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Thread: The Term 'Nordic' According To Scholars Of English

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    Lightbulb The Term 'Nordic' According To Scholars Of English

    Below is an excerpt from what I consider to be the LEADING dictionary of the English langauge, The Oxford English Dictionary (2nd edition, prepared by J. A. Simpson & E. S. C. Weiner, Volume X (Moul-Ovum) [Oxford:Clarendon Press, 1989], p. 513; concerning the term ‘Nordic’ with my editing in [brackets]; and my comments thereafter.

    <Nordic ('nordik), adjective and substantive {adjective French nordique (J. Deniker 1898, in L’Anthropologie [volume?/chapter?] IX. [page] 127) from nord NORTH: see -IC.} A., a. adjective Of or pertaining to the Scandinavian people or their languages; specifically of or pertaining to a physical type of northern Germanic peoples characterized by tall stature, bony frame, light colouring, and dolichocephalic head.

    In Nazi doctrine the ‘Nordic race' was regarded as essentially ‘superior’ to other races.

    [Examples of it’s use in English literature, etc.:]
    1898 W. Z. RIPLEY in Pop. Sci. Monthly Oct. [page] 744 “A direct physical relationship between the three {peoples}, referring them all to a so-called nordic race, is confirmed by the very latest and most competent authority {sc. J. Deniker}. 1921 Contemp. Rev. Jan. [page] 56 “All the talk about Nordic supremacy is vanity when we look at the facts in Europe.” 1929 CHESTERTON Thing [volume?/chapter?] xiv [page] 113 “Englishmen who now call themselves Nordic used to call themselves Teutonic.” 1938 G. HEYER Blunt Instrument [chapter] ii. [page] 37 “You ought to have seen me giving my impression of a Nordic public-school man with a reverence for good form and the done-thing.” 1939 H. G. WELLS Holy Terror [volume?/edition?] IV. [ch.] ii. [p.] 419 “The new generation of Germans were ashamed of the Hitler period and the Nordic legend.” 1940 H. G. WELLS All Aboard for Ararat [ch.] i. [p.] 24 “The third, Japhet, was what the Germans would consider a Nordic type, all milk and roses.” 1957 M. BELOFF Europe & Europeans [ch.] iv. [p.] 86 “The Nordic languages, especially Old Norse, borrowed important words from Anglo-Saxon.” 1959 Chambers's Encycl. [vol.] XIV. [p.?] 319/1 “The term viking is Nordic in origin.” 1966 W. P. LEHMANN in Birnbaum & Puhvel Anc. Indo-Europ. Dialects [p.] 16 “The most striking innovation common to Gothic and the Nordic languages is the development of a stop in geminate j and w clusters.” 1968 G. Jones Hist. Vikings [p.] 69 “As Wessen says, at the beginning of his history of the Swedish language: We have then come to the Primitive Nordic language, the parent tongue of the present Nordic vernaculars, common to the Scandinavian countries down to the beginnings of the Viking Age.” 1970 FOOTE & WILSON Viking Achievement [p.] 3“Some of the Nordic provinces had sent out tribes in the Migration Age [the Folkwanderings] to join the more southerly Germanic peoples as they cut their way through the old domains of the Roman Empire.” 1973 G. BEARE Snake on Grave [ch.] vii. [p.] 36 “A crowd of Nordic drunks at a table near him was singing.” 1974 Encycl. Brit. Micropædia [vol.] VII. [p.] 386/3 "Nordic Council, organization of the Nordic states of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden for the purpose of consultation and cooperation on matters of common interest."

    b. Of a skiing competition involving cross-country or jumping events.

    B. substantive 1. A person of the Nordic type.

    [Examples of it’s use in English literature, etc.:]
    1901 Cassell's Mag. June [p.] 110/2 “The tall blonde race of northern Europe, sometimes called 'Teutons', but more scientifically 'Nordics'.” 1928 WODEHOUSE Money for Nothing [ch.] ii. [p.] 32 “Well, all I can say is…it's no life for a refined Nordic.” 1936 H. G. WELLS Anat. Frustration [ch.] xv [p.] 176 “It is for the treatment of the Jews that we are most frequently urged to condemn Hitlerism…Their {sc. the Jews'} racial purity is as much a falsehood as the racial purity of the 'Nordics'.” 1937 A. HUXLEY Ends & Means [ch.] xiii. [p.] 242 “Hitlerian theology affirms that there is a Nordic race, inherently superior to all other. Hence it is right that Nordics should organize themselves for conquest.”

    2. The northern branch of the Germanic languages.

    [Examples of it’s use in English literature, etc.:]
    1955 T. BURROW Sanskrit Lang. [p.] 8 “Germanic…may be divided into East Germanic or Gothic (extinct), Nordic or Scandinavian, and West Germanic.” 1967 Scandinavian Studies [vol.] XXXIX. [p.] 16...''Proto-Scandinavian and Common Nordic.” 1972 in Van Coetsem & Kufner Toward Gram. of Proto-Germanic [p.] 78 “The close relationship of 'Nordic' and 'Gothic'.”>

    My Comments:
    • Definition A. a. in it’s first part provides a general idea of what ‘Nordic’ means, i.e. relating to persons from or living in Scandinavia OR someone who speaks a Scandinavian language. Taking this logically, only southern Sweden is classically considered to be ‘Scandinavia;’ so, I suppose it can be argued with this in mind as well as the above first part of the definition, that one HAS to be living in or from Southern Sweden in order to be ‘Nordic,’ OR one has to speak the Svensk of Southern Sweden in order to be ‘Nordic.’ If one carries this idea even FURTHER in this direction, when considering the latter part of this definition, in addition to the above geographical & lingusitic requirements: one has to also be a metaethnically ‘northern Germanic’ of tall stature (whatever the range might be), with a boney/skiny frame/body, with light/’blonde’ coloring (of skin, hair, & irises); and with a dolichocephalic head form (i.e., long/narrow-headed with a cephalic index under 77 {i.e., according to Baker}). If one interprets this definition as I have just done, hardly anyone breathing air today is ‘Nordic.’
    • The very end of definition A. a. cites the Hitlerian-N.S. school of thought concerning this term (although said school would say “Nordisch” not “Nordic'' ).
    • The 1898 quote points out Ripley’s appreciation of Deniker.
    • The Contemp. Rev. quote of 1921 suggests that the advocates of ‘Nordic supremacy’ in the Europe of that day were arguing a hopeless argument.
    • I love CHESTERTON’s quote from ’29, it points to how attitudes had changed among Englishmen during that period of time. The former term was always and still is applicable (Englishmen are indeed ‘Teutonic’ by blood/heritage), it is the application of the latter term for Englishmen that is seemingly controversial nowadays in certain (esp. anti-English) circles.
    • The HEYER quote of 1938 implies ‘Nordics’ as lovers of socialism (public-schools) and discipline.
    • I find the H. G. WELLS Holy Terror quote from ’39 to be quite baffling, I wish I could see the context, it makes no sense to me, honestly.
    • Wells’ sentiment in All Aboard for Ararat I find both humorous and insightful! LOL I suppose ‘Japhet’ refers to a mountain…if the Germans of 1940 considered the ‘Nordic type’ to be ‘all milk and roses;’ well, I’m in ABSOLUTE agreement! ‘Nordic’ skin and hair is all about ‘milk & roses!!!’ LOL
    • BELOFF’s quote from ’57 points out the fact of intimate early relations between Anglo-Saxons and Norsemen.
    • The quote from ’59 is obvious enough.
    • The Lehmann quote from ’66 is interesting linguistics but over my head, sadly.
    • The Jones’ quote from ’68 provides insight into the close kinship of the Scandinavian tongues.
    • The FOOTE & WILSON quote from ’70 declares what the knowledgable already know, Scandinavians were involved in the ‘Folkwanderings’ of old.
    • Beare’s qoute from ’73 sounds like some folks I know! LOL ;-)
    • Concerning the 1974, more than one person out in the world would say: ''if one is from one of the countries who are members of the Nordic Council, then said person is ‘Nordic.’"
    • Definition A. b. is about sports, of course (I omited the quotes for this section).
    • Definition B1. refers to physical anthropology alone.
    • The Cassell's Mag.‘s piece from 1901 points out the notion of the day of a ‘tall’ ‘blonde’/light colored ‘northern’ European race sometimes called in the popular parlance of the day ‘Teutonic’ as contrasted with the ‘Nordic’ label of that day’s phy. anthropology. I, personally, in 2004 still consider these two terms to be synonymous. Actually, I prefer Teutonic over Nordic (the former is an ethnic-based term…the latter a geographically-based term), but that’s just me. ;-)
    • WODEHOUSE in ’28 seems to insinuate that the natural place for ‘Nordics’ is in ‘ivory towers’ (a realm of the ‘elite’ ).
    • I love that H. G. WELLS’ quote from ’36…I’ve used it in my signature before as some of you might have noticed. It is full of insight in many ways, some perhaps not obvious; such as, no ‘famous’ person in the Western World today could get away with saying something like this and not having his/her career ruined…my how the times have changed.
    • The anti-totalitarian A. HUXLEY declares in ’37 Hitlerian views to be ‘theological,’ (no doubt sarcastically) including the ‘Nordicist’ aspects of said ‘theology.’
    • Definition B2. refers to linguistics alone. This should be fairly easily understood by all.
    I welcome any and all comments. I’ve posted this in the Portal, because I want no input from idiots. ;-) I apologize for any typos or editing errors, I mean there's just SO MANY times I can stand editing a document! LOL Cheers!


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    Post Re: The Term 'Nordic' According To Scholars Of English

    This is how I define nordic in the anthropoplogical sense.
    the characters do not make the genus, but the genus gives the characters -- Linnaeus

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