A nicer ƿaȝ of ƿriting Engliſh

As i’ve detailed on my about page, i have a number of typing quirks when writing English — but there are a number of other changes that i think would look better, but could perhaps harm intelligibility or make me look completely insufferable. This page is for me to explore those possibilities without feeling the need to spread them elsewhere.

I have been quite resistant to adding diæreses to words of Germanic origin — normally i spell it being instead of beïng, for instance — and to adding ligatures to words where there is no contemporary precedent — such as equals instead of æquals — but i have decided to abandon those prætenses here and use them whenever possible! In addition, a more oblique archaïcism that i approve of is spelling the root-final -c as -ck, as in magick and æsthetick.

Then there is the matter of the long s (ſ), a now-obſolete typographickal variant which i think looks rather fetching. It is uſed at the ſtart and in the middle of words, except under the following circumſtances:

But there are more obſolete glyphs that i think could be quite uſeful! The þorn (Þþ) replaces þe ſequence th. Many alſo advocate for þe uſage of þe Icelandick eð (Ðð) for þe voiced þ of þis as oppoſed to þe unvoiced þ of þorn, but given our præexiſting orþography draws no diſtinction, and even Icelandick doesn’t boþer wiþ eð at þe ſtart of its words, i have decided againſt it.

Ƿynn (Ƿƿ) replaces þe compound letter w; hƿile ƿe’re at it, ƿe might as ƿell flip wh back over to hƿ, making it truër to its original pronunciation.

Finally, ȝoȝ (Ȝȝ) can replace boþ y (in its function as a conſonant) and þe digraph gh.

But ƿe need not ſtop at merely making orþographickal alterations. Þe archaïck (but ſtill recogniſable) pronoun þou ƿas uſeful for diſtinguiſhing betƿeen þe ſingular and plural ȝous, and from þere it’s eaſy to bring back þe accuſative ȝe.

An aſide on gendered pronouns þat ƿas too long for a footnote

One miȝt expect þis to be þe part hƿere i advocate for an unambiguous, ſingular, and gender-neutral þird-perſon pronoun, and indeed, if i ƿere given þe taſk to redeſign Engliſh from þe ground up, i ƿould do ſuch a þing — i þink þe eȝ/em/eir ſet ƿould ƿork quite ƿell in þat regard — but gendered pronouns ſeem to be here to ſtaȝ, and as ſuch it is mine opinion þat þe genderqueer praxis is not to advocate þe removal of gendered pronouns entireliy but raþer to fuck ƿiþ þe ſiſtem by adopting neopronouns and oþer ſuch inventions, hopefullie turning pronouns into an open claſs of ƿords.

And þe once-productive perfective ſuffix -(e)n, hƿich ſhoƿs up in ƿords like trodden, aƿoken, ſlain, and ſo on, can alſo be brouȝt back, in þe final ſtage of þe neƿly-changen tongue.

A ſample of þis reformen Engliſh, taken from Charles Dickens’ A Chriſtmas Carol:

Marleȝ ƿas dead: to begin ƿiþ. Þere is no doubt hƿatever about þat. Þe regiſter of his burial ƿas ſignen by þe clergyman, þe clerk, þe undertaker, and þe chief mourner. Scrooge ſigned it: and Scrooge’s name ƿas good upon ’Change, for any ing he choſe to put his hand to. Old Marley ƿas as dead as a door-nail.

Mind! I don’t mean to ſaȝ þat i knoƿ, of mine oƿn knoƿledge, hƿat þere is particularly dead about a door-nail. I miȝt have been inclinen, myſelf, to regard a coffin-nail as þe deadeſt piece of ironmongery in þe trade. But þe ƿiſdom of our anceſtors is in þe ſimile; and mine unhalloƿn hands ſhall not diſturb it, or þe Country’s done for. Þou ƿilt þerefore permit me to repeat, emphatickally, þat Marleȝ ƿas as dead as a door-nail.

Scrooge kneƿ he ƿas dead? Of courſe he did. Hoƿ could it be oþerƿiſe? Scrooge and he ƿere partners for i don’t knoƿ hoƿ many ȝears. Scrooge ƿas his ſole executor, his ſole adminiſtrator, his ſole aſsign, his ſole reſiduary legatee, his ſole friend and ſole mourner. And even Scrooge ƿas not so dreadfully cut up by þe ſad event, but þat he ƿas an excellent man of buſineſs on þe very daȝ of þe funeral, and ſolemniſed it ƿiþ an undoubten bargain.

"Þere are manie þings from hƿich i miȝt have derived good, by hƿich i have not profited, i dare ſaȝ," returned þe nepheƿ: "Chriſtmas among þe reſt. But i am ſure i have alƿaȝs þouȝt of Chriſtmas time, hƿen it has come round — apart from þe veneration due to its ſacred name and origin, if anieþing belonging to it can be apart from þat — as a good time: a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleaſant time: þe onlie time i knoƿ of, in þe long calendar of þe ȝear, hƿen men and ƿomen ſeem by one conſent to open þeir ſhut-up hearts freelie, and to þink of people beloƿ þem as if þeȝ reallie ƿere felloƿ-paſsengers to þe grave, and not anoþer race of creatures bound on oþer journeȝs. And þerefore, uncle, þouȝ it has never put a ſcrap of gold or ſilver in my pocket, i believe þat it has done me good, and ƿill do me good; and i ſaȝ, God bleſs it!"

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Page creäted: 12020.07.05
Page laſt updated: 12020.12.11