Wane’s World #Anglish #PlainEnglish

January 31, 2021

Wax and wane. This phrase means to increase and decrease, of the Moon mainly. So let’s stop saying increase when we can say wax, and let’s stop saying “decrease” when we can say wane. We can also say eke for increase, as in eke out, but I like to keep eke as a like-for-like (=equivalent) of augmenteke out being to over-augment or over-extend. 

Wanze is another great albeit no-longer-used word. It is the verbal form of “wane” in the same way that “cleanse” comes from “clean”, using the Old English verb-from-noun/adjective-forming suffix -sian. But how could we use this with a distinct meaning to “wane”? In Middle English, as a transitive, awanze meant to impair, diminish, to cause to lessen, to emaciate. Intransitively, it could mean to waste or wither away. Perhaps this could be some niche for (a)wanze, as well.

© 2021 Bryan A. J. Parry

featured image from https://lotsofmoons.files.wordpress.com/2014/07/phasesmoon.jpg


Contain #Anglish #PlainEnglish

December 5, 2020

English has the Latinate word contain. What does contain actually mean? Spanish, a Latin language, also has this verb, contener, yet in Spanish the meaning is self-clear: con “with” + tener “have/hold”. Literally, “with-have” or “with-hold” (although note that “withhold” has quite a different meaning in English).

How do Germanic languages form a word for “contain”? Well, Swedish has inhåller, lit. “in-hold”. Dutch has inhouden, lit. “in-hold”. And German has… enthalten, which means… you get the point.

It’s looking like “inhold” (with the preposition used as a prefix, like “behold”) or “hold in” (with the preposition separate from the word, like “look up”) are the best options.

This glass inholds/holds half a pint in.

Sounds pretty good to me. As does “withinhold” or “hold within”, which perhaps makes the meaning more explicit.

This bucket withinholds/holds a gallon within.

Although, the simpler “hold” and “have” or “can hold/have” would often work better.

This bucket can have/can hold a gallon.

Derived words are easily formed, such as inholder and inholding. Not to forget other words we could use instead, such as “holder” or “box”.

In any case, with the words have and hold, and the Germanic formations inhold and hold in (and/or withinhold and hold within), I think we can do without the Latinish “contain”.

© 2020 Bryan A. J. Parry

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Full- #Anglish #PlainEnglish

November 4, 2020

English is so full of it! The word “full”, that is. “Full” is the 513th most common word in the English language. And considering there are over a million words, that’s not bad going.

English likes the word so much that it has been co-opted as a common suffix: –ful.

But did you know that English can use “full” as a kind of sham-prefix, the first element of a compound. Essentially, it produces verbs and adjectives with the same kind of meaning as the self-standing word “full” and the suffix “-ful”, that is, ‘full of, having, or characterised by X’.

Sadly, we haven’t used it productively for a long time. It’s hard to see why, though, given the allwhereness of “full” and “-ful”. Here are some examples from Old and Middle English.

  • OE fulbrecan ‘to violate’ (full + breach/break, that is, to fully breach/break)
  • OE fulslean ‘to kill outright’ (full + slay)
  • OE fulripod ‘mature’ (full + ripened)
  • ME ful-comen ‘attain (a state), realise (a truth)’ (full + come)
  • ME ful-lasting ‘durability’ (full + lasting)
  • ME ful-thriven ‘complete, perfect’ (full + thriven)

Not all of these formations make much sense in Modern English, but it’s easy to see the power of this kind-of prefix use of “full” and how it could greatly widen and deepen the English wordstock.

Funnily enough, I have ingested one too many tomes of poetry over the years, and have long since been using full-, totally unthinkingly, for years and years. Perhaps I have already been spreading the seed of this affix.

Here are some put-forward words. Add your own!

fullbreach: to violate
fullripe: mature (note that “ripe” mostly fits well for “mature”, although there are cases where “mature” means almost-but-not-quite overripe, and in this sense especially, it seems “fullripe” is a useful word)
full-lasting: lasting the needed length. This is different to longlasting which basically means “durable”.
full-done: completed (successfully)

© 2020 Bryan A. J. Parry

References:
https://www.etymonline.com/search?q=-ful
Davies, M. & Gardner, D. (2011) A Frequency Dictionary of Contemporary American English. Routldge, p. 35


Feelingful Teeth

September 11, 2020

“John’s so sensitive!”

“Ouch! My teeth are really sensitive!”

If you (or your teeth) are sensitive, it means they have a lot of feeling. They’re really full of feeling. That is, they are feelingful.

“You’re more feelingful than your brother”

“He’s the most feelingful person I know!”

NOT: feelingfuller, feelingfullest. We don’t say “resentfuller” or “beautifullest”.

The negative can be formed with un-: unfeelingful. That is, “insensitive”.

That’s it! A new English word for you formed totally regularly from the tools already available to us.

© 2020 Bryan A. J. Parry

featured image from http://www.montefioredental.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/00435bab9971eb51bb1271da04831f20.jpg


Bits 2 NOTES #Anglish #PlainEnglish

June 30, 2020

Sorting through old scraps of paper and I’ve come across these sundry notes. A real hodgepodge of words.

 

  • gain-, as in gainsay; use instead of contra-
  • with-, as in withstand; use instead of contra-
  • guesthouse = hotel, hospital, inn, poorhouse
  • mindfood = mental stimulant
  • mind-doctor = psychologist or psychiatrist: more likely, mind-healer for psychologist, mind-doctor for psychiatrist
  • mind-healer = psychotherapist
  • mind-making = commemoration
  • mindtrip = hallucination
  • mindtrippy = hallucinatory
  • mindsickness/madness = mania
  • formindsickness/madness = craze
  • sham- = pseudo-, faux-
  • stample < stamp + -le freq.
  • lionhearted = brave, courageous
  • loam?loan? = utensil, implement, tool of any kind
  • anent, about = regarding
  • rub (n) = obstacle, impediment (both non-material and physical)
  • the ego = the I
  • ego(t)ism = I-ishness, selfishness
  • ego(t)istic = selfish
  • build up, heap up = accumulate
  • roomy = spacious
  • work = function
  • working = functioning
  • sway = convince
  • capital city in OE was heafodstol ‘headseat’; could be ‘headtown’ as in Swedish huvudstad.
  • fertilisation, conception = seed-blend

 

© 2020 Bryan A. J. Parry

featured image from https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/BWs0W-nfu4CXNmZZ8zqhAI6DtLgmfrl-4Ocgc0GL29CPmvWAn1jlXShETa1P0pkbfsXbD42YSZDNW_HXd3UROsRpqH6B8II9qD5K9wpO86BrjH4sLyDklcfq


Turnkey and Sawbones #Anglish #PlainEnglish

May 30, 2020

Here are two lovely words we don’t hear enough: turnkey and sawbones. We may not hear them much nowadays, but their meaning is clear: “jailor” and “surgeon”. You might have wondered or forgotten why the doctor from the original  Star Trek was nicknamed “Bones”; well, here’s the reason. I just cannot get enough of lively words like these that bring a strong image to your mind’s eye. Why use the Latinate, more usual alternatives, when we have this kind of brilliant language to use instead?

© 2020 Bryan A. J. Parry

featured image from http://www.treknews.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/deforest-kelley-bones-star-trek.jpg


Parliament #Anglish #PlainEnglish #PureEnglish

April 16, 2020

I’m not saying that we should chuck the word “parliament”, but I would like to point out a few things.

First, it was borrowed from French as parlement. That pesky <i> that no-one, but the worst pedants, actually says. This is another case where we changed the spelling to fit with the Latin: parliamentum. So let’s drops the <i>, honestly.

Second, this word came into English as a direct result of 1066 and all that. So we might wanna chuck it altogether.

The word parliament just means “a talking”. Well, how about “talking shop”?

It we want to get all Tolkien-y, Parliament is literally the nation-wide council. Thus, land(s)moot fits well — that is, the moot (assembly) of the land (that is, country). Alternatively, as this is a democracy (sort of), (all)folk(s)moot fits quite well. County Council would become shire(s)moot, and local borough councils would change likewise: borough(s)moot. Then we have town(s)moot and so on where needed. To spell it out, moot means “council” or “assembley” (it’s related to the verb “meet”).

The Old English parliament, such as it was, was called the witenagemot (witena + gemot: literally, “wise(men’s)moot”. Wisemoot or Witsmoot might work as a new English form. Historically, we often call it the witan for short.

Parliament is made up of the King or Queen, the House of Lords, and the House of Commons. Perhaps we can call this The Folk House.

In Dutch, Swedish, Frisian, they use the French word parliament — although spelt the French not Latin way. In Norwegian they call it the “Big Thing” and in Icelandic the “All Thing”; “thing” used to mean “assembly, council” and the older meaning is still hinted at in the English husting: house-thing.

Members of parliament are surely those who meet in parliament. So following Swedish, we could call them Leadmeeter or Meeters.

© 2018-2020 Bryan A. J. Parry

featured image from https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/2/2a/House_of_Commons_2010.jpg/1200px-House_of_Commons_2010.jpg


selfsame #Anglish #PlainEnglish

March 15, 2020

“Selfsame”, sometimes written “self-same”, means “identical, exact”. I see no grounds to keep on using the French and Latin words “identical” and “exact” when we have the lovely word “selfsame”.

© 2020 Bryan A. J. Parry


Funnyman = Comedian #Anglish #PlainEnglish

February 16, 2020

As you can see from the above still from Netflix (if you zoom in), “funnyman” is another word for “comedian”. The word “comedian” is from the French comédien which at the time meant a comic poet. The Old English word was heahtorsmið “laughter-maker”. I really like how the OE word inholds the word “smith”. But perhaps new-words like “laughtersmith” or “laughtermaker” are just too far out for most folk to take onboard — although I have seen “mirth-maker”(!) But good news, we already have the ready-made, homeborn alternative: funnyman. “Funnyman” has actually been in use since the mid-nineteenth century, so it’s well-established.

© 2020 Bryan A. J. Parry

featured image from Netflix


Bits 2 #Anglish #PlainEnglish

January 19, 2020

I was leafing through some old scraps of papers when I came across these sundry notes. These are just random snippets that are interesting. Enjoy!

 

Englandish English

* gain-, as in gainsay; use instead of contra-

* with-, as in withstand; use instead of contra-

* guesthouse = hotel, inn, poorhouse

* lionhearted = brave, courageous

* loam?loan? = utensil, implement, tool of any kind

* anent, about = regarding

* rub (n) = obstacle, impediment (both non-material and physical)

* roomy = spacious

* work = function

* working = functioning

* capital city in OE was heafodstol

 

My Mintings

* mindfood = mental stimulant

* mind-doctor = psychologist or psychiatrist: more likely, mind-healer for psychologist, mind-doctor for psychiatrist

* mind-healer = psychotherapist

* mind-making = commemoration

* mindtrip = hallucination

* mindtrippy = hallucinatory

* mindsickness/madness = mania

* formindsickness/madness = craze

* stample < stamp + -le freq. Similar in meaning to trample but stamping.

* the ego = the I

* ego(t)ism = I-ishness, selfishness

* ego(t)istic = selfish

* fertilise, conceive = seedblend, blend seeds

* fertilisation, conception = seed-blending

 

William Barnes’ Mintings

* sham- = pseudo-, faux-

* build up, heap up = accumulate

 

© 2016-2020 Bryan A. J. Parry

featured image from https://www.siobhandavies.com/sidebyside/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/Bits-and-bobs.jpg

 

 


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