17 March 2017

Video of the day -- purified language

Apparently this is a real movement, though not a large one (and occasionally such movements have had some success in certain other languages).  Since Trump is so obsessed with excluding anything foreign, maybe we should try to get him interested in this.  His executive orders will do that much less harm if nobody can understand them.


Blogger Comrade Misfit said...

This is akin to the Germans who, at one time, sought to purge all non-germanic words from their language.

One guess as to when that time was.

(This was when it ended.)

17 March, 2017 12:55  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

And it wouldn't surprise me if a lot of "Anglish" enthusiasts are the same general kind of people.

It's an odd thing, to feel so bothered by French, Latin, and Greek words (as most of the foreign-origin words in English are). Maybe they don't like the reminder that their ancestors learned civilization from the Mediterranean world.

18 March, 2017 04:14  
Blogger Ahab said...

The whole concept of linguistic purism strikes me as absurd. No language (or culture) has ever been hermetically sealed. Almost all languages have borrowed vocabulary from other languages, and cultures are richer for it. I don't know anything about the linguistic purity movement, but I can't help but wonder what role xenophobia plays in it.

18 March, 2017 08:44  
Anonymous Connie said...

This is the silliest of ideas. It would mean the state of Colorado be renamed Red. I guess burritos would be called wraps but what about tacos?

I love my inclusive American language and fart in the purists direction (thank you Monty Python)

18 March, 2017 16:13  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Ahab: Very true. Every language I've ever studied has a fair amount of borrowed vocabulary (Arabic doesn't have much, but there's some). English is far from unusual.

I'd love to see somebody translate a philosophy or science book into "Anglish". Even German needs some Latin and Greek for that kind of stuff.

Connie: For that matter, I wonder what the country itself would be called -- "united" and "state" are of Latin origin, and "America" comes from the name of an Italian explorer. I don't think most people realize how much of the vocabulary is ultimately of foreign derivation, and how much it adds.

Logically they should also stop using this Roman alphabet and Arabic numerals. Back to scratching runes on tree bark?

18 March, 2017 17:51  
Blogger Tim McGaha said...

There's a fine quote about defending the purity of English that applies here:

"The problem with defending the purity of the English language is that English is about as pure as a cribhouse whore. We don't just borrow words; on occasion, English has pursued other languages down alleyways to beat them unconscious and riffle their pockets for new vocabulary." -- James Nicoll

Plus, these idiots want to re-write scientific and technical language for "purity". As a practicing engineer, I say screw that right in the eye.

20 March, 2017 07:59  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Ah, Tim! I wondered if you'd left the net altogether.

That's a good point -- "purification" would mean a vast amount of technical terminology would have to be re-created and then re-learned by engineers and other specialists at the cost of time and energy which could have been better spent on other projects -- and for no practical benefit. The cases where purification has succeeded were cases like Turkish in the 1920s -- languages which didn't have much technical terminology established yet, and few educated people to be burdened by the changes.

20 March, 2017 17:42  
Blogger Ahab said...

Infidel -- What you and Tim said about scientific/technical language! I'm perfectly happy to keep using words like "hydrogen" and "uranium" over "waterstuff" and "Ymirstuff".

My job involves research and statistics, so I wonder how statistical terms such as "chi-square", "median", and "standard deviation" would be rendered in Anglish. "Chi" is a Greek letter, and almost all of the other words I just listed have Latin origins. The Anglish equivalents would probably sound surreal.

21 March, 2017 14:27  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Ahab: Surreal and contrived. Out of curiosity I looked up "Ymir" -- it's the name of a Norse ancestral god, with no obvious connection to uranium.

I see no point in purging our language of all connection with the true Greco-Roman origins of our civilization. Besides all the practical problems, it would be a kind of lie. Our ancestry (well, mine and that of the original English-speakers) is Germanic, but the roots of our culture and civilization are not.

21 March, 2017 18:15  
Blogger Ahab said...

Uranium's name comes from the Greek god Uranus/Ouranos. Both Uranus and Ymir were primordial progenitor deities, but the similarities end there.

If the Anglish enthusiasts really want to replace current element names with Germanic ones, it'll take them a while to pick out mythological analogs. Many elements derive their names from Greek/Roman mythological references, such as Argon (city of Argos), Titanium (Titans), Niobium (Niobe), Cadmium (Cadmus), Iodine (Io), Promethium (Prometheus), and Cerium (Ceres).

21 March, 2017 19:24  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Hey, they've already got thorium. At least in chemistry there are only a hundred or so elements. Redoing the Latin names of the million-plus described biological species would keep them busy for a while. It might even prove to be their, er, kryptonite.

21 March, 2017 20:22  

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