Northern Ireland = British?

elirlandes

Senior Member
Ireland English
Government policy in the Republic of Ireland, particularly at the time of independence from the United Kingdom is/was particularly sensitive to they use of the word British in any context. As a result, it is true that British Isles is not a term that is used officially by state institutions in the Republic (although its prominence in general parlance means that it does creep in to some documentation as a quick search on www.gov.ie will show you...).

A minority subsection of the population in Ireland take a negative view on the term "British Isles", based on the same hyper-correction which is a result of misplacing the origin of the term as one relating to British having a meaning of "relationship to the United Kingdom".

General parlance in the Republic recognises that British Isles is in fact a geographical term that has no political overtones, and relates to the fact that the majority of the celts that lived in these islands in the period preceding the Roman and Germanic invasions were Britons.

Note that in Irish, words related to British are used to refer to "celtic" peoples [Bríotánach = Breton, Breatnach = Welsh] whereas the word for "English" is "Sasanach" (which comes from "Saxon").

The term British Isles is generally not controversial in Ireland [and before you all chime in, I am a died in the wool Republican, Irish, non-British person], save for certain circles which try to be hyper-correct. There is no generalised term that acts as a recognised replacement for the term. Sometimes you hear "Great Britain and Ireland", but this leaves out a number of other islands (Mann, Hebridies etc) or "these islands" which as a turn of phrase avoids the controversy by not being specific at all.

I know very few Irish people who have been offended by the term Islas Britanicas to refer to the archipeligo where we come from. On the other hand, call me (and/or any other Irish person) Británico or worse still, as used to be regularly used, Inglés, and you will get a history lesson...

In the same vein, do Portuguese people complain about the term Iberian Peninsula? They are not Iberians, but rather Lusitanian in origin. Nobody calls Portuguese people Iberians, but few would say that Portugal is not on the Iberian Peninsula. It is not a dis-similar situation.
 
  • Pedro y La Torre

    Senior Member
    English (Ireland)
    A minority subsection of the population in Ireland take a negative view on the term "British Isles", based on the same hyper-correction which is a result of misplacing the origin of the term as one relating to British having a meaning of "relationship to the United Kingdom".

    General parlance in the Republic recognises that British Isles is in fact a geographical term that has no political overtones, and relates to the fact that the majority of the celts that lived in these islands in the period preceding the Roman and Germanic invasions were Britons.
    With the greatest of respect, you're being disingenuous. Far more than a ''minority subsection of the population'' has a problem with it.

    The term is not used in Irish geography textbooks these days, and hasn't been for some years if my schooling is anything to go by. The government doesn't use it as has already been made clear. It's not used in official circles.

    Most people I know personally dislike it and never use it. Ditto for what I've read from many others online as regards the term. That's far more than a minority subsection.

    Indeed, this recent article from the Guardian sheds some light on what Irish readers think of the term. I don't think they'd be in a minority if you asked the man in the street.

    While I dislike the term for its obvious political overtones (which are there, whatever the origin might be), my main problem with it, like Curly, is the mistaken impression it gives, especially when dealing with foreigners. At times, this mistake can prove highly irritating indeed (see the blood donating issue).

    In the same vein, do Portuguese people complain about the term Iberian Peninsula? They are not Iberians, but rather Lusitanian in origin. Nobody calls Portuguese people Iberians, but few would say that Portugal is not on the Iberian Peninsula. It is not a dis-similar situation.
    Were it specifically called the ''Spanish Peninsula'', I'm sure they would. Were the British Isles termed the North Atlantic Isles, I'd certainly have no problem with it, and I don't think anyone else would either.
     
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    elirlandes

    Senior Member
    Ireland English
    Indeed, this recent article from the Guardian ...
    [QUOTE="The Guardian]
    "Trailing an article that uses the term accurately ("the first world champion from outside the British Isles in 30 years") with an innacurate statement on the front page of the website ("first foreigner to win world title since 1980") shows how it can be easy to lazily conflate the geographical with the political while making poor Ken Doherty a subject of the British crown."[/QUOTE]

    Even the article you mention describes "British Isles" as the correct term for the collection of these islands including Ireland. The complainant in the article effectively says that suggesting that the Dubliner Ken Doherty is from the British Isles is correct, but to suggest he is not foreign (in the UK) or that he is British is incorrect. I agree entirely with this position.

    The British Lions / British and Irish Lions Rugby team polemic is a different story as they were originally called the British Lions to denote that they were from the United Kingdom. It grates on me (and the couple of guys I know who have played on the team from Ireland both before and after the name change) that they be called British Lions as they, and some of us who support them, are not British.

    While some outside Ireland conflate the geographical term with a political concept, they do so incorrectly. Aside from those that set up the apparatus of the state and Sinn Féin (both of whom have eschewed use of the "British Isles" for political effect, despite its innoccuous non-political origins), those that avoid it today tend to do so (conciously or subconciously) as part of a more general tendancy in today's language to hypercorrect for political correctness. It is a correction that is not necessary, as the connotation that use of the term "British Isles" somehow suggests that we Irish are in fact British is not naturally in the term based on its origin. That connotation is imbued in the term by some, but this is really a recent thing, and you will find that many (I would suggest the majority) people in Ireland continue to use the term despite the State's sponsorship of avoidance of the term.

    I am not seeking to create a debate here with my esteemed countryman Pedro, but rather to make foreros aware that you will not necessarily anger an Irishman by suggesting that Ireland is one of the British Isles.
    You will however create enemies by suggesting that we are British, English, Anglos or Anglo-saxon/Anglo-sajón.
     

    Einstein

    Senior Member
    UK, English
    This is an aside and serves only as an example.
    Words concerning nationality are very often controversial. The Canadians would object to being called American because for English-speakers the word American is associated with the USA (unless we say North American or South American, in which case it's a purely geographical term). On the other hand, Latin Americans have the opposite idea and object to the USA's monopoly of the word American.
    Second example: I'm not Irish, I'm from the South-east of England, and yet I too object to the use of the term Anglo-Saxon, unless we're talking historically about the centuries before the Norman invasion. In my case I don't find it insulting, but just a silly piece of journalistic variation (and that's why they rope in the Irish too, who do have a right to be offended!).
     
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    curly

    Senior Member
    English - Ireland
    While some outside Ireland conflate the geographical term with a political concept, they do so incorrectly.
    Knowing that they are wrong does not comfort me particularly. Call me Lithuanian if you want, so long as you mean that I am a citizen of the geographic and political entity that I know as the Republic of Ireland.
    I am not seeking to create a debate here with my esteemed countryman Pedro, but rather to make foreros aware that you will not necessarily anger an Irishman by suggesting that Ireland is one of the British Isles.
    You will however anger him if you use British Isles to mean anything more than that collection of islands that starts after France and stops somewhere before Iceland.

    I imagine some geologists might find that term useful, but what does the average person need it for exactly? Can you change your money to British Isles currency? I know I didn't get a British Isles education. Pretty sure I've never paid taxes to the British Isles.

    I could understand if my relationship with the British Isles meant anything but the most abstract thing, for which I can not see there being any purpose. The few bits of my identity that have to do with the British Isles are absolutely unrelated to anything a person would ask me. Except maybe my skin tone, I'll admit, most of us are damned pale.

    But for it's familiarity, it would be as a ridiculous a reference as someone saying, hey, you come from a karst landscape don't you? To which any sane person would respond - er, yes, what of it?
     

    Fernando

    Senior Member
    Spain, Spanish
    Knowing that they are wrong does not comfort me particularly. Call me Lithuanian if you want, so long as you mean that I am a citizen of the geographic and political entity that I know as the Republic of Ireland.
    As I and other foreros has stated, none of us have in mind nothing about citizenship.

    For the record, I find most amusing (or rather stupid), the following terms:

    - America (meaning US)
    - North America (excluding Mexico)
    - Latin America (including Belize and Jamaica, inter alia). And not, Julius Caesar did not conquer Peru).

    But I use them assuming everybody understand the right thing and they are used in other language other than mine, when there is a quite different tradition.

    I imagine some geologists might find that term useful, but what does the average person need it for exactly? Can you change your money to British Isles currency? I know I didn't get a British Isles education. Pretty sure I've never paid taxes to the British Isles.
    There is something in the world beyond states and nations. As an example:

    You can learn English in Europe, staying for a time in...

    There is an awful and rainy weather in...

    The ashes cloud is covering... and airports are closed in...

    Spanish Armada tried to return to Spain around...
     

    Pedro y La Torre

    Senior Member
    English (Ireland)
    As I and other foreros has stated, none of us have in mind nothing about citizenship.
    You might not, but many everyday people do, I have personal experience of it. And even if everyone didn't, many (most?) of us here would still find the term outdated.

    For the record, I find most amusing (or rather stupid), the following terms:

    - America (meaning US)
    - North America (excluding Mexico)
    - Latin America (including Belize and Jamaica, inter alia). And not, Julius Caesar did not conquer Peru).
    North America doesn't exclude Mexico, at least in English. And neither does Latin America include Belize or Jamaica. It only includes Latin-speaking countries, and on some rare occasions, Quebec.

    In any case, none of those terms include people who do not wish to be labelled as such.

    Were you to start referring to Canadians as being from ''America'', although it might be technically correct in Spanish-speaking countries, chances are it would provoke a response.

    In any case, there's no need for it to be used, except, perhaps, in some geographical circles. If one wants to refer to England or the U.K., use England or the U.K. There's no need for Ireland to be grouped in with a foreign country, any more than there is an everyday need for Spain and Morocco to be considered as part of one entity, geographic, or otherwise.

    That's my 2 cents.
     

    curly

    Senior Member
    English - Ireland
    For the record, I find most amusing (or rather stupid), the following terms:

    - America (meaning US)
    - North America (excluding Mexico)
    - Latin America (including Belize and Jamaica, inter alia). And not, Julius Caesar did not conquer Peru).

    But I use them assuming everybody understand the right thing and they are used in other language other than mine, when there is a quite different tradition.
    Which is great for you. Apparently most people are aware of the distinction between America and Canada. Not many are aware of the Irish example.

    There is something in the world beyond states and nations. As an example:

    You can learn English in Europe, staying for a time in...
    Ireland and the UK, be sure not to mix up the different visas or you could be in for an unpleasant surprise.
    There is an awful and rainy weather in...
    North Western Europe, as well as god knows where else.
    The ashes cloud is covering... and airports are closed in...
    Most of Europe, including Ireland, the UK, France, Spain, Portugal, Northern Italy...
    Spanish Armada tried to return to Spain around...
    Ireland I imagine. Or generally down the atlantic, around the west of Europe. Perhaps it would be more informative to say who/what they were trying to avoid?

    EDIT: That infallible fountain of knowledge, Wikipedia,(no laughing now, please) tells me that
    the fleet sailed into the Atlantic, past Ireland, but severe storms disrupted the fleet's course.
    That doesn't seem unnecessarily convoluted, does it?

    What exactly is the advantage of using the British Isles over the more accurate Ireland and the UK? The genuine and practical disadvantages have already been shown.
     
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    Fernando

    Senior Member
    Spain, Spanish
    North America doesn't exclude Mexico, at least in English. And neither does Latin America include Belize or Jamaica. It only includes Latin-speaking countries, and on some rare occasions, Quebec.
    The use of the terms is (or should be) the same in Spanish, but SISTEMATICALLY Mexico is excluded in most casual speech. About Latin America is so undefined that I could hardly say which countries are included or not. There are several threads on that,

    In any case, none of those terms include people who do not wish to be labelled as such.
    Do you think Quebecoises are happy to be considered Latin Americans?

    Were you to start referring to Canadians as being from ''America'', although it might be technically correct in Spanish-speaking countries, chances are it would provoke a response.
    I will note down that "British Isles" is not politically correct when used in Ireland.

    In any case, there's no need for it to be used, except, perhaps, in some geographical circles. If one wants to refer to England or the U.K., use England or the U.K. There's no need for Ireland to be grouped in with a foreign country, any more than there is an everyday need for Spain and Morocco to be considered as part of one entity, geographic, or otherwise.
    Marocco and Spain are Mediterranean countries.

    Algeciras (Spain) and Tanger (Marocco) are in Strait of Gibraltar.

    I do not find "Strait of Gibraltar" or "Mediterranean countries" offensive at all.

    As a matter of fact, Gibraltar is a Arab-related word. It means (in one interpretation) "the rock of Tarik", the Arab invader of Iberian Peninsula. We do not find we are endorsing any claim of Arab world on Spain.
     
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    Fernando

    Senior Member
    Spain, Spanish
    Apparently most people are aware of the distinction between America and Canada. Not many are aware of the Irish example.
    I feel it is just the other way around.

    What exactly is the advantage of using the British Isles over the more accurate Ireland and the UK?
    Just because it is geographical and not political. I do not mind if Scotland or Wales or Hebrides or Cork get independence. Those isles will stay the same for the next million years.

    The isle of Ireland was the same in 1910s and 1920s and will stay the same if N Ireland (or Ulster, that I NOTICE it IS a politically-charged word) gets a devolved government, gets independence or it forms a union with Greenland.

    Anyhow, I am done. Since my comment referred to Spanish use (Islas Británicas) I am happy to accept a difference in the use in Ireland and in everywhere else, the same way that "América" (Spanish) means something different than "America" (English).
     

    Einstein

    Senior Member
    UK, English
    My final two cents:
    I've known Northern Irish Protestants, convinced Unionists, who in Britain have no problem about calling themselves Irish without even specifying Northern, but when travelling outside the "British Isles" call themselves British, as it's the passport that counts.
    I think the only rule is that each population group should be called as it wants to be called and not as others want to call it.
     

    elirlandes

    Senior Member
    Ireland English
    I think the only rule is that each population group should be called as it wants to be called and not as others want to call it.
    This is a universal truth that is the key to conflict resolution... people are what they think they are, no matter what way others wish to describe them. Once everyone else recognises and respects each other's personal perception of themselves, people tend to get along.

    Northern Ireland has many people who feel British but who are not English, Welsh or Scottish. They can be nothing else but Irish, and that for them is not incompatible with being British.
    Northern Ireland also has many people who simply feel Irish and who feel no connection to Britishness. So long as they each respect the other's right to feel as they do about themselves, there is no real reason for conflict - so long as neither imposes upon the freedoms of the other.
     
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    Einstein

    Senior Member
    UK, English
    This is a universal truth that is the key to conflict resolution... people are what they think they are, no matter what way others wish to describe them. Once everyone else recognises and respects each other's personal perception of themselves, people tend to get along.
    I only said:
    I think the only rule is that each population group should be called as it wants to be called and not as others want to call it.
    It's a good rule if we want to be respectful but that's far from saying it's the solution to all ills (or even some). Usually a people's insistence on how it wants to be called is a symptom of historical resentment about oppression and exploitation. If Ireland had entered into a voluntary union with Britain on an equal basis, people would have far fewer problems about how they wanted to be called.
     

    curly

    Senior Member
    English - Ireland
    Usually a people's insistence on how it wants to be called is a symptom of historical resentment about oppression and exploitation. If Ireland had entered into a voluntary union with Britain on an equal basis, people would have far fewer problems about how they wanted to be called.

    This is true, but for various reasons.

    Obviously, if someone dislikes X for whatever reason, that person will dislike being associated with X. This is true of many armchair republicans and young people who "hate the English" because of some vague memories of history class when someone said something about British colonisers. They will have a negative attitude to everything British that they don't like, and mysteriously forget about the British Premier League in Soccer and Coronation Street.

    Obviously, if Ireland had been happy to be in the UK it wouldn't have separated and there most likely wouldn't be any practical problems with people conflating the two terms, because British -as for the British in the north -would simply be an archaic term that isn't quite correct but to which nobody would give a second thought..

    But it did regain independence and there are objective, non-emotionally driven problems for us when people conflate the two. And many Irish people will insist they aren't British with all the earnest passion of a woman insisting she isn't grumpy just because she's menstruating.
     

    L'irlandais

    Senior Member
    Ireland: English-speaking ♂
    This is an old chestnut.
    Cardinal John Henry Newman's essay “The Isles of the North” was published back in 1852. I quite like his idea though, that'd make us all "Northerners" eh.
     

    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    You can also be from N.I. and be nothing other than Irish - anyone born on the island of Ireland is entitled to an Irish passport and if you hold an Irish passport alone, as many in Northern Ireland do, I certainly wouldn't class you as British.
    Are those people eligible to vote for the NI assembly and if so under which conditions?
     

    elirlandes

    Senior Member
    Ireland English
    Are those people eligible to vote for the NI assembly and if so under which conditions?
    Anybody from Northern Ireland, whether they consider themselves Irish or British, can vote for the NI assembly, as well as for a representative (MP) in the national parliament of the United Kingdom in Westminster (London).
     

    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    Anybody from Northern Ireland, whether they consider themselves Irish or British, can vote for the NI assembly, as well as for a representative (MP) in the national parliament of the United Kingdom in Westminster (London).
    Well, I wasn't concerned about whether person considers himself Irish or British but under which condition a person is considered a UK citizen by Britain. Is every Irish citizen with residence in NI considered an British citizen and hence entitled to vote?
     

    panjandrum

    Occasional Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Well, I wasn't concerned about whether person considers himself Irish or British but under which condition a person is considered a UK citizen by Britain. Is every Irish citizen with residence in NI considered an British citizen and hence entitled to vote?
    You are confusing two things here: entitlement to vote, and citizenship.

    The website of the Northern Ireland Electoral Office says that to be registered as entitled to vote in a UK election you need to meet the following criteria:
    Each person should register at the address where he or she is resident if they:

    • Are a British, Irish or Commonwealth citizen, or a citizen of a Member State of the European Union.
    • Will turn 17 before publication of the next December Register.
    • Have been resident in Northern Ireland for the past three months.
    The significant point being that you do not need to be a UK citizen in order to vote in a UK election.
     

    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    Yes, that was my original question. Thank you. Elirlandes also mentioned Westminster. There I would assume you needed UK citizenship to vote. Right?
     

    elirlandes

    Senior Member
    Ireland English
    Yes, that was my original question. Thank you. Elirlandes also mentioned Westminster. There I would assume you needed UK citizenship to vote. Right?
    Indeed this is not case - There is a reciprocal arrangement between the UK and Ireland in that citizens of each country who are resident in the other are able to vote for the national parliament of the country in which they are resident.

    As such, an Irish citizen from Dublin, living in London has the right to vote for the national parliament of the UK. Similarly, a UK citizen, living in Dublin, has the right to vote in elections for the Dáil.
     

    panjandrum

    Occasional Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Yes, that was my original question. Thank you. Elirlandes also mentioned Westminster. There I would assume you needed UK citizenship to vote. Right?
    No, not quite. Here is a more precise statement from the UK Electoral Commission.

    Who can register to vote?

    • Anyone aged 16 or over (but you cannot vote until you are 18).
    • British or qualifying Commonwealth citizens. This means Commonwealth citizens who have leave to remain in the UK or do not require such leave.
    • Citizens of the Republic of Ireland or other European Union (EU) member states.
    Who can vote?

    • British, Irish and qualifying citizens of Commonwealth countries (including Cyprus and Malta) can vote at all elections.
    • Citizens of other EU member states resident in the UK can vote in local government elections but cannot vote in UK Parliamentary elections.
    • Those resident in Scotland or Wales may also vote in Scottish Parliamentary or National Assembly for Wales elections.
    http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/elections/voter-registration
     

    Paulfromitaly

    MODerator
    Italian
    Northern Ireland citizens/subjects are British.
    They are entitled to carry British passports.
    They live in the British Isles.

    Northern Ireland citizens/subjects are Irish.
    They are entitled to carry Irish passports.
    They live in Ireland.
    Do Northern Ireland citizens have the option of carrying both a British and an Irish passport (like in the case of dual citizenship) or do they have to pick one of the two?
    If the latter, are they allowed to change their mind and request the other passport at any moment in time?
     
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    Pedro y La Torre

    Senior Member
    English (Ireland)
    Do Northern Ireland citizens have the option of carrying both a the British and an Irish passport (like in the case of dual citizenship) or do they have to pick one of the two?
    If the latter, are they allowed to change their mind and request the other passport at any moment in time?
    People from NI are entitled to an Irish and a British passport at all times. They can choose to hold one on its own, or both at the same time.
     
    It isn't only residents of Northern Ireland who are entitled to an Irish passport. Anybody with at least one grandparent born anywhere on the island of Ireland can be a citizen of the Republic. My mother's parents were both born in Northern Ireland in th 19th century. I am therefore entitled to Irish citizenship even though my mother and I were both born and bred in England and I have visited the Republic only briefly.
     

    L'irlandais

    Senior Member
    Ireland: English-speaking ♂
    ...I think the only rule is that each population group should be called as it wants to be called and not as others want to call it.
    Hi Einstein,
    While I agree with the idea, you'd be surprised how many population groups on this planet are known by what others call them, rather that by their own chosen name.
    To stick to an example related to this thread : Etymology of the word British.
    The original (Welsh) name Pritani or Priteni literally meant "painted people, in reference to the wode used by these Picts. After the Roman conquest 43 AD this name was applied to all inhabitants of the larger Island.
    So that today we refer to Anglo Saxon decendants as Britons or British. Yet they did not choose the name of their race.

    A further example, is that the Welsh were themselves "baptised" so by the Anglo Saxons, the word means stranger/foreigner in Old English and in present-day Alsacian.
     

    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    A further example, is that the Welsh were themselves "baptised" so by the Anglo Saxons, the word means stranger/foreigner in Old English and in present-day Alsacian.
    "Welsh" is in old Common-Germanic name for all sorts of Celts and sometimes for Latin-speakers. That is why The French speaking Belgians are called "Wallons", the French-speaking Swiss "Welschschweizer" and the old German name for "Genua" is "Welschbern".
     

    L'irlandais

    Senior Member
    Ireland: English-speaking ♂
    "Welsh" is in old Common-Germanic name for all sorts of Celts and sometimes for Latin-speakers. That is why The French speaking Belgians are called "Wallons", the French-speaking Swiss "Welschschweizer" and the old German name for "Genua" is "Welschbern".
    Hello berndf,
    I agree,
    myself said:
    The communes of Lapouterie/Val d'Orbey here in Alsace are known locally as "Pays Welsch", that is "Foreigner country". So called, because of a French speaking community who were installed there from the 16 century onwards. In German, the commune was originally called "Schnierlach" a reference to the alder trees growing there.
    My point is that it's perhaps unusal for populations to chose their own appellation.
    Hence my example of the people of Wales (who call themselves Cymry since 633 ad) are known in English as the Welsh, from the (Old English/) German word "Welsch" meaning "stranger" or "foreigner".
     

    Einstein

    Senior Member
    UK, English
    Hello berndf,
    I agree,
    My point is that it's perhaps unusal for populations to choose their own appellation.
    Hence my example of the people of Wales (who call themselves Cymry since 633 ad) are known in English as the Welsh, from the (Old English/) German word "Welsch" meaning "stranger" or "foreigner".
    There's also an opposite example: the Gaelic word for "foreigner" is "sassenach", which is derived originally from "Saxon".
    As we see, the names of countries and nationalities, like other words, have an etymology that is often lost in the mists of time. In spite of their origin, these names are usually accepted by the population; I haven't heard English-speaking Welsh people object to the name Wales. However, if the majority of Welsh people decided they wanted to abolish the name Wales in favour of Cymru, also when speaking English, I would have no objection.
    Having said this, I would not personally promote a campaign in favour of such a change because I wouldn't want to foster the illusion that changing a country's name could solve its economic and social problems!
     

    franc 91

    Senior Member
    English - GB
    No it's even more complicated than that - The Channel Islands have the Queen as their sovereign and are independent of each other - they have their own banknotes for example and their own administrations. They are not part of the UK and they don't belong to the EU. The Isle of Man is in a simular situation. For the various overseas dependencies etc they do have British citizenship but they don't necessarily have right of abode in the UK - there are different levels of citizenship if you like. When I came to live permanently in France in 1974 - the UK had only just joined the Common Market and so I had to go to the British consulate in Paris to have - right of abode in the UK - stamped in my passport, otherwise the French authorities wouldn't accept it. (this is in answer to ampurdan) There are also arrangements in the UK for Irish citizens - for example they can vote. All across the UK there are large numbers of Irish people or people of Irish origin. In Glasgow for example there are two football teams - Celtic being the Irish-Scots one, and of course there's Liverpool. There were up until fairly recently Irish Lords who sat in the House of Lords in Westminster and of course in the British Army there are regiments of Irish Guards. In Dublin there are still several institutions called 'Royal'. So as you can see historical links of one kind of another are still very much in evidence.
     

    Schmizzkazz

    Senior Member
    German - Southern German
    I think the only rule is that each population group should be called as it wants to be called and not as others want to call it.
    What about this then:

    Germany
    Allemagne
    Tyskland
    Saksamaa
    Niemcy
    Deutschland

    Here in Germany we have no problems with the fact that there are so many different names for Germany worldwide.
     

    Einstein

    Senior Member
    UK, English
    What about this then:

    Germany
    Allemagne
    Tyskland
    Saksamaa
    Niemcy
    Deutschland

    Here in Germany we have no problems with the fact that there are so many different names for Germany worldwide.
    That doesn't contradict what I said; if you're happy with all these names, then so be it! But there are others who for historical reasons are not so happy with the names given to them by others. I think they have a right to say so.
     

    L'irlandais

    Senior Member
    Ireland: English-speaking ♂
    There's also an opposite example: the Gaelic word for "foreigner" is "sassenach", which is derived originally from "Saxon"...
    Hello Einstein,
    Your example here is incorrect, Sasanach simply means "Englishman", rather than meaning "foreigner".
    In Irish either coimhthíoch (stranger/outsider) or eachtrannach (foreigner/alien) can be used, depending on context.
    Personally, I cannot see people all over the planet wanting to learn that "Eireannach" is the local term for our people ; that and the use of the English label "Irishman" doesn't bother me in the slightest.

    "Scot" was originally a term of abuse used in Old English (plural Scottas), yet the Scottish are proud of that name today.
     
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    Einstein

    Senior Member
    UK, English
    Hello Einstein,
    Your example here is incorrect, Sasanach simply means "Englishman", rather than meaning "foreigner".
    Well, it's what I always thought too, but I read somewhere a long time ago that it was widened out to mean "foreigner" in general. But that was only once, so I accept the correction, especially from a native Irishman!
     

    curly

    Senior Member
    English - Ireland
    What about this then:

    Germany
    Allemagne
    Tyskland
    Saksamaa
    Niemcy
    Deutschland

    Here in Germany we have no problems with the fact that there are so many different names for Germany worldwide.
    As far as I can see, these are all different words describing the same thing. No-one using these names is saying that you're French. It's hardly comparable to the difference between calling someone Irish or British.

    It's not the name which is important, it's the meaning.
     

    Brioche

    Senior Member
    Australia English
    Are those people eligible to vote for the NI assembly and if so under which conditions?
    Irish citizens have full voting rights in all UK elections under exactly the same conditions as British citizens. Irish citizens may join the UK civil service, or the police, they may join any of the British armed forces, and may stand for election to the British parliament.
    They have always had these rights.

    If elected to the British Parliament in Westminster, they must swear allegiance to the Queen before taking their seat in parliament. There is no requirement to become British citizens.
     

    Brioche

    Senior Member
    Australia English
    That doesn't contradict what I said; if you're happy with all these names, then so be it! But there are others who for historical reasons are not so happy with the names given to them by others. I think they have a right to say so.
    Every language is entitled to its own vocabulary - and that includes the names given to geographical features. The Irish can call Japan An tSeapáin, and Germany An Ghearmáin if they like. It's nothing like what the Japanese or German call their homelands. And the Chinese can call Tokyo Dong Jing, it's their language.
     

    Brioche

    Senior Member
    Australia English
    To clarify the complication even more, I am British because I was born in England to British parents (well, my father was born in Canada of British parents, but that's another story). However, my mother's parents were born in Northern Ireland. Under the constitution of the Irish Republic (i.e. southern Ireland), everybody who has at least one grandparent born anywhere on the island of Ireland (i.e. north or south) is entitled to Irish citizenship. I could therefore apply to be recorded as a citizen of the Irish Republic and to receive an Irish passport (as well as my British one) even though I have been to the Republic only three or four times and have never been to the north!

    Now, that's an Irish clarification.
    If you want to, you can still register your birth with the Irish Embassy, and have an Irish passport.

    It's too late now [I presume!] but if you had done this before you had children, you could have registered the births of your children with the Irish Embassy, and they too could be Irish citizens.
    Then if your children registered the births of your grandchildren with the Irish Embassy, they too would have Irish citizenship.

    Under the current law, there is no limit to this passing on of Irish citizenship by this method.

    With British Citizenship, if a British citizen who was born in Britain has a child overseas, then that child has British citizenship. However, that overseas-born child cannot pass British citizenship on to the next generation - unless the next generation is born in UK.
     

    Pedro y La Torre

    Senior Member
    English (Ireland)
    If you want to, you can still register your birth with the Irish Embassy, and have an Irish passport.

    It's too late now [I presume!] but if you had done this before you had children, you could have registered the births of your children with the Irish Embassy, and they too could be Irish citizens.
    Then if your children registered the births of your grandchildren with the Irish Embassy, they too would have Irish citizenship.

    Under the current law, there is no limit to this passing on of Irish citizenship by this method.

    With British Citizenship, if a British citizen who was born in Britain has a child overseas, then that child has British citizenship. However, that overseas-born child cannot pass British citizenship on to the next generation - unless the next generation is born in UK.
    I guess that's why I regularly come across Irish passport holders with everything from American to French accents on my travels. :p
     

    WME

    Senior Member
    French-France
    Hi

    I came here as I was discussing the scope of the term "British" on another thread, and found this very helpful diagram.
    UK_Euler_diagram_949.jpg

    Now can anybody tell me why there is a difference in scope between the British Isles and the British Islands ???
    I have never been able to understand the difference between an isle and an island, and now I have a concrete example...
     

    Pedro y La Torre

    Senior Member
    English (Ireland)
    British Islands are islands belonging to the sovereign state known as the United Kingdom, and the Crown Dependencies (Isle of Man and the Channel Islands).

    The British Isles is a geographical term encompassing Great Britain, Ireland, and all their adjoining islands. Many Irish people dispute the validity of the term British Isles, and the Irish government does not officially recognize it or use it.
     

    L'irlandais

    Senior Member
    Ireland: English-speaking ♂
    An old chestnut it seems.
    In the diagram, the word islands, is used in relation to the channel islands, as far as I can see.

    I agree with Pedro, their are those who prefer the term "The Isles of the North" to "The British Isles". ;)
    Ireland has been known as Hibernia long before (320BC) it was ever slighted as the island of "Little Britain", presumably slighted by some little travelled Monarch or other. (1603 AD)
     
    Last edited:

    ampurdan

    Senior Member
    Català & español (Spain)
    I always thought Great Britain was called that because Ireland was smaller (and Albion somehow has not caught on), but maybe it was in relation to Britanny?
     

    L'irlandais

    Senior Member
    Ireland: English-speaking ♂
    You're correct. The term was first used during the reign of King James I of England (James VI of Scotland)to refer to the larger of the two Islands. However his motivations were political, since he was trying to justify how two countries with separate parliaments might have one and the same Monarch (albeit, a single monarch with two different titles.)

    However Ireland was only added to the equasion by the Act of Union of 1801
    Since 1921 the need for a precision of "Northern" Ireland came about.
     

    Stoggler

    Senior Member
    UK English
    I thought Great Britain was in contrast to "little" Britain, or Brittany.

    Or in French: Bretagne v Grande-Bretagne.

    I hadn't heard of Ireland being considered "little" Britain before.
     

    stormwreath

    Senior Member
    English - England
    The term 'British Isles' is over 2000 years old, and pre-dates the existence of either Ireland or Britain as states by many centuries. Ptolemy's Geographia refers to the Bretanikai nēsoi,where 'nesoi' is Greek for 'Islands', and similar expressions - sometimes with an initial P- instead of B- - are found in earlier works.

    The earliest known use of the expression 'Great Britain' to refer to the largest of the British Isles comes from the 12th century, where it was written in Latin as Britannia major, or in Norman French as grant Bretaigne. The term was indeed used to distinguish Great Britain from Brittany in France, rather than from Ireland. Britanny was referred to as Britannia minor, Bretagne menur or meindre Bretaigne in the same 12th-century sources. However, 'Great Britain' remained a fairly obscure term until 1604, when King James VI/I chose to describe himself as "King of Great Britain" rather than "King of England and Scotland".

    Ireland has never been referred to as 'Little Britain'. For a time in the 18th century when it was fashionable to call Scotland 'North Britain', a few people jokingly called Ireland 'West Britain'; but that never caught on.
     
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