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Using "Anglish" to find *simpler* synonyms


"Anglish" is a project to remake the English language while replacing all loan words (or at least all non-germanic words) with native equivalents. I'm rather indifferent to the idea, I think English is fine as it is, but I did recently find something it was useful for.

In my writing, I've always had a tendency to use big words (and I mean, always, my teachers were commenting on this in middle school). Since then, I've slowly learned to make my writing more natural — not dumb it down, but rather learn the proper time and place to use big words, and replace them with simpler words otherwise. It's not always easy, especially in English: my native language is French, which means that while many words I know naturally exist in both languages, words that are normal in French are often "bigger" words in English.

And for that I found that the Anglish lexicon can be pretty helpful (specifically the "attested" column; the words in the other column are invented). For instance, I had been looking for a simpler word related to "balance", "equilibrium", and only after looking up the Anglish lexicon was I reminded of "steady", which is exactly what I needed.

I don't suggest using this for very common words like "face" or "damn" that happen to be of French/Latin origin, but I found this was a neat tool for more elaborate words.


Ooh, thankyou! I'm always using big words in my story-writing without thinking about it so this is really helpful.

S J Lee

I'm all for using the simplest word that will do as long as you are not so repetitive that you get boring. HOWEVER, I would be completey unimpressed by people using "REAL English" as opposed to the English that English speakers actually speak. The very Queen of England's motto on her coat of arms is "Honi soit qui mal y pense"... or/and "Dieu et mon droit." I'm gung ho for good "ye olde medieval fantasy", but not willing to go banzai or kamikaze over small anachronisms.


Much more important is to just get the "feel" of your vocab right.
Malador stroked his pet canine as he looked about at the flora and fauna, then drew his trusty katana --> this does NOT sound very "fantasy" - this is not a function of using "real English" words, but rather that it sounds a bit too "modern" - the words are scientific ones or ones that entered the language only recently? But others might think the words fine. I wouldn't have a problem IF the story was bloody good.

"Malador pointed with his index finger" - nope, too "modern"?
"Malador pointed with the finger next to his thumb" - nope, even worse
"Malador pointed" might do just fine. IS there an "Anglish" for "index finger" the reader would actually understand?


Well as I said, I don't care much about Anglish's stated objective. I just find that it can have a useful unintended purpose as a way to help finding the simpler synonym to a "big" word (there isn't always a good one, of course).


Wow, thanks! It definitely looks useful to me, since I've got characters of different backgrounds. While one of the characters is more snooty and arrogant and, thus, tries to act more intellectual by using more sophisticated words, maybe such as "sensible" or "affable", the other one tries to keep things simple and prefers using words consisting of several easy words, such as "down-to-earth" instead of "sensible" and "good-natured" instead of "affable".
Of course, the words still must suit the timeline a story takes place in, as S J Lee pointed out, so a little more research is always good, nonetheless.