If the United States is translated to Vereinigte Staaten then how do you call people from there?
I have always heard Amerikaner but that one refers to the whole continent.
Amerikaner, like its English equivalent, is a bit ambiguous but very common, even in official contexts, and rarely refers to all inhabitants of or people originating from the Americas. It could even be used informally in some contexts to refer to a German person with American citizenship. It also has some other meanings in reference to physical things, like a pastry. One could also say einen Amerikaner fahren to mean to drive an American car.
Ami is derived from Amerikaner, but it specifically refers to people from the United States, including US soldiers in Germany. Also, more so than Amerikaner, it can be used in compounds (eg ein echter Ami-Wagen), but by itself it almost always refers to people — one does not hear einen Ami fahren referring to a car. It is not pejorative per se, but it does tend to connote the full-strength American stereotype in culture and politics. Angela Merkel would probably avoid it, but a drunken uncle will happily speak of the Amis when providing Stammtisch political analysis on the actions of the government in Washington DC. As the least formal, it is definitely the top choice for Du Scheiß____! It also has the feature of being less comprehensible than Amerikaner to the average English speaker — sometimes that’s a plus.
This is very precise, and much more common in formal German than the equivalent US-American is in English. There is also a useful corresponding adjective, US-amerikanisch. (However US-Amerika is rare.) It would be atypical to say “Bist Du US-Amerikaner?”, unless the emphasis were required in context.
Proposals like Staatler or Vereinigtenstaatler — which is also not precise, as there are other United States of X in the world — never found much traction, proportionally much less than, say, Emirater.
This simply means U.S. citizen or American citizen, and is as such is technical and corresponds nearly exactly with the English translation.
Some other notes:
In German one does not use US for the United States (it is USA). However the prefixing compound is indeed US-. VS (from Vereinigten Staaten) is exceedingly rare.
The rules for the country name are another topic. For example die Staaten is very common, and there are fixed expressions like der Onkel aus Amerika.
There are similar issues regarding the words for people from or citizens of the United Kingdom.
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 - 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
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 ;)
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.
Yes we would say US-Bürger (US-citizen) or US-Amerikaner (US-American), as said above.
But often we would just use Ami or Amis (Plural).
Just to clarify, even though it is spelled like the French ami there is no connection. "Ami" is informal and has, contrary to what was says above, no positive connotations. Few would honestly say "Sche%ß US-Bürger" (fu%king US- Citizen) , most likely they would say "Sche%ß Ami" (Fu%king Ami). "Ami" could be called the less offensive German version of the American offensive slang for Japanese --> "Jap".