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  5. England is an island?

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DavidNixon13

England is an island?

The question mark says it all! I come from Wales which is mostly part of the SAME island as most of England and Scotland(i.e. Great Britain). Together with Northern Ireland, we make up the United Kingdom.

I HAD to say something after I was FORCED to write "England is an island" when translating "Inglaterra es una isla"!

May 8, 2014

64 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/GregHullender

It seems like a simple, honest error to me. "Gran Bretaña es una isla pero Inglaterra no los es, aunque es una parte de Gran Bretaña." You should report it and they'll fix it eventually.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Luscinda

Wanna bet? I have seen alternative answers added but never an erroneous original statement or premise removed.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/publius77

Yeah. I don't think ducks drink milk either. ;)

I don't look to Duolingo for lessons in geography or zoology.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/redskins0682

Nor do cats eat bread or elephants drink wine. Just saying.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Luscinda

I meant when they actually had the language wrong, but yes, that too!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Andrealphus

I've seen plenty of things wrong with the language fixed. I get thank you Emails when I inform them that a correct answer shouldn't have been accepted.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AureliaUK

Unfortunately many USanians confuse "England" and "the UK". How many times have you seen HM described as "The Queen of England" for instance?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Thrillwaters

I have to say that quite a few of us English also confuse the UK with England as well.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Aliciaftw

Glad someone said that; I've heard people from the UK use the terms UK, England, and Britain interchangeably but when an American does..


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/KTKee-EnglishEng

Don't worry, people get even more annoyed when English people do it.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Chachinero

I can understand mixing up the UK with Britain or Great Britain, but not England, unless they have lead a very insular life.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/saxicola

She is in fact Queen Elizabeth II of England but Queen Elizabeth I of Scotland because Scotland had it's own King when the first Queen Elizabeth was around:-)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/StrapsOption

Well, she is the Queen of England, but the UK too.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/wombatua

Actually, no, she's not the queen of England. She's the queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (and the formal title is even longer). There hasn't been a monarch of England (or Scotland) since the Act of Union in 1707.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/StrapsOption

Oh, really? So is she officially Queen of all of them untied together? And, while we're on the subject, is she still 'Defender of the Faith'?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Aliciaftw

I think the whole thing is complicated, because it ties in politics and feelings. When I'm in Scotland I just hear, "The Queen of England" and the tone isn't exactly polite.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/OldSpiceGuy

But she is the Queen of England. And several other places.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AlvaroBern1

I come from Bogotá > Colombia > South América > América > Planet Earth > Solar System > Milky Way and I find the term "usanian" more accurate and less ambiguous than simply "american". 1 + vote.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Joseph2

Except that there's no such word. As "United States of Americans" we were the first "American" nation, and for whatever reason, that is the name that stuck with us for decades before most of the hemisphere's other countries even existed. It really seems to be a South American hangup and is usually pushed by their left-wing governments who need to rile up their people against the USA.

I know French and Dutch and, hell, even Brazilian Portuguese, and many other languages that are spoken in the Americas (except for some Spanish speakers in Hispanic America) all refer to us as "Americans" in their own languages. Hispanics also do in many widely used terms like "futbol americano," so this seems to be a manufactured controversy. Similarly, every language calls citizens of South Africa "South Africans" and citizens of the Central African Republic "Central Africans" even though they aren't the only countries in their regions. "Australia" isn't the only country in the continent of Australia. "Malaysia" isn't the only Malay country in Asia, "India" isn't the only country on the Indian subcontinent, and etc, etc.

I was recently attempting to tell friends in Canada about how this is an issue for Spanish speakers in some Latino countries, and asked them their feelings. They told me it's considered an insult to be called "Americans" in Canada because the insinuation is that they are nothing more than a part of the USA. A 51st state. They told me they are NOT "Americans" (not even in the continental sense of the word); they are Canadians. If we're talking about their continent, it's North America. Anything else suggests the US.

It's one of those situations that we Americans will never be able to win. Some nation/culture somewhere will be complaining no matter what we did. And, besides, it's a moot point anyway since the evolution of American English is not dictated to us by anyone inside or outside our country. It's an organic process, and since the overwhelming majority of languages around the world refer to us as the "American" people, and there's no other demonym for us in the English language, it doesn't seem likely to change anytime soon.

To us, "Americans" are people from the USA, "North Americans" and "South Americans" are people from the North and South American continents, respectively. And the entire region made up of the two continents is known as "The Americas".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AlvaroBern1

Yes, a lot of history and facts throw out that doesn't refutes the point I'm making, which is calling a nation the same way a continent is called is very ambiguous.

Like you pointed yourself:

" To us, "Americans" are people from the USA, "North Americans" and "South Americans" are people from the North and South American continents, respectively. And the entire region made up of the two continents is known as "The Americas". "

Depending on the perspective you are looking at, we, and the rest of the people living under this huge mass of land called America, are americans as well .

Lets imagine the rebels of east Ukraine win their independence and they proclaim them self as the country of "United states of Europe" .I'm sure you will agree with me that it will very confusing trying to actually speak about this new country and their "europeans" inhabitants ?.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Joseph2

"which is calling a nation the same way a continent is called is very ambiguous."

Except that in English, we don't usually refer to either continent or the two continents together as "America". So there is no ambiguity. Maybe there is in certain Spanish dialects, which is why I tend to use "americano" to mean a resident of the two continents and "estadounidense" to mean a US resident. When I am speaking Spanish.

I don't try to dictate Spanish rules to people who speak a language that is theirs, not mine. So why should we English speakers have to forcefully try to change our language to appease the minority of Latin Americans who take offense? Especially when the Spanish language isn't immune to its own cultural insensitivities and cultural biases.

For example, the Spanish language refers to the entire UK and/or Great Britain as "Inglaterra", to the Netherlands as "Holland", to New York City as "Nueva York", to Germany as "Alemania, the Faulklands as the "Malvinas", to Myanmar as "Birmania", Ivory Coast as "Costa de Marfil" instead of using its official French name, etc, etc.

And Hispanics refer to themselves as "Latino" despite the fact that Portuguese, Romanians, Italians, and French are also Latin peoples, and the fact that "Latino" is a town and province in Italy, which is where the term originated. And you refer to the entire American landmass minus the US and Canada as "Latin America", despite the fact that Brazil and Haiti and French Guiana aren't Hispanic, and Aruba, Suriname, Guyana, Belize, Jamaica, Trinidad, etc are Germanic.

My point is that we could all be complaining that there's a lot that the Spanish language and Latin America does that could be considered ignorant of and offensive to other groups of (continental) Americans. But you don't see anyone trying to force changes upon the Spanish language because of it.

"Lets imagine the rebels of east Ukraine win their independence and they proclaim them self as the country of "United states of Europe" .I'm sure you will agree with me that it will very confusing trying to actually speak about this new country and their "europeans" inhabitants ?"

The EU is often referred to as "Europe" or "the European countries." Even though many continental European countries aren't in the EU. It's not confusing as long as the context is understood. I understand that sometimes we (English speakers) refer to people from the hemisphere as a whole as "Americans," But more often than not we'll either name specific, individual nations or break down the hemisphere into regions like South America, Latin America, North America, Central America, the West Indies, the Caribbean, Anglo-America, etc.

This is just the way it is in English. If there is a possible ambiguity, then "America" will most likely mean the country of the US of America. It's the same how in Spanish you sometimes call us the EEUU and sometimes America, and usually when "America" is ambiguous in the Spanish language it will mean the two continents in general. But you are not confused when you hear terms like "futbol americano". It's all about each individual language's context.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Dreamer71

I must say, that's the first time I've seen "USanians"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Luscinda

Perhaps Aurelia was at pains not to include the people of Canada et al.? American for citizen of the USA is bit of an anomaly when you stop and think about it. Or maybe she's just returning the favour of misdescribing someone's nationality.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/le-lapin-noir

Problem is, the USA isn't the only United States on the continent; there's also los Estados Unidos Mexicanos. The USA is, however, the only country with the term America prominently used in its title. Calling residents of the USA Americans isn't really any more anomalous than calling residents of los Estados Unidos Mexicanos mexicano instead of estadounidense.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/redskins0682

Sorry, le-lapin-noir, I didn't read your comment before posting, so I pretty much said the same thing. Great minds think alike, eh?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Chachinero

I just learned something there. I did not realise Mexico was known as that. I just know it as Mexico. In fact all the maps I just checked say "Mexico".

I entered "Estados Unidos Mexicanos mapa" and now some of the maps in Spanish do show the country with the full name :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Dreamer71

One of the problems is that there isn't a logical, natural-sounding alternative to refer to residents of the United States of America. Additionally, the term "American" has pretty much been used since the beginning of the colonial period.
There have, of course, been other names suggested to replace the term (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Names_for_United_States_citizens#Alternative_terms) but none of them have caught on as yet.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/pont

Thanks for linking to the list of proposed names -- interesting reading. I wonder why "Colonican" didn't catch on :-).


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AureliaUK

Your first assumption was correct. Canadians and Mexicans are as much inhabitants of North America as US citizens are, and I've seen the former in particular get hacked off that US inhabitants seem to "hog" the term "American".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AlexisLinguist

I agree with mkmtt, we live in America, so therefore, we are Americans. North Americans would cover Canadians and Mexicans as well, but since they do not live in AMERICA, they are not simply called "Americans".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SenorMateo

Central Americans also refer to themselves as Americans. A citizen of the U.S. is estadounidense.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/zfungcello

I actually had an embarrassing situation where I was trying to explain to a native Spanish speaker something about Americans using the word "americano", and he just didn't get what I was saying (I suppose he was thinking of South America). From that point on, I was always careful to use "estadounidense" to describe Americans.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tu.8zPhLD72zzoZN

What is really funny is that Hawaiians are not even in North, Central nor South America, but they, as part of the United States of America, are also called Americans.

Why take away our identity and call us United States people which could be from any country of united states. We could have been confused with any country starting with US, even the old USSR? I have nothing against Canadians calling themselves Americans or any other country from North America, South America or Central America. The Americas referred to all the land mass in the Western Hemisphere from the mapmaker Amerigo Vespucci who sailed along the coast of South America in 1501. Maybe the term for everyone could be 'Americasan'. Okay, that will never catch on. Please note that the specific terms North America, South America and Central America came after the term United States of America. So, who were identifying with whom? Why should we be penalized for being the first to call ourselves American?

We can be specific and say Americans from the USA, but other countries are often so specific that we don't have to be. In Central American countries, we do specify that we are USA citizens. We are lucky that they don't confuse us with Mexicans. Without the 'A', we would be. We are such a conglomeration of people that there are people here from all the other countries of North America, South America and Central America. Why even from most countries of the world. Maybe we should just call ourselves "earthlings" or would that be hogging the term. It is not like we are preventing other people from using the term.

The really strange thing is that AureliaUK would say "USanians" do this or that. You are lumping us together in not a racist way but using a prejudice against a particular country, when I am certainly not guilty of what you say though I am American, Californian to be specific. So you assume that Mexicans never say "Queen of England", and that only people from the USA do? People in your own country do. Do most people from the UK call themselves British or do you now want us to call you 'UKanians'?

From your own British dictionary: http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/british/america?q=america

She is the queen of England and of so much more. It is not as though the UK is an island either. They should have said England is on an island, or picked a different example of an island.

Of course, if duoLingo got you to remember the words for "is an island" as "es una isla" then they have done their job! And bonus! I bet we don't forget "Inglaterra" means "England". So, watch out for the animal sentences too!

(Scroll down to Greg Hullender below for the correct Spanish term for the island.) http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/Great-Britain?q=great+britain


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AlexisLinguist

Of course, there are other names for us. :) Just saying from the perspective of an estadounidense. :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Naylor1993

I like it. Let's get USanian in the dictionary!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/wazzie

What about the people who live in the United States of Mexico?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Naylor1993

They'll have to be USexicans.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Dreamer71

Ah, but that term might get them censored on quite a few web pages.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Isrianth

Sería bastante gracioso poder observar ese término en el diccionario. :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tu.8zPhLD72zzoZN

'USMians'? Nah! "Mexicans" works so well. We should just capitalize the 'A' in 'USAnians' or 'USAns', but I will always be an American!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/redskins0682

I think they'll be happy staying Mexicans.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/wazzie

My point, although a bit tongue in cheek, is the 'obvious' names for people from the US all can be claimed by someone else. All these names could step on someone's toes.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Andrealphus

I had to say once that China is the biggest country in Asia which isn't true at all. The point here is that you are learning the language. If you understood it to be offended then it's working pretty well in my opinion.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Nugnug

Haha.. it's just making sentences work. I'm sure The turltes really don't drink milk!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/redskins0682

Apparently, in DuoLingoland, mice always, always get eaten and everything drinks milk. Poor cows!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jorma1998b

So we can say something ethnocentric: I am American, and reduce the continent to a country.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CelitoLindo

Despues de Septiembre, Escocia sera un pais independiente, compartiendo una isla con Inglaterra y Wales.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JeanPaul.Fr

Tal vez o tal vez no !


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tammysan

I had to type in "Cats are ugly" in one lesson and that was very difficult to do being the cat lover I am :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DavidNixon13

In a Portuguese exercise, I had " the bee writes a letter" - I have no problem with that - it's whimsical! BUT in a French exercise, "The Brit likes beer" wanted Anglais as the translation of Brit. That's just wrong!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PopTartTastic

Oh gosh. I'm American, and it bugs me when people say things like "Scotland is in England" or things like that It makes me want to strangle them.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Chachinero

Oo, yes this is bad. It always makes me cringe when people when meaning to refer to the UK say "England".

In this situation, it needs to be changed to "Great Britain".

Note: Britain = England + Wales

The make-up and labelling of the islands is confusing to many of us Brits too.

I had to look it up: http://resources.woodlands-junior.kent.sch.uk/customs/questions/britain/britain.htm

I myself am Welsh/English.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/maltu
  • 1248

It is something that a quick non-scientific survey of Brits from countries other than England find offensive, (I asked three Scots, two Welsh, and am Welsh myself) and seems something Duolingo could easily change. It is not on the same level as nonsense sentences about ducks drinking milk, etc. It is closer to how Basques react to their nationhood being denied, or Latino to USians assuming they are all Mexican. I would not expect foreigners to know the difference, and am not going out of my way to be offended, but it is something that should be corrected, I have no interest in how the queen is described, by the way.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/salihua

Have a lingot. I have had them remove sexist language in addition to errors...there is hope.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/christian

This shouldn't really be that big of an issue unless you go out of your way to be offended. It's very common for other nations to use the name of the most dominant part of a country (from their perspective/historically) or the part that is geographically the closest.

I bet most of you have called the Netherlands Holland even though there are only two provinces called Noord-Holland and Zuid-Holland within the Netherlands. Are the Dutch bothered? Not really.

Similarly, in a lot of languages, Germany is called Alemania/Allemagne or something similar. The alamanni were only one of the Germanic tribes and today the word "alemannisch" only refers to the south-western region of Germany and the bordering regions of France and Switzerland. Do the rest of us care? No, we don't.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Andrealphus

In American English I do believe we referred to them as the Angles. I remembered one of the learning Youtube people joking about them. "There were so many Angles in Briton that they might as well have started calling it Angland! Angland.... England?" They're also credited with most of the non-Latin parts of English.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/christian

The Angles were a different tribe. They originated from the border region between present-day Germany and Denmark.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Central_Europe_5th_Century.jpg


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Andrealphus

Cool! Thanks! I love German history.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/saxicola

If you are interested in the history of the English language, this is a fascinating and detailed podcast to check out http://historyofenglishpodcast.com/


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Andrealphus

I'll make sure to later! I would listen to it now but making noise in in school suspension gets you in more in school suspension.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/wilsh

Don't forget the Norsk and the Saxons


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/redskins0682

From Italian, I'm assuming? Similarly, I translated "I am not a bird". Really, I couldn't have ever noticed that.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LittleWing1

@David.Nixon-843 Re: England is an island

Mike at Vsauce posted this link on his YouTube channel. For a kid who grew up in the U.S.A. public school system, this was all news to me. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rNu8XDBSn10


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/GageBogdos

Es regalement fascinate que Inglaterra sea considerada una isla por algunos. Creo que definitivamente es una isla rodeada de un país. Es un tema muy interesante que podría funcionar en ambos sentidos.

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