Meteorswarm wrote:Your first sentence seems off. I'd probably write it, 我是一個美國學生, but even then it might come across as "a student of America." This is a little confusing because you definitely say 我是美國人. Can I get help from a native speaker here?
You can join your second two sentences together to make things more natural: 我會說英語，也會說西班牙語, or even 我會說英語和西班牙語. I've heard 我會英語 used, but I'm not sure if that's actually correct.
The 美国学生／美國學生 issue is just built-in ambiguity of the language... nothing much we can do about the lack of precision in natural languages at this point =9 (without discarding them entirely, that is)
Even in English, 'a student of America' could be taken in multiple ways - a student who resides in America, a student who studies outside of America but is an American citizen, a student who has as the focus of his/her studies 'America', a student taught by someone named 'America', etc.
To reduce the level of ambiguity, we use context (e.g. understanding that 'America' is not a common English name, considering the current geographical location of your audience, and so forth) and may use alternative expressions, such as 'I am a student currently residing in America', 'I am a student interested in the study of America as a nation', and so on.
'美国学生' （美國學生） seems fine to me as 'American student'; it would most likely be interpreted as intended. =)
'華' is one way of saying 'Chinese', like 漢 and 唐.
They are actually pretty sinocentric words... but like most of the subtle hints of racism accumulated over the millennia, it's just a 'vanilla' part of the language now, and no one actually thinks about (or even knows about) the etymology nowadays.
漢 refers to the Han people, one of the 56 ethnic groups recognized by the PRC government today as 'Chinese'. These were considered the 'true Chinese', so to speak, throughout history (the 'Chinese identity' today is an extremely confusing mix of ethnic identity, national identity, cultural identity, political identity, etc... as some sociologist (whose name I can't recall at the moment) remarked: 'China is civilization pretending to be a nation'... which really should not be surprising as nationalism is a Germanic (the 'race', not the nation) concept). All major Chinese dynasties were Han until Genghis Khan's Yuan Dynasty, and the Han people retook China after Yuan to establish Ming, only to be swept aside by another 'barbarian' invasion (the Manchurians this time) that ushered in the last (pretty unsuccessful) dynasty of China. Today's standardized Mandarin descends from mostly northern Han dialects and 'government-speak' ('官話'; something like what Latin was back in late ancient / medieval Europe), with some foreign influence (ex. 馬馬虎虎 is Manchurian in origin), hence it is a form of '漢語': the language of the Han people. In general, though, 漢語 is pretty much everything in the Sino-Tibetan family that is not Tibetan, so it includes all forms of Chinese.
唐 refers to the Tang dynasty - the golden age of Chinese civilization (宋 was kind of like an extension of Tang... and Yuan and Qing aren't even considered 'Chinese' by some, notably many Japanese people, which contributed to the invasion). 唐人 still means Chinese today (e.g. 唐人街 = China Town). I have never heard of anyone call Chinese '唐語', though (but Karate used to be 唐手 and not 空手 before the rise of Japanese nationalism)
華 has its root in 華夏. 夏 is the first (semi-mystical) 'dynasty' of the Han people that (may have) existed some four or five thousand years ago, and had been glorified to sometimes unbelievable proportion throughout Han/Chinese history. 華 means 'splendid', 'grand', etc. (think 華麗、豪華）, as Xia was seen as a sort of cultural Eden in the middle of endless wilderness. The people of Xia were not 夏人, but 華人, i.e. the Splendid Ones, like a different species altogether from the 'barbarians' around them. China is still 中華 today, which is actually rather sinocentric ('the Splendid Realm of Middle Earth')... but no one really thinks about it nowadays =9