What Is Anglish? All You Need to Know
If you’ve heard the term “Anglish,” but are not sure what it refers to, you’re in the right place. Let’s explore the meaning and importance of Anglish!
How the English Language Came to Be: A Brief History
The English language has historically borrowed words heavily from other tongues (known as loanwords). This is part of the reason why we have such a rich vocabulary. England had cultural contact with many other races and tribes throughout its history. For example, the Roman, Viking, and Norman invasions brought Latin, Norse, and French to Britain, respectively.
The Angles (where we get the word English) were originally a Germanic tribe hailing from Denmark. They inhabited the British Isles after the fall of the Roman Empire. The Saxons joined them later, and the Anglo-Saxon language later flourished, but it was not over there.
The Vikings brought their language to the islanders, and even later the French. The English language continued to grow, develop and evolve constantly with all the new vocabulary and linguistic influences.
Nowadays, it’s very difficult even to speak English without using words borrowed from other sources. A great deal of English vocabulary comes from Latin, Greek, German, French and other languages. Even extremely common vocabulary like street, wine, marriage, take, and husband are non-Anglish in origin.
Anglish: The “Pure” English
So, what is Anglish? Anglish refers to a version of the English language with as few borrowed words as possible. Paul Jennings coined this term was coined when writing a series of articles for Punch in 1966. There he riffed on how English would have developed without the Norman conquests.
If you’d like to see Anglish in action, you could visit The Anglish Moot. This wiki-type site has texts written wholly in a form of modern English without any loanwords at all. While it can be a little work to get through, Anglish is pretty mutually comprehensible with modern-day English. However, it does give you a new appreciation for how many loanwords English uses on a daily basis.
Take the first few paragraphs of the article for the USA, for example. In Anglish, it is known as The Banded Folkdoms of Americksland (BFA):
The Banded Folkdoms of Americksland (BFA) is the most dwelt-in land in the landstretch of North Americksland. Its makeup is that of an evenly banded rike, with three branches of rike: the Leaderly, the Lawmootly, and the Lawlordly. The foremost tongue in the land is English, though some Spanish is spoken also.
Americksland, its shortened name, has the greatest landgeld and warband in the world, and is thought to be the world’s lone overrike, since the fall of the Band of Workermootly Kithish Commonwealths (BWKC).
Americksland was banded with England until the Americkish Uprising, which began with the Saying Forth of the Selfhood of the Banded Folkdoms of Americksland in 1776. Americksland has since fought other wars, namely: the War of 1812, its war with Mexico, the Americkish Kith War, its war with Spain, and the two World Wars.
Editor’s note: Article updated on July 28, 2021.