Anglish: English without the imported stuff

A distinctive feature of English (and the English) is that it, and they, grōwan their glamour through appropriation and assimilation. Even successful invaders end up feeling thoroughly shaken down. But what if it had been left to its own devices, a language bereft of foreign influence? Anglish is English without French, Greek, Latin or other borrowings, and Uncleftish Beholding, by Poul Anderson, is its ur-text.

The firststuffs have their being as motes called unclefts. These are mightly small; one seedweight of waterstuff holds a tale of them like unto two followed by twenty-two naughts. Most unclefts link together to make what are called bulkbits. Thus, the waterstuff bulkbit bestands of two waterstuff unclefts, the sourstuff bulkbit of two sourstuff unclefts, and so on. (Some kinds, such as sunstuff, keep alone; others, such as iron, cling together in ices when in the fast standing; and there are yet more yokeways.) When unlike clefts link in a bulkbit, they make bindings. Thus, water is a binding of two waterstuff unclefts with one sourstuff uncleft, while a bulkbit of one of the forestuffs making up flesh may have a thousand thousand or more unclefts of these two firststuffs together with coalstuff and chokestuff.

Read also The Wake, an extraordinary novel written in the inferred, imaginary argot of an 11th-century Englishman.