When will the English language be reformed?

mjd   Wednesday, March 05, 2003, 07:36 GMT
But those French origin words are now English. I think a wide vocabulary enhances a language (regardless of the influence).
cmhiv   Wednesday, March 05, 2003, 07:37 GMT
Oh yeah, French origin words and words of Greek and Latin origins. Arabic and other languages would not really be replaced as they do not make up the bulk of borrowings like French, Latin and Greek do. But then again, this is a my discretion because it is my own project that will only go so far as this computer, so do not worry about the English language being drastically changed any time soon ;-P
mjd   Wednesday, March 05, 2003, 07:38 GMT
Yeah, it just makes for a good discussion. It's an interesting project, don't get me wrong.
cmhiv   Wednesday, March 05, 2003, 07:38 GMT
"But those French origin words are now English."

Well, yes and no. Yes, they are Modern English words, but they did not evolve from Middle/Old English or Old German/Frisian.
cmhiv   Wednesday, March 05, 2003, 07:42 GMT
Does anyone know of a two-way Modern English to Old English dictionary?
Jim   Wednesday, March 05, 2003, 07:43 GMT

Hate to be pedantic but "vocabulary words" is one of my pet peeves. The word "vocabulary" is a noun not an adjective so you need only have written "I don't think lessening the pool of vocabulary is a good idea." Sorry, I just had to point it out. Though I agree with you on your point. English has a rich vocabulary. I want to keep it.


How can you make the language more "English". What is it to be "English"? How far back are you going to trace your words? Are you ... or should I say ... Art thou giving us the forgotten letters eth, thorn & ash back?
mjd   Wednesday, March 05, 2003, 07:44 GMT

You're right....good catch.
Simon   Wednesday, March 05, 2003, 07:47 GMT
Maybe flesh could replace meat (sounds like it could be French to me: met or mets, a dish).

cmhiv   Wednesday, March 05, 2003, 08:13 GMT
I plan to use compounds of Modern English words. So, there would be no reason to use a differnt spelling because i am not changing grammar, or even the words, I am just using Modern English words that are not French/Latin/Greek in origin.

"What is it to be English?" you ask, well, it means (in my context) to have as little non-English origin words as possible. Like I said somewhere above, I will not be eliminating all non-English origin words, but I will try to eliminate a lot of them.

Also, words that were not English in origin that were used by speakers of Old English, I would not take those out of the language.

However, maybe someone can help me. The word "question" is obviously a French borrowing because, well, French uses the exact same word. The German word for question is "fragen" (which is also the verb "to ask"); so, I was thinking the ""New English" word for question could be "aska." My reasoning behind this is German uses the verb "fragen" and the noun "fragen," and the Old English infinitve ending was "-an." So, I just dropped the "n;" and voila, "aska."

I have an aska for you, do you think that this "English" ?
franck   Wednesday, March 05, 2003, 16:51 GMT
Your debate is very interesting.
As I'm french, I would like to precise something about french origin words you use.
Ok there are some which didn't change through the times or kept quite the same global aspect, the same meaning and that are still used in both language exactly the same way.
But there are many which kept a french aspect or quite almost, but whose meaning had changed radically.
We even call them "faux amis", which means "false friends".
So even if some of the words from your vocabulary have french origins (in the writing), they are 100% english in the meaning because of their evolution through the english history.
The same for the pronunciation. In france, due to our langage, our hear is trained only for some sounds. If you compare (with a french-english dictionnary )the phonetics sounds of the english langage and of the french one, you will realize your langage is richer phonetically.
Personnally I'm unable to pronunce correctly the "th" at the end of a word.
this sound doesn't exists in french, I don't know how to say it, and because my hear is not used to it, I cannot even realize when I say it bad.
It's even funny because I looked for a synonym of "health" and it seems there's none. And it's terrible to have to build phrases when you talk and thinking "be aware not to put yourself in a situation you have to use that word".
anyway, to make short, I wanted to mean that french origin words pronounced in the english way have gained their english status like the others.
Maybe I'm not right in the line of your debate but I thought these points could be useful to it.
J   Wednesday, March 05, 2003, 18:19 GMT

I comeback to you asking, I too have thought that swapping Frankish words for English ones might be a gleeful thing to do.

Sadly, it is truly hard! Read this and know what welshness comes out of English without Frankish. And forget not that so many folks alonover the world speak English and to sway the minds of em to this new tongue would need so long, and even after that if only one utters a word that is unEnglish, the whole house shall be tobroken.

By the way, is the Thedish word 'taal' alike for 'talk'?
cmhiv   Wednesday, March 05, 2003, 18:46 GMT
What is "Thedish?"
cmhiv   Wednesday, March 05, 2003, 19:09 GMT
If someone tried the same thing to the English language, except in the oppisite, they would just have a bad version of French ;-)))))
J   Wednesday, March 05, 2003, 21:23 GMT
'Thedish' is Dutch, or German, but I meant it as Dutch.

The Germanic word meaning 'people, nation' came to English as 'thede' and Dutch as (?) 'duits'.
Jim   Thursday, March 06, 2003, 00:36 GMT

That's a great idea: use the word "aska" instead of "question" then instead of saying "Ask a question." you'd say "Ask a aska."

You say "there would be no reason to use a differnt spelling" but what about the letter "q" isn't that from French? There are Modern English words that are not French/Latin/Greek in origin but use the letter "q". The word "queen", for example, used to be spelt "cween".

And how about words from Hindi (e.g. "pyjamas"), Japanese (e.g. "karaoke","sake",etc.), Australian Aboriginal languages, etc.?


That's an interesting point that you raise about the faux amis ... I suppose you could call them false enemies from cmhiv's point of view. Can you give us some examples.