The most languages ​​have their own literary and original way of conversation and writing, which is different from common conversation. This dichotomy between the speech of the courtiers and the writing of the writers( poets ) with the dialect of the common people has always existed since ancient times, so that few writers have composed in the common language, even if the majority do not understand it, on the other hand people have always tried to speak eloquently in conversation with elders and scholars. and behave politely, which is a type of authentic conversation But few are able to understand and use eloquent speaking.

In the middle east Arabic and Persian have their own original words and grammar so that it is possible to speak eloquently without entering foreigner's Lexicon .

Now I would like to know is it possible to speak English eloquently without using Latin,Greek or other borrowed words , if so whether common people understand this method of conversation or not .

By the way, Does this method of conversation also apply to other Germanic languages?

Appreciate you

  • 1
    Ask an AI like GPT-4 or Claude-2 to remove all borrowed words from a text and you will see.
    – Anixx
    Sep 9, 2023 at 12:08
  • 1
    @Anixx no. LLMs are terribly suited to that task
    – Tristan
    Sep 9, 2023 at 13:07
  • @Tristan did you try it?
    – Anixx
    Sep 9, 2023 at 13:15
  • 2
    The LLMs tend to loose track of the constraint after a few sentences. Sep 9, 2023 at 14:05
  • @SirCornflakes not a big problem currently. Claude-2 has context lenghth as Harry Potter book.
    – Anixx
    Sep 9, 2023 at 14:15

5 Answers 5


The proposition is invalid both theoretically and practically.

In theory you have the language-dialect dilemma. "Latin" is essentially undefined, unless you mean Kikero ("Cicero") but nobody is talking like that anymore. From a native speaker point of view ("aspect") it is pretty much a given that Latin as a second language is subordinate to English. From a historic perspective you have to talk about French instead of Latin, which truly included a bunch of foreign languages.

In practice, there are so many "English" words without a thorough etymology, they might be from Latin and nobody knows. Eventually nobody cares about the difference

For example, Project is not a Latin, it is not from Latin, but it looks Latin'ish so Anglic pundits might prefer forecast despite the big difference in meaning.

In sum, theory and practice agree, there is no notable difference. English and Latin are not diametrically opposed concepts.

  • Since when projectio is not Latin? Oct 2, 2023 at 6:48
  • proiecto didn't have the modern sense in classical Latin. My point was that the etymology of the modern word is typically irrelevant and therefore unknown to native speakers and language learners alike. Thanks for proving my point, @VladimirFГероямслава – ignorance is bliss.
    – vectory
    Oct 2, 2023 at 9:02
  • I did check the meaning in Lewis and Short before commenting, FYI Oct 2, 2023 at 10:33
  • @VladimirFГероямслава right, care to sum up your findings? Specifically, what does it have to do with the modern English word?
    – vectory
    Oct 2, 2023 at 11:10
  • In Latin projectio is "a throwing forward, a stretching out" (Lewis and Short) both literally and trans-figuratively. Oct 2, 2023 at 12:24

As an example how such an English looks like, try the essay Uncleftish Beholding by Poul Andersen that is written in a special kind of English without borrowings from Latin, French, and Greek. The gaps in the lexicon are filled with German style compounds (in fact, a lot of them, like waterstuff "hydrogen" or sourstuff "oxygen" are real calques from Dutch or German).

  • 3
    And here's an English grammar from 1878 that gets to the root of the matter: An Outline of English Speech-craft, by William Barnes
    – jlawler
    Sep 9, 2023 at 14:03
  • 1
    You cannot write in English without some kind of throwback to Latin, German and Greek.
    – Lambie
    Sep 28, 2023 at 20:04
  • @Lambie I suggest that you examine the text, it can be found on the net with a little search. It goes very far in achieving the goal, but one can dispute that the language of the text is still English and not a relexifcation of English. Sep 28, 2023 at 23:03
  • That is a short story, not a literary discussion and its full of German.
    – Lambie
    Oct 1, 2023 at 18:39

No, you cannot speak English "eloquently" without words borrowed or derived from Latin. These words, which were often taken from French, just displaced too many Germanic words. But some have thought like you and so have tried to bring Old English words back to life.

There is a thing called Anglish that might be what you're looking for.

From their home page (argh, I had to use a Latin-derived word there):

William Barnes was an English writer and poet who lived in the 1800s. While people before him had occasionally shown a preference for native words, and others had argued against borrowing new words, Barnes went a step further by thinking to revive native English words which had fallen out of use, a practice that would later become widespread in Anglish.

Although Anglish had existed in some form for centuries, it was not until 1966 that it was given a name by Paul Jennings in his work 1066 and All Saxon, a series of articles published in Punch Magazine. In 1989, the American writer Poul Anderson made his own Anglish text called Uncleftish Beholding. These works in particular would lead to the emergence of an Anglish community on the web.

In the early 2010s the Anglish Moot was founded on the web, serving as a community hub and encyclopedia for Anglish enthusiasts. Around the same time an Anglish community sprouted on Reddit. Next, a Discord server was established and around 2017 it linked up with the community on Reddit. By this point it had become common if not standard for Anglish writers to use revived words rather than attempt to write Anglish with a gutted vocabulary. This tendency to revive words sets contemporary Anglish apart from the earlier Anglish of Jennings and Anderson. In 2017 a comprehensive dictionary for Anglish was started, and by 2020 the Anglish Wordbook had over 7,000 entries. In 2021 The Anglish Times began releasing Anglish news articles.

As you can see, even this description (Latin!) uses (Latin!!) Latin-derived (Latin!!!) words. It is a hobbyist effort for sure, but otherwise, you cannot readily and easily give up all Latinate words, despite Anderson's efforts.

(Funny enough, Paul also comes from Latin...)


Here are examples of text with removed borrowed words, generated by AIs:


In the heartland of our land, a foresitter is chosen through a free choosing by the folk. This foresitter then leads the lawmaking body in drawing up new laws and rules. These laws must be fair, forthright and for the wellbeing of all underfolk. No one, not even the foresitter, is above these laws. The foresitter's main work is to make sure that these laws are upheld and followed by all. The foresitter is also tasked with upholding the peace and safety of all homeland dwellers.


The foresitter of the United Lands stood at the stand to give his wordtalk. He spoke of the great inwork and manpower of our folk, and how we must put it to work for good. Though we face many bands striving against our lifeway, he said, the folkstrength and goodwill of our people shall overcome. By our foresight and readiness to give our work and lifesblood, we shall win the victory over misuse of strength, falseness and illwill, and make these Lands a home of freedom, rightwiseness and wellbeing for all. The foresitter ended saying "May our folk and Land, under One Mighty, have a new birth of freedom, and that lawfulness of the folk, by the folk, for the folk, shall not go lost from the Lands." The crowd gave loud joycries at these wordtalks. Though the foresitter had spoken Anglish, all knew his meaning and the great heartstrength behind it.

The foresitter of the linkedlands stood at the standstone and gave an inword to the folk. He told about the moons of harvest and the good speed of the land's wealthlifeness. He bid that more would be done to lift up the least of the folk, the poor and needy. “All shall have meat on the board, a roof overhead and clothes on their backs,” quoth he. “And this shall be done with the strengths and skills within our folk, not beholden to other folks over the sea. Our land shall stand on its own two feet. Let us join hands together and do this deed.” The folk gave a great cry of “yea” at his inword.

The foresitter of the joined folkdom stood at the speechstick and greeted all the folk. He told about the folkdom's new plans to make more food for the poor, give more learning to the little ones, and find new ways to heal sick folk. He said the folkdom would work hard to keep peace between all folk and help other folkdoms in need. At the end, he asked the folk to look after each other and strengthen the bonds between them. He hoped all would use their gifts of thought, speech and inwork to care for the folkdom and for all folk. The folk clapped and cheered after his wordlaying. It would take much inwork and willpower to fulfill these hopes, but all felt joy at the foresitter's uplifting message.

Of course, it overlooks some borrowed words, like "plans", but overall, the result is not bad.

  • Words from Greek and Latin are not borrowings.
    – Lambie
    Sep 9, 2023 at 16:08
  • 2
    There is often a difference made between "loanwords" that are originally foreign but now fully integrated into the target language (such as by phonotactics), and "borrowings" which are still perceived as foreign. In English, borrowings are sometimes written in Italics, while loanwords aren't and they aren't perceived as foreign. "They", for example, is not originally an English word, but I bet most people would look at you like you're crazy if you just told them out of the blue.
    – LjL
    Sep 9, 2023 at 17:57
  • 6
    This didn't work. "United" is derived from Latin, not Old English, and some of these aren't words in modern English (like "inword" — was it ever a word?).
    – cmw
    Sep 11, 2023 at 0:57
  • 2
    I see plenty of Romance loanwords in the GPT-4 output: chosen, choosing, sure, laws, rules, fair, peace, safety.. One or two per sentence. Sep 12, 2023 at 19:43
  • 2
    @AdamBittlingmayer To choose is actually Germanic (cognate to German küren, the adjective fair is Germanic (but the noun fair is a borrowing from Old French), and law is Germanic, too (a borrowing from Old Norse into English). The rest are loan words from Romance, indeed. Sep 14, 2023 at 14:17

There's the 1972 song "Waters of March" ("Águas de março") by Antônio Carlos Jobim - when he wrote the English lyrics, he attempted to avoid words with Latin roots. (That would have been hard with the Portuguese version, I imagine!) I remember reading this in the liner notes and wondering why. Now it makes more sense - this was around the time of the Anglish work mentioned by @cmw, so maybe Jobim heard of it and thought he'd give it a try. According to Wikipedia, "Nevertheless, the English version still contains some words from Latin origin, such as promise, dismay, plan, pain, mountain, distance and mule."

A stick, a stone

It's the end of the road

It's the rest of a stump

It's a little alone

It's a sliver of glass

It is life, it's the sun

It is night, it is death

It's a trap, it's a gun

The oak when it blooms

A fox in the brush

A knot in the wood

The song of a thrush


  • Yes, the translation ain't great because the Portuguese uses é pau, é pedra (the verb to be) which is simply not conveyed by "a stick and a stone". The é is like a deictic pointing to the stick or stone.
    – Lambie
    Sep 28, 2023 at 20:09
  • @Lambie Yeah, I doubt he was going for a direct translation - just lyrics that closely followed the original, captured the spirit, and made a good song in English.
    – Craig M
    Sep 29, 2023 at 15:56
  • It doesn't work in English. It would work, had he used: It's a stick, it's a stone. But he isn't a translator.
    – Lambie
    Sep 29, 2023 at 20:22

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