Latin was still in use in the Medieval times and even later, and they discovered America at the exact end of the Medieval times (1492 is a date often chosen to change from the Medieval times to the Renaissance, so I really think there were books and texts in Latin with the name "America" since the beginning, and that it's not a Vaticanese addition. Latin was both a religious language, and a science language. For instance Linné wrote about America and named some organisms "Americanus".
Technically, it has lost a lot of its former position to English and other national languages. It still delivers loanwords to medicine, but that's about it. it is both a good and a bad thing, since it means science is accessible to commoners like us, but loses its ability to intercommunicate and exchange findings across language barriers. For instance, I was recently informed Linear A had been deciphered in Greece, which few in the English-speaking world seem aware of. The intercommunication problem is one that people have been trying to solve for a century with things like Interlingua, Esperanto, and latino sine flexione, on the assumption that actual Latin was too hard to learn. Of course, as we are finding, Latin is as easy to learn as any other language, it was just teaching methods that were antiquated. And students are also some of the most intelligent people on the planet, so should have no problems learning it. Also given most academic institutions should have a Latin department, translated Latin scientific journals should be relatively uncomplicated to set up.
It refers to the American continent, since the continent's name was the basis of the name of "the United States of America". Compare also with the Italian and Spanish (and others'?) convention of saying "American" for the whole continent and "Unitedstates-ian" for the country.
It refers to the country. We're practicing saying and asking what nationality people are. People from the United States of America are called Americans.
Update: A couple of people have down voted me for my comment, but the fact remains that people do not identify their nationality by the hemisphere they live in nor do they identify themselves by the continent they live in. The whole Western Hemisphere is called "America". The Western Hemisphere is comprised of two continents North America and South America.
The North American continent is composed of all the countries in Central America, Mexico, the United States, and Canada. Here is a list of some countries in the Americas and what the people call them selves: República de Columbia, colombianos; Ustados Unidos Mexicanos, mexicanos; República Argentina, argentinos; United States of America, Americans.
Is there a pattern here? Yes. Countries use the last word of their official name as their citizens nationality and the short name of their country. No other country in the Americas but the U.S. has ever used the name American or americano as their nationality.
In Latin, it's called "Civitates Foederatae Americae". And the translation is exactly United State of America (USA)
Americānus, americānī plural. (The capital A is not required.) Though you could also use these terms to mean any person or people living in the Americas. "Citizen of the United States" would be "cīvis Cīvitātum Foederātārum (Americae)", "cīvēs [...]" plural. Keep in mind that "cīvis" is pronounced [ˈkiː.wɪs] and "cīvēs" is pronounced [ˈkiː.weːs].
Of course he is... like Livia and everyone else. Why would they be Roman, or at least Italian? As we all know, there is no other country worth learning the name of.
Could we keep the oh so great America a bit out of a LATIN course in Duolingo? It's been 10 sentences in a raw revolving around American cities, the country itself and the demonym. Maybe in the next lessons we'll learn how to say in Latin "Abraham Lincoln" or "God bless America"?
You people would be surprised to find out that there's a whole amazing world across the oceans and south of the wall.
Classical Latin didn't have letter case in the same way we think of it. You'd need somebody more of a specialist than I, but Latin - the language and the Roman alphabet - was originally unicameral (ie EVERYTHING WAS UPPERCASE, or possibly EVERYTHING VAS VPPERCASE ahem) - lower case letterforms and then conventions of casing arrived later and separately.
Im not sure what conventions DL is applying in short. Every sentence here is capitalised as in [English? Italian?] but this is a choice, and lots of Latin downcases the start of sentences. Anybody know better?
In very classical Latin, all the letters were uppercases, no coma, no stop, no spaces, and all the same letters. I think the uppercases/lowercases started with the invention of the printing.
I don't think there's a rule to capitalize the nationality adjective in Latin.
The course creators made a decision to stick with the Latin nominative in the English forms rather than translating for proper names of people.
It's mentioned in course notes somewhere, and also in a few of these discussions.
English doesn't use cases for proper names, so nominative Latin forms seem like a logical choice. (There is the possessive form, which is genitive, technically, but almost no one seems to use the term "genitive" for it.)
Also, perhaps (I'm just speculating here) because proper names for people in English take on multiple forms, putting all those spellings in the database is probably a huge workload.
English-speaking parents sometimes use uncommon spellings with their children's names to make them seem more unique.
Many parents in nations where English is the primary language give their children names based on versions from other languages, as well. That's true even if they don't speak the other language.
Versions of names that are directly from or similar to French, Spanish and Celtic forms are not unusual in the United States.
Marcus could be Mark, Marc, Marco, Markus, Markos, Marquis, Marquo, Markess, Markis, etc.
I guess Stephanus could be Stephen, Stefanus, Stephanos, Stephanis, Steven, etc.
So, I think that the course creators have made a logical decision.
"Esse" is a copula. It does not take objects, it takes subject complements. SVC is not unusual because it disambiguates "Marcus is American" from "American Marcus is..." Or more commonly "Is est puer" rather than "Is puer est" because "is" is a weak pronoun, more commonly used as a determiner. It disambiguates "He is a boy" from "This boy is..."
Do I understand it correctly that Latin words such as Romanus or Americanus work the same way as in English? That is, Americanus can be adjective (an American student) as well as a noun (an American), as opposed to, for example, Czech americký/Američan or German amerikanisch/Amerikaner or perhaps the English Scot/Scottish (unlike an American/American student, a German/German student) ?