Sources of the English lexicon


“What would have happened to the lexicon if William the Conqueror had been conquered? A possible answer was given by British humorist Paul Jennings in a 1966 edition of Punch celebrating the 900th anniversary of the Norman Conquest. Here is the opening lines of a famous soliloquy, turned (apart from outrageous) into ‘Anglish’:

To be, or not to be: that is the ask-thing:

Is’t higher-thinking in the brain to bear

The slings and arrows of outrageous dooming

Or to take weapons ‘gainst a sea of brothers

And by againstwork end them?

– Quote taken from the second edition of the Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language by David Crystal.


The original soliloquy from Shakespeare’s Hamlet goes like this:

“To be, or not to be? That is the question—
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And, by opposing, end them? “
While the ‘Anglish’  is good, I still prefer the original!

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