View Full Version : Is English language more Romance or Germanic ? (test your abilities)
This is a little quiz to test your abilities to discern words from Germanic, Latin, Greek or Celtic origin in English. If your mother tongue is a Romance or Germanic language other than English, it should be easier than if you are a native speaker of English or if your mother tongue is neither Romance nor Germanic.
abate, apology, ban, cancel, cattle, caveat, cottage, council, customize, dispatch, endeavour, factory, genuine, grateful, issue, joke, office, picture, poor, price, quiet, rehearse, suitable, supply, ubiquitous (25 words)
Feel free to try and guess how many words belong to each language family without checking them up.
EDIT : here are two more lists, if you wish to try more.
blank, boy, car, chair, claim, close, fate, filter, foolish, hamlet, messy, money, nice, peaceful, pen, people, proud, safe, soil, square, street, tense, travel, trick, vow (25 words)
abandon, aboard, amuse, arrange, balcony, bandage, bank, beer, boulevard, border, detach, drug, duvet, espionage, float, franchise, gourmet, guardian, lodge, march, pledge, rank, seize, standard, troop (25 words)
Well.. I try to..
My native tongue is Dutch.
abate, apology, cancel, cattle, caveat, customize, dispatch, endeavour, factory, genuine, grateful, issue, joke, office, picture, poor, quiet, rehearse, suitable, supply, ubiquitous
ban, cottage, council, price.
ban, kot(o), kansel(o), prijs.
(o) Means old words, not often used anymore.
I think basic English is more Germanic whereas advanced English is almost 100% Romance.
I tested this theory, I got a couple of my friends who did not speak French or German to try and read them both - turns out they could understand a lot more French than German, although there was quite a bit of German they could understand (Ich habe - I have, eins zwei drei - one two three)
Depends on what specifically you are referring to. For example, if you are referring to the entirety of the English lexicon, then it is more Romance. If you are referring to English core lexicon, grammar, and sound system, it is Germanic.
Also, Romance can, in part, be Germanic, especially when one is speaking of French, as there is a sizeable Germanic element in French.
So, if counting Germanic-Romance words as Germanic; and vice versa, here it is as follows:
Romance (Italic): abate, cancel, cattle, caveat, council, customize, dispatch, endeavour, factory, genuine, grate[ful], issue, joke, office, picture, poor, price, quiet, rehearse, suitable, supply, ubiquitous, claim, close, fate, fool[ish], mess[y], money, nice, peace[ful], pen, people, (proud), safe, square, street, tense, travel, vow
Germanic: ban, blank, boy, filter, ham[let], (proud), soil, trick, abandon, aboard, amuse, arrange, balcony, bandage, bank, beer, boulevard, border, [de]tach, drug, duvet, espionage, float, franchise, gourmet, guardian, lodge, march, pledge, rank, seize, standard, troop
Greek: apology, chair
I've made a bit of an experiment here. Normally, I'm rather critical of the concept of Swadesh lists because they are used for the (decisively debunked) concept of glottochronology. However, in this context the use of a Swadesh list looked rather useful to make the point that despite having absorbed a substantial amount of Latin/Romance-derived terms, is still a Germanic language. In the list, words in brackets have changed meaning, and words that are bolded are actually Latin/Romance loanwords. The list includes three Latin/Romance loanwords, one which is found in both German and English. As you can also see below, there are a decisive number of shortfalls of the Swadesh list that become apparent. In particular, words which are no longer in active use of vocabulary, as well as have a shifted meaning, will screw up the list.
many (archaic "mannig-", as in "mannigfaltig", 'manifold')
big (no cognate but Germanic in origin, also possibly in the German river name "Bigge")
person "Person" (Latin loanword in both languages)
bird - Unknown origin
dog "Dogge" (see also English 'hound' versus German "Hund")
tree (no cognate in German, but Germanic)
root (no cognate in German, but Germanic)
skin (archaic "Schinde")
grease -> via French from Latin 'crassus' (but compare English "smear" vs. German "Schmiere")
tail (dialect "Zagel")
know (no cognate in German, but Germanic)
die (no cognate in German, but Germanic in etymology)
kill (no cognate but Germanic)
walk ("walken" - to churn/mill)
cloud (no cognate but Germanic)
smoke (archaic "Schmauch")
mountain -> Latin "mons"
black (no cognate in German, but Germanic, however also compare English "swarthy" and German "schwarz")
So, my point is that I oppose Maciamo's view which is that English should be regarded as a Romance language due to it's extensive vocabulary. However, as you can see, the core vocabulary of the language is Germanic.
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