Gegaderung

Gegaderung => Anglo-Saxon Discussion => Topic started by: Phyllis on October 06, 2019, 10:32:02 AM

Title: Anglo-Saxon as a term
Post by: Phyllis on October 06, 2019, 10:32:02 AM
I know this is contentious so please feel free to ignore, delete or whatever. However I was interested in a recent discussion about the name for the "International Society for Anglo Saxonists". I know I often find it hard to appreciate how the term Anglo-Saxon is understood, and am aware that some of us personally have come a cropper when it has been interpreted differently from our intention, myself included. I therefore found it very helpful (and salutary) to read the following article which puts the usage of the term in perspective and reminded me that just because we understand it one way in this country (and even then, not universally), we cannot assume the same elsewhere in the world.

There is more information here:
http://www.wordorigins.org/index.php/more/1031/?fbclid=IwAR1bJpefqE-TITBrHuwyEDLIl0IjPIactWeWNVQEHAvEkN6DVhJxnh68drI
Title: Re: Anglo-Saxon as a term
Post by: Locian on November 01, 2019, 04:30:30 PM
The answer is to ignore all PC requests to demonise the term "Anglo-Saxon" and continue to use it - constantly.
Title: Re: Anglo-Saxon as a term
Post by: Eanflaed on November 02, 2019, 03:08:37 PM
I agree with Locian - I think we should not stop using the term “Anglo-Saxon” because to lose it would be another nail in the coffin of our pre-Conquest history, there are several academics trying to deny the existence of the Anglo-Saxons as it is. The fact that most British people understand the term in its proper historical sense is brilliant and very comforting. What the rest of the World interpret it as is really their problem. If we try to stop using “Anglo-Saxon” it would, in a way I think, be a denial of our national history. And a reinforcement of the Americans’ white supremist interpretation. There are many words that mean different things in different countries - try asking an American for a rubber if you want to correct something you’ve written!! It’s our history and if different people want to know about it they will have to adhere to our terminology. I admit I hold my breath sometimes when I tell people I am a member of an Anglo-Saxon history society (which annoys and saddens me) but I think the English Companions as a society is a brilliant ambassador for our period and is contributing to the acceptance of the term Anglo-Saxon in a proper, serious historical sense.
Title: Re: Anglo-Saxon as a term
Post by: peter on November 02, 2019, 04:46:41 PM
   I once had a 'disagreement' on an archaeology web site about using the generic term 'Celtic' to describe the many tribes of that particular era, I had many abusive comments until I took the time to research and list as many of the European Celtic tribes as I could find, then went on to list them on the site (they ran into the hundreds), and I politely suggested that this was the reason for using this generic term, I didn't hear anything after that! Being as I am from Irish stock, I am not in the least offended by the term 'Celtic' to describe my ancestors, even though there were many tribes of Irish peoples. The same goes for the 'ing' group or tribe endings in AS towns and villages, do these pedantic people want us to name them all (it would make for rather large tomes)? How far do we go (?) Frisian, Angle, Saxon they were all probably made up of many different tribes and groups. Being 'PC' is becoming a nuisance!
Title: Re: Anglo-Saxon as a term
Post by: hidethegn on November 03, 2019, 05:38:46 PM
In this December's BBC History magazine Michael Wood warned of the dangers of speaking of "Anglo-Saxons". Our American cousins do not understand this as an historical term but instead as a white supremacist slogan "white, Anglo-Saxon and protestant". I think he intends it simply as a caveat. Personally, being particularly interested in the 10th and 11th centuries I have always stuck to "English" but it does then become difficult when one goes back further than England and the Danelaw.


"Is it time to retire the term Anglo-Saxon" he asks but then seems to leave it to us whether we conform to political correctness. He adds "change should not be feared". Neither, I think, should the proper use of the English language.
Title: Re: Anglo-Saxon as a term
Post by: Locian on November 04, 2019, 12:42:25 PM
If we are stopped from using the term Anglo-Saxon, then what will be next?  English?  England?  Will they too become words and terms that cannot be used for fear of creating offence?  The revisionists have already been pulling out all the stops to deny that the Anglo-Saxon invasions ever happened, (when all the signs show that they did) and that it was all just indigenous tribes adopting a new fashion*.  They are fond of quoting that old chestnut that no battle sites have ever been found, ergo: no invasion.  It is so ludicrous a statement that I cannot believe that historians and archaeologists can say it without being afraid of being thought of as stupid.  To quote Stephen Pollington: "...peverse ideology which insists in writing the English out of their own history".  We English are a very tolerant folk (we are famous for it) and are happy for others to celebrate their religions, beliefs and cultures so it is time they acknowledged us and ours. 

*Historical, language, Place-names, archaeological, literature, religion, DNA - some fashion, eh?
Title: Re: Anglo-Saxon as a term
Post by: peter on November 04, 2019, 05:02:15 PM
Well said, Locian!
Title: Re: Anglo-Saxon as a term
Post by: Eanflaed on November 04, 2019, 05:09:34 PM
Absolutely agree Locian!
Title: Re: Anglo-Saxon as a term
Post by: Horsa on November 05, 2019, 07:14:56 PM
I have always thought the term 'anglo-saxon' a bit silly. It comes up only about 4 or 5 times in the corpus and if I remember correctly is never used to refer to the English peoples English writers tended to prefer "Englisc". I have always referred to the peoples of Britain as the Cornish, Welsh, Picts, Britons, and English. I sometimes throw in 'Early' or 'pre-conquest' just to disambiguate from modern inhabitants of the Kingdom of England.
Title: Re: Anglo-Saxon as a term
Post by: peter horn on November 11, 2019, 05:50:14 PM
I have always thought the term 'anglo-saxon' a bit silly. It comes up only about 4 or 5 times in the corpus and if I remember correctly is never used to refer to the English peoples English writers tended to prefer "Englisc". I have always referred to the peoples of Britain as the Cornish, Welsh, Picts, Britons, and English. I sometimes throw in 'Early' or 'pre-conquest' just to disambiguate from modern inhabitants of the Kingdom of England.


not silly
used from 8th century, to distinguish the Saxons in Britain from the Saxons in the continental Homelands.
Title: Re: Anglo-Saxon as a term
Post by: Locian on November 15, 2019, 01:45:15 PM
Peter Horn

Quite right Peter, it is a sensible term and a correct one.
Title: Re: Anglo-Saxon as a term
Post by: Horsa on November 28, 2019, 05:00:33 PM
"Anglo-saxon" was a term to distinguish insular saxons from continental saxons, and it was coined by 19th century scholars to distinguish the germanic speacking inhabits of Britain from the continental Saxons.

My aversion to using the term is due to the paucity of its incidence in Old English literature. The Old English used variants of the term only a handful of times and not in a way that corresponds to its modern usage. It was used to refer to an alliance between Wessex and Mercia, and I believe that Aelfric uses it a couple of times in his latin writing in ways that do not correspond to how it has been used in the modern era to refer to the pre-conquest English.

Otherwise the pre-conquest English referred to themselves as Englisc or Ænglisc and their language likewise.

I was never comfortable using the term, because it sounded made up, Latin and poncy. The current controversy over the term made me feel a little better in my personal preference of term, but not much. But it has afforded me the opportunity to read some interesting writing about the term its use and its history (the above is taken from that). I shall dig out and post here.

Not to be an argumentative so-and-so, but for general information purposes, and it's generally polite for someone to cite their sources, which is something I try to do.
Title: Re: Anglo-Saxon as a term
Post by: Horsa on November 28, 2019, 06:52:00 PM
Still trying to dredge up my sources. I don't keep meticulous records of my incessant internettery.

I have, however, come across these two Twitter threads where the Professor of mediaeval studies, Dr. Erik Wade, at the university of Bonn, discusses the usage of the term 'Anglo Saxon' by the pre-conquest English, and the origin of the term in the modern period and its early use in a culture characterized by racism.
https://twitter.com/erik_kaars/status/1188408954717646848 (https://twitter.com/erik_kaars/status/1188408954717646848)
https://twitter.com/erik_kaars/status/1189085668942733312 (https://twitter.com/erik_kaars/status/1189085668942733312)





Title: Re: Anglo-Saxon as a term
Post by: peter horn on November 29, 2019, 10:46:17 AM
the problem is not so much whether the AS sometimes used the term "Anglo-Saxon' or something similar, (of course they did) but wether we today should continue to use the term. (see the first post on this thread. ) This involves PC attitudes.
Peter H
Title: Re: Anglo-Saxon as a term
Post by: peter horn on November 29, 2019, 10:57:18 AM
to use the term 'Early English' instead of "Anglo-Saxon' doesn't work for a number of reasons.
Peter H
Title: Re: Anglo-Saxon as a term
Post by: Horsa on November 29, 2019, 04:24:22 PM
Cool.
I mean, until further notice, anyone and everyone can continue to use the term Anglo-Saxon. It's only really in the world of academia where the discussion is most pertinent and also going on alongside discussions of inclusion.
I've never been comfortable with the term, and in my posts here, I don't believe I've ever used the term 'Anglo-Saxon', though I may have written AS. For me, 'political correctness' isn't really a good reason not to do something. Some mistakes have been made in the name of political correctness: not having a Christmas Tree in a court of law, for example, but I've only ever experienced political correctness as based on the premise of courtesy between members and groups within a particular society.

And, if there are reasons not to use the term "Early English" or "pre-conquest English" (Ha ha! "PC English") I do not know of them, and am having trouble guessing what they might be. I mean the kingdom(s) of England were pluralistic places with Brythonic speaking, and (I believe) Latin speaking Britons, and later Danes Norwegians and people from the coastal areas of Götaland in Sweden, and goodness knows who else, who wouldn't be covered by the term "Englisc" in its sense as an ethnonym, though they were existing within the general political and indeed linguistic framework introduced by the continental arrivals/immigrants/invaders/conquerors what-have-you, so it's a good enough appellation for me and underlines a linguistic continuity from Aelfred up to Auden, so that's kind of why I prefer that term to Anglo-Saxon.
As I said, I personally have never been comfortable with the term, but that's just me and we can continue to refer to the Early English as Anglo-Saxons, or Angle-Saxon-Jute confederation or what-have-you until further notice.
Title: Re: Anglo-Saxon as a term
Post by: Phyllis on November 30, 2019, 05:11:01 PM
Having lit the blue touchpaper and retired I felt I might add my own thoughts as they have continued to evolve in the recent debate and further reading I have done.

I was shocked at the realisation that outside the UK the term Anglo-Saxon is understood so differently. I am not convinced there is a better term and feel we need to reclaim it. However, if this is in fact the way to proceed then we should do so fully aware of the fact that for a majority of people the term means something other than what we in this group mean. So we may need to qualify it at the same time.

Frankly I do not want to be misunderstood. I do not want to make people feel uncomfortable. Why would I? I may not have understood earlier how the term was perceived but I am no longer in ignorance.

But while I'm talking to you lot I will probably still use it, just as I use technical jargon when discussing matters of IT / computer topics with other ICT professionals (but never end users) :)



Title: Re: Anglo-Saxon as a term
Post by: peter horn on December 01, 2019, 03:46:30 PM
I was amazed and very concerned at the numerous political  posts surrounding the 'International society of Anglo-Saxonists' on the net. this will do great harm to that society and to AS Studies generally.


I do not want to see similar posts on the Gegaderung. 


In this regard the attention of Members is drawn to the notice at the top of the Home page.


Peter Horn Wita
Admin
 


Title: Re: Anglo-Saxon as a term
Post by: Eanflaed on December 02, 2019, 01:09:40 PM
https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/scholars-defend-anglo-saxon-name-t6gzxtj3h (https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/scholars-defend-anglo-saxon-name-t6gzxtj3h) At last some common sense!
Title: Re: Anglo-Saxon as a term
Post by: Locian on December 02, 2019, 07:05:08 PM
Anglo-Saxon as term coined in the 19th C?  Perhaps.  But we all know the verse from the Parker MS of 937AD:

siÞÞan easten hider
ENGLE OND SEAXE up becoman
ofer brad brimu Brytene sohtan

I'm sure that the Anglo-Saxons had many ways to refer to themselves.  So why not Anglo-Saxon?
Title: Re: Anglo-Saxon as a term
Post by: Locian on December 02, 2019, 07:22:34 PM

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/scholars-defend-anglo-saxon-name- At last some common sense!

Long may common sense continue against the ridiculous PC onslaught.
Title: Re: Anglo-Saxon as a term
Post by: Horsa on December 04, 2019, 04:16:06 PM
What are the arguments against using "Early English" or "Pre-conquest English"?
Title: Re: Anglo-Saxon as a term
Post by: peter horn on December 05, 2019, 03:10:31 PM
What are the arguments against using "Early English" or "Pre-conquest English"?


"The pre-conquest up becomen ofer brad brim"


I think not
Title: Re: Anglo-Saxon as a term
Post by: Horsa on December 10, 2019, 07:27:24 PM
Hello again Leofe gesiþas

I am not being contrary. I am not attacking anyone’s preference for the term ‘Anglo-Saxon’ over other terms. My comments are made in the spirit of good-natured, good-humoured debate. As I have said, at least for the time being, the discussion over ‘Anglo-saxon’ is raging in the Academy, and it is of little import which term we laypeople - enthusiastic knowledgeable and skillful amateurs – prefer to employ. Having said that, we are indebted to the work of the academy past and present so it’s interesting to keep track of, and voice opinions on, the debate going on there.

While I’ve never been particularly fond of ‘anglo-saxon’, and prefer other terms, I am in full sympathy with Phyllis’ statement that the racist identitarians should not have the right to invest their meanings into language that we use for utterly friendly and pacific, and dare I say inclusive, pursuits.I’m reminded of the case in Sweden where a far-right group appropriated the Tyr rune, and it is now deemed by a court of law to be a Nazi symbol (in certain contexts. It resembles an up arrow, so a comic got some good comedy out of “Nazi” signs on the Stockholm subway train system “One ticket, One journey, One Führer!”). Similarly, a German mid-century fascist political party appropriated the sun wheel symbol, flipped it and it’s now indelibly associated with unspeakable atrocity, loss of life, and odious ideas which is brought to mind every time I pass the Chinese buddhist association premises in West Toronto.

In any case, I am having difficulty following some of the points being made here. Perhaps, because they are made briefly and in haste, or conversely they are read briefly and in haste.


I mentioned legitimate problems with the term ‘Anglo-saxon’ that doesn't even include the current discussion in academia around its origins and use in contexts heavily characterized by racism. It was then said that there were problems with using the terms “Early English” and “Pre-conquest English” without further elaboration.

It was also said that it didn’t matter how the Early English referred to themselves, but how we should refer to them. This is a fair point. It is normally the courteous thing to do with ethno-cultural groups to use the name they prefer or which they use to refer to themselves. In Canada, for example, the indigenous peoples prefer to be referred to as “first nations” rather than “Indians” and out of respect and courtesy, this is the term employed settler Canadians. 

Taking this as the model, I like to refer to the mediaeval political-cultural group/s as “English” or “Early English” or "Early Mediaeval English” or 'pre-conquest English" as the early English referred to themselves in English almost exclusively as ‘Englisc’. As noted before, in Latin and mainly with very specific political/judicial or religious/spiritual meanings, they referred to themselves as ‘anglo-saxorum’.The difference between the First Nations and the mediaeval English is, of course, that the latter are an historical group and the object of study and the former is a contemporary group and a subject in nation to nation relations. In this case it is of less importance to refer to the Englisc by the name they prefer to use, and it is impossible (at the moment) to ask them how they would like people a thousand years thence to refer to them. Add to this that it was said in this thread that there are, in fact, problems with referring to the Early English as “Early English”.

When I asked out of curiosity, and interest in other views, for an example of these problems. I was answered with a line of Old English poetry with the plural nouns Engle and Seaxe (which are not the adjective anglo-saxon) replaced with a modern English word: ‘conquest’.This does not answer my question as to what the problems with “early English” as a term might be, and moreover, seems to be an assertion of how the early mediaeval English preferred to refer to themselves, which is in contradiction to the statement that it does not matter so much what the early English used to refer to themselves.


I say ‘seems’ as this poem is not an example of how the early English referred to themselves:
 “… Ne wearð wæl māre
 on ðȳs īglande    ǣfre gȳta
 folces gefylled    beforan ðyssum
 sweordes ecgum,    ðæs ðe ūs secgað bēc,
 ealde ūðwitan,    siþþan ēastan hider
 Engle and Seaxe    ūpp becōmon,
 ofer brāde brimu    Brytene sōhton,”
Nor has there on this island

been ever yet a greater number slain,
killed by the edges of the sword before
This time, as books make known to us, and old
and learned scholars, after hither came
The Angles and Saxons from the east
Over the broad sea sought the land of Britain.
 
I used Richard Hamer’s translation rather than my own. It came from a book with the title “Choice of Anglo Saxon verse’ 


As we can see from this poem, the author is not referring to the early Mediaeval English but Germanic peoples of the continent in late antiquity. The author is referring to historical groups not to his or her own cultural political group. And he or she is using them as a time reference not as an identity marker.

“since records began” “since the fall of the roman empire” “since before there was even an Englelond,” are rough loose paraphrases.

So, are there problems with modern enthusiasts describing the the dominant culture in what is now England using the phrases "early English" or "pre-conquest English"? If so, what are they?
Title: Re: Anglo-Saxon as a term
Post by: peter horn on December 18, 2019, 01:36:52 PM
Im not comfortable with the term 'pre-conquest English'   :)


I prefer "Here comes the Anglo-Saxons" to "Here comes the pre-Conquest English"


see also WW 192 Page 6, just issued.


In my AS books the term "Anglo-Saxon" often appears in the title/





Title: Re: Anglo-Saxon as a term
Post by: cynewulf on February 21, 2020, 04:36:35 PM
Hi


Just catching up with this discussion.


I have always been very clear in my understanding of the Anglo-Saxon period, and its peoples. No need to change. The term should NOT be appropriated by American racists or as a term of no great endearment by the followers of De Gaulle who used 'les anglo-saxons' to refer to the US/UK governments of the 20th century - how many errors are there in that one ? No, Anglo-Saxon should stay as it is. What would the wokes prefer us to call Anglo-Saxon Chronicle ? My books refer to the historical period as the Anglo-Saxon period and the language as Old English. End of.


It is a sad indictment of today's society that there are too many professional offence-takers objecting to innocent terms. Leave our sleeping AS dog to lie !!  >:(
Title: Re: Anglo-Saxon as a term
Post by: Eanflaed on February 22, 2020, 05:49:53 PM
Well said Cynewulf!
Title: Re: Anglo-Saxon as a term
Post by: cynewulf on March 02, 2020, 12:09:20 PM
Thanks Eanflaed

I've just read the most absurd PC rubbish on the ISAS site. If it wasn't serious it would be hilarious.....how PC Americans tie themselves in knots trying to avoid terms which might possibly offend the over-sensitive. Well let them carry on their pointless debate. I ask again, what would these people have us call the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle ?