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


Something Fishy #Anglish #PlainEnglish

October 13, 2020

Why say suspicious when you can say fishy? It’s a much more evocative word! This sense of fishy seems to come from the notion of slipperiness.

© 2020 Bryan A. J. Parry

featured image from https://barrylou.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/somethingFishy.jpg


Adumbrate #PlainEnglish #Anglish

October 7, 2020

Andrew Neil is a wonderful journalist and interviewer, but what is not wonderful was the use of the word “adumbrate” which he used on the 25th of September 2020. What does “adumbrate” mean? It’s from the Latin adumbrat- meaning “shaded, shadowed”. It has three meanings in English: to overshadow, to foreshadow, and to outline. What is wrong with these fine Saxon words? Nothing. Let’s bin off this Latin monster and use our plain English instead.

© 2020 Bryan A. J. Parry


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


Size, Temperature, Altitude, Age #PlainEnglish #Anglish #SaxonEnglish #PureEnglish

August 11, 2018

The words “size”, “temperature”, “altitude”, and “age” are all borrowed words: Old French sise (1300ad), Latin temperatura (1670), Latin altitudinem (1300s), and Old French aage (1200s). Why should words for such basic concepts be borrowed? This is particularly the case when we have words such as “length”, “height”, and “depth” derived from the adjectives “long”, “high”, and “deep”. Why shouldn’t adjectives such as “big”, “hot”, “high/tall”, and “old” give rise to analogous derived abstract nouns?

Note that we talk about “length”, derived as it is from “long”, even for short things. Likewise, we have: “height” from “high”, even for short things; “depth” from “deep”, even for shallow things; and “width” and “breadth” from “wide” and “broad”, even for narrow things. Further note that the biggest or positive polarity is taken as the default, just as elsewhere in the language; there is “happy”, “sad”, and “unhappy”, but “unsad” is marked and odd-sounding.

Therefore, as weird or comical as these may sound at first, I think the following are the logical and sensible Saxon English alternatives to their Franco-Latinate counterparts:

  • “size” becomes “bigness”
  • “temperature” becomes “heat” or “hotness”
  • “altitude” becomes “highness”
  • “age” becomes “oldth” or “oldness” (I feel that “oldth” is just about passable, despite -th no longer being productive, whereas “bigth” and “heath” don’t work for me on an intuitive level, and “heighth” is an informal, dialectal, and humorous form of “height”)

I feel that “altitude” is different enough from “height” that we can’t always use the latter instead; “what’s the altitude of this plane” seems to work, but swapping in “height” seems not to. But as so often is the case, the Latinate word is used where the plainer, Saxon word could be: “What altitude are we flying at?” can be perfectly well said as “how high are we flying?” My proposal of “highness”, just like “bigness”, “heat/hotness”, and “oldth/oldness”, should only be used where the more basic word is inappropriate.

© Bryan A. J. Parry

featured image from http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-GTTWr2bpaK8/U7Qig_E-7qI/AAAAAAAAAYU/2N_-zH9upS0/s1600/Mercuric+thermometer.jpg


Skeletons #Anglish #PureEnglish #PlainEnglish

May 25, 2018

I quite like the sound of the word skeleton; it’s very “cellar door“-ish to me. It has a fairly quirky word-history. It comes from the Latin sceleton, which in turn comes from the Greek skeleton soma: literally, ‘dried-up body, mummy’. Therefore, being a Greco-Latin word, this project aims to replace it!

Early English forms were more English-sounding: skelton and skelet. These would make excellent bishop-shifted forms. But could we come up with a wholly English form instead?

First, let’s ask: what is the skeleton? It is the bony framework of the body. Therefore, a more Saxon name for it might be “bonework” or “bonywork”. Think network and such.

There are other extended meanings of skeleton, too. How might these be put into Saxon English?

  • In the sense of “bare outline”, “skeleton” can be replaced with… bare outline!
  • “Skeleton crew” therefore become bare outline crew, bare crew, or outline crew.
  • “Skeleton in the closet” becomes “dead body in the cupboard” — closet also being a French word.

© 2018 Bryan A. J. Parry

featured image from http://skeletonpictures.org/large/6/Skeleton-Pictures-6.jpg


Niche Topic: Much Thanks

May 9, 2018

This little blog of mine, Wrixlings / www.pureenglish.com, regularly gets dozens of hits a day and hundreds of hits a month. Given that I do not advertise this site, and I only tend to update it once or twice a month, and bearing in mind that it centres on a highly niche topic — a pure Saxon English –, I find the readership to be quite unbelievable.

So thank you to everyone who reads and (hopefully) enjoys this website every day! I dream of taking this site to the next level in more ways than one, but I just cannot find the time right now. “Anglish” is a lifetime obsession of mine, a meme I just cannot shake. I hope you all keep up this hobby (?mania) and carry on following this site.

My thanks to you all again!

© 2018 Bryan A. J. Parry


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