Is English a bastardised German?

Skippy   Fri Jul 04, 2008 8:05 pm GMT
In Texas almost all of my friends had German last names. Heckman (that's me), Ziegler, Warner, Dischner, Wetzel, Kromer, Altermann, Weiss...

There's a handful that were English (Payne, Hervey, Cale) and Scots Irish like my mom (McLean), McIntyre, Kennedy, Connell, and so on.
Skippy   Fri Jul 04, 2008 9:14 pm GMT
And I just saw this on Everybody Loves Raymond (yeah yeah I know, but I think it's funny)... For those of you that don't know Everybody Loves Raymond is a show about a guy whose lives across the street from his parents in a suburb of NYC, but his grandparents were all Italian, they can all speak Italian (except for his wife from Connecticut), they eat Italian food, etc.

Cousin Gerard: I've never met an Italian from Italy before...

Americans tend to consider themselves "American" but refer to their families as "German" or "Italian" or "Polish" or whatever else.
Earle   Fri Jul 04, 2008 9:26 pm GMT
Hmmm... I hesitate even to dive into this one, there's so much passionately-believed hogwash. There are very few areas of the US where there is even a plurality of German descent. Texas, where Skippy comes from, and the upper Midwest are a couple of areas. But most of the country is a blend. As someone above stated, I'm part German, Dutch, Scot-Irish, Cherokee, and, yes, some English.

My community is unique, in that the part of the population originally from this area is a small minority. Owing to the location of Marshall Space Flight Center, a huge US Army presence, and many international companies, there has been a massive immigration from all over the US, and, indeed, from all over the world. I can't go shopping without hearing an Asian language, and I've become adept at separating out the different tongues.

Now, all that said, this part of the American South, southern end of the Applachian Mountains, was originally mostly of Scots-Irish ancestry. As I was growing up, almost everyone I knew claimed that descent. Even today, with all the in-migration, the single largest section of the telephone book are the names beginning with "Mc." And, as far as names being Anglicized at Ellis Island, that happened. However, the Scots-Irish had already had their names Anglicized - in Ireland.

As far as the US being predominately German, bullshit. People of German descent are usually proud of their ancestry (and they should be) and are more likely to self-identify as German in the census (I always choose "other"). But, so far as being the predominant part of US society, all I can say that I seem to be able to pick out the posters who know the least about the US - they post with the most authority about all things American...
Guest   Sat Jul 05, 2008 3:51 am GMT
Who are these posters Earle?
Guest   Sat Jul 05, 2008 8:47 am GMT
Them and me.
Earle   Sat Jul 05, 2008 10:00 pm GMT
They know, and the citizens and long-time residents of the US know also. But you might go back to the beginning of the thread...
Guest   Sun Jul 06, 2008 12:01 am GMT
Back to the ur-fraign ("original question"), No, English is not bastardized German (i.e. Deutsch). But it is kinda like a bastardized germanic, which in my behuide ("opinion"), is worse.

It's Anglo-Saxon with a Romance roard [i.e. Latin-French] wanna-be complex ("Romance language wanna-be complex").

Wake up leed ("people"), we don't share in the erode urflave ("direct inheritance") of Rome and Athens. We are befellward well-behoalands ("incidental beneficiaries").

fraign n. [frān] < OE frægn - question
behuide n. [be-'hīd] < OE gehygd - belief, opinion
roard n. [rōrd] < OE reord - language, voice, speech
leed n. [lēd] < lēod - people
erode adj. [ə-'rōd] < OE gerād ("direct")
urflave n. ['urv-'lāf] < OE yrfelāf ('urve'-"orphan"+'lafe'-smthng left)
behoaland n. [be-'hōl-ənd]-'recipient' < behoal ("obtain") < OE geholian
heurísko   Sun Jul 06, 2008 12:11 am GMT
Guest   Sun Jul 06, 2008 3:01 am GMT
Hey Earle, according to the Census Bureau, German is the #1 ethnicity in the United States. Do you want to fight the government or something?

Just about everyone here is of ethnic plurality here, but German is officially the most common ancestry claimed by Americans. 20% or something like that. Want to dispute that fact, Earle, take it up with the United States government.
heurísko   Sun Jul 06, 2008 4:15 am GMT
Mr. Guest, the US Government didn't make up these numbers, it was the American people who furnished them.

Yes, German is officially the most common ancestry CLAIMED, or "reported" by Americans. But in actuality there seems to be more Smiths, Johnsons, Williams, Jones, Rodriguez and Garcias than Müllers/Wagners/Schulz.

The largest block of Americans are of English ancestry - though most of them do not claim English ancestry because their families have been in the US for 300 years, because the English mixed with the Cherokee, the Irish, the Dutch and whatnot... or because many persons do not think of English when they think of ethnicity. Ethnicity to many persons is something other than "English".

A large part of the American population doesn't claim an ancestry - and they are mainly of English/British descent. And persons claiming "American" are mostly of English or other British descent. You also have persons who might be for example 3/4 English, 1/8 Irish and 1/8 German claiming Irish, or most likely German ancestry, but not English. English ancestry is greatly underreported in the US.

Guest   Sun Jul 06, 2008 4:19 am GMT
Is English a bastardised German?

No, it is more of a bastardised Germanic language, because German is quite bastardised itself.
Wintereis   Sun Jul 06, 2008 6:05 am GMT
I apparently know the least about America, well, at least according to Earl. I got my information from the government, but apparently this impugns me as ignorant, but I really don't see any research at all that states that the most common ancestry of an American citizen is not German. I can also name names, like Merner, Albrecht, Baumen, Bitzenhofer, Grablander, and Knudsen. But I don’t really see how these are relevant; any sociologist will tell you that personal experience often varies widely from a statistic. I myself am of mixed decent. My family has been here since well before the French and Indian War (the Seven Years War) which certainly makes me an American by most standards. My last name is British (Groves) as is my mother's maiden name, my paternal grandmother's maiden name, and my maternal grandmother's maiden name. Before that, it is about 1/2 British 1/2 German (though Germany didn't exist as a nation at that point, and I don't really see anything in German History or culture that should make them any more proud of their ancestry than any other). And though I have German ancestry, I have no qualms about stating that I am of primarily British decent. I suppose you think that because my name on here is German, I had some sort of bias when I first stated the demographic. I assure you, Wintereis is only a favorite group of songs by one of my many favorite composers and I like the imagery in it. I also named my dog Raiph after the Scottish composer, Ralph Vaughn Williams. So, so much for German bias. I think people assume far too much about others on here.
Guest   Sun Jul 06, 2008 8:22 am GMT
"No, it is more of a bastardised Germanic language, because German is quite bastardised itself."

Not as much as English is. It even looks more like OE as English does...

question - OE frægn, Ger Frage
belief - OE geleafa, Ger Glaube
people - OE lēod, Ger Leute
direct - OE gerād, Ger gerade
OE geholian, Ger holen/ geholt
clouds - OE wolcnum, Ger Wolken
Travis   Sun Jul 06, 2008 9:14 am GMT
One thing that has to be strongly considered here is the difference between ancestry, cultural influence, and identification. For starters, in many such cases, direct ancestry is practically irrelevant. Rather, what is important is cultural influence and identification, which themselves are not equivalent at all. For starters, cultural influence can be present in an area which is very much disconnected from how those there identify, and likewise people can identify as things that are completely connected with their own day to day culture. Of course, things are even more complex than just that in reality.

In this case, there are two important considerations: on one hand, there is a significant undercurrent of German cultural influence in much of the US; on the other hand, just "what percentage" of German ancestry one has is practically irrelevant to the amount of German influence upon the local culture in the area one is from. For instance, one can be largely of German ancestry, yet if one has grown up in an area with little such influence at the local level, one oneself can have grown up with no more German cultural influence than any other American. Yet, at the same time, On the other hand, if one has grown up in various parts of, say, the Upper Midwest, Texas, or Pennsylvania, one can have grown up with comparatively significantly greater amounts of German cultural influence regardless of one's personal ancestry.

Take things here in southern Wisconsin, for instance. German cultural influence has largely become part of the local culture, and just what portion of one's ancestors happened to be ethnically German is largely irrelevant if one is not black or descended from very recent immigrants (as in the last 40 or so years). One can very well be, say, largely Polish in descent, and yet have been influenced far more by German culture than by Polish culture, as the local culture is practically German American in character, while very little Polish cultural influence has been passed on to younger generations. Technically speaking, I myself am "more Polish" than "German" with respect to descent, and yet I tend to identify far more with German culture (and tend to find German culture overall to be far more familiar than Polish culture) due to being raised in the local culture.
Damian in Edinburgh   Sun Jul 06, 2008 10:28 am GMT
I'm sorry to contradict you, Wintereis, but the renowned composer Ralph Vaughan Williams was not Scottish - he was born in the Cotswolds village of Down Ampney, in Gloucestershire, ENGLAND, in 1872. He may well have had Scottish connections for all I know of, but he is regarded as quintessentially English, and his music reflects that.

He also wrote the music for hymns, one of the most famous being "Come Down O Love Divine", the tune of which is actually called Down Ampney, after the village of his birth. Appropriately enough, this being a Sunday morning, here is a guy in an English village church (possibly that of down Ampney for all I know but it could be anywhere in England) playing the hymn tune on the church organ.

"Come down O Love Divine
Seek Thou this soul of mine
And visit it with Thine own ardour glowing.
O Comforter draw near
Within my heart appear
And kindle it. Thy Holy flame bestowing.

O let it freely burn
Till earthly passions turn
To dust and ashes in its heat consuming.
And let Thy glorious light
Shine ever on my sight
And clothe me round, the while my path illuming.

Let Holy charity
Mine outward vesture be
And lowliness become mine inner clothing;
True lowliness of heart,
Which takes the humbler part,
And o'er its own shortcomings weeps with loathing.

And so the yearning strong
With which the soul will long,
Shall far outpass the power of human telling.
For none can guess its grace
Till he become the place
Wherein the Holy Spirit makes His dwelling".

Music by Ralph Vaughan Williams
Words by R F Littledale