December 12, 2012

In my last post I pointed out that when we’ve borrowed words into English, we’ve very often dramatially Anglicised their forms. The particular example I used was “bishop” which comes from the Latin episcopus. There are other examples just as shocking, such as “church”, from the Greek kyriake (NOTE1).

A more recent example of such a shift towards a more English model is that exemplified by “garage”. This word has three main ways of being said, approximately: GARRidge, GARaazh, and gaRAAZH. These three forms represent a scale from most anglicised to least (i.e. from least to most closely resembling the original French). As you can tell, the French “zh” sound generally shifts to “j” in English.

Anyway, when a word changes to become more English, this is known as “anglicisation” — which strikes one as a word in serious need of anglicisation itself! So let’s give it a go.

“Anglicisation” means ‘to make more English’. So, “make English”. perhaps. Maybe “englishen” (like “redden” and co.) Or else simply “to english”: verbing the noun as we’re wont to do. But my favourite idea for its funness alone is “bishop-shift”; that is, to shift a word along the same lines as “bishop” itself was. (NOTE 2)

NOTE 1: Granted, this was first borrowed as *kirika and wore down along the same lines as other words, e.g., homeborn “hawk” <hafoc, or “world” <wereld, the unstressed vowels being dropped.

NOTE 2: Maybe “to english” could be “anglicise”, but “bishop-shift” could be “naturalise” (of a word)!

© 2012 – 2014 Bryan A. J. Parry

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