The term "American" to refer to someone from the US was coined and brought into common usage by Britain, who used it to refer to their colonies.
It is somewhat similar to how anyone from the (former) USSR (another case of a heavily federated nation: United Soviet Socialist Republics) could be called "soviet," even though "Soviet"refers to a system of policy-making that other nations employ. There is no real chance of misinterpretation if they take one part of their name ["soviet"] and use it as their demonym---even if other nations are also governed in a soviet method.
In the US students are taught there are 7 continents [North A. South A., Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, Antarctica.]
It is common in Europe for students to be taught that North and South America are one continent---but not that Europe and Asia are a single continent.
Geologists generally believe there are 6 continents: North America, South America, Eurasia, Africa, Australia, and Antarctica.
Here in Ukraine I remember it was said in school that there are six continents (Eurasia, North America, South America, Africa, Australia, Antarctica) and six parts of the world (Europe, Asia, America, Africa, Australia (alternatively called Australia and Oceania), Antarctica).
Needless to say, trying to remember which list goes with which term was always a problem :D
I believe to say, "I am not American. I am Mexican." should also be accepted. In fact, it means the exact same thing and sounds much more normal to a native English speaker than to say it the way you have it above. I realize the literal translation uses the word "but", but it doesn't sound as natural as the way I wrote it.
no, i disagree completely. what good is being literal when you are putting something in another language if it doesn't make sense or sounds odd? i agree if the meaning would be different, it would be another story, but when both sentences mean exactly the same thing, then it is good to know what sounds the most natural when you are translating into another language. what good would it do when it came to idioms? to translate an idiomatic phrase literally into another language could be disastrous. yeah, you might have the correct literal words, but people would look at your oddly and maybe have no idea what you said. so, literal isn't always best when you are going from one language to another. being an american who lived in hungary for 10 years, i found it was far better to know what sounds the most natural, as long as it means the same thing.
The word "hanem" must mean something, not substitutable with a period mark; but do not ask me exactly what that would be. EDIT: My research indicates that what you want is called "dynamic (or "functional") equivalence. I do not want the opposite, called "formal equivalence", but "optimal equivalence".