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National Phobias in the Political Language of the 19th Century: An Introduction to the Issues

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Abstract. In this article, national phobias are considered from the point of view of their reflection in the language. Compound words built on the model “name of a people/ country” + “phobia”, such as English- and Francophobia, appeared in the 18th century, and became widespread in various European languages from the 1830s–1840s. The meaning of these words was very different, and an associative series associated with them differed markedly from the modern one. Usually they met in a foreign policy context, much less often in relation to the customs, culture, and population of a given country. Almost all of them had antonyms with the morpheme “philia”. Polemically, national phobias were portrayed as diseases of a special kind, most often in the form of intermittent fever, which is accompanied by hallucinations. There was also a convergence of national phobias with rabies (“hydrophobia”). The widest repertoire of names of national phobias existed in the German language. “Judophobia” and, to an even greater extent, “anti-Semitism” stood apart from the designations of national phobias: they did not have a foreign policy dimension, and anti-Semitism claimed the role of a kind of ideology. The general concept of “xenophobia” was hardly used until the end of the 19th century.

Keywords: political language, xenophobia, Anglophobia, Francophobia, Russophobia, antisemitism.

For citation: Dushenko K.V. National Phobias in the Political Language of the 19th Century: An Introduction to the Issues, in Novoe Proshloe / The New Past. 2023. No. 2. Pp. 88–106. DOI 10.18522/2500-3224-2023-2-88-106.

The article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC 4.0).

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