The Anglish Moot - a wiki devoted to English with the non-Germanic words removed

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

English has so many non-Germanic words that it has borrowed over time that removing them all results in a slightly awkward but very interesting-looking language that gives some idea of what English might have become if it weren't for the Norman Conquest. I've tried my hand at writing in this before, but to my surprise I found out today that there's a whole wiki devoted to this style of English (Anglish) as well, called The Anglish Moot.

One particularly interesting page on the wiki is this one, which gives a lot of Anglish equivalents for English words used today along with their Old English cognate. Here are a few of them:

aliken - compare - anlician

anleth - face - andwlita

anew - to renew - edniwian

anewed - renewed - edneowe

angbreast - asthma - angbreost

angsomely - painfully - angsumlice

angsomeness - distress, pain - angsumnes

applewine - cider - æppelwin

atsake - deny - ætsacen

awayen - repudiate - awægan

ayewhither - in all directions - æghwider

This wiki goes along well with an idea I've had before on learning a language like Middle English (actually learning to use it, not just reading tales written in it) before embarking on something like German or Dutch, but this modified version of English could be a better idea.

Take this for example:
unmightly - impossibile - unmihtlic
German: unmöglich. Norwegian: umulig.

and another one here:
guestlithe - hospitable - giestliðe
German: gastfreundlich. Norwegian: gjestfri. Dutch: gastvrij.

I plan to write a longer post about this subject in a few days to make this case in a bit more detail. It seems that an acquaintance with Anglish before embarking on another language would give the English speaker a bit of an upper hand in the same way that other Germanic languages already have, and that English has lost over time.


Anonymous said...


They did actually do worse than you did (I recall you had furthermore the difficulty not to coin new words from Old English) because I've still found words from French or Medieval Latin in their "Anglish" pages: branch, safe, common(wealth), form, border, group, part, (in)close, several, farming, tribe, modern, founding, defeat, suffer, country, cover, area... (I stop here the slaughter...)


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