William Barnes was a writer, poet, priest and a scholar of dialects, born in Bagber Dorset in 1801.
He is famous for his poetry written in the Dorset dialect. A purist of the English language, Barnes believed English should be purged of classical languages, such as Latin and Greek, as well as foreign influences so that it might be better understood by those without a classical education. Examples include changing the word photograph (from the Greek ‘light’ and ‘writing’) giving it a more Saxon etymology: ‘sun-print’. His poems reflect this, avoiding words with foreign influences as Barnes believed the Dorset dialect was the purest form of English. Despite his purism of English, he was a talented linguist, studying Italian, German, French, Persian, as well as the classical languages of Latin and Greek.