What English might look like with all the non-Germanic vocabulary removed: L.L. Sendbearer Hints at Bendiness With Russia on Firebolt Warding

Saturday, February 14, 2009

44th Head of the Linked Lands of America, Barack Obama.

In the spirit of the unforgettable Uncleftish Beholding, a paper on atomic theory showing what English might look like with all the non-Germanic words removed, I've tried my own hand at a bit of pure Germanic English with a few paragraphs from this article entitled U.S. Envoy Indicates Flexibility With Russia on Missile Defense, which I've entitled L.L. (Linked Lands) Sendbearer Hints at Bendiness With Russia on Firebolt Warding. It's certainly not an attempt to extrapolate at what English might have become without the Norman Invasion since that resulted in a change to the structure of the language itself, just a fun (not academic) demonstration of just how many non-Germanic words there are in the language, to the extent that English doesn't really function without them.

Let me know if you catch any non-Germanic words in there (etymonline.com is awesome and was the largest help here). Some of them are pretty tricky and can look Germanic, but actually come from Latin or Old French. The original article and an explanation of how I created some of the words follow.

L.L. Sendbearer Hints at Bendiness With Russia on Firebolt Warding

A more teamworking bond with Russia that helps lower the uncleftish foreboding from Iran would be "one of the things" bearing weight on the Obama landsteering's choosing on when and whether to put in a firebolt warding bodyframe in eastern Europe, an elder L.L. landbearer said this week.

"The Linked Lands is quite open to the likelihood of new kinds of teamwork" on a warding shield, and is "keen on a thorough talking on the whole reach of matters on shielding with Russia," Underlandsmarshal William Burns said on a calling to Moscow.

"If through strong landbearing with Russia and our other friends we can lower or cast out that foreboding, it overseeingly shapes the way at which we look at firebolt warding," Burns said.

His speaking followed a bid last week by Underlandshead Biden to hit a "reset knob" on bonds with Russia after a lengthy time of strife over firebolt warding and a reach of other matters. In a betweenseeing with the Russian Interfax news maker at the end of his landcalling late Thursday, Burns, a former L.L. sendbearer to Moscow, said the landsteering hopes to take the boon of "this time of good befalling...to undertake to turn those good forethoughts and those sound words into earthly headway."

A landsteering head in Washington called Burns's words, which were posted on the L.L. Sendbearing Web spot in Moscow, "fully same with the way we've been talking about firebolt warding and willing to work with the Russians. If we have the might to work with the Russians to lower the foreboding from Iran, we need to think hard on how to go forward with likely unfolding of the bodyframes."



And the original article written in normal English:

U.S. Envoy Indicates Flexibility With Russia on Missile Defense

A more cooperative relationship with Russia that helps reduce the nuclear threat from Iran would be "one of the factors" influencing the Obama administration's decision on when and whether to install a missile defense system in eastern Europe, a senior U.S. diplomat said this week.

"The United States is quite open to the possibility of new forms of cooperation" on a defense shield, and is "interested in a thorough discussion of the whole range of security issues with Russia," Undersecretary of State William Burns said on a visit to Moscow.

"If through strong diplomacy with Russia and our other partners we can reduce or eliminate that threat, it obviously shapes the way at which we look at missile defense," Burns said.

His comments followed an offer last week by Vice President Biden to push a "reset button" on relations with Russia following a lengthy period of contention over missile defense and a range of other issues. In an interview with the Russian Interfax news agency at the end of his visit late Thursday, Burns, a former U.S. ambassador to Moscow, said the administration hopes to take advantage of "this moment of opportunity . . . to try to translate those good intentions and that positive rhetoric into practical progress."

An administration official in Washington called Burns's remarks, which were posted on the U.S. Embassy Web site in Moscow, "entirely consistent with the way we've been talking about missile defense and trying to engage the Russians. If we're able to work with the Russians to diminish the threat from Iran, we need to consider how to proceed with potential deployment of the systems."


  • Sendbearer - used this twice, for envoy and ambassador. Influenced by Icelandic sendiherra for ambassador.
  • Firebolt - made this one up myself. Seems like a good word for missile.
  • Uncleftish - that's from uncleftish beholding (atomic theory). I'm glad that word was already available.
  • Landsteering - administration, influenced by Dutch bestuur.
  • Bodyframe - means system; inspired by Japanese/Korean/Chinese 体系 (among other ways to write it), literally meaning body+framework.
  • Landbearer - a diplomat is a person bearing a kind of permission to represent their country, so landbearer seemed okay. Landbearing (diplomacy) comes from this too.
  • Landshead - President. Head of the land. Underlandshead is Vice President.
  • Overseeingly - evidently. Formed similar to the German überzeugend (evident).
  • Betweenseeing - interview.
  • Landcalling - a visit to a country.


Edit: thanks to Epistaxis for some proofreading.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Saw this on Reddit and though I'd add some Latin stuff that I was aware of.

"Missile" is a Latin cognate. So is "administration" and "visit."

"Nuclear" is derived from the Latin "nucleus" for the inside of a nut.

"President" comes from "praesideo" which is "praesidens" in the present active participle.

Also, I thought this might be Latin (inter- being an Latin prefix, after all), but Webster's says that "interview" is an Anglo-French word.

Mithridates said...

Hi Anonymous: the part you're looking at is the original article which I included so that people can compare the two. I think I'll make that point a bit clearer in the post so that everyone knows which is which.

Bobby Fiend said...

I just have to say that was delightful. As a secondary note, I am something of a sci-fi reader, and I wonder if (consciously or unconsciously) sci-fi and fantasy authors utilize similar processes when making up funky-sounding names for familiar things in their books. Usually this is a disaster, of course...

Again, great job. Highly entertaining.

Anonymous said...

Bobby: fantasy/scifi authors definitely do this. Very commonly with alternate-earth country names. For instance, the countries in Jacqueline Carey's Kushiel series are Alba (England), Skaldia (Germany), Caerdicca Unitas (pre-unification Italy), Illyria, etc.

Mithridates said...

Bobby: you should check out the group Auxlang. There are a few people there that create languages for their stories all the time.

http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/auxlang/
http://listserv.brown.edu/archives/cgi-bin/wa?A0=AUXLANG

It's actually just mirrored on Yahoo so you would have to join it through the instructions at the second link.

Anonymous said...

Hi Dave!

I've spotted several "alien" words in your "germanic" English!

"carry" is Anglo-Normand. (Modern French "charrier" = "to drive away"à). Replace it of course with "bear".
"matter" is "matière"....
"quite" is from Old French.
"re-" (in "reset") is of course a Latin prefix.
"turn" is "tourner"....
the suffix "-an" of "Russian" is romance, though we could imagine it comes from "Rossiyanin" = "a Russian citizen"

"choose", "ward" and "marshal" come from Germanic, though they are cognates with the corresponding French words.

"post" and "interfax" are Latin... but as they're international, we may accept them nonetheless.

About your interrogations on etymology.
"interview" comes from "entrevue" (though "interview" has been borrowed back by French...)
Germans have "Flugkörper" for "missile"; why not a "flightbody" (and "body", on the contrary of "Körper", is germanic).
"overseeing(ly)" is not a calque of "überzeugen", as "zeugen" (quite litterary) means "to witness".

Those vocabulary questions interest me, as I model sambahsa's wordstock on the English one, but with words from other parts of the world.

Olivier
http://sambahsa-mundialect-org.blogspot.com

Mithridates said...

Olivier, I knew you'd comment here! Let's see...

okay, carry --> bear

there's another theory for matter that it comes straight from dmateria (cognate with timber) so I didn't change that

interfax and Russian are company/place names so I left those unchanged

etymonline gives the following for post:

"upright timber," O.E. post "pillar, doorpost," and O.Fr. post, both from L. postis "post," perhaps from por- "forth" + stare "to stand" (see stet). Similar compound in Skt. prstham "back, roof, peak,"...

I should have noted that I didn't discard Latin borrowings if they were already present in OE, and that's what I did with post.

Flightbody could be good too for missile, I just liked firebolt. Feels more like something from LOTR

I know that zeugen means witness, but then again a witness is someone that views or sees something so I think the connection is close enough, as borrowings from one language to another are never quite exact.

Now we just have to think of what to do with re-, quite and turn...

Anonymous said...

Very interesting, and it doesn't look like English would be up to much without its Latinate vocabulary.

Ellis said...

The bastardised Saxon of a Normanfrenchman peppered with Latin and Greek.

Mithridates said...

Olivier, I knew you'd comment here! Let's see...

okay, carry --> bear

there's another theory for matter that it comes straight from dmateria (cognate with timber) so I didn't change that

interfax and Russian are company/place names so I left those unchanged

etymonline gives the following for post:

"upright timber," O.E. post "pillar, doorpost," and O.Fr. post, both from L. postis "post," perhaps from por- "forth" + stare "to stand" (see stet). Similar compound in Skt. prstham "back, roof, peak,"...

I should have noted that I didn't discard Latin borrowings if they were already present in OE, and that's what I did with post.

Flightbody could be good too for missile, I just liked firebolt. Feels more like something from LOTR

I know that zeugen means witness, but then again a witness is someone that views or sees something so I think the connection is close enough, as borrowings from one language to another are never quite exact.

Now we just have to think of what to do with re-, quite and turn...

Anonymous said...

Hi Dave!

I've spotted several "alien" words in your "germanic" English!

"carry" is Anglo-Normand. (Modern French "charrier" = "to drive away"à). Replace it of course with "bear".
"matter" is "matière"....
"quite" is from Old French.
"re-" (in "reset") is of course a Latin prefix.
"turn" is "tourner"....
the suffix "-an" of "Russian" is romance, though we could imagine it comes from "Rossiyanin" = "a Russian citizen"

"choose", "ward" and "marshal" come from Germanic, though they are cognates with the corresponding French words.

"post" and "interfax" are Latin... but as they're international, we may accept them nonetheless.

About your interrogations on etymology.
"interview" comes from "entrevue" (though "interview" has been borrowed back by French...)
Germans have "Flugkörper" for "missile"; why not a "flightbody" (and "body", on the contrary of "Körper", is germanic).
"overseeing(ly)" is not a calque of "überzeugen", as "zeugen" (quite litterary) means "to witness".

Those vocabulary questions interest me, as I model sambahsa's wordstock on the English one, but with words from other parts of the world.

Olivier
http://sambahsa-mundialect-org.blogspot.com

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