Skip to main content Accessibility
The Intelligence Report is the SPLC's award-winning magazine. Subscribe here for a print copy.

Blue-Eyed English

Speechroom, birdlore and wordstock: white nationalists push for a new language to drive out the impure old.

White nationalists have gone looking for a mothertung. No, that isn’t a misspelling, rather how the word would look for white nationalists obsessed with seeing Anglish in widespread use.

Anglish? I must certainly mean English, right? Nope.

Derived from “linguistic purism,” an idea that dates to the 16th and 17th centuries, Anglish is the English language either expunged of words with Latinate or Greek origins, or with those words completely reimagined with deference to Germanic roots. In the 19th century, writers such as Charles Dickens and Thomas Hardy favored the style, even introducing words like “birdlore” instead of ornithology and “bendsome” in place of flexible.

But in the last year, as the racist “alt-right” has moved farther into the mainstream, this old idea has seen some newfound enthusiasm. (Maybe racists have come to realize that if a white ethnostate can’t be built on a gene pool, grammar will do.)

As early as 2010, though, Anglish was casually discussed in places such as Stormfront, once the largest white supremacist website in the world.

There, last summer, someone with the username “Hail Britain,” lauded Anglish after someone posted a YouTube video exploring the question, “What if English were 100 percent Germanic.”

“Good to see this sort of thing circulating,” a user named “Branmakmorn” wrote. “Hopefully it’ll spur a few normies to start asking more questions about their white identity.”

More recently, last November, an author revisited the idea of Anglish in the Renegade Tribune, an online anti-Semitic newspaper that has dabbled in Holocaust denial and featured headlines such as, “The jewish [sic] Plans for 2018: Immigrant Invasion, Miscegenation, and White Genocide.”

“How is that White countries with languages derived from Latin fell easier to Jewish universalism than Germany? Of course language is not the main reason but it is certainly related to it, and it had its own contribution,” an author last opined last November for the Renegade Tribune.

He added, in a comment to his own post: “Latin is a slave language because it is intended to be universal, to facilitate the breeding together of different humans.”

While the idea is bizarre, and almost certain to fall short in a racist culture driven more by memes more than transliterate mental gymnastics, there have been discussions about pushing Anglish into the mainstream on Reddit, and online forums elsewhere dedicated to Anglish.

But even for racists concerned with racial purity, the idea of speaking an entirely different language seems daunting.

“What would be the point in changing the time-proven fully functional English language???” a user named “Rebel Robbie” asked last July on Stormfront. “Language is the least of our problems. … a common language is a way of communicating with with [sic] the peoples that are local to each other in a specific area.”

Rebel Robbie has a point, even if he expressed it with some grammatical stumbles.

Every white nationalist knows its hard enough getting the movement to agree on anything, and that’s when everyone involved is pulling from the same “wordstock.” That’s not to mention how the anti-immigrant movement and groups such as Pro-English, one of Michigan ophthalmologist John Tanton’s projects, have spent the better part of nearly three decades feebly pushing for the United States to adopt English as a national language.

But, hey, the brainy racists obsessed with language are right about one thing: language matters. And even they have to realize that pushing Anglish is one thing above all else: laughably stupid.