Listen: It's Unwinese

Ever hear of Stanley Unwin (1911-2002) and his invented, modified English gibberish called Unwinese? Well, neither had I until a friend (a Brit and a Burger -- from Luxembourg, that is) shared with me this golden folly of yesteryear. Remarkabold!

The fact is this Unwin, a workingman and a family man prior to achieving comedic fame in the 1950's , was a natural voice actor awaiting discovery. Just have a listen to any of these tracks from StanleyUnwin.com. His sound effects, too, are perfectly timed and you'll wish his stories would never end.

photo courtesy of LiberalEngland

It all started at the request of his children around bed time. Just like any good dad, he obliged nightly, but in doing so he began to entertain even himself by telling his stories in a fanciful, rollicking, mixed-up language. The mystery is that Unwinese is completely 'understandabold' because the changes in each word seem to preserve the original just enough. Imagine falling asleep to this!

To see this Unwinese in print is another way to appreciate its complexity. The word combinations, although sometimes befuddling, seem to make sense after some cursory consideration. Open your ears to the sound of your own voice with this 'politito' analysis, again from LiberalEngland:

Fundamold to this new Europe is the swap and trade it. At first we have it all back and forward across the borders with “please have your passy portit open for inspection”.

And this is of a great waste of time, with estimate have it and 20 billion Euro a year – and that’s without the countit and the declimly point in the wrong place!

Unfortumost – all shame and sobit – the Britly people are not keen and soldy. What they ask of the Britly passport? What of the pound and perch and of the Queen and reignit herself?

Hear their cryimost: give me bendy bananas or death and end it!

Find out plenty more about Stanley Unwin, his rocky beginnings, and his unconventional path to English comedy legend in this obituary from the Guardian. Or, as a final throwback, enjoy this clip of dear, dear Prof. Unwin advertising a fancy little piece of technology in its day:


  1. That's fantastic. what a great find.

  2. Glad you liked that, Dr. Wizard. All credit goes to Mark S. from Toronto for the clever suggestion. Thanks for checking it out!


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