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In English, Germans originally referred to the ancient people. (In German, we still call them Germanen, and ourselves Deutsche. Except jocularly, Germanen never refers to modern people.) After the rediscovery of Tacitus' Germania in 1425, the term Germans was initially established for the ancient people. At the time, the modern people were known as Almains (the term only disappeared in the course of the 18th century) or Dutch. Only in the 16th century, the term Germans began to be used for the modern people too; Shakespeare still uses Almains and Germans side by side. To differentiate, it is often said the ancient Germans, even today. Calling us Germans is like calling the English Anglo-Saxons or the Italians Latins, Romans or Italics. It's a revived ancient name that we don't even use ourselves to refer to us (and that the ancient people never seem to have used as a self-designation either). Not to mention that strictly speaking, the Danes for example are "modern Germans" too in that sense. See Germans#Name, Names of Germany#Names from Germania and Names of Germany#Names from Alemanni.
This should be noted in the article, where Germans (or German) is indeed used several times in the Germanen sense. If you check the talk page archive, you'll find people confused by this usage and assume it's somehow nationalistic or at least anachronistic, when in fact it is the use of the term for the modern people that is the real anachronism. (The same is true for Russians, which is offered as a parallel, cf. Rus' (name): russkij refers to the medieval state as well as the modern state, and etymologically speaking the medieval sense is the original one, so terms like "Old Russian (language)" or "Ancient/Medieval Russian" or "Little Russian" are not really anachronistic, and the distinction between Ukrainian, Belarusian and Russian is artificial, given that all three have equal claim to the ethnonym.) I've created a redirect at Ancient Germans to help address this confusing situation. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 13:43, 19 December 2016 (UTC)
- So you are proposing to rename this article? Maybe worth considering. My one concern without thinking very long about it, is that then someone is going to take the current name (Germanic peoples) over to make an article about the supposed modern Germanic peoples who can be found discussed in very few serious publications? I think the term Germanic peoples primarily refers to the ancient ones in normal usage, and the concept of a "modern Germanic people" is mainly a fringe idea. I do not think many people are seriously confusing them with "Germans" (people of German nationality)?--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 15:00, 19 December 2016 (UTC)
- If the article were to be renamed, "Ancient Germanic peoples" would be the best solution, indeed. Ancient Germans and the like does seem to be dated at least in scholarly usage (though maybe only since 1945), even if it partly persists in popular use, so I would not recommend it as the title. And yes, many people are evidently confused when they encounter the term Germans in reference to the ancient people, that's why there should be an explanation of the issue.
- Personally, I'm not too concerned with the title of the article, although the current title is indeed problematic because it is not obvious that it refers exclusively to ancient people. When do the (ancient) Germanic peoples cease to be "Germanic"? --Florian Blaschke (talk) 15:23, 19 December 2016 (UTC)
- A similar issue is that of Germany having historically been used for Germania, sometimes differentiated as Ancient Germany. This can irk the hell out of people, who then suspect nationalistic motivations again. But Germany is simply the traditional Anglicisation, and Germania is a later reborrowing from Latin, after Germany had come to be anachronistically applied to the Holy Roman Empire. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 15:37, 19 December 2016 (UTC)
- Europe is full of such cases. :) But I do doubt that the term Germany is what causes confusion on this article, having watched the editing disagreements on it over some time. I think the big confusion comes from the promotion of the idea, which I think we want to avoid encouraging, that there is a widely accepted and commonly used concept today of "Modern Germanic peoples" meaning not only linguistically. --Andrew Lancaster (talk) 15:57, 19 December 2016 (UTC)
- Maybe. I don't disagree that "Modern Germanic peoples" has no real application but a linguistic one – my favourite example is Philipp Rösler, who, being entirely of Vietnamese descent but adopted by German parents when still a baby, likely has not a single ancestor from Europe but is linguistically and culturally 100% German and thus "Germanic" and does not speak any Vietnamese, so is effectively fully of German and "Germanic" ethnicity unless you're a Blut und Boden nationalist, but the case only serves to demonstrate how murky the concept is.
- But in any case the article should have some note about the use of (the historically correct, but apparently somewhat dated, and possibly confusing term) Germans for the subject of this article, especially considering that the article itself sometimes does this! Basically, something like "also known as (Ancient/Old/whatever) Germans". That's all I'm saying. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 17:14, 19 December 2016 (UTC)
"we don't even use ourselves to refer to us". This is not unusual, it is an exonym. See the article Exonym and endonym and the various related lists for examples. I am more familiar with the List of Greek place names, many of which are exonyms. Germany is called Γερμανία (Germania), a direct transliteration of the Latin term. France is called Γαλλία (Gallia). Britain is called Βρετανία or Μεγάλη Βρετανία (Bretania or Megali Bretania), a transliteration of Britannia. England is called Αγγλία (Anglia). Scotland is called Σκωτία (Scotia). Wales is called Ουαλία (Oualia). Ireland is Ιρλανδία (Irlandia). Japan is called Ιαπωνία (Iaponia). The Unites States are called Ηνωμένες Πολιτείες Αμερικής (Inomenes Politeies Americis), literally the united polities [of] America. And so on.
At least it is better than older Greek sources, which call Germany Αλεμανία or Αλλεμανία (Alemania or Allemania). It is a transliteration of Alamannia and comes with some Medieval connotations.
I am not certain what you mean by modern Germanic peoples. The speakers of the Germanic languages? They are an estimated 500 million people who are native speakers of any of the extant Germanic languages. Dimadick (talk) 09:10, 25 December 2016 (UTC)
"North Sea Germanic", "Rhine-Weser Germanic", "Elbe Germanic"
- You're right that I overlooked some things, but the way they occur in the article is still a little confusing. They first occur in an image caption, and down in the "Early Iron Age" section the terms "North Sea Germanic", "Rhine-Weser Germanic", and "Elbe Germanic" are defined as though these terms hadn't been used in the article at all previously... And "Herminonic" is not included in the article -- I was doing a Google search for ingvaeonic istvaeonic herminonic and was surprised when the only Wikipedia result was Talk:Lombardic language... AnonMoos (talk) 19:57, 2 May 2017 (UTC)
Modern Germanic People
Afrikaners should be deleted because they are the only diaspora group included. If we include them we would also have to include Ulster Scots, Anglo Americans, Anglo Australians, Anglo New Zealanders, Anglo Canadians, Pennsylvania Dutch and Anglo South Africans and Transylvania Saxons. If those groups are covered under German, English and Lowland Scots, than Afrikaners are included under Dutch. Also since we are talking about ethnicity and not nationality, shouldn't Austrians and the Flemish count as Germans and Dutch, respectfully. If we count Austrians as an ethnic group distinct from Germans than German Speaking Swiss should be added.