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If "the united states" is translated to "Vereinigten Staaten" then how do you call people from there?

I have always heard "Amerikaner" but that one refers to the whole continent.

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3 Answers 3


In Germany it is exactly the same as in the United States:

We are Americans Obama's weekly address Jan 15 2011

literally translates to

Wir sind Amerikaner (this obviously is not true then)

Only if we need to further specify where a person lives we could also say:

Nordamerikaner, US-Amerikaner - North American
Südamerikaner - South American
Texaner - Texan
Südstaatler - Southerner
Kanadier - Canadian
Mexikaner - Mexican
[...] endless list


A short form frequently used in colloquial German is


that has the connotation of a friend from French "ami".


Note that in Germany we do not use "U.S." for the United States (it is "USA"). Still we do say

"US-Bürger" for a U.S. citizen

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+1 for Ami. In colloquial use, one often hears die Amis - but for me it doesn't have the connotation your describing. – Hendrik Vogt Jan 25 '12 at 9:59
Ami has a neutral connotation, leaning slightly to the negative, since it is often used in generalizations Die Amis lieben Fast Food. To my knowledge it doesn't have anything to do with the French "ami". – Twilite Jan 25 '12 at 11:56
In the former Federal Republic of Germany Ami was used in context with the occupying forces and the connotation was mostly neutral, but partly ambiguous. Today there is a tendency not use Ami to denote individual persons, but to use it when expressing prejudices. – bernd_k Jan 25 '12 at 17:49
The friend connotation for Ami is new to me. On the other hand, the word does not have a slightly negative connotation for me, it's fine. – OregonGhost Jan 27 '12 at 18:27
We also sometimes use "GI" as term for american soldiers, at least my mother does. I don't know if we differentiate between army, navy and air force when using this abbreviation. Ami is also a short form of a first name .. was it Michael? – hmundt Feb 21 '12 at 3:06

It depends on the context. Normally an Amerikaner will be identified as someone from US.

If you have a situation where you want to make it absolutly clear, you can say US-Amerikaner.

In a bakery, an Amerikaner can be eaten ;)

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US(A)-Bürger and (most important ;p) Ami – Em1 Jan 24 '12 at 20:58

In Germany we use Amerika as a synonym to the country U.S.A., allthough using it at the same time for referring to the continent, but usually adding Nord- or Süd-.

Thus, the inhabitants of the country are called Amerikaner. When talking about people from other countries on the continent, we are either using their country's name, like Kanadier or Mexikaner, or adding a region information, like Südamerikaner or Lateinamerikaner.

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