What is the shortest term to refer to representatives of peoples and cultures whose mother tongue is English?


Can't I call them joe?


Native anglophone is, I believe, an even shorter term.

anglophone (noun)
an English-speaking person

Oxford Dictionaries

  • And we are anglofiles, right? – mplungjan Feb 12 '11 at 7:49
  • @mplungian: If you mean you like English people, you are an Anglophile. – Robusto Feb 12 '11 at 11:58
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    @Robusto: I like people who speak English. Does that make me an Anglophonophile? ;) – Jon Purdy Feb 15 '11 at 6:34
  • Anglophone only means speaks English. The question was a term for someone who was a native English speaker – mgb May 4 '11 at 18:35
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    @Martin: That's why my answer was "native anglophone". – Jimi Oke May 5 '11 at 11:27

Native English speakers.

I do not believe that the term "mothertonguers" would be generally well received.

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    ...or understood properly. – Sylverdrag Feb 12 '11 at 8:28
  • exactly, was confused when I first saw it in english.stackexchange.com/questions/6361/… – JoseK Feb 14 '11 at 11:19
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    "I do not believe that the term 'mothertonguers' would be generally well received": A masterpiece of understatement. – Nate Eldredge Feb 16 '13 at 15:52
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    Besides, everyone has a monthertongue... and it isn't English for most of them. – Beanluc Oct 25 '18 at 21:55

In England, we tend to use a phrase (term?) popularised by Winston Churchill in a book he wrote in the early 20th Century. The phrase is "the English speaking peoples".

Not as humorous (nor as open to misinterpretation) as mothertonguers. :-)

You won't find too many people on the streets of London who would understand what you were talking about if you asked them, 'Are you an Anglophone?' Don't think you'd offend anyone, but don't believe they'd have a clue what you were asking them either. More than likely, they'd think you wanted to borrow (or steal!) their mobile phone (translation: cellphone).

If you were asking what is the correct racial name for someone (in the UK) who is English by descent, a pretty common term is Anglo-Saxon. But even most (British) people of Celtic origin (i.e. Scottish, Welsh, Irish, Cornish) nowadays only speak English.

Nearly all former British colonies, including (but not limited to) the present-day Commonwealth, are inhabited mainly by people whose "mother tongue" is English. So you're really asking for a term that describes or includes dozens of countries. But English-speaking (native English-speaking?) is the best description we've ever been able to come up with.

Really, there is no term (today) for people who speak English. There used to be! Once-upon-a-time they were called Englishmen. :-)


"Anglos" would also be an appropriate term according to Wikipedia.

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    -1: "Anglo", at least in the US, is understood as referring to a person whose ethnic and cultural background can be traced to England. If you referred to a native English speaker of African or Latino descent as an "Anglo", you would certainly cause confusion and very likely offense. – Nate Eldredge Feb 16 '13 at 15:48

English is no one's (person or country) native language. And hence, there is no term that has ever been coined to refer people whose mother tongue is English. Hence, it will be like talking something south of the south pole.

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    Native language refers to the language you have learned while growing up (native = from birth). Plenty of people have learned English in their formative years and they are called anglophones, as pointed out by Jimi. – Sylverdrag Feb 12 '11 at 8:35
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    English is the native language of England. – Brian Hooper Jul 31 '11 at 17:00

protected by ab2 Oct 29 '18 at 3:11

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