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

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



  3. gruoch

    gruoch Established commenter

    I am not having an argument - never have done. I disagree that we should impoverish the language by jettisoning over 1000 years of its evolution.That's all.
    You assert that English is chaotic but do not back up your assertion with any evidence.
    You assert that I cannot teach - but have absolutely no access to any evidence to support that assertion.
    For your inforrmation, pretty much no-one has ever believed the earth to be flat. It has always been a very minority view - though I except Discworld, obviously.

  4. That means the game is over and you can go and annoy the Spanish about their irregular verbs.
  5. Reposted so that Dave can find it!

  6. inky

    inky Lead commenter

    I'm glad that you objected to my bad French. Perhaps it'll give you an insight into how objectionable your proposals for the future of English sound to those of us who love the English language.

    As for those wretched agreements - we all know that many francophones are scared of writing their language because of them! What a shame they can't just be scrapped...
  7. If you think that English is the only language I would like to reform, you are mistaken! Don't get me going on the famous final, silent consonants or the irregular conjugations or the irregular nature of the genders of French nouns,... I could go on and on.
    I love all the languages I speak (even the languages I have learned and have struggled to learn). I love the learners who struggle unnecessarily to learn it MORE though! Reformists like me want to reduce pain as much as one can for all people involved. Literate learners won't be forced to learn the new code. There is a phased-in phase of 12 years and a preparation time of 5 to 10 years build in for new learners and teachers (and a certain segment of the society that would need to help change things: educational publishers,....). I realize that the chances of this being adopted is slim considering how the corporate world rules the show, how politicians work in the short-term, and how people are scared about anything that seems to attack their identity or their ego.
    I know the elite hates change (they love stability) because the status quo is beneficial for them. We all know about that. It will be hard to have them buy into change. Look at what is taking place for other proposed changes. We are talking about baby steps in the best of times in the most "advanced"societies.
    If it were not for change, we would all still be talking like cavemen, knocking flinstones,...!
    It seems to me that the right to communicate easily and quickly should be viewed as a human right and it should be as easy and as quickly to master a language by as many as it is possible. Clearly, many languages --including English-- could use a reform.

  8. In the same way that the war in the former Yugoslavia was also civil.

    In answer to your questions:
    1. Yes
    2. Yes, several.
    3, Yes. Of most relevance to this discussion is Anglo-Saxon, which I studied for three years at university, alongside dialectology, socio-linguistics, the history of the English language, phonetics, semantics and pragmatics and more. I had a year of lectures and tutorials translating and analysing 'Beowulf' in its original language, alongside texts such as the Anglo-Saxon chronicles, Dream of the Rood, the Ormulum and Ancrene Wisse.
    I think that more than qualifies me to pronounce your opinions on the English language as ill-informed drivel. IAmong the issues you fail to consider are:
    1. People are extremely resistant to change in their language.
    2. There are 44 sounds used in Received Pronunciation, as well as extras from loan words such as 'Loch'. A phonetic spelling system would require 44 characters. If we are to return to Anglo-Saxon we would also need to add 'ash' and 'thorn' to the keyboard and delete letters such as V, J and Q.
    3. Phonetic spelling only properly works if people have the same accent. In a phonetic alphabet, what would be the correct spelling of 'bath'?
    4. Anglo-Saxon currently provides the origins for only about 40% of English, a similar amount to Latin. The proportions change according to the type of text. The other 20% come from a huge range of sources. Anglo-Saxon has a limited vocabulary, and as a 'dead' language it isn't growing.
    5. There was no standardised spelling in Anglo-Saxon either. In the Ormulum the poor chap who wrote it changed his mind on spelling halfway through, then had to go back and 'correct' it all by hand. Spelling changed according to time and the location of writing.
    6. In 23 years of teaching English, it is only maybe once or twice a year that I cannot understand a pupil's work because of poor spelling. It's frustrating certainly, but not life or death.
    7. Only a relatively small proportion of English speakers live in England. The USA, India and Nigeria all have more English speakers than we do, so even if you had your way, the rest of the world would carry on regardless.
    8. Language is not just about creating a system that is the quickest and easiest to learn. Sometimes people need to express complex and subtle ideas that require a huge vocabulary. Thanks to its constant borrowing, English has one of the largest vocabularies of any language, and yet people still can't always find the right word. Reducing our language to a simplified core would severely limit thought.
    9. Anglo-Saxon is far more complicated than modern English in its conjugation of verbs, being more similar to German. You would need to teach people the nomnative, dative, accusative all over again. Even the monks got it wrong sometimes.
  9. inky

    inky Lead commenter

    I get the feeling that a post has gone.

    The word zealot makes people afraid because of all ?he terrible things that have been done by zealots. They are blinkered, fanatical and often bigoted individuals.

    They have a tendency to splutter when contradicted. Has a spluttering post been removed?
  10. Underachiever

    Underachiever New commenter

    inky, have you really posted that many times?
  11. Inky,
    "And after this so-graciously bestowed 12 years has passed, will all of
    the great heritage of English and American etc literature have been
    translated by those 'educational publishers' into the new Anglo-Saxon?"
    "There must be people rubbing their hands with glee at the prospect."
    I guess you are not familiar with automatic translation schemes or programming. Digital files can and will be automatically translated or transcoded into the new code thanks to a program whereby the computer program will see a work, say, "ricochet" and translate it on the fly to "rickoshay" or "skipping", depending on what tghe population prefers (spelling or semantic changes). This program work could be paid by the Commonwealth --or the royalty, as they have lots of money. They probably could find some poor programmer in some of their ex-colonies to do the work for dirt cheap (we know how capitalism and colonialsim works, right?).
    Compare to the amounts paid to the extra teachers needed to teach the current system, this would be a saving. However, I am not too sure if you are able to process those complex economic ideas. Changes is VERY scary to you, hey? Are you usinga fridge? A microwave? A computer? Jeesh

    "I think you must be very young, rickochay, to be so blinded by
    I think you think too much! Keep thinking! You are completely in error just like when you tried to write 7 words in French to impress the gallery and got a 0/7. I see a pattern here.
  12. inky

    inky Lead commenter


    I see that our spluttering zealot friend has got himself in troub le with the mods.
  13. You speak, write, read, and have the ability to listen to them as a native-speaker would? Apart from the one below, which are they?
    With all due respect, to learn Anglo-Saxon should not have been a lot of work, Dave. It is not like learning a totally different language from a different family (from Germanic to Germanic in this instance). Dutch speakers can learn English in a week! Joking! But, it is very easy! Anyway, good for you for doing so.
    It is rather unfortunate that you had to malign my ideas as drivel, when we consider how literate and refined you claim to be! Are we going to have an ego based discussion here, where you are necessarily right because you have more caps to your hat, where you are necessarily right because you qualify what I write as drivel? I am familiar with dysfunctional communication. Politicians and media offer us plenty of examples that people probably imitate just because it is ubiquitous, but you don't know who I am. So, if I were you, I would tone down the posturing and the rethoric. I have been civil with you up to this time because you are --unlike some other people on this board-- willing to debate the topic. Granted, it sounds more like you are willing to lecture to prove to you or to others that you are very smart and better than me, just because I happen to have a point of view that you disagree with. It is rather unfortunate. I should point out to you that I beat you in every single category that you mentioned in terms of experience down to degrees and languages I speak. So, please, show a little bit of respect. Thank you.
    Reformists suggest that we reform the spelling system because it is highly irregular or that we remove words that belong to loanwords that were not dealt with properly. Take your pick. Not matter how you look at it. English spelling is a deplorable mess and, like all rubbish, it needs to be cleaned up. This is not an extremist point of view. This is an accepted fact in linguistic milieux. No there is a beautiful French loanword from you that could use a final "s" or "z" OR could be replaced by some new creation that would use core Anglo-Saxon words. If traditionalists cannot accept a spelling change, then they will have to accept this kind of change. Make up your mind. The laissez-faire (complacency orincompetence) of the past has to be dealth with because many people are suffering and/or people are paying through their teeth at filling classrooms with more teachers that are needed to teach what should be an easier language.
    You make a few good points, but unfortunately these have been addressed by most reformists in the past. Here is a link to a page where all of those points have been addressed. The following is a rebutal for more points that others have raised. Forgive me for not addressing all of your points in sequence, but they are addressed below.You will probably need to go to the site for reference.
    "In #1, all attempts at changing anything appear to have failed - until our
    government actually authorizes the change. But it is true that most people are
    complacent - just as they were about the adoption of the Metric system, which is now
    becoming a reality. (Canadian kids do very well with the metric system. Using feet and thumbs to measure things reminds me of prehistory and backwardness, but some people like these times I am sure!)

    In #2, this idea might have had some validity 3/4 of a century ago, but not now.
    (As noted in previous posts, many reformists would not force any literate people to learn a new code.)
    The falsity of statement #3 should be obvious. Spelling reform is a serious attempt
    at bettering our educational standards.

    In another section of this book, it will be shown how to implement a reformed
    spelling. Suffice to say that there is for sure a legal and authoritative way - by
    government action and decree with government usage as a precedent.

    His #5 has no validity. Printers and typesetters do not care if the text they have
    to work with is simple or difficult. They are paid by the hour. If it takes longer
    to set up an article on medicine, engineering or law, or any other technical jargon,
    the author or the publication pays for the difference - not the printer, most of
    whom don't even read what they print. What he says about adding new letters to the
    alfabet, however, is true.

    In #6, no doubt some reprinting will be advisable, but the present literate
    population would not need to have books reprinted, nor would they forget how to read
    in the old spelling. Only such books as dictionaries or encyclopedias, wherein words
    starting with the eliminated silent letters, are relocated, would be affected. But
    these new editions would stimulate our economy with new sales.

    In #7, the illogicality of this assertion should be easily seen. While the French
    word (or spelling) might help a Frenchman understand that particular word, it would
    not help a Greek, a German, a Swede, a Russian, or dozens - yea, hundreds of others.
    And the large amount of our words were not borrowed from foreign languages but
    derived from Latin and Greek, both of which are mutually incompatible.

    For #8, we must weigh the advantages and disadvantages. Certainly it is more
    important to have a reliable system than our present unreliable system of making
    plurals and possessives.

    #9 is false because the Greek alfabet is entirely diferent from ours. The Greek
    spelling does not have the digraph 'ph' in it. The Greek letter 'phi' (our T.O. name
    for it) does not indicate that it should be 'ph' but rather that should be 'f'. And
    all languages do not use the 'ph' digraph, viz, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian,
    Swedish, Danish, and probably others use 'f' instead. And in Lord Gleichen's
    Alphabets of Foreign Nations, p. xiii, it says, "ph must not be used for
    this sound (f) in respelling foreign names."

    No such artificial digraphs are used in Latin derived words, showing that such a
    digraph is unnecessary to indicate ancestry.

    #11 may have been true 2 or more centuries ago, but the language has not changed
    even slightly in the last century and fixing the spelling along fonetic lines will
    tend to prevent changes in pronunciation. The reason why pronunciation
    did change centuries ago was because 99% of the population was illiterate and
    the spelling had already become an unreliable guide to pronunciation.

    #12. The reason why there are differing dialects is because there is no standard
    fonetic spelling to be used as a guide to pronunciation. If there were, we would
    gradually follow the standard and eventually emerge with a standard speech. And he
    exaggerates the amount of differences between dialects. For instance, the dialectal
    differences between British and American speech amounts to only a few dozen words
    out of the 75,000 in the dictionary.

    In #13, the specter of words being spelt in more than one way is held up as a
    deterent, yet he seems to be unaware that there are a lot of words which in our
    dictionaries have 2 acceptable spellings.- past & passed, color & colour,
    honor & honour, program & programme, catalog & catalogue, dialog &
    dialogue, prolog & prologue, thru & through, tho & though, altho
    & although, donut & doughnut, canceled & cancelled, embarass &
    embarrass, to name only a few. And there are 30 listed by Papailiou and Jason
    in their thesis (SPB, Spring, 1981 pdf).

    In #14, Pitman's experience with his initial teaching alfabet indicates that this
    dialectal difficulty is only a minor issue and affects so few words as to be
    immaterial. What is more important? - that a few words do not indicate exactly the
    real pronunciation, or that most words (in T.O.) do not indicate pronunciation at
    all. Shall we reject something that is almost perfect in favor of something that is
    very unreliable?

    #15 is disposed of by the author so no further comment is necessary.

    As for the etymological argument, it was also challenged in our Section 5 by Yule
    and Downing.

    The homophone argument is another "red herring" intended to obscure the
    real issue and has little merit, as shown by Ben Franklin and others. Some reformers
    even provide two means of portraying the same sound so as to provide means of
    differentiating the homophones. But he is right in saying that the gain in
    differentiating homographs will balance the loss of differentiation among
    David, if the traditionalists cannot or don't want to fix this unnecessarily complex spelling system, then they must face a radical change like the one I am suggesting. Language is a tool to communicate.
    If English was a car, it would not sell. No one would buy it! Recalls would bankrupt the company. The list of deffects would be too expensive to print. :) It is the Skoda of all languages! Fix this mess of a language. Its spelling system is complete b**.

  14. Spreading rumors
    Many countries refer to this sort of actions as bullying. It is called social bullying.The research shows that this sort of bullying is often used by women who cannot use physical bullying. Many people are unaware of this fact or do not want to face the facts. Regardless, they often act or feel they have been attacked unfairly, when they attacked people first. Bullying, regardless of the type, is unnaceptable, Inky.
    Oh, trouble with the mods? Really? How so? Spreading rumours that are not true again? But, are you not a zealot for trying to get me kicked out of this forum just because you don't like what I am saying? You are displaying all the signs of one. You give people of England a bad name and a bad reputation. You are famous for your fair-play, but maybe they don't teach this anymore in schools.
    Inky, your conduct on this forum is a disgrace. You are disgracing your country and the profession.
    STOP! Bullying is not acceptable.
  15. whelk

    whelk New commenter

    The 'garage' problem is one that has never been answered. We may have to get the opinion of Nigel Farridge.
  16. Underachiever

    Underachiever New commenter

    I'm impressed.
    Don't know about that personal pronoun. I don't think he liked me [​IMG]
  17. He's just anti English. I don't think he dislikes any one more than any other.
    He just hasn't accepted the Plains of Abraham result.
  18. Zealot

  19. gruoch

    gruoch Established commenter

    Definitely doesn't like me [​IMG]
  20. Even though I stated a few times that I would change other languages? [​IMG]
    You, Sir, lack credibility or intelligence!

    Again, you are mistaken, jumping to conclusion and making bad ASSumptions.
    First, I am not as dumb as to be falling for this kind of stupid patriotism, but you have, putting your own life at risk to defend the interest of the industrialists who don't want to lose their capital/companies.Smart! Very smart! I suppose every country needs people willing to die for ... nothing! Smart!
    Second, I am not who you think I am. But, I know you love to waste your time taking guesses at people and maligning people.
    Have you accepted the battle of Hastings, Sir?
    You are a zealot!


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