Last modified on 23 July 2014, at 17:40

Talk:America

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America

verify etymology. I was taught the Amerigo Vespuci story in school, however a recent theory has caught my attention. That america actually derives from the arabic word for the evening star. This seems historically viable, Columbus may have told his navigator to set course by this star and the Moors ruled all of Spain and Portugal until shortly before the expedition. I would like to see this settled. Does any wiktionarian speak Arabic? —This comment was unsigned.

  • My understanding is that Vespuci had nothing to do with America. However, Richard Ap Meryck, a major figure in Bristol who often signed his name as Americk, was part of a fishing family that brought back cod from the Newfoundland coast. SemperBlotto 08:12, 5 February 2008 (UTC)
  • I added the two other possibles from Wikipedia, still no reference on the requested translation though.User:TRKritzer
I don’t believe that Arabic story at all. For one thing, the Arabic for evening star is نجم المساء (an-nájmu-l-masā’). I don’t see "America" being squeezed out of that. The German cartographer Martin Waldseemüller named the continent America after Amerigo in 1507 after his two voyages to South America were widely publicized in 1502 and 1504. There were also several fictitious accounts published around that time, allegedly by Vespucci, but which were later found to have been the fabrications of other individuals and published without Vespucci’s knowledge or involvement. —Stephen 15:43, 5 February 2008 (UTC)
Vespucci was originally creditted with discovering America, and this is why the continent was named after him. In fact, during the later years of Columbus' life, Spanish schools taught the Vespucci was the one who had organized the voyages and made the discovery. Columbus' role was forgotten. Only later was the contribution of Columbus rediscovered and put back into the history texts. --EncycloPetey 04:32, 8 February 2008 (UTC)


AFAIK, Vespucci was not credited with having discovered America, but with having recognized it (or at least South America) for what it was, a new continent. Because his published letters were redacted for others' purposes, it's not clear that he did, but Ringmann apparently believed he had. Also, Spain refused to recognize the name 'America' for 200 years. kwami 01:51, 26 August 2010 (UTC)

Central America?Edit

Is Central America considered one of the countable Americas? ---> Tooironic 00:30, 24 June 2010 (UTC)

Sometimes, but not traditionally. kwami 01:42, 26 August 2010 (UTC)

2ary meanings of "Amerigen"Edit

I'm a bit suspicious about the 2ary meanings of Amerigen; they may be speculation by the cited author, and I cannot find the Greek for ameros "new". However, the citation given works for the preceding line as well, and that is Ringmann's own explanation of the name. kwami 01:46, 26 August 2010 (UTC)

RFV discussion: March–July 2014Edit

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RFV-sense "An idealized destination or object of one's ambition". There is one citation from Joyce below it, but it isn't clear that Joyce is using the word in that sense. - -sche (discuss) 22:44, 27 March 2014 (UTC)

What do you make of these: “The spring cod is our America”, “I have my domestic America”, “So this is my America, she had thought when she first saw the house”? — Ungoliant (falai) 22:57, 27 March 2014 (UTC)
The context of the first one is: "Herring and cod fishing offered an alternative to emigration, which many chose. 'The spring cod is our America,' said a later report from Møre. [...] Farm owners were leaving for America [...]." It seems to me that America is being used there in, or in trivial allusion to, its usual geographic sense: farmers were leaving for the US because there was no money to be made in farming but there might be money to be made in the US; fishers, meanwhile, could stay put, because there was money to be made in fishing. I would equate that with "Many of them bought blue cars as status symbols. We couldn't afford one, so we bought a foobar. The foobar was our blue car."
The second one is a translation of a Mozambican Portuguese poem, the full verse of which is "I now know that I don't need to go to America. I say this as I get lost in a street in Johannesburg. I have my domestic America. So what?" And the book goes on to say "America as the intertext for Johannesburg would certainly have pleased the Sophiatown writers and musicians of the 1950s, who felt passionately for an imagined America as a template of modernity." It's pretty far from an English use of "America" to mean "idealized destination or object of one's ambition", in my opinion.
The third one concerns an Italian immigrant to (AFAICT) Canada, and the full paragraph is: "So this is my America, she had thought when she first saw the house: the paint chipped and patchy, the front stairs cracked, the tiny front yard littered with old tires. 'Mia casetta in Canada.' None of the houses in her village were as flimsy as this one. Nor had she imagined how confined she would be to the house, locked in partly by her lack of English and her not being able to drive but mostly by the never-ending winter." That, again, seems pretty far from "the object of one's ambition"; the Italian immigrant in question seems unhappy about being stuck in [North] America.
As a side note: if citations of this sense can be found, I'll be curious to see if they're from the US or not. - -sche (discuss) 23:34, 27 March 2014 (UTC)
Failed. I added a quotations section with the Joyce quote. — Ungoliant (falai) 19:18, 11 July 2014 (UTC)