Sunday, September 25, 2016

Is English Really a Germanic Language?

Is English Really a Germanic Language?

by Langfocus

He argues that English is considered a Germanic language because of its syntax but that it actually has more Romance language words, around 50% of the language, compared to Germanic words, around 25%.

But he points out that common usage tends towards German. Example of an all Germanic sentence of the kind used in daily life.

And he points out that many of the Romance words came into English due to the political prestige of France and to science, which used Latin words. An example of the former is embassy and of the latter is hypothermia. Hypo is Latin, Thermia is Greek, and ia is likely Greek via Latin.

This slide shows a sentence that is half English half Romance. A sentence taken from a newspaper that is more likely to use French words due to the topic.

So what I would continue to argue is that the English are largely a Germanic people but that after the Norman conquest were heavily influenced in their leadership by Romance Europe. Remember that most people have a limited vocabulary and never touch the myriad of scientific, political, or even culinary terms that the elite in their society may use. So the people are still Germanic. The leadership is mixed.

Here's an interesting list from the video that gives you a sense of how Germanic words dominate in certain cases and French in others:

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