Thursday, November 16, 2006

Is "Anglo-Saxon" an impolite term ?

Here are some questions from my pal hippo for you to ponder on - and to contribute a comment if you feel so inclined.

1. Why do the French refer to us on occasions as Anglo-Saxons ?

2. Who is included in that description - is it just the English, or does it include the Scots, the Welsh and the Northern Irish ?

3. What is the term "Anglo-Saxon" intended to convey that is not adequately described by the term British, English etc ?

4. Is the term Anglo-Saxon intended to be pejorative ? If so, mildly or strongly ?

5. Anglo-Saxons are described in some history books as 'barbarian invaders'. Is the term Anglo-Saxon synonomous with barbarian ?

6. When the French refer to Anglo-Saxon economics, which of the following countries is included: : Britain, Ireland, the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa ?

7. If it is OK to refer to Britons, or British-derived stock as Anglo-Saxons, would it be equally OK to refer to the French as Franks, Gauls, or Normans ?

1 comment:

richard of orléans said...

1)I think a key point to understanding this term is that the French see a fairly monolithic English speaking block with decision making made in Washington. They wouldn't really consider the UK as an independent nation.

2)The French rarely distinguish between English and British. The Celtic nations are seen as like minded peoples(to the French) under the English joug.

3)The fact that all decisions are made in Washington. The UK is not a sovereign state.

4)It is intended to identify a culture which is the opposite of French culture.Dog eats dog capitalism, inequality, national division, money driven. It is intended to indicate the opposite of what we want. On the other hand in its ruthlessness and power seeking there is a certain degree of respect, similar to that for the Godfather or Al Capone.

5) No the term 'barbarians' is rarely used. 'Anglo-Saxon'is not used as a historical description.

6) As stated above the US encompasses all. The rest do not have an individual identity. The UK would be something like the Isle of Man

7) Anglo-Saxon is a historically partially accurate term. In historical terms it would be just as (in)accurate to call the French Franks. Or which they would no doubt prefer, Gauls. But the point is that no similar geographical entity to 'Anglo Saxon' exists in the Franco World. Maybe 'Old Europe' is a closer analogy in the sense that for the Anglo Saxons it encompasses an economically sclerotic, cowardly group of nations.