From Academic Kids

Ander-Saxon or Anglish is a form of constrained writing in English in which words with Greek, Latin, and Romance roots are replaced by Germanic ones. (See etymology.)

In 1966, Paul Jennings wrote a number of articles in Punch in Anglish, to commemorate the 900th anniversary of the Norman Conquest . He gave "a bow to William Barnes, the Dorset poet-philologist". The pieces included a sample of Shakespeare's writing as it might have been if William the Conqueror had never succeeded:

To be, or not to be: that is the ask-thing: is't higher-thinking in the brain to bear the slings and arrows of outrageous dooming or to take weapons 'gainst a sea of bothers and by againstwork end them?...

The Australian composer Percy Grainger adopted a similar language, which he called "blue-eyed English", for his letters and musical manuscripts.

The name Ander-Saxon is used for scientific or technical writing and was coined in 1992 by Douglas R. Hofstadter as a pun on Anglo-Saxon, with a reference to science-fiction author Poul Anderson. Anderson introduced the form in his article "Uncleftish Beholding," a treatise on atomic theory written in Ander-Saxon. (Interestingly, "ander" is the German word for "other".) Here is a quotation:

The firststuffs have their being as motes called unclefts. These are mighty 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 chills when in the fast standing; and there are yet more yokeways.) When unlike unclefts 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 or more unclefts of these two firststuffs together with coalstuff and chokestuff.

The techniques he uses include:

  • coinages ("firststuff" for "element");
  • replacements ("motes" for "particles");
  • calques from the original language ("uncleft" from "atom" – Greek a- not + temnein to cut)
  • calques from German ("waterstuff" and "sourstuff" for "hydrogen" and "oxygen"
    – German Wasserstoff and Sauerstoff).


  • Paul Jennings, "I Was Joking Of Course", London, Max Reinhardt Ltd, 1968
  • Poul Anderson, "Uncleftish Beholding", Analog Science Fact / Science Fiction Magazine, mid-December 1989.
  • Douglas Hofstadter, "Speechstuff and Thoughtstuff", in Sture Allén (ed.), Of Thoughts and Words: Proceedings of Nobel Symposium 92, London: Imperial College Press. Includes a reprint of Anderson's article, with a translation into more standard English.
  • Douglas Hofstadter Le Ton beau de Marot: In Praise of the Beauty of Language, Basic Books, 1997, ISBN 0465086454. Also includes and discusses excerpts from the article.

Academic Kids Menu

  • Art and Cultures
    • Art (
    • Architecture (
    • Cultures (
    • Music (
    • Musical Instruments (
  • Biographies (
  • Clipart (
  • Geography (
    • Countries of the World (
    • Maps (
    • Flags (
    • Continents (
  • History (
    • Ancient Civilizations (
    • Industrial Revolution (
    • Middle Ages (
    • Prehistory (
    • Renaissance (
    • Timelines (
    • United States (
    • Wars (
    • World History (
  • Human Body (
  • Mathematics (
  • Reference (
  • Science (
    • Animals (
    • Aviation (
    • Dinosaurs (
    • Earth (
    • Inventions (
    • Physical Science (
    • Plants (
    • Scientists (
  • Social Studies (
    • Anthropology (
    • Economics (
    • Government (
    • Religion (
    • Holidays (
  • Space and Astronomy
    • Solar System (
    • Planets (
  • Sports (
  • Timelines (
  • Weather (
  • US States (


  • Home Page (
  • Contact Us (

  • Clip Art (
Personal tools