Uncleftish Beholding

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Uncleftish Beholding
Presented1989
Author(s) Poul Anderson
Subject Atomic theory
Purpose linguistic purism in English

"Uncleftish Beholding" (1989) [1] is a short text by Poul Anderson, included in his anthology "All One Universe". [2] It is designed to illustrate what English might look like without its large number of loanwords from languages such as French, Greek, and Latin, [3] especially with regard to the proportion of scientific words with origins in those languages.

Contents

Written as a demonstration of linguistic purism in English, the work explains atomic theory using Germanic words almost exclusively and coining new words when necessary; [4] many of these new words have cognates in modern German, an important scientific language in its own right. The title phrase uncleftish beholding calques "atomic theory." [5]

To illustrate, the text begins: [6]

For most of its being, mankind did not know what things are made of, but could only guess. With the growth of worldken, we began to learn, and today we have a beholding of stuff and work that watching bears out, both in the workstead and in daily life.

It goes on to define firststuffs (chemical elements), such as waterstuff (hydrogen), sourstuff (oxygen), and ymirstuff (uranium), as well as bulkbits (molecules), bindings (compounds), and several other terms important to uncleftish worldken (atomic science). [7] Wasserstoff and Sauerstoff are the modern German words for hydrogen and oxygen, and in Dutch the modern equivalents are waterstof and zuurstof. [8] Sunstuff refers to helium, which derives from ἥλιος, the Ancient Greek word for "sun." Ymirstuff references Ymir, a giant in Norse mythology similar to Uranus in Greek mythology.

Glossary

Word in Uncleftish BeholdingWord in EnglishOrigin In English
UNCLEFTatomfrom Greek atomos "uncut, unhewn; indivisible," from a- "not" + tomos "a cutting," [9]
UNCLEFTISHatomicas above
BEHOLDINGtheoryfrom Greek theōria "contemplation, speculation; a looking at, viewing; a sight, show, spectacle, things looked at," from theōrein "to consider, speculate, look at," from theōros "spectator,"
WORLDKENsciencefrom Latin scientia "knowledge". [10] World + ken means "understanding the world".
STUFF

FIRSTSTUFF

matter

element

from Latin materia "substance from which something is made," [11]

from Latin elementum "rudiment, first principle, matter in its most basic form" [12]

LADING:

FORWARDLADEN:

BACKWARDLADEN:

charge

positive

negative

from Late Latin carricare "to load a wagon or cart" [13]
WATERSTUFF

SUNSTUFF

STONESTUFF

COALSTUFF:

CHOKESTUFF:

SOURSTUFF:

GLASSWORTSTUFF:

FLINTSTUFF:

POTASHSTUFF:

Hydrogen

Helium

Lithium

Carbon

Nitrogen

Oxygen

Magnesium

Silicon

Potassium

from Greek for water [14]

from Greek for sun [15]

from Greek for stone [16]

from Latin for coal [17]

from nitrum in Latin.

from Greek for sharp or sour [18]

from Greek for the lodestone. [19] Glasswort was used as a source of soda for glassmaking

from Latin for Flint [14]

Latinised form of Potash [20]

YMIRSTUFF Uranium from Uranus (Norse equivalent is Ymir)
AEGIRSTUFF: Neptunium from Neptune (Norse equvialent is Ægir)
HELSTUFF: Plutonium from Pluto (Norse equivalent is Hel)

The vocabulary used in Uncleftish Beholding does not completely derive from Anglo-Saxon. Around, from Old French reond (Modern French rond), completely displaced Old English ymbe (modern English umbe (now obsolete), cognate to German um and Latin ambi-) and left no "native" English word for this concept. The text also contains the French-derived words rest, ordinary and sort.

The text gained increased exposure and popularity after being circulated around the Internet, [21] and has served as inspiration for some inventors of Germanic English conlangs. Douglas Hofstadter, in discussing the piece in his book Le Ton beau de Marot , jocularly refers to the use of only Germanic roots for scientific pieces as "Ander-Saxon."

See also

Related Research Articles

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In Modern English, we is a plural, first-person pronoun.

In Modern English, you is the second-person pronoun. It is grammatically plural, and was historically used only for the dative case, but in most modern dialects is used for all cases and numbers.

Etymology is the study of the history of words. By extension, the etymology of a word means its origin and development throughout history.

Linguistic purism in English involves opposition to foreign influence in the English language. English has evolved with a great deal of borrowing from other languages, especially Old French, since the Norman conquest of England, and some of its native vocabulary and grammar have been supplanted by features of Latinate and Greek origin. Efforts to remove or consider the removal of foreign terms in English are often known as Anglish, a term coined by author and humorist Paul Jennings in 1966.

<i>Online Etymology Dictionary</i> Free online English-language dictionary

The Online Etymology Dictionary is a free online dictionary, written and compiled by Douglas Harper that describes the origins of English-language words.

Inkhorn term

An inkhorn term is a loanword or a word coined from existing roots, which is deemed to be unnecessary or overly pretentious.

Germanic toponyms are the names given to places by Germanic peoples and tribes. Besides areas with current speakers of Germanic languages, many regions with previous Germanic speakers or Germanic influence had or still have Germanic toponymic elements, such as places in Northern France, Wallonia, Poland and Northern Italy.

In Modern English, I is the singular, first-person pronoun.

<i>Witch</i> (word)

The word witch derives from the Old English nouns ƿiċċa[ˈwittʃɑ] and ƿiċċe[ˈwittʃe]. The word's further origins in Proto-Germanic and Proto-Indo-European are unclear.

The plant name Cannabis is derived originally from a Scythian or Thracian word, which loaned into Persian as kanab, then into Greek as κάνναβις and subsequently into Latin as cannabis. The Germanic word that gives rise to English hemp may be an early Germanic loan from the same source.

There are several known allotropes of oxygen. The most familiar is molecular oxygen (O2), present at significant levels in Earth's atmosphere and also known as dioxygen or triplet oxygen. Another is the highly reactive ozone (O3). Others are:

Magnesia Prefecture Former prefecture in Thessaly, Greece

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Mortal wound Injury that will ultimately lead to a persons death

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References

  1. Svishchev, Guennady V.; Amatov, Alexander M.; Tolstolutskaya, Eugenia V. (January 2015). "Language Regulation in a Global World". The Social Sciences. 10 (6): 1107–1110. ISSN   1818-5800.
  2. Anderson, Poul (1996). All One Universe. Macmilan. ISBN   9780312858735.
  3. Omissi, Adrastos (2015-07-11). "Swear words, etymology, and the history of English". OUPblog . Archived from the original on 2015-07-14. Retrieved 20 February 2019.
  4. Allén, Sture, ed. (1995). Of Thoughts and Words: Proceedings of Nobel Symposium 92: The Relation Between Language and Mind (Conference publication). River Edge, New Jersey: Imperial College Press. pp. 217–266. ISBN   9781860940057. LCCN   96130659. OCLC   34912899.
  5. "Uncleftish Beholding". Centre for Complexity Science, University of Warwick . 12 Feb 2014. Archived from the original on 2014-11-12. Retrieved 20 February 2019.
  6. Anderson, Poul (December 1989). "Uncleftish Beholding". Analog Science Fiction and Fact . Vol. 109 no. 13. Davis Publications. pp. 132–135.
  7. Hofstadter, Douglas R. (August 1994). "Speechstuff and Thoughtstuff: Musings on the Resonances Created by Words and Phrases via the Subliminal Perception of their Buried Parts". Nobel Symposium 92. Stockholm. doi:10.1142/9781908979681_0023.
  8. R.L.G. (2014-01-28). "Johnson: What might have been". The Economist . Berlin. Archived from the original on 2019-02-20. Retrieved 20 February 2019.
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  10. "Definition of science | Dictionary.com". www.dictionary.com. Retrieved 2021-03-19.
  11. "matter | Search Online Etymology Dictionary". www.etymonline.com. Retrieved 2021-03-19.
  12. "element | Search Online Etymology Dictionary". www.etymonline.com. Retrieved 2021-03-19.
  13. "charge | Search Online Etymology Dictionary". www.etymonline.com. Retrieved 2021-03-19.
  14. 1 2 Stwertka, Albert (1996). A guide to the elements. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN   0-19-508083-1. OCLC   33013451.
  15. Stwertka, Albert (1996). A guide to the elements. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN   0-19-508083-1. OCLC   33013451.
  16. Stwertka, Albert (1996). A guide to the elements. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN   0-19-508083-1. OCLC   33013451.
  17. Stwertka, Albert (1996). A guide to the elements. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN   0-19-508083-1. OCLC   33013451.
  18. Stwertka, Albert (1996). A guide to the elements. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN   0-19-508083-1. OCLC   33013451.
  19. "magnesia | Origin and meaning of magnesia by Online Etymology Dictionary". www.etymonline.com. Retrieved 2021-03-19.
  20. "potash | Origin and meaning of potash by Online Etymology Dictionary". www.etymonline.com. Retrieved 2021-03-19.
  21. "Johnson: What might have been". The Economist. 2014-01-28. ISSN   0013-0613 . Retrieved 2021-03-19.