Anglish – A definition

Anglish or perhaps Saxon English is a kind of English linguistic purism, that favours words of native (Germanic) origin over those of foreign (mainly Romance as well as Greek) origin.

The first form of English (called Old English) emerged in the 5th century, when Germanic speaking tribes (the Anglo Saxons) migrated to Britain and eventually developed the Kingdom of England. Sticking to the Norman conquest of England in 1066, the language borrowed thoroughly from Norman and also to a lesser degree from various other Romance languages.

Anglish is thus an effort to “revitalise” the indigenous Germanic aspect in English, or perhaps to “purify” it of non Germanic elements. This’s attained by utilizing existing Germanic equivalents of Romance words (“fathom” rather compared to “ascertain”), by resurrecting obsolete or archaic words (“forbus” for “example”), borrowing from Old English (“fraign” for “question”), and quite often by utilizing new words coined from Old English roots (“owndom” instead of “property”).


In the 1500s and 1600s, controversy over needless overseas borrowings (known as “inkhorn terms”) was rife. Writers have been introducing numerous complex words, primarily from Latin and Greek. Critics watched this as pretentious and unnecessary, arguing that English previously had words with the same meanings. Nevertheless, a lot of the brand new words gained an equal footing with the indigenous Germanic words, and sometimes changed them.
Freelance writers like Thomas Elyot flooded the writings of theirs with international borrowings, whilst writers like John Cheke sought to maintain the writings “pure” of theirs. Cheke wrote:

I’m of this viewpoint that the very own tung of ours must be written cleane and clean, unmangeled and unmixt with borowing of alternative tunges; whereby in case we take not heed by tiim, ever borowing and don’t paying, she shall be fain to help keep the home of her as bankrupt.

From his 1946 essay Politics and George Orwell, the English Language wrote:

Bad writers especially scientific, political, and sociological writers are usually haunted by the idea that Latin or maybe Greek words are grander compared to Saxon ones.

A contemporary of Orwell, the Australian composer Percy Grainger, used an equivalent language for the writings of his that he called “blue eyed English”. Lee Hollander’s 1962 English translation of the Poetic Edda (a group of Old Norse poems), composed nearly entirely with Germanic words, would likewise motivate a lot of future “Anglish” writers.

In 1966, Paul Jennings published a selection of “Anglish” articles in Punch, to commemorate the 900th anniversary of the Norman conquest. He gave “a bow to William Barnes, the Dorset poet philologist”. The parts included a sample of Shakespeare’s writing as it can try to have been whether William the Conqueror had never been successful.

In 1989, science fiction writer Poul Anderson wrote a text about fundamental atomic theory named Uncleftish Beholding. It was composed using just terms of Germanic origin, and was designed to demonstrate what English may are like with no international borrowings. In 1992, Douglas Hofstadter jokingly described the design and style as “Ander Saxon”. This particular phrase has since been used for describing some scientific writings which use just Germanic words.

Anderson used strategies including:

extension of sense (motes for’ particles’); calques, i.e., translation of the morphemes of the international word (uncleft for atom, that is from Greek a-‘ not’ and temnein’ to cut’)
calques from various other Germanic languages like Dutch and german (waterstuff from the German wasserstoff / Dutch waterstof for’ hydrogen’; sourstuff from the German sauerstoff / Dutch zuurstof for’ oxygen’); coining (firststuff for’ element’; lightrotting for’ radioactive decay’).

One more approach, without a certain name tag, could be observed in the September 2009 publication How We would Talk if the English had Won in 1066, by David Cowley. This’s based upon updating known Old English words to present day English spelling, and also seeks mainstream appeal by safeguarding text in five Steps, from simple to “weird and wonderful”, in addition to providing numerous instances of use, tests and drawings.