|Last Updated: 27th March '05
"I wish to see the English a purer, and more self-enriched tongue, instead of being a jargon made up of four or five others."
"...we are so poor, we do not even have a language, just this STUPID accent"
French Peasant in 1789 (from "The History of the World, part I")
"Anglish" is what one might call a constructed language. It is English minus many of the non-Germanic elements. There are and have been many different projects attempting to "purify" English of its non-Anglo-saxon or non-Germanic words. Note that Anglish, however, is distinctly NOT an attempt to construct what English might have become had history taken a different path. Instead, it is an attempt to revitalise the Germanic elements of our language. And most important of all, the underpinning idea of this, to make English CLEARER, to make English STRONGER. Note please this is not an attempt to arbitrarily remove non-Germanic elements from English; such linguistic fanaticism is not lusted after by me, and this project does not hanker for it.
Many people have undertaken similar projects for usually one of two reasons (or both): 1, political and social; 2, aesthetics. The latter generally prefer Germanic-sounding words, whilst the former often resent William the Conquerer (whom they call "The Bastard") and the following "Norman yoke".
"Ander-saxon" is the form of Anglish used in technical writings. Poul Anderson, after whom it was named (by Douglas R. Hofstadter), wrote scientific articles in this Germanicised English. Click here for a link to Anderson's (in??)famous article on atomic theory, "Uncleftish Beholding").
Personally, I am using Anglish for the following reasons: 1, aesthetics, 2, to revitalise English's Germanic word stock which I view as unneccessarily weakened due to foreign inlfuences, 3, to create a constructed language along the lines of "Palare" or "Thieves' Cant" for use by the clique of Anglo-saxonists, 4, idle interest, 5, most important of all, a deep-feeling that English can be even more meaningful if nonsense and jargon can be removed from civilised discourse.
My goal is not to erradicate English of all non-Germanic words, but to simply revitalise and restore many "Germanicisms" which logically are deemed to deserve to exist or be stronger (i.e. should by analogy exist, are faltering in their health, are dialectal etc). where a Germanic-based word can be brought into existance without sounding a nonsense, it will be suggested.
"Anglish" is usually grammatically the same as standard English. The main exceptions are easily listed, and are usually a rejection of Neo-classical rules brought in from latin (such as the no split-infinitive rule, and the rule which states sentences or clauses cannot end in a preposition).
The Rules for coining words, based on the notion that clear rules and techniques for wordminting are arrived at and followed, are as follows:
1. Where there exists no semantic difference between a Germanic and Greco-Latin word, but there exists various forms of the Greco-Latin (GL) word, but not of the Germanic, Germanic words shall be formed. Example: Noun, "Lung", the corresponding Adjective is "Pulmonic" (likewise ear and aural, mouth and oral, Lip and labial etc etc etc)
2. Where a word is of Greco-latin origin but parts of it are arguably unanylysable within the context of English (e.g. "penultimate"), a Germanic version is to be created instead (e.g. "forelast").
3. More productive use of Germanic affixes. Example: more frequent use of -ness for -ity.
4. Where the non-Germanic wordform has replaced a Germanic one, in English, but the difference is so trivial as to be unnoticed (e.g. ) then we may keep that word.
5. Where a word's etymology is unknown or highly contested, we may keep the word (e.g. "Quiz").
6. Where there exists a Greco-latin word which, similarly to point 2., is not fully-translatable without reference to other similar Greco-latin borrowings, should be calqued. An example would be Poul Anderson's "uncleft" for "atom".
7. Grammatical or so-called "Closed-class" words of a Greco-latin origin, as per point 4., need not be replaced. Example: "Very", where the Germanic word would perhaps be "swith" instead. Closed-class words include articles, demonstratives, prepositions, personal pronouns, conjunctions, and so forth.
8. Where there is a Greco-latin word and an obscure or dialectal English word or word in common use at some point during the modern English period (roughly 1500a.d. onwards), of Germanic origin, it will be looked at to see if it is preferable to the Greco-latin word. Example: "mote" for "particle".
9. Neologisms- i.e. non-attested words- formed of Germanic elements which do not differ semantically in any noticeable way from the Greco-latin word are to be prefered. Example: "Cranksome" for "Irascible".
10. Latinate or Greek words adopted into the language before 1066 are automatically acceptable. There could be some debate, as in a few cases there was an Anglo-saxon word which was replaced by a Latinate one (e.g. "Grammaticraeft" starting to replace in the Old English period "staefcraeft" (grammar)).
11. When to get rid of a non-Germanic word which provides a valuable subtle shade of meaning, and there be no apparent and appropriate Germanic coining, the word should not be ended; likewise, words of a non-Germanic root which are English in spirit should be kept (especially where the new word would be a nonsense; note "river" or "civilisation").
12. "It is impossible to revive a thing which is dead"; that is to say that we should tread cautiously when attempting to revive dead Germanic roots, and be wary that we are not overstepping the bounds and spirit of this proect. (e.g. there is a good case for "ruth" to be ressurected, but what of "sweotol" for "clear"?)
The idea of Germanicising English is really a spectrum; at one end we remove ALL non-Germanic elements within the language, irregardless of how naturalisaed they are (for instance "point"); and at the other we only remove words which do not make sense by reference to other English words (for instance "pulmonic"). My goal, like Poul Anderson's, is about half way between the latter and the middle end of this spectrum. Of course there can be much debate about what words are allowable, as there is not so much a fine line inbetween these two points, but really a continuous stream from oen side to the other. I hope the rules above clarify and guide this project.
A rather incomplete wordlist with some words from standard English (e.g. "Freedom" for "Liberty")
Current size: 74 words, 38 affixes (more on page 2)
W.B. = William Barnes coining; P.A. = Poul Anderson coining; O.E. = Old English translation or borrowing; Eng. = Standard English word; Ger. = German translation or borrowing
"Afterthing" for "Postposition"
"Aftermorrow" for "Day after to-morrow"
"Aftertale" for "Epilogue"
"Afterwrit" for "Post Script"
"Backblaming" for "Recrimination" [W.B.]
"Becomesome" for "Developmental" [W.B.]
"Bindword" for "Conjunction"
"Caesardom" for "Empire"
"Commonwealth" for "Republic" [Eng.]
"Cranksome" for "Irrascible"
"Dukedom" for "Duchy" [Eng.]
"Earish" for "Aural"
"Fablelore" for "Mythology" [W.B.]
"False-swear" for "Perjure"
"False-swearing" for "Perjury"
"Firststuff" for "Element" [P.A.]
"Folkdom" for "Democracy" [W.B.]
"Folkmoot" for "Council"
"Forelast" for "Pentultimate"
"Foretale" for "Prologue"
"Forething" for "Preposition"
"Foreyester" for "Day before yesterday"
"Hank" for "Desire"
"Homeborn" for "Native" [W.B.]
"Hustinger" for "Tribune"
"Inbring" for "Introduce" [W.B.]
"Kaiserdom" for "Empire" [see "Caesardom"]
"Kingdom" for "Monarchy" [Eng.]
"Kinghead" for "Monarch"
"Knowhow" for "Expertise" [Eng.]
"Lawcraft" for "Jurisprudence" [W.B.]
"Lawmoot" for "Parliament"
"Lawstead" for "Court"
"Lawword" for "Jurisdiction"
"Lay" for "Poem" [Eng., W.B.]
"Lifescape" for "Enviroment"
"Lifewrit" for "Biography" [W.B.]
"Likeness" for "Semblance"
"Lungish" for "Pulmonic"
"Masterpiece" for "Chef D'oevre" [W.B.]
"Masterstroke" for "Coup de Grace" [W.B.]
"Mendstead" for "Prison" [W.B.]
"Mindbent" for "Inclination"
"Mindset" for "Perspective" [Eng.]
"Mindsight" for "Imagination" [W.B.]
"Mite" for "Miniscule"
"Moot" for "Assembly" [Eng.]
"Mote" for "Particle" [Eng., P.A.]
"Mouthish" for "Oral"
"Nameword" for "Noun"
"Nasal" or "Nosish" for "Nasal"
"Naught" for "Zero" [Eng.]
"Nim" = "Obtain stealthily"
"Oathman" for "Juror"
"Oathmen" for "Jury"
"Popedom" for "Papacy"
"Rimreach" for "Circumference" [W.B.]
"Princedom" for "Principality"
"Self-lifewrit" for "Autobiography"
"Sleepstow" for "Dormitory" [W.B.]
"Soke" for "Jurisdiction" [see "lawword"]
"Songcraft" for "Poetry" [William Morris]
"Stead" for "Place" [I deem that "stead" and "place" are synonymous] [Eng.]
"Stow" for "Place" (place where things are stored or kept in mass)
"Swanlet" for "Cygnet" [W.B.]
"Swanling" for "Cygnet"
"Tind" for "Pinnacle" [Ger.]
"Tine" for "Modicum"
"Uncleft" for "Atom" [P.A.]
"Wanderlust" = desire or great love for travelling [Ger. wanderlust]
"Wonderchild" = (child) prodigy [Ger. wunderkind]
"Witan" for "Parliament" [O.E.]
"Workword" for "Verb"
"Worldken" for "Science" [P.A.]
again- = re-
back- = re-
(be)side- = para-
even- = equi-
folk- = demo-
for- = de-
for- = dis-
for-, mis- = an-
fore- = pre-
fore- = anti-
gain- = contra
half- = semi-
head- = arch-
lone- = mono-
many- = multi-
many- = poly-
off- = de-
off- = dis-
on- = ad-
out- = de-
out- = dis-
out- = ex-
over- = trans-
over- = super-
self- = auto-
sham- = pseudo-
sunder- = dis-
through- = trans-
tway = dia-
two- = bi-
twy- = ambi-
uber- = super- [where “over-“ yields the wrong connotations]
un- = de
up- = co-
up- = col-
up- = con-
with- = re-
-moot = assembley
This is very much a project I am pursuing casually. I will frequently come back to this page, though, in order to "tweak" it. If anyone has any suggestions, please do email me. My address is email@example.com. [NOTE: there is no "x" in my e-mail address; the x is there so as to prevent automated spam reaching my address. To e-mail me, type that address without the "x"]
I will further add to the goals, as I refine and distill my goals into coherent bullet points (that is, I know what my goals are, but expressing them ALL cogently may take some time).
See "Anglo-Romance" for the mirror of this project, by Mattia Suardi. I am not sure fully what his motivations are; perhaps to make English more "international" and thus more usable as a world language. However, if that IS the case, then it seems a nonsense to me; what happens when English ceases to be the world language, what then? We will be left with a language lacking in clearness to Englishmen.
THIS IS ALL UP FOR DEBATE!! None of this is "final"
OH, BY THE WAY.... you might wonder why this page largely, is written in standard Latinish English, or as William Barnes called it, "Englandish".... well, I didn't want to put those off who are interested, by writing this all in ONE VERSION of a Saxonised English. You will see some clashes in the wordhoards on this site, but that is because the words come from different sources, with thinkers who have slightly different takes or suggestions.
PAGE 2: A Brief Overview of William Barnes' Work
"The Rebirth of England and the English: The vision of William Barnes" by Father Andrew Phillips
The Conlang Group