'people' (was: Re: autonym)

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Sun May 10 05:36:33 UTC 2009

FWIW, isn't _deutsch_ "from O.H.G. duit-isc, corresponding to O.E.
_'þeodisc belonging to _the people_,' used especially of the common
language of Germanic people, from þeod "_people_, race, nation," from
P.Gmc. *theudo 'popular, national' ..."

The Online Etymological Dictionary

All say, "How hard it is that we have to die"---a strange complaint to
come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
-Mark Twain

On Sat, May 9, 2009 at 5:28 PM, Lynne Murphy <m.l.murphy at sussex.ac.uk> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender: Â  Â  Â  American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster: Â  Â  Â  Lynne Murphy <m.l.murphy at SUSSEX.AC.UK>
> Subject: Â  Â  Â 'people' (was: Re: autonym)
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> --On Friday, May 8, 2009 18:24 -0500 Darla Wells <lethe9 at GMAIL.COM> wrote:
>> I have been meaning to ask you all about that. I read somewhere that many
>> people have names referring to themselves as people and call outsiders
>> other names; I think the example used was the Navaho calling themselves
>> Dine and outsiders calling them Navaho. Is that another linguistic urban
>> legend?
> There are various examples of auto(-ethno)nyms that mean 'people', but it
> is debatable whether some of them are true ethnonyms--i.e. used do
> distinguish themselves from other groups. Â Groups don't need names for
> themselves until they come into regular contact with other groups. Â So,
> there have been cases when a member of a group is asked by an outsider 'and
> what do you call yourselves' and the answer they give is 'people'. Â But
> that may or may not mean that they don't call members of other groups by
> that name.
> Now, I know I have examples of these things in papers I wrote more than 10
> years ago, but I'm in exile from my office during a move, so can't get to
> them. Â Inuit means 'people', but I can't recall whether it's what they use
> (or used in the past) to contrast themselves with other groups. 'Bantu'
> means 'people', but is not the name of a single ethnic group. Â There are
> some (perhaps several) Khoisan ethnonyms that mean 'people' and others that
> are uncomplimentary names given to them by other groups...there's a little
> on that here: <http://www.khoisan.org/>.
> Lynne
> Dr M Lynne Murphy
> Senior Lecturer in Linguistics and English Language
> Arts B135
> University of Sussex
> Brighton BN1 9QN
> phone: +44-(0)1273-678844
> http://separatedbyacommonlanguage.blogspot.com
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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