Printable Version
Pronunciation: æng-glê-fon Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun, Adjective

Meaning: No, it isn't a telephone reserved for the English, or a telephone that tells you where the fish are running, but rather anyone who speaks English. You must be one yourself!

Notes: We have anglophobes, who hate us, anglophiles, who love us and, of course, anglomaniacs, who love us to distraction. We English speakers ourselves are anglophones simply because we speak English. You can replace anglo with franco for the French or French speakers (francophone) and russo for Russians or Russian speakers (russophone). Today's Good Word may or may not be capitalized.

In Play: Today's word more often refers to native speakers rather than to English language learners: "Although Dwight Mann lived in Italy for eight years, he never learned to speak Italian because he spent most of his time with other anglophones living there." Of course, others in the anglophone community probably spoke Italian quite well: "George is such an anglophone, he speaks the Queen's English, eschewing all Americanisms."

Word History: Today's word is a combination of Latin or Greek Angli "the English" + Greek phone "sound, voice". The name for the English comes from the area of Angeln, a hook-shaped peninsula protruding from Schleswig-Holstein in Germany into the Baltic Sea. Some of our ancestors migrated from there in the late 4th century, along with the Saxons, and Jutes, who came from Jutland. Phone, of course, is found in telephone, literally "distant sound", and phonology is the scientific study of linguistic sounds. Did you know that infant started out meaning "not speaking"? It comes from Latin in- "not" + fan(t)s "speaking", the present participle of fari "to speak", a distant cousin of Greek phone.

Dr. Goodword,

P.S. - Register for the Daily Good Word E-Mail! - You can get our daily Good Word sent directly to you via e-mail in either HTML or Text format. Go to our Registration Page to sign up today!