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.

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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.

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