Aaron E. Drews
aaron at LING.ED.AC.UK
Sat Dec 11 18:52:17 UTC 1999
Sorry it's a bit late, but...
>That was my perception, exactly. But one designation I'm less sure of is
>"the British Isles": I've always assumed it means Great Britain (one isle)
>plus the "Irish" isle (and the little extra ones too) -- but would
>residents of both isles include the Republic of Ireland in that term, since
>it shares an island with No. Ireland? (Maybe we shouldn't go down that
>>Presumably the problem with both "Britain" and "Great Britain" as a
>>geographical label for that once-sceptered isle comes from the confusion
>>with the political designation "United Kingdom", but since that's short (I
>>think) for "The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland", this
>>would confirm Beverly's observation.
I think including Ireland as part of the British isles depends on where
one comes from (either geographically or socially). In American English
speakers, what are the geographical borders of "downtown" or the "inner
So, from a middle-class (on up) speaker in London, the "British Isles"
probably includes Ireland (and "England" includes "Scotland", but that's
something else). In Northern Ireland, the defintion of the British Isles
depends on which side of the divide(s) one is on. In the Republic of
Ireland, the British Isles probably just include Britain, the Channel
Isles (Gurnsey, Jersey, etc), possible the Isle of Mann, but not Eire.
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