Ander-Saxon

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. —Poul AndersonAnder-Saxon (Wikipedia)

Anderson offered this scientific treatise, which replaces all Greek and Latin roots with their Germanic equivalent. Thus, “molecule” becomes a “bulkbit.” I find this passage fascinating, due in part to the sensual, gut-level connotations of Germanic roots in the English language. French, Latin, and Greek were the languages of high culture, the intellect, and government — because when the Norman conquerors came to England, they brought their own vocabulary with them. Meanwhile, the peasants out in the fields continued using their own words for their earthy activities, as we can see in the labor-related word elements used in coinages like “scourstuff” and “seedweight.”

Do I dare introduce a translation exercise such as this into my Intro to Literary Study class next spring? We already have blank-verse writing assignments. How about “Blog in Ander-Saxon Day”?

As it happens, “web” is from the Old English “webb” and “log” is of unknown origin. Taking “log” to mean “record,” that takes us back to the Latin “recordari,” with “re” meaning “back” and “cor” meaning “heart.” (It was thought that the heart was the seat of memory thus, “record” = “to bring back to the heart”.)

The sense of “back” here really means “a return in time” rather than a spatial relationship, so I’ll jump right to the Anglo-Saxon word “go,” the past tense of which was originally “wend”. Thus, I suggest “webwending” or “webheartwending” for “weblog.”

The archives would probably be the “wendinghoard.”

Permalink = “fastyoke” or “fastbind”. (I like the idea of “yoke” rather than “bind”, since you bind something to you to keep it getting away, but you yoke yourself to something else in order to use its power to help you move something. But I guess “fastlink” would do.)

Well, that’s enough fun for this morning. I hear my daughter’s woken up.