Wednesday 28 September 2011

Anglophone Saxophones

The English-speaking world is anglophone because England (or Angle-land) is named after the Angles who invaded along with the Saxons when the ages were Very Dark Indeed. But what of the poor dear Saxons? Why didn't they get a phone?

Well, they sort of did. You see, the surname Sax or Saxe means Saxon, and does all across northwest Europe. So Adolphe Sax (1814-1894) must have come by a straight male line of descent from a Saxon. So when he patented the saxophone in 1846, the anglophone world was finally reunited with its etymological twin.

Anglophone and saxophone.


  1. Not sure whether I prefer "gorilla playing saxophone" or "saxophone-playing gorilla" (with the hyphen omitted, perhaps).

  2. My ex-husband, a Canadian, lived in rural Wales for some years, and the local Welsh-speaking farmers referred to him as "the Saxon." Apparently that's how they referred to all English speakers, whether they were from the U.K. or not.