English is the most widely spoken language in the world and has largely monopolized global culture. If history had taken a different course, we might have ended up speaking a completely different language: a language people now call “Anglish”. And, despite everything anyone could have expected or predicted, it is booming in popularity.
Let’s look at the history of this strange language and see why so many people are interested in it.
What is Anglish?
The English language is actually a mix of vocabulary from several languages, including some Greek, Latin, German and French.
English is a Germanic language, and the vocabulary added by other groups has made it a more complex language. It is still possible to speak English, so-called because it focuses on the AngloSaxon roots of English and does not use any newer additions from non Germanic countries. This language form is now called “Anglish.”
Because it believes that the Germanic roots of the language are the best version, speaking Anglish is a form linguistic purism. It aims to eradicate all other languages. This can be achieved by not using English words from other languages, adapting Germanic and Old English words, or creating new words based upon the roots languages.
Paul Jennings, an author of Punch’s article trio in 1966, first used the term satirically. Although the term is new, it isn’t the actual concept. Intellectuals and thinkers have been contemplating the need for a better English language for centuries.
One possibility is that the first was a monk from Lincolnshire, who wrote a book containing only a few words from Latin and French.
The rise of Anglish
Although the average person may not be knowledgeable about linguistic purism and the history of English, that hasn’t stopped Anglish gaining traction.
The Anglish Times is now a newspaper that exclusively writes in Anglish. This is a great place to start learning the language, or for anyone curious.
It has its own subreddit with nearly 8,000 members. This growing Discord community has attracted attention from YouTube channels such as Langfocus.
Dare you go further in your research?
The Anglish community
You might assume that Anglish proponents are grammar nazis or pedants, given their reputation. However, neither is true. Most Anglish lovers are warm and welcoming, and they love to learn more about their obscure community.
Anglish, contrary to common belief, is not about hatred of French, Latin or “foreign” languages. It is more about learning about the history of English and the beauty of older times.
Ernest Hemingway’s quote is used by the Anglish subreddit: “He thinks that I don’t know the ten dollar words.” They are all well-known. There are simpler, more elegant words. Those are the ones that I use.
Before you speak, think
Even the most ardent Anglish aficionados are not fooled by the idea that English will soon be replaced as the world’s lingua franca. Their passion is beautiful, and it doesn’t stop them from following their dreams.
One thing is certain: once you learn Anglish, English will never be the same again.