In episode 338 of Grammar Girl, titled: Is It Offensive to Call Ourselves Americans?, the discussion extends to other interpretations of what constitutes a continent. Earlier this term, a student of mine, Felipe, commented during a map exercise that his parents were taught that there were fewer than seven continents. Felipe’s family is originally from South America, where they are taught that North & South America are one continent (America), not two.
This episode of Grammar Girl is ostensibly about Demonyms and the exclusive use of the term ‘America’ to refer to US citizens. As I was reminded; geography, topography, and culture play a part in the regional understanding of terms. What is ‘America’ and what constitutes a ‘Continent’ are also subject to this diversity of interpretation.
Grammar Girl #338, “Is it Offensive to Call Ourselves Americans?”: http://grammar.quickanddirtytips.com/american-demonyms.aspx
National Geographic’s “How many continents are there?”: http://www.nationalgeographic.co.uk/faq/geography.html