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  • In an previous video of mine, I talked about 'America'... and how this could refer to both

  • a country or a continent.

  • In English, it generally refers to the country: the United States of America. But in other

  • languages (Spanish, for example), it refers to the continent.

  • However, in English, these are 2 separate continents, part of the 7-continent model:

  • North America, South America, Europe, Africa, Asia, Antarctica, and the topic of this video:

  • Australia.

  • So... is Australia a country or a continent?

  • Well, Australia is one of the 193 member of the United Nations.

  • Although, just because a country is a member of the UN, doesn't necessarily mean that all

  • other members agree that that country... is a country.

  • For example, North and South Korea don't recognise each other, both believing themselves to be

  • the legitimate government of all of Korea.

  • Turkey doesn't recognise Cyprus because of the situation with Northern Cyprus.

  • Even the most populated country in the world, the People's Republic of China, isn't recognised

  • by 22 UN members, who recgonise the Republic of China is the legitimate government of China,

  • confined to the island of Taiwan.

  • And the least recognised UN member, with 32 fellow members not recognising them as country...

  • Israel, because of the... minor issue of the Israel-Palestine conflict.

  • But anyway... this is no such issue for Australia. Gaining independence from the British Empire

  • in 1901, and with a population of more than 23 million... everyone agrees - Australia

  • is a country.

  • Of course, saying Australia is a country is kind of stating the obvious. That was never

  • really in dispute. The real issue is when it comes to the Australian continent.

  • Like I said, there are 7 continents in the English-speaking world. And while there's

  • disagreement in the Western Hemisphere about whether it's 'America' or North and South

  • America... there's also disagreement down under as well.

  • First of all, the word 'Australia' in the context of a continent, has no official definition.

  • The border between Australia and Asia is not clearly defined.

  • East Timor may or may not be part of the Australian continent. Although generally speaking it's

  • usually considered part of South-East Asia.

  • The most common definition of the Australian continent is: mainland Australia, Tasmania,

  • and the island of New Guinea, which is comprised of the independent country of Papua New Guinea,

  • as well as two Indonesian provinces.

  • The reason for this, is that all these islands lie on the same continental shelf.

  • But this 7 continent model is flawed. Because... what continent is New Zealand part of? And

  • what about the other 11 independent countries in South Pacific?

  • Well, technically, they're not part of any continent.

  • So one of two things tends to happen... either they're incorrectly included as part of Australia,

  • or there are countries that don't belong to any continent.

  • The problem is, the word continent has no clear definition. The continents of the world

  • are by convention, and not by any strict criteria.

  • In fact, if you look up the word 'continent' in a dictionary, usually you'll just find

  • some vague definition and a list of the 7 continents.

  • So with the 7 continent model, 12 countries are not counted as part of any continent.

  • Now, you might think this sounds logical. I mean, if a country is in the middle of an

  • ocean, it's really not part of any land-mass, right?

  • Well, this doesn't seem to be a problem for other continents. Iceland, for example, is

  • considered part of Europe, despite being an island country hundreds of miles away from

  • the rest of Europe.

  • And what about Madagascar? It's considered part of Africa despite being on a totally

  • different continental shelf. And what about Seychelles, for the matter? No where no any

  • land-mass, yet also considered part of Africa.

  • So the definitions of the Australian continent are limited to the continental shelf, yet

  • other continents are much less strict about what countries are part of that continent.

  • For convenience, the term 'Oceania' refers to all countries and islands in the general

  • South Pacific region.

  • Oceania is split into 4 different subregions: Australasia, Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia.

  • The term 'Australasia', however, is a bit redundant.

  • See... while the other 3 subregions are clearly defined, Australasia is not. And even with

  • its most limited definition, causes over-lapping between the subregions.

  • Australasia may simply refer to Australia and New Zealand. In fact, in the years 1908

  • and 1912, Australia and New Zealand teamed up and competed in the Olympics together as

  • 'Australasia'.

  • Wider definitions may include the island of New Guinea, and possibly even the whole of

  • Melanesia.

  • But even if we just take Australasia to mean just Australia and New Zealand. That still

  • puts New Zealand as part of 2 different subregions of Oceania.

  • Oceania though, is not a continent. It is instead classed a geographic region.

  • Well... in English that is. In other languages, Oceania is one of the continents of the world.

  • Which makes sense: all countries are part of a continent and there's also no name confusion

  • between Australia the country and Australia the continent.

  • But in English, Australia is both a country and a continent, although they mean different

  • things.

  • The United Nations Geo-scheme, which divides the world into different regions, uses Oceania.

  • And one of the subregions is simply called 'Australia and New Zealand'.

  • So... to sum up: there are 7 continents of world. This is Australia, the country, this

  • is Australia, the continent. Both of which are part of the wider geographic region known

  • as Oceania, which itself is divided into 4 subregions: Australasia, Melanesia, Micronesia,

  • Polynesia.

  • Thanks for watching.

In an previous video of mine, I talked about 'America'... and how this could refer to both

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B1 continent australia country zealand south australian

Australia: Country or Continent?

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    羅紹桀 posted on 2015/07/22
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