Pizzle #Anglish #PlainEnglish

November 1, 2016


Away, you starvelling, you elf-skin, you dried neat’s-tongue, bull’s-pizzle, you stock-fish!
Henry IV Part I – Act II, Scene iv [1]

Now that I’ve got a dog, it’s come to my attention that the word pizzle, featured memorably in the above Shakespearean quote, is still used. “Bull’s pizzle” is sold as a treat for dogs. A pizzle is properly the penis of an animal, often a bull but not needfully so. The word is Germanic and seems to be borrowed from Low German or Dutch. Why not let’s start using it again? Maybe for human knobs as well — which I have already begun doing.

The Old English word was pintel, which nowadays is/would be spelt “pintle”. I’ve tried slipping that in to conversations, too. Whilst “pintle” and “pizzle” cannot be classed as smuggle-words, they never-the-less do seem to be understood within context without folk piping up. Probably because they are, phonologically-speaking, not a million miles away from “penis”.

But why bother? Straight-forwardly put: “penis” is a Latin word. Originally a euphemism, but one that, to my ears, doesn’t sound sweet.

I cannot stand the word “penis”, which for me not only isn’t Saxon English, it isn’t even English at all. What kind of word is “penis”? Some kind of gibberish, like “vagina” (which I can barely bring myself to say) or “defecate”. I use a variety of the following depending on context, register, and politeness: willy, knob, prick, dick, cock, man part. Other words are used for humorous effect only, such as “John Thomas” or “love-weapon”. I don’t see why pizzle and/or pintle cannot be used as a “polite” swap for the word penis.

[1] http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/04/23/15-great-william-shakespeare-insults-which-are-better-than-swear/?ref=yfp

© 2016 Bryan A. J. Parry

featured image from http://www.hornbonefashion.com/dried-bull-pizzle-sticks.htm



Natural Functions Part One: Shitting #Anglish #PlainEnglish

August 17, 2016


Eating, drinking, shagging, shitting: what could be more natural than these four things? In this post, I’ll be taking a look at the fourth: shitting.

It’s always irked me that on public toilets, the lock reads “engaged” or “vacant”. Why not the Saxon English “busy” and “free” instead?

imageThe room itself is a “toilet”, which is a French word. In British English, we half-jokingly call it the “bog“, a solid Saxon word (in heart, if not in genes!). I say “half” jokingly, as this is more-or-less the go-to word that I use!

Americans call it the “bathroom” when they’re being polite — another true English word. But I find this usage ridiculous: my answer to, “Where’s the bathroom?” is, “Oh, off for a bath are we?”… or, at least, that would be my answer if I wasn’t so English and well-mannered! I’ve also heard “restroom” — more Saxon English.

In Britain, we can also call it a “lav/lavvy” or a “loo“. The former comes from Latin lavatorium, but is a bishop-shifting thereof, so isn’t too bad. And the latter’s birth is unclear, but may be a pun on “Waterloo” (as in, “water closet”) or from the French lieux d’aisances.

imagePeople I know, including me, often call it a “shithouse“, more salty Saxon, although many would find this rude. And when a toilet it outside, we all call it an “outhouse” — Saxon wins yet again. And we see again how great -house is!

Of course, in many languages and not just English, it is known as a “WC“, short for “water closet”. “Water” is good Saxon, but “closet” is French; we could say the “C” stands for “cupboard”, too. “Cupboard” of course refers to shelves (boards) with cups on them, yet “Cupboard” now just refers to any small room/inbuilt storage space. (mark well: it’s true that “cup” is Latin, but it was borrowed in the Old English period and throughout the Germanic languages).

And then there’s “little boys’ room“, “powder room”, and I often use “my thinking room” — as it seems to be the only place I can get peace and quiet at times! — or “newspaper reading room”. Although “powder” isn’t homeborn English, and “boy” might not be Germanic.

In any case, plenty of choices other than “toilet”.

imageThe porcelain thing you sit on itself is also known as a “toilet”. And in Britain, we use “bog” to refer to the place you sit as well a the room. I often call it, jokingly, a “glory seat” — though “Glory” isn’t homeborn English (“wuldor” was our own word, but that is deader than Harold II). “Shit-seat“, “shitter“, “shit-hole” (although mostly in metaphorical use) are words I use, and I have heard “crapper” and “crap-stool“. Therefore, “shit-stool” should work. You may have noticed that in polite English we refer to one’s “stools”; this literally comes from the word “stool” (which is the homeborn and original general use word for “chair”). Yes, historically, the toilet thing itself was known as a “stool“. But I actually think I might like to keep “shit-stool” to gloss “commode”! Or perhaps, on the analogy of the “bed-pan”, a “commode” should be a “seatpan” or “stoolpan“.

imageIn public men’s toilets, there is often the urinal as well. When it is a bowl, that is for individual use, I call it a “pissbowl” or a “weebowl“. When it is a trough, a long one for several men, I call it a “pisstrough” or a “weetrough“. “Urine cakes” are, of course, “weecakes” or “pisscakes” — or, as a euphemism, “yellow-cakes” (as most are yellow).

imagePosh houses, and European houses, also have a bidet. William Barnes, the nineteenth century poet and one of the Gods of the Anglish movement, came up with the unbestable word “saddle-bath“, for it is literally a bath which you saddle. I used to call it a “bum/bottom-sink”, but “saddle-bath” is so much better.

Speaking of which: please, American cousins, stop saying “basin” and “faucet”; use the true English “sink” and “tap“.

imageBy the way, we wash our hands with “soap”, but we wash our hair with “shampoo”. Now, I don’t mind “shampoo”; it’s a lovely left-over part of our hundreds of years in India (for it is a Hindi word champo). But why not just say “hairsoap“? By the way, I do often say that.

And last of all, what do we do in the bog? Or at least, what are we meant to do! Defecate/defecation and excrement, urine/urinate and micturate/micturition are unacceptable nonsense. I like it better when folk call a “spade” a “spade”: it’s “shit(e)” and “piss“, guys (both noun and verb).

But if you can’t bear such words, we have other Saxon softer words.  These include “poo“, “plop“, “dung“, “number two“, “turd“, and we’ve already met “stool” and its verb form “pass a stool“. For the other thing, we have “wee“, for a noun and a verb, and the verb “pass water“.

© 2016 Bryan A. J. Parry

featured images from:









July 18, 2016


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

Swedish Words of the Week

July 5, 2016


Ah, Swedish, you beautiful source of inspiration. Doing Swedish on Duolingo constantly brings me face-to-face with some wonderful words, many of which work well in English. I thought I’d share some.

But first, a disclaimer!

As you may know if you are a regular reader of this site, I am thoroughly against Germanicising English. I do not believe loan translations from other Germanic languages are the default mode that we should opt for. Let’s take the word understand. In many of the other Germanic languages, the word translates back to English as “forstand”: Ger verstehen, Swe förstå, Dan forstå, Nor forstå. Clearly, loan translating doesn’t always work; English always has been the black sheep of the Germanic language family.

Therefore, I do not think loan translating from any language is our first go-to option. Rather, we need to look to the resources of the English language itself to uncover a richer, truer, homeborn English.

That said, looking to other languages can sometimes throw up inspiration. Here’s some more from Swedish. Note: the only link between these words is that they have all come up recently in my Duolingo studies.

bilingual adj. tvåspråkig ‘twospeeched/twispeeched’. Speech can mean language, bilingual means having two languages. I like. Incidentally, twi– is the old prefix meaning two, which by the way I think we need to bring back to replace Latin bi-.

change n. förändring ‘for-othering’. That is, a total (See forhere) ‘othering’… by which we mean, to make something other than it is. Indeed, we might well do with dropping the for-: (verb) to other, (noun) an othering.

citizen n. medborgare ‘withborougher/withburger’. This tongue-twister works quite well, although it feels a bit odd. Old English had burhsittend ‘borough-sitter’ and ceasterware ‘chesterer’ (that is, someone from a “Chester“). We could come up with our own forms, too. I think “fellow-townie” works quite well, and it sticks to the etymological root of “citizen” (compare “city”). Another one that I would like to put forward: “land-fellow” (“land” as in “country, nation”; that is, a fellow of our same land/country).

independent adj. självständig ‘selfstanding’. I have no qualms slipping this into my English right now! I think it’s a “smuggleword” for sure!

possible adj. möjlig ‘mayly’. Quite clear, right? Things that may be, must be mayly. English spelling rules would probably dictate “maily” (like “daily”), but as a new word it probably wouldn’t be understood unless spelt “may(-)ly”.

public n. allmänhet ‘allmenhood’. The Modern English noun came from the adjective, the Old English for which was folclic ‘folkly’, that is, of the folk/people. I think allmenhood works fairly well.

success n. framgång ‘forward-go’. Think: go forth.

© 2016 Bryan A. J. Parry

featured image from https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flag_of_Sweden#/media/File%3AFlag_of_Sweden.svg






Yule and the Months #Yule #Christmas #TrueMeaningOfChristmas

December 23, 2015


Christmas, Xmas, Noel, Yule. So many names. But why? Christ-mass: that one’s simple enough. “X” is the first letter of the word Christ in Greek (Χριστος), hence Xmas. Noel comes from French, and ultimately the Latin, for “birth” [that is,  of Jesus]. Yule, on the other hand, was originally the name for a heathen feast of around the same period.

Yule is therefore the homeborn English word. And as a non-Christian Englishman, I like to use Yule to consciously stand for the cultural, as opposed to religious, celebration. Why? Because “Christmas” is and always has been about more than just Christianity. Eventually the word Yule fell out of use, except in some dialects, and was brought back to mainstream life in the nineteenth century.

The thought might occur to you: if the homeborn English word yule was replaced, perhaps the names of the months were too. And that’s exactly right. Here’s a quote from the venerable Bede’s The Reckoning of Time.

January, is Giuli; February is called Solmonath; March Hrethmonath; April, Eosturmonath; May, Thrimilchi; June, Litha; July, also Litha; August, Weodmonath; September, Halegmonath; October, Winterfilleth; November, Blodmonath; December, Giuli

As you can tell by names like Eosturmonath, these are the words in their Old English forms. I’m not suggesting we replace our current month names with updated versions of the old ones. Threemilch isn’t going to be plainer and easier to understand than May. But I post them for interest sake and because they are our homegrown words.

January: Yule
February: Solmonth
March: Reedmonth
April: Eastermonth
May: Threemilch
June: Lithe
July: Lithe
August: Weedmonth
September: Holymonth
October: Winterfilth
November: Bloodmonth
December: Yule

As you can see, Yule was really a two month long period, roughly December and January, of feasting and celebration. One half before, and one after, the Winter solstice. Respectively these were named, Ere Yule and After Yule. This was coupled with a two month Summer period, one month before the Summer Solstice, one after. Again, Ere Lithe and After Lithe. That’s lithe as in ‘flexible, supple’. September was also known as hærfestmonað: “Harvestmonth”. Winterfilth has nothing to do with dirt; –filth comes from filleth, which is ‘fill’ as in ‘full’, and ‘eth’ as in strength: so, ‘winter-full-ness’.

So there we have it: the original month names in English and the true meaning of Christmas.

© 2015 Bryan A. J. Parry

Source for Bede’s The Reckoning of Time: https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=yFsw-Vaup6sC&pg=PA53&source=gbs_toc_r&cad=3#v=onepage&q&f=false

featured image from http://americanhumanist.org/system/storage/2/6a/2/3607/spirit_of_yule.jpg


October 31, 2015


The 31st of October is, of course, Hallowe’en (or Halloween, if you will). Seems like a bit of a made-up holiday to me. In the 1980s and 90s, it didn’t really exist in England. Of good to nobody much but retailers and robbers in the need of a cheap disguise. But thanks to capitalism, it’s beginning to take hold in England in a way it never has before. But it’s still a poor effort compared to North American and Celtic tries.

My abiding memory of Hallowe’en is going trick o’ treating for the first and only time as a twelve year old — only to be angrily reprimanded by a local sixteen year old that I was, “Taking advantage and greedy! Hallowe’en is for KIDS!” Translation: “trick”. Dried egg and flour is quite hard to clean… Aside from psychologically scarring events which are useful blog anecdotes, the only good things about Hallowe’en for me are, one, crappy horror films, and two, the Simpsons’ Treehouse of Horror: the only episodes of that show that are still good.

But what is Hallowe’en? It ruffles the feathers of so many Christians I know. Yet it’s surely just harmless campy fun. Isn’t it? Hallowe’en was originally a heathen night for witches. However, the festival was, at least superficially, Christianised. So, officially Christian, originally heathen. But of course, Hallowe’en isn’t the only originally heathen holiday that was Christianised — but more on that in a couple of months’ times…

But anyway, Hallowe’en. What does this weird word mean? As my Mum told me when I was a kid, it is from Allhallows’-even. That is, the evening of all-hallows. Hallow being the older, homeborn word for “saint”. Think hallowed, which means “holy” or “sanctified”, and the verb to hallow, which means “to make holy or sanctified”. Holy is also a related word.

One of the principles of my Saxon English or “Anglish” project is the concept of “buttresses“. Just as a buttress stops a building from falling down, some words act as buttresses which support words and keep them from falling out of the language. Sadly, words like hallowed and holy and hallowe’en are not doing a very good job of buttressing the noun hallow, aka, “saint”. But I live in hope that the existence of these words will make that stout Saxon word hallow live again. That’s why I’ve taken to spelling out the name of this holiday — All Hallow’s Evening — and even dropping the noun hallow into conversations after having primed my listener with the words holy and hallowed.

© 2015 Bryan A. J. Parry

featured image http://www.caffeatina.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/halloween-in-chester.jpg

Top Swedish Words of the Day

February 25, 2015


Swedish, being a Germanic language, may sometimes give us a model or inspiration for our true, roots, Saxon, homeborn English made of homeborn roots. 8sidor (‘eight pages’) is a Swedish newspaper. Today’s issue has an article about Benjamin Netanyahu’s claims regarding Iran’s capacity for an atomic bomb. Here’s some delightful Swedish words appearing in the article and possible Anglish forms based on them.

kärnvapen: nuclear weapon, lit. ‘kernel-weapon’
spiongrupp: spy agency, lit. ‘spy-group’
tllverka: manufacture, fabricate, lit. ‘to-work’

© 2015 Bryan A. J. Parry

Naked Snails & Threatening Chickens (The German Model)

November 17, 2014


German has some cracking words. It can sometimes be a model for us Anglishers to follow — although I have repeatedly and specifically warned against a Germanising English.* But the language does still give us some good ideas for word formations. Below are a few German animal names in a delightful chart.

These animal names are characterised by heavy use of compounding from a small number of roots. Could we follow suit in English?

I’ve personally got a bit of an –apple fetish; we used to use this word in compounds quite often and we could do so again. I mean, we’ve already got “pineapple” and “custard apple“. But what about those ‘love apples’ (French pomme d’amour) or ‘golden apples’ (Italian pomodoro, “tomato”), those ‘earth apples’ (French pomme de terre “potatoes”), or those ‘many-seeded apples’ (“pomegranate”, ultimately from Latin pomum granatum ‘apple with many seeds’, in Classical Latin it was malum granatum ‘seeded apple’).

So yes, let’s make more productive use of our own, homegrown, English roots, instead of borrowing words for everything.

Also, check out these two pages: http://www.babbel.com/magazine/german-animal-names-video and http://www.babbel.com/magazine/funny-animal-names-in-german



*For example, see here.

images from http://www.babbel.com/magazine/funny-animal-names-in-german

© 2014 Bryan A. J. Parry


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?


*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

Forbidden Fruits

September 1, 2014


There’s a weird fad for giving fruits (and other products of nature) odd foreign names. This seems to be because “foreign = exotic and cool” and, in portraying the products as such, salesmen can fool folk into buying more stuff.

George Orwell, of course, long ago marked and decried use of “Antirrhinum” for “snap-dragon”. Yet still they’re at it.

Take the humble wolfberry. Or should I say “goji”. I think “goji” has become so quickly and so deeply entrenched (I’d never heard of the word ten years ago, nor had anyone else, I reckon) that it’s almost completely wiped the poor wolfberry out [just in case you weren’t following, they’re the same thing].

But why?

Well, “gojis” are a “super food” hailing from the mystical land of Tibet. Calling it a “wolfberry” seems fine to me, but apparently it doesn’t tick all of the marketeers’ boxes. It’s just not as mystical, magical, and super as “goji”.

What else has succumbed or is succumbing to this foreign fruit naming fad? I can think of:

  • Sharon fruit, which is apparently now the “persimmon”
  • Ladies’ fingers, now “okra”
  • Blue ginger, now “galangal”
  • Prickly pear, now “fig opuntia”
  • White radish, now “mooli”
  • Long melon, now “calabash”
  • Soursop, now “guanabana”

These may seem like exotic ingredients. Which I guess in a way they are, although they are widely known, used, and available here in the world-inna-city otherwise known as “London”. But in any case, if we have an English word for the thing, why not use it? Why always resort to the outland and, yes, outlandish in a sad try at being otherworldly?

The English Never Have, Nor Ever Will, Eat Fruit

It’s a weird fact, but English distinctly lacks words for fruit. The only homeborn words being “apple” and “berry”. For this reason, we use these words a lot in compounds: strawberry, blackberry, blueberry, bilberry, raspberry, cranberry, and so on, whereas Spanish, for example, more often uses different roots: fresa, grosella, frambuesa. But despite our limited word roots, we none-the-less have many English words for these foods and so don’t need to resort to nonsense like persimmon (although, granted, many roots are ultimately borrowed, but have been “bishop-shifted” a.k.a. Anglicised, e.g., “pear”).

In short:

Let’s not give in to the “goji” or the “persimmon”; let’s keep making use of our ever productive roots (even those which are merely bishop-shifted).


featured image from http://cikipedia.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/wolfberry.jpg

© 2012 – 2014 Bryan A. J. Parry

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