Indo-Germanic

Erik Hoogcarspel jehms at globalxs.nl
Sun Mar 9 14:50:58 EST 1997


Op 09-maa-97 schreef Lars Martin Fosse:

>At 03:11 9.03.97 GMT, you wrote:
>>>Lars Martin Fosse wrote:
>>>In spite of the history of the word, "Indo-Germanic" has today, in my
>>>opinion, been "sanitized". Very few people today would use the word with
its
>>>old ideological connotations. However, I can't see that it is a good term.
>>>Personally I prefer Indo-European. But I do not feel uneasy if a modern
>>>scholar uses "Indo-Germanic". I believe the frequency of Fascists among
>>>Indologists these days is fairly insignificant.
>>
>>Sorry, I can't agree. The word "Indo-Germanic" is not sanitized:
>>
>>1) only scholars make a difference between germanic and german, Iceland is
>>just a poor 'alibi'.

>That is probably true, but then most people don't even know what
>Indo-European or Indo-Germanisch is. My point is that "Indo-Germanisch"
>today simply is semantic alternative to "Indo-European". There is no
>particular ideological content.

>>2) I understand some german peoples are tired to hear their past, but
>>history is history and can't be changed just by good will. Wait one century
>>and Hitler will be the same historical product as Napoleon or Gengis Khan,
>>**not yet**.

>You have to remember which generation of Germans you are talking about. Most
>of the Germans involved in the Second World War as adult and politically
>responsible individuals are today decrepit, dying or dead. I have studied in
>Germany for two years (in the seventies), and my impression was that the
>Germans that belonged to my generation were not much different from
>Scandinavians of about the same age. They are not responsible for the Nazi
>atrocities. Notice that when Goldhagen went to Germany in order to debate
>German anti-semitism, most of the younger generation seems to have sided
>with him (according to press reports here). So there has been a change in
>German political mentality. (It was actually monitored by sociologists, and
>took place about 1960).

>>3) the beast is still alive, and not just in Europa, and you know it.

>Certainly. The beast is alive, although in most places fairly marginalized.
>The places to worry about are Austria and certain parts of France. It
>interesting to notice that in spite of the strain caused by the absorbation
>of East Germany into larger Germany, Germany has not become the European
>country where neo-faschism is most prevalent. When I was in Vienna some
>three years ago, doing research at the University there, 400.000 citizens of
>Munich took to the streets to protest against racism. Walking from the
>University to my hotel one evening I came across a bunch of Viennese doing
>the same thing. They were barely able to fill 50 meters of sidewalk. 

>>4) one of the best french sanscritist, Jean Haudry, is member of the staff
>>of the 'Front National', specially for ideology.

>That is sad (I never understood why some intellectuals felt drawn towards
>extremist positions), but as we say, one swallow does not make a summer.
>Undoubtedly you will find people of a rightist leaning among Indologists, my
>point is that they are not typical. And by the way: Haudry uses the term
>"Indo-europeen".

>>6) Indo-European is a word not marked by nazionalism. 

>I agree. As I said, I think it is a better term. But I still don't mind
>Germans using the term Indo-Germanisch. During my studies in Germany I never
>met a single Indologist who had the slightest faschist leanings.
>"Indo-Germanisch" was simply a linguistic habit.

>>Yes, german scholars are free, yes they can use freely the word
>>"Indo-Germanic", but they must know that is an insult for some other people
>>in Europa.

>It may be more insulting to a speaker of Romance languages than to a
>Scandinavian. The bottom line, to me, is that it is not really worth much
>attention as long as it is not explicitly ideologized. 

>Best regards,

>Lars Martin

It's still remarkable that someone invented the word "Indo-Germanic" and
nobody came up with "Indo-Dutch", "Indo-Irish" or "Indo-Italian". If it's a
nazi-word, then it shouldn't be used anymore. If not then it still is a sign
of blunt and naieve nationalism. And maybe some people could be tempted to
jump to conclusions. There have been quite a few German philosophers, like
f.i. Martin Heidegger, who really believed that the German people were "das
metafysische Volk" and the true heirs of ancient Greek civilisation. Some of
those have still followers today. I would rather not be forgiving about it,
better safe than sorry. Let's drop the word.

Regards

Erik Hoogcarspel





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