The Language We Never Would Have Known

Have you ever wondered what English would sound like if it had not been so influenced by other languages such as Latin, Gaelic, Norse, French, etc.? Neither have we. But some people have indeed thought long and hard about it and have created The Anglish Moot, a website dedicated to “English without words borrowed from other languages”.*

Suddenly, the United States of America becomes the “Banded Folkdoms of Americksland” and the first three books of the Bible are: Beginning, Afaring and Of the Attached (instead of Genesis, Exodus and Leviticus).

So why are we featuring this, apart from allowing us to find funny terms? Because, quite simply, it ties into the fact that we believe if English were spoken in this manner, and if it hadn’t let itself be influenced by other languages, it would not be nearly as widespread as it is today and, more likely than not, this article would have been written in another language (possibly French or Spanish).

You can read our earlier article about language evolution, but the basic gist is that English has become as widespread as it is because it is as flexible as it is. The fact that it incorporated so many terms and structures from other languages means that it has become possibly the most expressive language in the world (with 4 times the amount of vocabulary that French has). If it had never done so, another language might have very easily taken its place (for example, when William the Conqueror came from France, his Norman French might have replaced English, rather than become integrated with it).

In other words, the strength of the English language is due in great part because – rather than protect itself against other influences – it has welcomed terminology from other languages as its own. Something to keep in mind when other languages fight to protect themselves against English words. Indeed, something to keep in mind when countries try to protect themselves against foreign goods, services, people and/or ideas.

* We have a problem with this statement, in that English was originally an archaic form of Frisian, brought over to England by the Angles, Saxons and Juttes. This language obviously gave english its first words and terminology. We should also not forget that Frisian itself had many latin words and much German terminology. We should also note that any original English would probably still use suffixes according to case, such as genitive and dative.

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