History of Anglish

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French Speaking Elites

In 1066 the Normans invaded England and took control of the country. These Normans spoke French, so it became prestigious and beneficial to become familiar with the French language. Over time this resulted in French words bleeding into English's vocabulary, often replacing native words which meant the same thing.

English Speaking Elites

Nothing immediately changed language-wise when the throne passed from the Normans to the Angevins, but over time the Angevins lost their holdings in France and began to see themselves as English. This Anglicised branch of House Anjou is called House Plantagenet. In 1362 under Plantagenet king Edward III, the Pleading in English Act was passed, obligating courts of law to accommodate English speakers. It is said Henry IV spoke English as his native language, and that the court of his son, Henry V, took to speaking English.

Ayenbite of Inwyt

In the 14th century a writer translated a French work into English, and even calqued the title into English as Ayenbite of Inwyt. This work is noteworthy because it seems to show a conscious preference for English words over French alternatives, making the text arguably a kind of Anglish.

Inkhorn Controversy

In the century around 1600 there was a flood of new Latinate words pouring into English, but some people at the time resisted these words, arguing that these inkhorn words were unneeded and pretentious.

Reviving Words

William Barnes was an English writer and poet who lived in the 1800s. While people before him had occasionally shown a preference for native words, and others had argued against borrowing new words, Barnes went a step further by thinking to revive native English words which had fallen out of use, a practice that would later become widespread in Anglish.

Anglish is Named

Although Anglish had existed in some form for centuries, it was not until 1966 that it was given a name by Paul Jennings in his work 1066 and All Saxon, a series of articles published in Punch Magazine. In 1989, the American writer Poul Anderson made his own Anglish text called Uncleftish Beholding. These works in particular would lead to the emergence of an Anglish community on the web.

Contemporary Anglish

In the early 2010s the Anglish Moot was founded on the web, serving as a community hub and encyclopedia for Anglish enthusiasts. Around the same time an Anglish community sprouted on Reddit. Next, a Discord server was established and around 2017 it linked up with the community on Reddit. By this point it had become common if not standard for Anglish writers to use revived words rather than attempt to write Anglish with a gutted vocabulary. This tendency to revive words sets contemporary Anglish apart from the earlier Anglish of Jennings and Anderson. In 2017 a comprehensive dictionary for Anglish was started, and by 2020 the Anglish Wordbook had over 7,000 entries.