Speak Like Percy Grainger!


Now you too can speak and write like Percy Grainger! At Strange Flowers, which I am extremely pleased to have discovered, James Conway provides a splendid list of Grainger-approved words. He explains:

… the older he got the more cantankerous he became. A 1958 piece entitled “The Things I Dislike” began “Almost everything. First of all foreigners, which means: all Europeans except the British, the Scandinavians & the Dutch.”

Grainger was nothing if not thorough, and his distrust of anything originating south of Holland led to him to try and purge his writing of Greco-Latin elements

There is much more in the piece about the madcap Antipodean composer, but the highlight is the glossary itself. Go thou hence and memorise it, and soon you will be able to write vast epic poems akin to those of Charles Montague Doughty, surely Grainger’s guiding spirit?

2 thoughts on “Speak Like Percy Grainger!

  1. The glossary is brilliant: thanks for putting us on to it. For those who want to go still deeper into Percy Grainger, I can recommend the excellent biography by John Bird. I think I could attempt to talk like Grainger using this glossary, but I’d never manage to write epic poetry like that of Charles Montagu Doughty, which must be the strangest ever written in English, if English it be. I own one of the 535 printed copies of the second edition of The Dawn in Britain, and sometimes amuse myself by wondering what happened to the other 534.

  2. William Barnes (the poet Dorchester actually liked … his statue was placed centrally, whereas Hardy’s is at the top of the town staring outwards) had a similar yearning for linguistic declassification: some of his bonkers coinings include “sun-print” (photo), “wortlore” (botany), “welkinfire” (meteor) and “nipperlings” (forceps). [I pinched these from Wikipedia as my Barnesabilia are at work, and I’m not]

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