February 28th, 2008

Americans, nationality and language

Often - at least in tv - some Americans (who are US citizens) claim to be for example Italian because their ancestors are from Italy. They say this even if they don't speak any Italian, have never been to Italy and are definitely not citizens of Italy. Does this only happen on tv or in real life also?

Do people who claim to be Italian (for example) also consider themselves American? And does knowing the language of the claimed mothercountry play any part?

It would never occur to me to claim to be Swedish or Russian because some distant relatives of mine are from those countries and I happen to speak Swedish (not very well though).