Thursday, 13 December 2007

Paris and the Yanks

Hotel rooms in Paris are expensive! Yes, I know this is not news to most people, but I mean more exactly - they are much more expensive than even a year ago. Most of the little boutique out-of-the-way places that I normally use are now in use by the “cool people”. Who knew? I’m a trendsetter, or I should stop passing on my finds to others… I am pulling my other travel trick out of my pocket – stay where the people aren’t or what hotel is offering a deal? And I found one, it appears the business class stays home over the holidays or goes to Aspen or Gstaad. The quite posh and normally pricey Millennium Hotel has on a lower rate for the last week in December, still costly but oh so much less than anywhere else I found. Now all I need is a plane ticket and I think I shall be walking the Seine for the season. I’m all atwitter. But I am not done looking yet, I’m thinking I still might find something better….

I plan to have my usual visit which consist of walking along the river, sitting in cafés, and people watching while having café’ au lait and pastry; visit the old woman who runs the post card shop near Notre Dame (she and the post cards both qualify for centennial status); and walk around my old neighborhood in the seventh, have wine in the bistro across from the garden in the back of Norte Dame, walk through the orchid fair, visit the book stores over in the sixth, and visit my memories.

What do you call someone from the United States?
Not Americans, that really irritates the Canadians.
In fact there is no agreed upon right answer. In the United Kingdom, the use of “U.S.” as an adjective is common in media and government house styles. In Spanish, Americano tends to refer to any resident of the Americas; English spoken in Latin America often makes this distinction as well. In the North American Free Trade Agreement (1994), the Canadian French word for an American is given as e’tatsunien; in Spanish it is estadounidense. This is clumsy in English. U.S.-American is better, and that’s what the Germans tend to use (US-Amerikaner).

Some (not all serious) suggestions for a specific English word meaning “citizen of the U.S.” have included: Americanite; Colonican; Columbard; Columbian; Fredonian; Statesider; Uessian; United Statesian; United Statesman; USen; Vespuccino; Washingtonian. And Merkin – from the way Americans pronounce “American”.

The likely source for Yankee is the Dutch name Janke, meaning “little Jan” or “little John,” dating from the 1680s when the Dutch ran New York. During the Civil War, yankee referred only to those loyal to the Union. Now the term carries less emotion – except, of course, for baseball fans. The word gringo is widely used in Latin America to mean a U.S. citizen, particularly in Mexico, though not necessarily in a pejorative way. It’s thought to come from the Spanish griego (Greek) – hence any foreigner (as in the English “it’s all Greek to me”).*
*”The Book of General Ignorance”

My own experience teaches there is a world of other names in the Middle East, Afghanistan, and North Africa – that being said the populace usually differentiates between citizens and the government.


taamarbuuta said...

But gringo doesn't refer to Americans (or US Americans!) specifically - it refers to white people in general. Trust me, in Mexico, ANY white tourist or resident is a gringo.

jmb said...

So Paris is the choice. Good choice for sure and close by.

I don't think the Canadians care about the citizens of the US being called Americans, as long as nobody thinks that we are Americans. That we hate with a passion. If I am speaking to Europeans about us both I say North Americans.

The other day Shades called me a Merkin. It was the first time I had heard it and I quickly corrected him indignantly.

Altaglow said...

I should think that most right thinking people would show some empathy, if not downright sympathy, for us poor subjugated Americans. There have certainly been kind thoughts for every other country that has lived under a dictator.

Kaycie said...

Yes, Altaglow, he is horrendous, the current occupant of the White House, but just short of dictator. After all, he'll be gone about a year from now and HE CAN'T GO BACK!

When I travelled in Europe, people always said, "American", as soon as I opened my mouth. On top of that, I sometimes was accused of being from Texas. It's the damned accent. Now there are a lot of things you can say to an Okie that we'll let pass, but do not accuse us of being from Texas!

darth sardonic said...

i think "yank" is beautiful and simple, and never bristle when called one. i get annoyed when i am referred to as an "american" having lived in a foreign american country. you know, like the sun shines out of our arse or something?

Altaglow said...

Kaycie, You haven't paid quite enough attention to what's going on. According to last week's Senate hearings he (the president-dictator) can put the U.S. under martial law and put off our elections until he says they can be scheduled. FIRST time that's ever happened in my very old life.

Pamela Jeanne said...

I call myself a Californian ;-) ... if it were country it would bump Italy out of the G8.

sally in norfolk said...

Paris sounds wonderful, another place I have never been.

Pig in the Kitchen said...

oh come to paris love! absolutely freezing at the moment, but that will make good pix!

lady macleod said...


I will inform Msrs. Lloyd and Mitchinsom of the data. :-) But you have to cut them a break, they are Brits... you know... he he

thank you for coming by.

lady macleod said...


Yes, I don't mind being called "British", but I don't care to be called "English". harump.

Yes, you must correct Shades and all the rest of us who know no better;-)

thank you for coming by.

lady macleod said...


LOL. All right then, how's this: Oh you poor thing. Perhaps it will all be better soon when you can vote?

thank you for coming by (and for the giggle)

lady macleod said...


Oh my I am learning a great deal of cultural and geographic manners here today. I shall NEVER then call you a Texan. They are not ALL bad you know, my family tree runs in that direction...

Yes, keep that vote firmly in mind!

thank you for coming by.

lady macleod said...


Good, for "yank" is my word of choice. There are some of your neighbor-yanks who do believe that sunshine metaphor however...

thank you for coming by.

lady macleod said...


YIKES!!! But you know when Lincoln did that it was overruled by the Supreme Court as unconstitutional - could you mention this perhaps in Washington next you are there?

lady macleod said...


True enough! In my "blow 'em up" novel... it does! he he

thank you for coming by.

lady macleod said...


Oh YOU MUST. Wait for the proper birthday, then EVERY woman over forty in my mind needs to visit Paris once a year to have her ego stocked, stroked, and set for another year.

thank you for coming by.

lady macleod said...


I am pleased to hear the weather report! Could you order up just a bit of snow? thank you.

thank you for coming by.

Briget said...

It's my opinion that most of the world justifiably refers to us simply as A**holes, these days.

Sparx said...

Ah Paris it is. I was going to post something tempting about London before we got sick just to sway you but I admire your decision. Sadly, while we will be in France betwixt the 25th and the 31st we will not be in Paris... once again our flight-paths cross.

When I was little and being growed-up in the West Country, I really wanted to be called an 'American' so that I could become one in the heads of my friends with the Osmonds and David Cassidy, but my Mum kept telling me 'No, you are NOT an American, you are a NORTH American. Really, you aren't American at all, you're a Canadian and you should be proud.'

You can perhaps tell that my British ancestry is Scots/Irish and therefore on the side of any rebellion.