But do you know that English language is also a Germanic language?
And AFAIK German language has several dialects, so are even closer to Dutch than main German language we know of.
The English language is not that close to "High German" or the lower dialects.
It is more related to Dutch, specifically Frisian (which is only spoken by a few folks in the modern Netherlands). There is some argument about how English formed and how old it is though. I think if you remove the Norman French words (which English has many) and look at "Middle English" and then read it out loud and compare it to Dutch and Frisian you can see a strong resemblance although all of these languages have evolved in different directions in the last 1,500 years.
The big changes to English came in the introduction of much "Old Norse" from vikings due to "Danelaw" (which was also a Germanic language, but more distant than that spoken on the Dutch coast) and more importantly Norman French. We use far more French words than people in Germany or the Netherlands.
As far as the German population issue.
I would also add one more thing. I believe white Americans tend to promote the exotic ancestry over the English ancestry. English ancestry is mainstream Anglo-Saxonism, which is the foundation of modern American culture. In America, people want to be unique and different. I have found it common that someone who is 3/4 English/Welsh/Protestant Irish will emphasize Native American, German, Dutch, French, etc ancestry more so. I think this is because it is "unusual". I know a guy who is 3/4 English/Scot, and 1/4 Russian who told me he is "Russian" because his grandmother taught him a few sentences and he eats Borscht. lol Other than that he is a typical WASP...nothing unique about his language, appearance, etc.
On this old American tv show, Dog the Bounty Hunter, Dog always says he is "Native American" because his grandmother was Native...or part Native I believe, but she grew up on a reservation. I find this odd, because he did not, he speaks no other language but English and looks like a stereotypical rural white man from the Southwest U.S. I'm pretty sure he marks "Native American" on his census form.
So when people are asked on a survey..."What are you"? I am certain many people like him will say "Russian". Someone else came to this conclusion on another site I read from time to time, by looking at census information. Somehow...English ancestry keeps disappearing in America, every generation. LOL
The proportions above use the white population in the Census as the baseline.
It seems pretty clear here: the "American" group is sucking up many people of British Isles origin. Additionally, I haven't posted it, but there are weird changes in people claiming single or multiple ancestries. This is probably a result of the way in which the question was worded and results tabulated, the balance between single and multiple ancestries shifted a lot among many groups in favor of the former. This obviously doesn't make sense, these are European groups who aren't subject to a great deal of immigration, and have been intermarrying more & more each generation.
Next there is some interesting data from page 38 Ethnic Options:
Consistency between 1972 & 1971
Puerto Rican 96.5
English, Scottish, Welsh 44.1
Don't know 34.9
As you can see, British Isles groups tend to be very inconsistent year-by-year in their ethnic affinity. I believe this suggests very weak distinctive self-identification. In part this is probably due to the fact that the immigrant experience is so far back for people whose forebears arrived in North America in the 1600s and 1700s, but, I also believe that it is due to the fact that Anglo-Saxon culture is to some extant the default culture of the United States. The fact that Anglo-Saxon identity is so malleable and shallow in explicit (if not implicit background) terms also suggests one hypothesis for the relatively robusticity of a group like German Americans vs. English Americans over the past 30 years: German ancestry is more memorable, distinctive and "ethnic" than English ancestry. So if someone is 1/4 German and 3/4 "American," one might naturally give "German" as the response when queried about ethnicity because the "American" element is not coded as ethnicity at all. Checking through the Census data it also seems that "American" is tabulated only if no other ethnic groups are given by respondent. This suggests to me that there are many of the people bracketed into German, Irish, etc., probably listed "American" as one of their ethnicities, which itself is probably a proxy for Anglo-Saxon background.
Relying on self-reports is obviously problematic for ethnicity in a nation where a large majority are likely compounds. How can we get a real sense of the distribution of American European ethnicities? Here's an idea: a social scientist could simply go back several generations in the genealogy of 10,000 random white Americans in the family Family Search database. Individual could be more appropriately coded ethnically.
Edited by LongMa, 26 December 2008 - 08:04 AM.