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 about this changed immediately when the throne passed from the Normans to the Angevins. At first the Angevin kings of England were much like the Norman kings, but over time they 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.

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.


William Barnes was an English writer and poet who lived in the 1800s. While people before him argued against borrowing new words, Barnes went a step further and tried to replace loanwords with more easily understood native alternatives. In some cases Barnes even thought to revive native English words which had fallen out of use, a method that would later become the norm in Anglish.

Early Anglish

Although Anglish had arguably existed since at least the 1800s, it was not until 1966 that it was given a name by Paul Jennings in 1066 and All Saxon, a series of articles he published in Punch Magazine. In 1989, the American writer Poul Anderson made his own Anglish text called Uncleftish Beholding. These words 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, serving as a community hub and encyclopedia for Anglish enthusiasts. Around the same time, an Anglish forum was created on Reddit. Next, a Discord server was established and before long it was officially associated with the Anglish Reddit. By this point it had become standard in Anglish to make up for the loss of thousands of loanwords by reviving native words. This tendency to revive words sets contemporary Anglish apart from the early 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.