looking at Quebec or Mexico City when they use it.)

This is pure bullshit. We simply do not define "native americans " any where in the New World continents or in the United States of America or anywhere else on the globe based on who lived where before English speakers arrived anywhere. It was a completely stupid statement on your part and frankly, I know that you know that as well.I know that you are getting awfully testy over a rather minor nitpick.
Whatever settlers arrived from Europe before the British involved fewer than a couple thousand people (in a land populated by many millions) and began fewer than 110 years prior to the arrival of the British, (as opposed to the several thousand years that people migrating from Asia had been here).

"Native americans" is a term commonly used in Canada as well when we refer to your aboriginals or first nations. You Americans don't own the English language.I never claimed that the U.S. owned the language. I am sorry to hear that some of your co-nationalists have picked up some of the bad habits of their Southern neighbors, given that the people identified as "Native Americans" generally eschew that phrase, themselves.

Left Hand of Dorkness
08-12-2010, 08:19 PM
The next post that continues the bickering over . . . whether or not another poster is "worked up" will receive a Warning for hijacking the thread.I know that you are getting awfully testy over a rather minor nitpick.
Oooh, I'm telling....

That said, qpw, one of the areas of language least amenable to logic is idioms. It's never helpful to pick nits over idioms.

Here's the best history of the term that I can find--Wikipedia, of course (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Native_American_name_controversy#Native_American).
In The Peyote Cult, (Yale University Press, 1938, 5th ed. 1989), Weston La Barre traces the meaning of "Native American" as "American Indian" to the year 1918, when leaders of the Peyote Religion in Oklahoma incorporated as the Native American Church (of Oklahoma). In 1950 they incorporated as the Native American Church of North America.

In 1918, the State of Oklahoma repealed its earlier ban against the sacramental use of psychotropic peyote. But the same year, the national Bureau of Indian Affairs sought to impose a federal ban. In response, a group of Oto, Kiowa, and Arapaho met at Cheyenne, Oklahoma to "decide upon measures of defense for peyotism." The group considered but rejected a proposed name of "First-born Church of Christ". "The title ultimately chosen was the 'Native American Church', which emphasized the intertribal solidarity of the cult, as well as its aboriginality." (Quoted material is from La Barre, page 169.)

Among the earliest titles (in the OCLC database) in which "Native American" means "American Indian" are these:

Peyote Songs: Music of the Native American Church of North America (Indian) (sound recording, 1967)
Native American Arts (Indian Arts and Crafts Board, Washington, D.C., 1968)
Buffalo Hearts, A Native American's View of Indian Culture, Religion and History (Sun Bear, 1970)
Indian Voices: the Native American Today (Convocation of American Indian Scholars, 1971)
Native American tribalism; Indian Survivals and Renewals (D'Arcy McNicle, 1973)

The Oxford English Dictionary (article on "Native", note 15) offers the year 1956 as the earliest usage of "Native American" meaning "North American Indian", the example being a letter in which Aldous Huxley mentioned the "Native American churchmen." The only other early-usage examples are dated 19731974 and are from the Black Panther and New Society magazines. One of the articles refers to the Native American Church and the other two do not.

To summarize: "Native American" originally meant "originating in America" (specifically the United States), without reference to American Indians. In 1918, the "Native American Church" was incorporated. Beginning in the 1960s, the term "Native American", sometimes pertaining to the Church and sometimes not, began to appear more widely in titles of books, magazine articles, and musical recordings.
Note that the term started off in the 19th century being non-idiomatic, that is, literally meaning "born in America." By the mid-twentieth century, however, this usage had virtually disappeared, and the usage of "Belonging to a cultural group whose presence in North America predates European presence" prevailed.

The phrase should now be understood as an idiom, along with such phrases as, "You're welcome," "what's up," "keep your eye on the ball," and, "when come back, bring pie." Insisting on understanding it as two separate words will only lead to confusion.

And yes, someone learning our language needs to learn the more common idioms. Learning only the grammar and the vocabulary will lead to an impoverished linguistic experience.

The Flying Dutchman
08-12-2010, 08:47 PM
Oooh, I'm telling....



:D

Hey, we are all human.

G-SE
08-14-2010, 12:03 AM
I have the solution. We'll call them donarbea for "descendents of north american residents before europeans arrived".

Good luck with that. Ask the Academie Francaise just how successful a campaign to change language usage can be. They've been trying, without too much success, to get rid of English loan-words in French.

But African Americans (negros, colored people, people of color, blacks, American Negroes, Black-Americans, Afro-Americans) successfully change what they'd like to be called about every 10 years, and everyone goes along with it.

tomndebb
08-14-2010, 07:57 AM
Good luck with that. Ask the Academie Francaise just how successful a campaign to change language usage can be. They've been trying, without too much success, to get rid of English loan-words in French.

But African Americans (negros, colored people, people of color, blacks, American Negroes, Black-Americans, Afro-Americans) successfully change what they'd like to be called about every 10 years, and everyone goes along with it.Two changes in 43 years, one of them not all that successful, after a couple of hundred years with no real change, does not quite qualify as "every ten years," and the distinction from "donarbea" is that they selected the change rather than having it imposed from outside. (In fact, one of the better arguments against "Native American" has nothing to do with the rather weak complaint against ambiguity and everything to do with it being imposed by people outside the group.)

Note that among your catalogue, "Negro" and "colored" were used equally by all of society for a very long time and "people of color" and "Afro-Americans" were suggestions that never made it out of a few rhetorical circles. I have never even seen a serious effort for "American Negroes" or "Black-Americans" and they certainly never made it into general use.

tim-n-va
08-14-2010, 08:28 AM
I have the solution. We'll call them donarbea for "descendents of north american residents before europeans arrived".

Sorry. Thought the :rolleyes: :D and :dubious: were implied.

Clothahump
08-14-2010, 02:37 PM
I always get grief when I pose this question but I think it is a reasonable inquiry.
I suspect the humans who inhabited this continent before the arrival of Europeans did not call it North America or America.
How can they be Native "Americans"?

Especially since they came across the Bering land bridge and migrated southwards.

OMFG!!!! They were illegal immigrants!!!!

The Flying Dutchman
08-14-2010, 04:45 PM
I always get grief when I pose this question but I think it is a reasonable inquiry.
I suspect the humans who inhabited this continent before the arrival of Europeans did not call it North America or America.
How can they be Native "Americans"?

Especially since they came across the Bering land bridge and migrated southwards.

OMFG!!!! They were illegal immigrants!!!!

You think thats funny ? Let me tell you that the incursion of non aboriginals into the Americas hasn't exactly worked out for the aboriginals. Every immigrant (and I'm an immigrant) simply has a netgative impact on their quality of life that they would have had without us Europeans. Or Asians Or the Africans for that matter, who were willing enough to work as slaves for the whites and thereby justifierd their existence in the new world.

BrightNShiny
08-15-2010, 07:36 AM
Since there's has been a "TWEET" in this thread, I feel I am limited in how I can respond. I will just say this:

There are multiple definitions for the term "native" and I see no reason to arbitrarily pick a preferred definition and claim it is the "regular" term. For example, you can use the term "native copper." Is that irregular? There's no fixed criteria for determining which definition of a word is regular or irregular. Some people are exposed to certain usages more often than others, but their own personal experience doesn't determine what constitutes "regular" usage of a word. At least not in English.

qpw3141
08-15-2010, 11:55 AM
There are multiple definitions for the term "native" and I see no reason to arbitrarily pick a preferred definition and claim it is the "regular" term. For example, you can use the term "native copper." Is that irregular? There's no fixed criteria for determining which definition of a word is regular or irregular. Some people are exposed to certain usages more often than others, but their own personal experience doesn't determine what constitutes "regular" usage of a word. At least not in English.

Well, if:

1) The normal interpretation of the English words juxtaposed in that context yields a particular meaning.

and

2) Every other construct of "Native <place>/ian/er" has the same meaning as the normal English interpretation of the two words.

Then it seems pretty safe to say the the construction or interpretation used in all cases bar one is the 'regular' and the one that, alone, means something different, is the irregular.

Is it not possible to accept that everyone agrees that the original objection is extremely minor without attempting to twist definitions of regular and irregular beyond their breaking point?

tomndebb
08-15-2010, 01:31 PM
There are multiple definitions for the term "native" and I see no reason to arbitrarily pick a preferred definition and claim it is the "regular" term. For example, you can use the term "native copper." Is that irregular? There's no fixed criteria for determining which definition of a word is regular or irregular. Some people are exposed to certain usages more often than others, but their own personal experience doesn't determine what constitutes "regular" usage of a word. At least not in English.

Well, if:

1) The normal interpretation of the English words juxtaposed in that context yields a particular meaning.

and

2) Every other construct of "Native <place>/ian/er" has the same meaning as the normal English interpretation of the two words.

Then it seems pretty safe to say the the construction or interpretation used in all cases bar one is the 'regular' and the one that, alone, means something different, is the irregular.

Is it not possible to accept that everyone agrees that the original objection is extremely minor without attempting to twist definitions of regular and irregular beyond their breaking point?However, to even have this sidebar discussion, one must break down the phrase into constituent parts. This works from a strictly syntactical perspective, but it really does not work as a part of language. "Native American" is a phrase, in itself, regardless of its constituent parts. People who continue to use the phrase "steam shovel" pretty much never consider its constituent parts, even though they are probably using the phrase simply because their first experience with the phrase was in having Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel read to them as young children, despite the fact that the point of the book, when it was written 71 years ago, was that steam shovels were already obsolete. People in construction do not call the various excavating devices "steam shovels," but the phrase continues to be the word employed by a lot of people outside the construction industry.

"Regular" and "irregular" are meaningless in this context. Once a phrase becomes a commonly employed term, the individual words cease to have weight except as etymological pointers. "Fell swoop" remains in the language despite fewer than one person in a thousand understanding "fell" as "fierce" or "savage." We periodically have long (acrimonious) discussions about "white trash" for the same reasons.

The Flying Dutchman
08-15-2010, 05:47 PM
However, to even have this sidebar discussion, one must break down the phrase into constituent parts. This works from...

TWEET

What is the difference between a sidebar discussion and a serious hijack?

BrightNShiny
08-15-2010, 06:39 PM
Again, I have no reason to pay attention to someone arbitrarily deciding, based on nothing more than his own personal preference, that one particular usage of a term out of several particular usages is the preferred or regular usage. Stating that the term "Native American" is the only time that the term native is used differently in English is patently false, as any perusal of a dictionary will show. The term "native" has several definitions, and no particular definition is the "correct" one or the "regular" one. Simply repeating one's own personal preference over and over again is not an argument, and there's no reason to give that any more weight than anyone else's preferred usages.

Also, because of the TWEET, I'm not going to directly tackle certain arguments, so there's no point in responding to me with the same nonsense over and over.

qpw3141
08-15-2010, 06:50 PM
Again, I have no reason to pay attention to someone arbitrarily deciding, based on nothing more than his own personal preference, that one particular usage of a term out of several particular usages is the preferred or regular usage. Stating that the term "Native American" is the only time that the term native is used differently in English is patently false, as any perusal of a dictionary will show. The term "native" has several definitions, and no particular definition is the "correct" one or the "regular" one. Simply repeating one's own personal preference over and over again is not an argument, and there's no reason to give that any more weight than anyone else's preferred usages.

Just stating that something is nonsense or false, over and over again doesn't make it so. ;)

You need to provide an argument,

In the sense of language constructs being regular, if you can show that any significant majority behaves one way and a very small minority (in this case one) behaves another then it is perfectly reasonable to say that the majority case is 'regular' and the single exception is 'irregular'.

Introducing irrelevancies such as 'native oysters' or 'native copper' is just a distraction technique.

The construction under discussion is 'Native <place>/er/ian'.

qpw3141
08-15-2010, 06:54 PM
However, to even have this sidebar discussion, one must break down the phrase into constituent parts. This works from...

TWEET

What is the difference between a sidebar discussion and a serious hijack?

Who knows?

It's rather hard to see why, in a forum called 'Great Debates', a continuing debate should be considered a 'hijack'.

Are there a large group of people fuming because the thread has been taken somewhere they don't want to go?

I think not.

I've refrained from adding to the drifted subject (which I'm not even convinced is a hijack) but, obviously, I'm going to respond to weak or faulty logic attacking an argument that I believe is sound.

BrightNShiny
08-15-2010, 07:03 PM
I have provided an argument. It just keeps being hand-waved away. It is a fact that the term "native" has multiple definitions. It is a fact that the term "America" applies not only to the country called the United States, but also to the continent which it rests on. Those are statement of facts. It is a fact that a proposed etymology has been made in this thread, but nobody has provided any evidence of the proposed etymology.

Simply repeating over and over that one's preferred usage is the majority usage is nothing more than a statement of belief. Calling something a "distraction" is not an argument, it is a statement of personal preference.

qpw3141
08-15-2010, 07:08 PM
I have provided an argument. It just keeps being hand-waved away. It is a fact that the term "native" has multiple definitions. It is a fact that the term "America" applies not only to the country called the United States, but also to the continent which it rests on. Those are statement of facts. It is a fact that a proposed etymology has been made in this thread, but nobody has provided any evidence of the proposed etymology.

Simply repeating over and over that one's preferred usage is the majority usage is nothing more than a statement of belief. Calling something a "distraction" is not an argument, it is a statement of personal preference.

It isn't 'hand waved' away.

It's just irrelevant.

Native may have more than one definition. That's not the point.

It's the construction: "Native <place>er/ian" that has one constructed meaning for every single value of <place> except America that leads to the assertion that 'Native American' is irregular.

Note, if this is what's worrying you, that 'irregular' in no way implies 'wrong'.

BrightNShiny
08-15-2010, 07:20 PM
It isn't 'hand waved' away.

It's just irrelevant.

This is the definition of hand-waving. If your only response to an argument is to declare it irrelevant, then it's clear that you have no counter-argument.

Native may have more than one definition. That's not the point.

It's the construction: "Native <place>er/ian" that has one constructed meaning for every single value of <place> except America that leads to the assertion that 'Native American' is irregular.

Again, this statement is false. It is not the only time that native is used in this sense. For example, the term "Native Australian" can be used as a synonym for Aborigine. See here (http://www.thefreedictionary.com/native+Australian) and here (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/native+australian). Of course, I can predict the response, which will be that since you personally don't use the term "Native Australian" that must mean that the term is irrelevant.

Note, if this is what's worrying you, that 'irregular' in no way implies 'wrong'.

I'm not the one who doesn't understand the term "irregular." Of course, this is just another repeated attempt at "distraction."

BrightNShiny
08-15-2010, 07:33 PM
Other usages of the term "Native":

Native Fijian: Referring to the native (that is, Melanesian) population of Fiji (see here (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fiji) for examples usages).

Native Hawaiian: Referring to the native (that is, Polynesian) population of Hawaii (see here (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Native_Hawaiians) for example usages).

There is nothing irregular about this construction. It is commonly found in English.

BrightNShiny
08-15-2010, 07:49 PM
Even more usages:

Native Peruvian: Referring to the indigenous people of Peru (that is, Incan, etc.). See here (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indigenous_peoples_of_the_Americas) for example usage.

Native Siberian: Referring to the non-Eastern European population of Siberia. See here (http://www.mnh.si.edu/arctic/html/peopling_siberia.html) for example usage.

Native Samoan: Referring to the native (that is, Polynesian) population of Samoa. See here (http://www.suite101.com/content/samoan-crisis---western-powers-compete-for-pacific-islands-group-a225794) for example usage.

Peremensoe
08-15-2010, 08:05 PM
Native Americans are also native Americans, so it is being redundent, too.

Wouldn't, say, an ethnic Mayan in Honduras or a Salish in Canada qualify as the former but not the latter?

Polycarp
08-15-2010, 08:10 PM
"Native" in ethnological usage generally refers to the inhabitants present when their home region was "discovered" by Europeans, AFAIK regardless of whether they were in fact the first colonizers of the region or in fact replaced preceding peoples. American Indians are Native Americans in the same way as Malays are Native Indonesians, Khoikhoi Native South Africans, etc.

I might point out that, since no pre-Columbian language evolved a term that distinguishes the speakers of that language and their neighbors throughout the Americas from (to them hypothetical) other human beings, we are stuck with two English phrases, American (or Red) Indians (the alternative a Britticism) and Native Americans, or the neologism portmanteaued from the first, Amerind(s). Though an obvious coinage from American Indian, it does have the virtue of being non-ambiguous and non-pejorative.

BrightNShiny
08-16-2010, 06:26 PM
Native Andamanese: Referring to the aboriginal inhabitants of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. See here (http://www.stephen-knapp.com/archeological_discoveries_of_2003.htm) and here (http://www.andaman.org/BOOK/app-a/a-corbyn.htm) for example usage.

BrightNShiny
08-17-2010, 07:22 PM
Native Oaxacan: Ok, I just like saying Oaxaca. But see here (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oaxaca) for example usage.

42fish
08-18-2010, 02:55 PM
Which of the following means something completely different to all the others.

Native Londoner
Native New Yorker
Native Californian
Native Italian
Native American
Native Texan
Native Mexican

"Native New Yorker"--it's the only one that's a disco hit.


(PS: If I call Bob a "native New Yorker," is he a native of the state or the city?)

qpw3141
08-18-2010, 03:01 PM
Which of the following means something completely different to all the others.

Native Londoner
Native New Yorker
Native Californian
Native Italian
Native American
Native Texan
Native Mexican

"Native New Yorker"--it's the only one that's a disco hit.


(PS: If I call Bob a "native New Yorker," is he a native of the state or the city?)

LOL.

Yes, and anyway it seems I was 100% wrong on this.

What's weird is that it took five days before anyone actually got around to checking and pointed out that primary error that completely invalidated my objection. (And then couldn't seem to stop. :D)

BrightNShiny
08-18-2010, 09:40 PM
Dictionary: A book where you can look up the meaning of words. See here (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/dictionary) for definitions.

qpw3141
08-19-2010, 04:40 AM
Dictionary: A book where you can look up the meaning of words. See here (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/dictionary) for definitions.

Good to know you now realise not only that they are available but how to use one to actually prove your point. ;)

As I said, I was wrong about this but, had I been on the other side of the argument, the very first thing I would have done was to check the dictionary and quote the definition that indicated the mistake.

Just imagine all the time that would have been saved all round if only someone had taken that obvious course.

Still, you got there in the end. Well done. :)

bdgr
08-19-2010, 05:20 AM
I prefer to be called "wagon burner" myself, but that's just me.

BrightNShiny
08-19-2010, 06:24 AM
Dictionary: A book where you can look up the meaning of words. See here (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/dictionary) for definitions.

Good to know you now realise not only that they are available but how to use one to actually prove your point. ;)

As I said, I was wrong about this but, had I been on the other side of the argument, the very first thing I would have done was to check the dictionary and quote the definition that indicated the mistake.

Just imagine all the time that would have been saved all round if only someone had taken that obvious course.

Still, you got there in the end. Well done. :)

From now on, anytime you quote me, my response will be this: blah, blah, blah.

qpw3141
08-19-2010, 06:31 AM
Good to know you now realise not only that they are available but how to use one to actually prove your point. ;)

As I said, I was wrong about this but, had I been on the other side of the argument, the very first thing I would have done was to check the dictionary and quote the definition that indicated the mistake.

Just imagine all the time that would have been saved all round if only someone had taken that obvious course.

Still, you got there in the end. Well done. :)

From now on, anytime you quote me, my response will be this: blah, blah, blah.

Perhaps you'd care to look up the words 'juvenile' and 'petulant' in the dictionary? :D

BrightNShiny
08-19-2010, 06:45 AM
From now on, anytime you quote me, my response will be this: blah, blah, blah.

Perhaps you'd care to look up the words 'juvenile' and 'petulant' in the dictionary? :D

Blah, blah, blah.

A Dodgy Dude
08-20-2010, 12:49 AM
Anybody born on American soil is a "native American."

The people who were here before the pilgrims arrived are "American Indians."

tomndebb
08-20-2010, 12:57 AM
From now on, anytime you quote me, my response will be this: blah, blah, blah.Perhaps you'd care to look up the words 'juvenile' and 'petulant' in the dictionary? :D
Blah, blah, blah.You are both through with this exchange and you will not resume it in any other Great Debates thread.

[ /Moderating ]

Lust4Life
08-20-2010, 07:11 AM
Don't forget that people make assumptions about words sometimes regardless of their context.

Sometime ago on these boards I posted about us Brits; describing ourselves quite accurately as the "natives of these isles", do such and such.

Another Doper who is a Brit from an ethnic minority got quite huffy about my post believing me to be making a dig about non white people.

But back to the O.P., its common understanding that anyone who talks about "Native Americans" is talking by common accepted usage about Amerindians; not people who happened to be born in the U.S.

Quite often when people talk about "Masons" they are referring to men who are members of a fraternal organisation not people who work stone for a living.
And I've yet to meet someone who DOES work stone for a living getting upset about the lodge members being described as such.
(And yes I actually do know some stone masons)

Personally I can't see why the debate has got so heated.