Daily Archives: January 29, 2015

The Roots of the English Language

I was finally able to get a good breakdown of English language roots with the exact percentages. In a previous post I had only guessed at the figures.

According to a 1973 analysis of the shorter (but still 80,000 words) Oxford Dictionary:

28% of English words came from Latin
28% came from French (which is largely Latin)
25% came from elsewhere in the Germanic family
5% came from Greek.

Long story short, more than half of our words (56%) come from the Romance branch and one quarter of our words are more or less from German. Romance and German account for 81% of English words. If we add in the 5% Greek, fully 86% of English words (or almost all of them) come from Romance, German and Greek. Of course the Romance words are all borrowings and only the German words are truly genetically English.


Filed under Balto-Slavic-Germanic, English language, French, German, Germanic, Greek, Hellenic, Indo-European, Indo-Hittite, Indo-Irano-Armeno-Hellenic, Italic, Italo-Celtic-Tocharian, Language Families, Linguistics, Romance

What Is To Be Done?

How about this?

On July 14, 1789, a Paris mob stormed and captured the Bastille, the old royal prison in Paris. That day Louis XVI, who had been out hunting, returned to Versailles and entered a note in his diary: “July 14: Nothing.” Then the Duc de La Rochefoucauld-Liancourt hurried in from Paris to tell the king of the successful attack. “Why, this is a revolt!” said the monarch. “No, Sire,” replied the duke. “It is a revolution.”

Will and Ariel Durant, Rousseau and Revolution

229 years have passed. We are way overdue for a re-run.


Filed under Europe, European, France, History, Left, Regional, Revolution