November 16, 2012

The word “furniture” was borrowed from the French “fourniture” in the 1520s. English is quite unusual in that most other European languages borrowed their word for this from Latin mobile ‘movable’ (Spanish muebles, Swedish möbler, German Möbel, Dutch meubilair, Russian мебель ‘mebely’, even French itself: meubles).

However, we did have a homeborn English word for this which was in use from the 1400s-1700s (according to the Oxford English Dictionary). It is… household. Yes, as in… household. It used to have, amongst its meanings, exactly that of “furniture”, namely:

The contents or appurtenences of a house considered collectively; household goods or furniture.


So why not bring it back? It couldn’t be used plurally… which “furniture” can’t be in English, either (“a piece of furniture”, but *”furnitures”). But we could decide to either use it collectively or plurally (“A household” or “a piece of household”).

We could just say “household goods”, or “households” — which being the shortform of this phrase.

Anglish Is NOT Just A Linguistic Game

November 5, 2012

I am what is known as a “conlanger”. I make up words and languages for fun. If you follow my two blogs, or my YouTube channel, then this will not be a surprise to you. I get pleasure from creating linguistic art. However, I feel compelled to point out that Anglish is not “just” a game to me. Of course, it gives me pleasure to play around with English words and to make it in a more truly English mould; there is a game element to it. But I have a more serious bent. I love the English language, and this isn’t all that surprising: I am a graduate of the subject and a teacher of it to boot(!) I also love England, and I am a liberal, and I have a strong sense of what is right and wrong. And for all these reasons, Anglish is not merely a game or plaything, but something with a serious side to it, too: I want to help English find its Englishness in whatever small way I can, and set it back on the path to being a tool used by the common people instead of a yoke to be used on them. I want to, in some small way, right the linguistic wrongs done down the generations, from the fallout of 1066, to the inkhornism of the 15- and 1600s, to current doublespeak used solely to desensitise and deceive the people: all that “collateral damage” and those “WMDs”.

I feel the need to state this clearly — albeit borderline po-facedly — as I wouldn’t want the recent setting up of my other blog ( to give anyone the idea that Anglish is part of the same linguistic sudoku. Rather, I want a clear delineation between Anglish and my other creative linguistic projects as I’m not merely larking about with Anglish: the thing has a serious side as well as a fun one.

Disclaimer over. Smile.  :~)


November 4, 2012

English has a long and noble history of turning phrases into words. From ancient times (“every” <OE æfre ælc, ‘ever each’), to less ancient times (“nevertheless” <MidE neuer þe lesse), to very recently (“wannabe” from “want to be”). These words which are (were) concentated phrases, I call “phrasewords”.

There are many “plain” English equivalents of Greco-Latin or French words which are phrasal with no phraseword form. For example, “to imagine” or “mentally picture” can be rendered “to see in one’s mind’s eye”. I think we can phraseword this as “mind-see”. A phraseword I’ve been using for years now is “forelast”, meaning “penultimate”, derived from the phrase, “the one before the last one”.

It seems that when you start to look into it, there are many such plain English phrases with Greek-Latin-French one word counterparts which we could readily form phrasewords from. This is a kind of extended type of making noun forms of phrasal verbs: get away (verb) –> get-away (noun).

How many phrasewords can you think of?

A cup of cheeno (A cappuccino): Renaming Coffees

November 2, 2012

So, being a regular southern dandy and wannabe highmind, I drink in coffeeshops all the time, darling. But, even so, I still find coffeeshop jargon to be really irksome. I mean, “venti”… what the hell!? However, the following article should be of interest to people who read my blog. Debenhams have renamed their coffees into “plain” English. Not sure if I agree with the artfulness of their decisions, but here’s the article.

(Before the article, however, I thought I would make the following suggestions:

cafe latte = milky-coffee, milk-coffee

cappuccino = frothy-coffee, froth-coffee

mocha = chocolatey-coffee, chocolate-coffee

espresso = strong black coffee

and of course… small, medium/middle, large/big, instead of tall, venti, and grande)

A latte? That’s now a ‘really, really milky coffee’ in Debenhams

TelegraphBy Andrew Trotman | Telegraph – 20 hours ago

Debenhams (Berlin: D2T.BEnews) has vowed to end “coffee confusion” by replacing words such as latte and cappuccino with plain English on its menus.

The British retailer said that more than 70pc of its customers struggle with foreign names of hot drinks, so it decided to get back to basics.

A caffe latte is now called a “really, really milky coffee”, while a cappuccino has become a “frothy coffee”, and a caffe mocha has been changed to a “chocolate flavoured coffee”. Black coffee has been replaced with “simple coffee, with or without milk”, while an espresso is labelled “a shot of strong coffee”.

But Debenhams hasn’t just stopped at its types of coffees. Instead of the tall, grande or venti sizes favoured by big-name shops such as Starbucks (NasdaqGS: SBUXnews) , customers in Debenhams can now simply ask for a cup or mug.

John Baker, director of food services at Debenhams says: “We’re trialling a redesign of our coffee menu in Oxford Street so shoppers spend less time playing coffee Cluedo and more time enjoying their favourite drink.”

The retailer reportedly sells more than 100,000 coffees each week in its 160 cafes and restaurants across the UK and Ireland (Xetra: A0Q8L3news) – double the amount of tea.

Do you struggle with coffee names?

New Blog

November 2, 2012

Hi folks,

I’ve set up a new blog. Don’t worry, I haven’t given up on this one! It’s just that I want to keep this one for Anglish / Germanic English stuff, and put all “other” language stuff in the other blog: The Tungmaker.

Check it out:

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