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Old 11-04-2009, 10:32 AM
 
2,231 posts, read 5,421,984 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas R. View Post
I think what you're saying doesn't really work seeing as the EU has more people than us and there is a difference in knowing another nation to knowing an area within it. Bavaria has about the same population as Ohio, but I don't think Germans expect Americans to know where Bavaria is and if they are they're unfair.

I think it'd be more fair to compare our respective knowledge of South America or Asia.
Comparing respective knowledge of Asia or South America might be a good test of abstract knowledge, but comparing a European's knowledge of Europe to an American's knowledge of Europe would definitely not be.

The Bavarian example doesn't sound relevant, in my opinion, since population is not really the issue. The issue is land area. Germany or France have a large enough area to be noticeable on a map of Europe, individual German provinces do not.

The state of Texas has a land area greater than almost all European countries, so it should really stand out on a map. It's hard to miss, if you are actually trying to learn about North America. Is Texas a significant place to learn about? Well, it is perhaps the 8th or 9th largest economy in the world, has a population greater than most European countries, has a distinct identity... and if you don't like Texas as an example, you could substitute California as a nation-state that Europens can be tested upon.
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Old 11-04-2009, 01:54 PM
 
Location: Minnesota
117 posts, read 352,165 times
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When I was in high school we had a geography class but it was optional on whether you wanted to take it or not.
I guess they figured after taking geography in the previous 8 Years of school we should have our geography pretty much down since it was pretty hard core during middle school.
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Old 11-04-2009, 02:33 PM
 
Location: 30-40N 90-100W
13,856 posts, read 22,953,196 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aceplace View Post
Comparing respective knowledge of Asia or South America might be a good test of abstract knowledge, but comparing a European's knowledge of Europe to an American's knowledge of Europe would definitely not be.

The Bavarian example doesn't sound relevant, in my opinion, since population is not really the issue. The issue is land area. Germany or France have a large enough area to be noticeable on a map of Europe, individual German provinces do not.

The state of Texas has a land area greater than almost all European countries, so it should really stand out on a map. It's hard to miss, if you are actually trying to learn about North America. Is Texas a significant place to learn about? Well, it is perhaps the 8th or 9th largest economy in the world, has a population greater than most European countries, has a distinct identity... and if you don't like Texas as an example, you could substitute California as a nation-state that Europens can be tested upon.
I think population matters if we mean people and culture. Still I get what you're saying on land area.

The Komi Republic of Russia is in Europe and has an area larger than Paraguay or Montana. I had never even heard of the Komi Republic until just now.
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Old 11-04-2009, 03:32 PM
 
Location: Where the grass grows
175 posts, read 276,754 times
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Yes I agree. You can make a video like that in all the countries on the hearth. I don't mean the European school system is better than the American, not at all. But. why do we have in Europe that opinion about American Geography knowledge? In Spain, I guess it happens because the American "Spanish" concept:

-Where are you from?
-I'm Spanish.
-So, from Mexico, El Salvador.. isn't?

And our logical conclusion:
-Oh my god, Americans think that Spain is in Mexico!
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Old 11-04-2009, 04:04 PM
 
2,231 posts, read 5,421,984 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Housemartin View Post
Yes I agree. You can make a video like that in all the countries on the hearth. I don't mean the European school system is better than the American, not at all. But. why do we have in Europe that opinion about American Geography knowledge? In Spain, I guess it happens because the American "Spanish" concept:

-Where are you from?
-I'm Spanish.
-So, from Mexico, El Salvador.. isn't?

And our logical conclusion:
-Oh my god, Americans think that Spain is in Mexico!
Yes, the nuances of language in the USA can be a "puzzlement". But every country has idioms that are unintelligible to most foreigners.

"Spanish" means Spanish-speaking in the US. People here do not refer to the language as Castilian, just Spanish. Knowledge of languages within Spain such as Catalan, Basque, and Galician are as rare in the US as an understanding of "Tex-Mex" or Gullah is in Europe.

To indicate that you are from Spain, the country, you would not say "I'm Spanish", you would say "I'm a Spaniard".

Of course, it could be said that people from Spain do not speak "Spanish". They speak Castilian, Catalan, Basque, Galician, etc. The people who speak Spanish are all in Latin America.

To Europeans who think our language usage is provincial... we regard the European distinctions and nuances of language and expression as about the same.
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Old 11-05-2009, 12:33 PM
 
Location: Where the grass grows
175 posts, read 276,754 times
Reputation: 87
I can understand pretty good that Americans haven't to know our little languages.

No, I didn't speak about languages. I try to say that, for all the World, English doesn't mean English-speaking, but born in England. Why not with Spanish?

I think this confussion is at the beginning of the mistake because we thought that saying "Spanish" it's enough to know where are you from. So we thought that it meant that Americans didn't know where's Spain.
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Old 11-06-2009, 03:32 AM
 
2,231 posts, read 5,421,984 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Housemartin View Post
I can understand pretty good that Americans haven't to know our little languages.

No, I didn't speak about languages. I try to say that, for all the World, English doesn't mean English-speaking, but born in England. Why not with Spanish?

I think this confussion is at the beginning of the mistake because we thought that saying "Spanish" it's enough to know where are you from. So we thought that it meant that Americans didn't know where's Spain.
Yes, I'm sure that Americans know that Spain exists, and that it is a country in Europe.

Americans are affected and influenced by Spanish-speaking immigrants from various Latin-American countries... Puerto Rican in the US Northeast, Mexican in the Southwest, Cuban in Florida, and the term "Spanish" is an idion intended to refer to an American experience of them. Europeans have an entirely different experience of Spanish culture... If 30% of London or Amsterdam consisted of Mexican immigrants, and their descendants, they would adapt a word in their language to describe their experience with them.

Perhaps the basic error many people make is to assume that a country's use of language, it's idioms and metaphors, are in any way logical and consistent. In the case of American English, the language is certainly not logically organized. Perhaps very few world languages are.
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Old 11-06-2009, 11:40 AM
 
2,816 posts, read 5,383,029 times
Reputation: 3758
Quote:
Originally Posted by hsw View Post
Time spent learning most geography is wasteful, sort of like time (and money) wasted physically traveling and seeing tourist attractions

Would rather figure out in which cities and suburbs are HQs of world's most valuable companies...and where their top employees choose to live/dine/play, etc; how they commute to office, etc

In a Net era, such geography "self-learning" and virtual tourism only takes a few minutes (and is essentially free) for any curious, ambitious kid

Learning state capitals, names/locations of economically irrelevant cities/states, and names/locations of ThirdWorld countries that lack oil or something of value today (not 50+ yrs ago) is a huge waste of time w/opportunity costs
What value have received from your 1,116 posts on some internet forum, you big mover? Shouldn't you be buying Morgan Stanley or something?
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Old 11-06-2009, 11:47 AM
 
Location: Coastal New Jersey
56,000 posts, read 54,493,040 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fishingprof View Post
When I was in high school we had a geography class but it was optional on whether you wanted to take it or not.
I guess they figured after taking geography in the previous 8 Years of school we should have our geography pretty much down since it was pretty hard core during middle school.
That's what I think. In elementary school we had Map Skills, which included world and US geography. Most people, if they were paying attention, should have learned what they needed to know before high school, not including the changes in countries that happened since (I still have trouble keeping up with the African countries, let alone their governments.) When the Soviet Union collapsed, we had to relearn a bunch of countries, too.

Other than that, I think the desire to learn includes a natural curiosity. I still love to look at maps and globes, but I know adults who are geographical retards. My friend didn't know where the Caribbean was, and her mother is from Cuba.
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Old 11-13-2009, 11:58 PM
 
1,645 posts, read 3,190,393 times
Reputation: 1381
Honestly, I don't think geography is too important to teach in public schools. It's not an interesting subject, and it's probably something you should pick up later on. I had no interest in geography when I was in high school (yes, it is taught in many areas) and often only learned what was needed for the test, after which I didn't bother to remember. However, after traveling to different parts of the country, especially by car, a lot of people will pick up a basic knowledge. I know I did. I can now locate/name the 50 states as well as their capitals, and pretty much all of Europe and much of the Middle East and East Asia as well.
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