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Should we use Anglo-Saxons words instead of borrowed words?

Discussion in 'English' started by rickochay, Feb 8, 2013.

  1. William Barnes was a 19th-century English poet and philologist who
    tried to persuade people to use Anglo-Saxon words, rather than words
    imported into English from French, Latin, Greek or other languages.

    He is cited many times in the Oxford English Dictionary, but mainly
    for Dorset dialect words, which he used in hundreds of poems. Otherwise,
    he is cited at the entries for push-wainling (a Barnes invention for ‘baby’s pram’ ), rede-craft (logic), and sundriness (diversity).

    In his book on grammar, Outline of English Speechcraft, he replaces Latin-based words for grammatical terminology with Old English equivalents. So, a verb becomes time-taking, a noun a thing-word or thing-name, an adverb is an under-markword, plural is somely number, genitive is the offspring case, and subjunctive is hinge-mood.

    Other nice words he offers Old English alternatives for include:

    bendsome, for flexible

    doingsome, for active

    matter-lore, for chemistry

    nipperlings, for forceps

    sound sweetness, for euphony

    thoroughshining, for diaphanous

    unbreathpenned, for inarticulate

    unfrienden, for alienate

    wortlore, for botany
  2. gruoch

    gruoch Established commenter

    And turn one of the richest vocabularies in the world into baby talk?
  3. Is "diaphanous" intrinsically better than "thoroughshining"? How so?

  4. gruoch

    gruoch Established commenter

    Shouldn't that be 'throughshining'?
    Do you really want to destroy Shakespeare?
  5. Would you like another spelling for it? I guess "through" does hit the mark too, I suppose.
    Destroy? Isn't he already dead? You mean to say "destroy his work"! (A) It will be different. Not sure if we could say that it would be worse. The meaning, story,... so much would be intact. The sound of words are not that important. It is the meaning that matters. (B) Many texts from writers before him were written in a language that wasn't as easily understood as Shakespeare's English (Chaucer) and they were translated. Many can read them too. This has happened in many languages. Do we dress like people were dressing during Shakespeare's time? Should we? Do we act like people were acting during Shakespeare's time? The whole world doesn't revolve around Shakespeare.

  6. gruoch

    gruoch Established commenter

    'thorough' and 'through' are not interchangeable - unless you're using Early Modern English, I suppose. If we used 'thoroughshining' today it would mean 'complete' (not an Old English word, of course), which is not the meaning of 'diaphanous'.
    That is ridiculously pedantic - though you wouldn't have a word for 'pedantic', I imagine.
    True - but our language has been supremely enriched by Early Modern English usage. Do you really want to jettison it?
    I couldn't have written this post without loan words and those adapted from other languages. Why would I want to impoverish my writing and speaking?

  7. I never said that they were interchangeable. Your word gives the word a slightly different meaning though.
    "Ridiculously pedantic"? Does that mean "extremely right"? :)
    Finding a new word to mean "diaphanous" in lieu of "diaphanous" would not impoverish anything. We would still have a word for "diaphanous"!
    It is not impoverishing anything. Again, we are replacing words (that have the exact same meaning): A for B, but the meaning of A = the meaning of B. I am not sure what is your point?

  8. When you write in iambic pentameter the sounds of the words are indeed important. How do you propose to bring these words into the language and stop the useage of others?
  9. gruoch

    gruoch Established commenter

    And when you write, or speak, in iambic pentameter, you are using the rhythms of spoken English. It's why iambic pentameter is easier to learn, as an actor, than prose.
    Hamlet's part is far easier to learn than, say, Falstaff's in 'Merry Wives'.
    Iambic pentameter doesn't work in either Old English or Anglo Saxon. But maybe we are in Goveland, where the past is always better?
  10. As I said, the world doesn't revolve around Shakespeare or other older poets. Other poets will exploit the new "lexicon" (new form of old words) like the old poets exploited the old ones. If one wants to read old poets' work, then they will be free to do so. In any case, it might even generate new ideas, new thoughts, new concepts, paradigm shifts, if new words are created.
    Do we write "useage" or "usage", btw?
  11. Underachiever

    Underachiever New commenter

    Modern English is a gloriously expressive, flexible and fascinating language. By all means add to it; the more words the merrier, I say. But if it ain't broke, why fix it?
  12. "Gloriously expressive, flexible and fascinating language"
    Many languages are! Not just English!
    It isn't broken? Really? How so? It's perfect?
  13. Maybe, but I can write!
    Trolls? Is anyone wanting to change things a troll? I object to your unsubstantiated characterization!
    And,... flawed language!

  14. Do you know what the word "create" means?

  15. > a (not has)
    > "épaule": spelling (1st mistake)
    "sur son épaule": anglicised idiom and wrong position (2nd mistake)
    > "une": wrong gender (clue number 1: there is a final "e" at the end of frite)
    > "très": spelling
    > "grande": wrong agreement
    So, 7 errors out of 7 words!
    Final mark: 0 %
    F (as in failure or "frite", I suppose!)
    I wont belabour the lack of substance and the childish nature of the one-liner. That's par for the course!
    Stop pretending you can write in French, Inky, to make us (you) think that you are more educated than you are. Do us all a favour and write in English, IF you have something constructive to write, that is! :) Stop butchering French ... and English too, BTW! :)

  16. You are French or Greek?
  17. Celtic.
  18. Indeed. Who wants to speak Saxon, the language of immigrants? I'm not sure how much of the Celtic spoken by Boudica is preserved, but I'm surprised that no-one has ever thought of using Latin. It is far more authentic as a lingua franca for these shores than the Germanic tongue imposed on us Britons by more recent invaders. If you really want to get ridiculous, why not have it included in Gove's EBacc?
    Posuit itaque tuo in tibia, et fumigant eam
  19. As I understand it, brock (for badger) and Thames are pretty much the sum total of what is left in modern English of the original languages. Maybe we could dispense with language altogether and just ug and grr?
  20. Some of our kids are there already.[​IMG]

    I think you could add 'avon' to that list....

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