Smugglewords

July 18, 2016

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German has the wonderful word Schmuggelware. This means “contraband”. Literally, “smuggle-ware”; what better describes smuggled wares than the word “smuggle-ware”? I mean, what a wonderful, self-explaining Germanic compound if ever there was one! Ever since I came across the word Schmuggelware, I have loan translated it into English as smuggle-ware (with or without the dash) whenever I have needed to use the word “contraband”.

Smuggle-ware is therefore an example of what I call a “smuggle-word“! A “smuggle-word” is literally an Anglish/true Saxon English word, often made-up and non-extant, which I attempt to smuggle into the English language. In other words, I use the word and hope that noone notices that I have used a non-standard or non-extant word(!) Smuggle-words are characterised by seeming very English, almost as if they have been in use all along.

As I say, smuggle-ware is a great example of a smuggle-word. Others that I use are shadow-outline, forelast (“penultimate”), and self-standing. Indeed, my try at Anglish, call it “Project Wrixlings” if you will, is characterised by using Saxon English words and phrases that already exist — and where they don’t exist, they are so natural, often implied, that they seem like they really ought to exist.

Smuggle-words can also include words that are no longer in use, such as deadhouse (mortuary). A word such as “ghostfire”, one suggestion for a true Saxon alternative to the Greek “electricity”, would not be a “smuggle-word” as I cannot see how one would be able to smuggle that into one’s English.

So smuggling words into English, hidden in plain sight amongst normal (perhaps even highly Greco-Latinised) English, is another great tool to spread true, Saxon, homeborn English.

© 2016 Bryan A. J. Parry

featured image from http://img13.deviantart.net/ed94/i/2007/306/e/e/hidden_words___1_by_x4nd5r.jpg

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Wildfire Spreads

January 19, 2016

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Wildfire is any large fire which spreads quickly and is hard to put out. Originally, it referred to the Greek fire, a highly flammable (firesome? flamesome?) substance deliberately launched, particularly at rival ships, to devastating effect.

The same thing can happen with words. Like any meme, words can spread swiftly and with inevitable and ferocious effect. The Greek wildfire was created deliberately for a particular end. Yet it is hard to force a meme or word to spread like wildfire. Unless we have an accelerant to speed and intensify the flame, that is. And one such accelerant is analogy.

The Spread by Analogy: Successful Examples

We used to say popular antiquities. But then in 1846, William J. Thoms came up with the word folklore as a deliberate Anglo-Saxonism. Now the phrase popular antiquities belongs with the Dodo, and formations in folk– have caught fire and spread wildly by analogy: folk art, folk music, folk musician, folk-song, folk-dance, folk-tale, folk-hero, folk-medicine.

Likewise, foreword was created in the nineteenth century probably as a loan translation of German Vorwort. It hasn’t completely replaced the Latin-based preface, but it’s made serious headway. Foreword sits nicely alongside the English word foreskin, itself created in the sixteenth century as a loan translation of the Latinate prepuce. In truth, who now would rather say prepuce or preface than foreskin and foreword?*

Another favourite Anglo-Saxonism of mine is handbook. This great word was the original Old English, which, like so many others, was ousted by Latinate manual in the Middle English period (from the Latin root itself meaning “hand”). During the nineteenth century, the word was given life again in imitation of German Handbuch. Apparently this word was decried in the beginning. But what could now be more natural or logical than handbook?

The Spread by Analogy: Your Turn

Indeed, the analogy of such successful words, and other words of similar form such as forehead, means the accelerant is already in place. We merely need to try coming up with other analogous words. If we slip them into our speech and writing, who knows, they may too spread like wildfire.

What new forms can you come up with in folk-, –lore, hand-, –book, fore-, and –word? Have you tried using them in conversation? Are you brave enough?(!) I’ll post up some forms I use in a forthcoming post: plenty of time for you to think up your own as well!

*However, note that preface as a noun is probably buttressed by the use of preface as a verb.

© 2015-2016 Bryan A. J. Parry

featured image from https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greek_fire#/media/File%3AGreekfire-madridskylitzes1.jpg


Word of the Week: Eyeblink

June 22, 2015

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As you may have picked up on, I am a lover of Swedish (see here and here). Going through the Duolingo Swedish course is providing me with a lot of delight and inspiration right now. For example, the Time module has  reminded me of a few lovely Swedish words.

There’s årtionde “decade”, lit. ‘year-ten’, and århundrade “century”, lit. ‘year-hundred’. There’s the particularly lovely årstid “season”, lit. ‘year’s-time’.

But my favourite is ögonblick “moment”: literally, ‘eyes-blink’.

Notice that all of these Swedish words are what I call “phrase-words“: phrases which have been condensed into a word. I propose using such phrase-words more often in English. I consider such formations to be “implied English”; that is, they don’t happen to exist in any dictionary, but they are implied by the mechanisms of the language.

The literal English oversetting of the above Swedish words doesn’t quite work in English. “Year-ten”, “year-hundred”, “year’s-time”, and “eyes-blink” have a distinctly Germanesque smack to them. However, we can make phrase-words of “ten years”, “hundred(s of) years”, “time of the year”, and “blink of an eye” in a style most English. I put forward:

ten-year, hundred-year, year-time, eye-blink (with or without the dashes as one sees fit).

Of course, there is nothing wrong with the phrases “ten years”, “time of the year”, and so on. And I would definitely advise people to use “In the last ten years”, and its ilk, instead of “In the last decade”. But when one needs to use a single word to encompass this phrase, as one does from time to time, let’s use the impled English phrase-words instead of complex Latinate jargon.

featured image from https://thewordsgirl.files.wordpress.com/2014/08/flat550x550075f1.jpg

© 2015 Bryan A. J. Parry


Hypocrisy?

November 1, 2014

Vote Hypocrite

This blog is devoted to developing, discussing, and promoting a plainer and more Saxon English, an English with fewer non-native linguistic features, an English which maximises the potential of native forms. However, you may have noticed that this blog is also riddled with non-native forms — such as in the previous sentence!

The ancient Greek philosopher Epicurus said the following (although he said it in Greek, of course): Your discourse will appear more impressive, believe you me, if [it is lived] … For it will not only be uttered, then, but proven.*

Or, to put it another way: “practise what you preach”. Show you mean business. After all, why should anyone take Anglish seriously if I don’t appear to take it seriously myself?

So why do I, apparently, refuse to practise what I preach? Why is my blog, dedicated as it is to Saxon English a.k.a. “Anglish”, full of its very antithesis: foreign-laden English, a.k.a. Standard English or “Englandish”? Why am I, in short, an apparent hypocrite? Surely it’s because I have no real faith in what I preach and I am therefore merely wasting time amongst men who don’t appreciate it (Epicurus again).

Far from it!

Basically it comes down to this: I either write in pure Anglish, and thereby potentially alienate prospective readers by a thick, dense, jargon (albeit a Germanic one), or I write in Standard English and in so doing, not erect an initial barrier to my message. So I go down the second route. My choice, frankly, is to try to lace my writings with Anglish. Sometimes, I will draw attention to such forms, and sometimes I will try to smuggle such forms in. Why? Well, at times it is helpful to flag up what you are doing and thus show how elegant true English forms can be. And at other times, it’s better to smuggle an Anglish form in so that people, perhaps only later or when it is pointed out to them, realise that this word is not, in fact, standard at all, but is in fact Anglish. This smuggling in shows that these word-forms work just as well.

But here’s the key.

Whether I’m using a word and flagging it up as Anglish, or whether I’m trying to smuggle an Anglish word in, I cannot deliberately unbalance my piece of writing by restricting my English unnaturally or by stilting it through overuse of Anglish. Also note that many Anglish words are ideas which may or may not actually work out. Anglish is a work in constant progress. And so if I go gungho into Anglish, in terms of the style I write these blog entries in, then I risk risible, unintelligible, Germanising or Germanicising English — something which I wish to stay away from. And also note that even well-chosen Anglish words, when used in mass, have the effect of drawing attention to themselves — something I often try to get away from.

So I don’t think I’m guilty of hypocrisy when I write in more-or-less Standard English. But I also don’t think all Anglishers should follow my lead, either: it’s good to have a mix of articles, some written in Standard English, some in Anglish.

Afterthought: An Anglish word for “hypocrite”?

Before I go, let’s think about the word “hypocrisy” itself. It basically means ‘doing the opposite of what you yourself say to do’. It’s therefore quite difficult to phraseword this notion. It’s also got a somewhat convoluted meaning-history, and so isn’t that easy to loan translate either. The meaning of this Greek word shifted over time from ‘separate gradually’, to ‘answer’, to ‘answer a fellow actor on stage’, to ‘play a part’.

So is it possible to come up with an Anglish form for “hypocrisy” and “hypocrite”? The other Germanic languages can help us out.

In German, we have Heuchler and Scheinheilige, which respectively are related to the root of “huckster” and the words “shine holy“. Swedish has hycklare, also related to the root in “huckster”. In Dutch, you say hypocriet, huichlaar, and schijnheilige.

Bearing all this in mind, we might wish to replace “hypocrite” with something like “huckler” from a new verb “to huckle”. This would certainly follow the Germanic model. And whilst I think this word words very well, it is newly minted and is therefore pushing the envelope a bit. How about the other Germanic path: “shineholy”? Again, I think this works quite well; indeed, it’s pretty elegant. But is it crystal clear? Not really, although it is rather evocative. But then again, was “foreskin” completely see-through when it effectively replaced “prepuce”? Yet the evocative “foreskin” caught on. I also like the notion of being holier-than-thou which is alluded to in forms such as Scheinheilige; those who protest their holiness are often hypocrites. Perhaps, therefore, “show-holy” — that is, holy for show, but not in reality.

Huckler. Showholy or For-show holy. What do you think?

 

Footnote:
*I’ve slightly paraphrased him here in order to make what he said make more sense for the context at hand.

featured image from http://standupforamerica.files.wordpress.com/2009/10/vote-hypocrite.jpg

© 2014 Bryan A. J. Parry


UK vs. USA

October 13, 2014

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Anglish, Saxon English, Roots English: call it what you will. But whatever you call it, it’s all about a plainer, more Saxon, homegrown and homeborn English, one which shies away from foreign and outlandish forms of English. It’s an English which prefers handbook to manual, foreword to preface, belittle to depreciate, and I like better to I prefer.

Therefore, sometimes we must opt for the American usage, and sometimes the British. As a patriotic Briton, this can rankle slightly. Particularly because when I come out with the odd Americanism — in order to further the cause of Anglish — my fellow Britons sneer at my perceived try at trendiness. And a little bit of my HRH-loving soul withers up. But if you’re into this Anglish game, you have to pick up Anglish words and usages regardless of their origin; nationalist sentiment has no place.

But note that both American and British English often get it right, a.k.a. Anglish, but often get it wrong. As the following word pairs show, neither seems to be particularly closer to our Anglish ideal than the other. Words in bold are the preferred, Anglish option.

UK / USA
aubergine / eggplant
autumn / fall
bonnet / hood
cashier / teller
drink / beverage
dual carriageway / freeway
dustman
/ garbage man
fringe / bangs
gearbox / transmission
ice lolly
/ popsicle
lift
 / elevator
manual / stick shift
mark
/ grade
nappy
/ diaper
parents / folks
pavement / sidewalk
people / folk(s)
queue / line
rubber / eraser
starter / appetizer
sweets / candy
tap / faucet
ticking over / idling
trainers / sneakers

Note that many of these words can and often are used in both countries, e.g., “beverage” and “autumn”. However, in such cases, there is a distinct preference for one over the other. For example, “beverage” is far more common Stateside than in the UK, and “autumn” is predominantly a British word.

So, to sum up. Anglish is not about favouring British or American English. Such patriotism must be left at the door when we do Anglish. Anglish needs to look at both sides of the pond, and indeed all around the world, for good, Saxon, homeborn and homegrown, English.

By the way: I still can’t bring myself to say bangs instead of fringe. Sorry!

[UPDATES]

flat / apartment
rubbish / trash
windscreen / windshield [screen is Germanic by way of French, whereas shield is straight Germanic]

featured image from http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/3d/UK-US_flag.png

© 2014 Bryan A. J. Parry


Buttresses

September 15, 2014

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A Problem Outlined

There’s often a great ready-made true English word which could be used instead of the fancier form: can for to be able to, for example. Indeed, when we put can and to be able to next to one another, we might wonder why anyone ever says the latter.

I can speak English or I am able to speak English

However, forms like to be able to get support by being able to seep into territory that the true English words cannot. For example, we can also say “I will be able to” or “I may have been able to”, but we cannot say “I will can” or “I may have could” — at least not in standard varieties of English! Or what about the word absorb? Why not simply say soak (up)? Oh yes, that’s because we can readily say absorbent and absorbency, but we cannot so easily form the related adjectives and abstract nouns from to soak (up): upsoakingness? Yes, upsoakingness is possible (and I quite like it, actually), but it arguably doesn’t sound like an extant English word. For that reason it draws attention to itself and thus discourages its own use.

Forms of the Problem

As you can see, there seem to be two forms of such “seeping”:

(1) defective true English words which cannot be used in all contexts where an Englandish word can be;

(2) related concepts where no such form exists in true English, but it does for the Englandish root.

The existence of forms like (1) may have been able to and (2) absorbency, means that unneeded and un-Anglish words like to be able to or absorb are given extra support and periodically revitalised by association with may have been able to and company. Indeed, utterances such as I am able to speak English are thoroughly buttressed and stopped from ever falling down — despite their ungainliness.

Causes of the Problem

This is unfortunate, and seems to be the result of a few things, including:

1. Defective or unclear English morphology: lung (noun) –> ?lungish (adjective); *upsoaking: adjective or abstract noun or verbal noun or verb?

2. A hesitancy in English, relative to other Germanic languages, to put prepositions at the beginning of a compound: ?upsoakingness.

3. Heavy use of phrasal verbs which, firstly, have been shunned historically as uncouth and thereby discouraged, and secondly, are not wont to form derivatives (see “2”): tolerate –> tolerance and put up with –> ?put-up-with-ness

Part of this problem has been caused by the influx of outland words into English. If we’d never gone so gungho down this borrowing path, we would likely have remained as German and Swedish have, and therefore not have this problem. There would, of course, be the odd time where due to natural process within the language, we would have to borrow a form: I don’t know if we can blame the ungrammaticality of I might have could on the word-borrowing fetish of the English language.

Solutions?

  • Use non-standard forms like I might have could unflinchingly and without remorse.
  • Come up with slightly uncouth forms like upsoakingness — again, unflinchingly and with no remorse — but make sure you aren’t being too clever for your own good. The Anglish Moot, which I helped set up, has some great work on it — and also some of the overclever stuff I am talking about (such as umbethinking).

And that’s all for today, folks…

What!? But it can’t be! Where’s the inspirational ending and summing up?

Well, it seems to me that so long as Anglishers are aware of the problem I’ve outlined in this post, they will be more sensitive to not just oversetting stand-alone words, but rather to taking words as being members of families or groups of words used in many contexts. It’s not enough to simply say, “don’t say to be able to, say can instead” because we simply can’t say can a lot of the time! We need to be attacking the problem holistically, as well. Words exist in the context of other words, and many unfit words are supported by the buttress of far more useful, yet merely derived, words or phrases (such as would have been able to).

 

featured image by Bryan A. J. Parry edited from image at http://passport2design.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/flying-buttressdiagram-batuhijauschool.org_.jpg

© 2014 Bryan A. J. Parry


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