English did not exist back then, just the ancient German that it would grow out of some day. But we can make a sort of fourth century English by seeing what English words are used to translate Augustine. It turns out that the most frequently used English words match up more or less with the Latin words that he used himself.
What I did: I took the English words most frequently used in translating Augustine. In addition I took any word of Basic English that is found in Augustine’s “Confessions” or “City of God” or in the Vulgate as translated into English in Douai and Rheims 400 years ago.
Nine in ten of these words are also found in Shakespeare. This is a bit of good news: whatever I do, I want nine in ten of my words to be from Shakespeare.
In the end I have an English that is as close to the Latin of the fourth century in terms of knowledge and ideas as I can hope to get. Short of writing in Latin itself, that is. In addition, I will have an English that should be rather easy to translate into Latin.
So that is what I will write in. I can use other words, but only for a tenth of my words at most.
-’s -d -ed -er -es -est -eth -ful -ing -less -ly -ment -ness -r
-s -ship -st -ward -wise
co- im- in- re- un-
a abandon abide ability able abode about above abroad absent absolute absurd abundance abundant abyss accept accomplish accord account accuse acknowledge across act action acute add addition admire admit adultery advantage adversary aerial affair affect affection affirm afraid after again against age agree aid air alike alive all allow almighty almost alms alone along already also altar although altogether always amid among amount amuse ancient and angel anger angry animal another answer ant any apart apostle apparent appear appearance apple apply appoint approval arch argue arise arithmetic ark arm army arose art as ascribe ashamed aside ask assert assign associate assume assure at attack attain attempt attention attraction attribute aught author authority avoid awake aware away
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jewel join journey joy judge just justice justify
keep kettle key kick kill kind kindle king kingdom kiss knee knife know knowledge
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nail name narrative narrow nation natural nature nay near necessary necessity neck need needle neighbour neither nerve net never new next night no noble noise none nor north nose not note now number nut
o obedience obey object obscure observation observe obtain obvious occasion occur of off offence offer office often oil old omit on once only open operation opinion opportunity oppose opposite or oracle order ordinary origin original ornament other ought out oven over own
page pain paint paper paradise parallel parcel pardon parent part party pass passage passion past paste patent patience pay peace peculiar pen pencil people perceive perchance perfect perfection perform perhaps period perish permit persecution person persuade pertain perturbation philosopher philosophy physical physics picture piety pilgrimage pin pious pipe pity place plain plane plant plate play please pleasure plough poet point poison polish political pollute poor porter portion position possess possession possible post posterity pot pour poverty powder power practice practise praise pray prayer precede precept precious predict prefer prepare presence present preserve presume prevent previous price pride priest priesthood primitive prince princess principle print prison private probable proceed process proclaim produce profit progress prohibit promise pronounce proof proper property prophecy prophesy prophet prophetic proportion prose prosperity protest proud prove provide providence prudent psalm public pull punish pure purify purity purpose push put
quality queen question quick quiet quite quote
race rain raise range rank rate rather rational reach read ready real reality reason recall receipt receive reckon recognise record red refer reference refuse regard regeneration region regret regular reign reject rejoice relate relation religion religious remain remember remembrance remove render renew reply report repose represent representative republic request require resist respect responsible rest restore restrain result resurrection retain return reveal reward rhythm rich right righteous ring rise rite river road rod roll roof room root rough round royal rub ruin rule run
sacrament sacred sacrifice sacrilegious sad safe safety sail saint sake salt salvation same sand satisfy save saviour saw say scale scarce scenic school science scripture sea search seat second secret secretary sect secure seduce see seed seek seem select selection self senate send sensation sense sensible sentence separate separation series serious servant serve service set settle several severe sex shade shadow shake shall shame sharp she shed sheep shine ship shock shoe short should show shrink shut sick side sight sign signify silence silent silk silver similar simple sin since sing single sir sister size skill skin skirt sky slave slay sleep slip slow small smell smile smoke smooth snake snow so social society soft solid some son song soon sorrow sort soul sound south space spade spare speak special speech spend spirit spiritual sponge sport spring square stage stamp stand star start state station steel step stick stiff still stomach stone stop store story straight strange street strength stretch strife strike strong structure style subdue subject substance succeed succession such sudden suffer suffice sufficient suggestion suicide suitable summer sun superior support suppose supreme sure surprise sweet swim sword system
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under understand unite unity universal universe unless until unto up upon usage use utter
vain value vanity variety various vast verse very vessel vice vicious victory view violence violent virgin virtue visible vision voice
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ye yea yellow yes yesterday yet yield yoke you young youth