Anglish and rewilding

Hi everyone,

I’ve written an essay about the relationship between native English words and foreign ones, and how these changes parallel oppressive social structures and environmental collapse.

Super fun. Just a lovely essay, I thank you so much for sharing.

I’m ruminating on my recent reading of McFarlane’s Landmarks, and also of Home Ground - a dictionaryesque book of North American-focused land-words edited by Barry Lopez and with a lovely array of contributing writers, one for each word.

It’s something that I struggle with - what it means to care about decolonizing language, while at the same time seeking wordless experiences.

I enjoyed your essay very much, thank you for sharing it here!

Nice one rainshields!

You might be interested to read Paul Kingsnorth’s writing on this, if you haven’t already. He’s been barking up much the same tree especially with the novel ‘The Wake’ which he wrote in an invented old-English-type language. Here’s a review from a medieval specialist:

Also I’ve been thinking about this subject of language and social status recently after reading this dreadful Jim Kunstler article on black Americans being held back supposedly because they refuse to speak ‘correctly’ (thus choosing to fail economically) and the namby pamby liberal teaching establishment is too PC to beat their self-generated dialects out of them:

I remembered this awesome little video by Scottish poet Tom Leonard which speaks about how ‘regional’ accents in Britain are inescapably bound up with local context, whereas the placeless, educated upper-middle-class accent that dominates the media and other public institutions has come to be seen as intrinsically objective & authoritative. He makes the point brilliantly in his poem ‘Six a clock news’, read in a very broad Glaswegian accent:

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I love how revealing this all is once you start investigating all the words people use every day. A direct, powerful way of exploring how we’ve been colonised and some surprising ways in which this could start to be undone even by little changes in the ways we speak and write.


my perception is that english is rapidly making the transition into a tonal language.
this is because everyone born in america in the last 20 years has been inoculated
with the speech patterns and mannerisms of western youth culture. though this has
resulted in the erasure of a lot of regional differences, it also means that
the language is standardized to the extent that every tiny nuance of inflection,
wording, pause in between words, is meaningful.

it’s like modern youth english is quickly evolving into a global ur-spracht
with the potential of carrying all the densely ramified meaning
of a tribal language.

this video is a good example :

I suspect that this evolution is largely because of the influence of black culture.
the tragedy of slavery brought an influx of millions people from thousands of living, vibrant tribal societies into the white world, which was in a cultural dead end. black people invented ragtime, jazz, blues, rock 'n roll, funk, soul, swing, bebop, hip hop… hell, even bluegrass wouldn’t exist without the banjo, which came from africa. every time a new meme is generated by black culture, it’s immediately appropriated by white performers.
there’s this double standard where blackness is shunned and black english is seen as less correct than white english, while at the same time white american youth is trying their damndest to emulate blackness in their music, in their speech, in their mannerisms…