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Thread: Is English language more Romance or Germanic ? (test your abilities)

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    If you take the basic words,from English,most of them are of West Germanic origins.
    The basic words and the sonority are what are putting a language in a category.
    If English is a Romance language,why French people and Italians and Spaniards can not pronounce right,in English?
    While Dutch people pronounce without any problem almost all English words?
    Also,Scandinavians are pronouncing very well,you can not distinguish a Scandinavian speaking English from a native Brit.
    So,even if a lot of words from English were taken from a Romance language,the sonority of the language is still very West Germanic,more exactly Anglo-Frisian.
    Slavs pronounce English well,compared to Romance people,you can really understand what they are speaking.
    And Romanians are pronouncing English decent,because we do not have exactly a full Romance sonority at our language.
    So,it does not matter from where most of the words are coming,it matters from where the basic words are and how the sonority used is.

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    There is no "Romance sonority". Russians and Germans have a recognizable accent when they speak English.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vukodav View Post
    There is no "Romance sonority". Russians and Germans have a recognizable accent when they speak English.
    Sure there is.
    Italian have most pure Romance sonority.
    Spanish is 2nd,3rd is Portuguese 4th is French,
    See there are strong resemblances between English and Frisian,at sonority:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_language


    "English is classified as an Anglo-Frisian language because Frisian and English share other features, such as the palatalisation of consonants that were velar consonants in Proto-Germanic."
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palata...ound_change%29
    That ,the palatalisation of consonants that were velar in Proto-Germanic is a thing related to sonority.

    What you think,English people took for example from Normans,the word custom (from old French coustume,actually coutume).
    However,please see how English people are pronouncing custom and how French people were pronouncing coustume...
    English people are pronouncing this word as kʌstəm .
    hear how it is pronounced here:
    https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/custom
    While French people are pronouncing coutume as you can hear here:
    https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/coutume
    I am sorry that Maciamo do not understands how a language is classified to belong to a group.

    So English got a lot of words from French and Latin,however,as sonority,borrowed none from Latin and few from French.
    Example of word borrowed from French which retained some of the French sonority:
    pronounciation
    But how many English people are using this word?
    Last edited by mihaitzateo; 12-07-15 at 20:25.

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    You have no idea about what you are talking about. English is classified as a Germanic languages, because the core words are Germanic, but the bulk of its vocabulary is made up of Romance words. If we add the Greek words, then English is about 65% Romance and 25% Germanic.

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    Kissinger came to America from Germany as a young boy. Despite speaking and writing very sophisticated, grammatically perfect English, he had a very strong German accent even after fifty years in this country.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=js5N5Vj15bs

    Gianni Agnelli, who was educated partly in England, but always an Italian resident.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B9NxxQ-wyo0


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    Quote Originally Posted by Vukodav View Post
    You have no idea about what you are talking about. English is classified as a Germanic languages, because the core words are Germanic, but the bulk of its vocabulary is made up of Romance words. If we add the Greek words, then English is about 65% Romance and 25% Germanic.
    As I have already said,English is a Germanic language. The fact that lots of words are taken from Latin or French does not make English a Romance language.
    Those words were adapted to Anglo-Frisian pronunciation/sonority.
    I already gave a quote about some kind of typical sounds of English and Frisian.
    If an Italian learns American English and start to talk with a strong American accent,than he will also talk Italian with an American accent.
    So,the sonority of Italian is Romance.
    For example Romanians who are living in Italy or Spain and speak most of the time Italian (or Spanish) do not have any weird accent,while talking in Romanian.
    However,Romanians who are living in UK or US and speak most of the time English are having clearly a weird accent when speaking in Romanian.
    That comes from the fact that the sounds from which English and Frisian words are comprised are different ,being typical to West Germanic languages.

    Let me explain it in other way,if both English and Italian are taking a word from an exotic language,for a fruit,or so on,one is pronouncing the word in a way and another one,in a different way.
    For example coffee.

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    here 2 movies made by a native American English speaker,to see that the problem is not that simple as you think:
    A Frisian native speaker can pronounced almost all weird sounds in English without problems,because he already use those sounds in his language.
    A Dutch native speaker,is 2nd in pronouncing most English weird sounds,without problems.
    I,as being native Romance (more exactly Romanian) speaker, I can pronounce any Italian word without any problems and a native Italian speaker will never notice I am not a native Italian speaker.
    Here is how that is pronounced correct in different contexts:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u7lrPxCXyN8

    And here the simple coffee word,is to be pronounced:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HOs95VaKEkk

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    Another thing,not all words taken in English from French Norman are Romance origin words.
    Are Germanic words that were brought by Germanics (Franks mostly) in French and after,brought to English language from Norman French.
    Have not study this thing,but French also has Gaulish origin words and someone would expect that some of the words brought in English from Norman French are of Gaulish origins.
    So as you can see,this problem is very complex and for those interested in English,worth a lot of time,to study it.

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    A link very on-topic:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_o...xon_variations
    Maciamo,to know if a word is of French,Latin or Germanic origins,you just ask wikipedia or,google :) .

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    A pretty large list of Norse (North Germanic) words in actual English:
    http://www.babbel.com/magazine/139-norse-words

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    Example of words of Frankish origins,taken into English from Old French (brought by Normans):
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Franki...Middle_English
    random
    standard
    grape
    stale
    march

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    Quote Originally Posted by mihaitzateo View Post
    As I have already said,English is a Germanic language. The fact that lots of words are taken from Latin or French does not make English a Romance language.
    Those words were adapted to Anglo-Frisian pronunciation/sonority.
    I already gave a quote about some kind of typical sounds of English and Frisian.
    If an Italian learns American English and start to talk with a strong American accent,than he will also talk Italian with an American accent.
    So,the sonority of Italian is Romance.
    For example Romanians who are living in Italy or Spain and speak most of the time Italian (or Spanish) do not have any weird accent,while talking in Romanian.
    However,Romanians who are living in UK or US and speak most of the time English are having clearly a weird accent when speaking in Romanian.
    That comes from the fact that the sounds from which English and Frisian words are comprised are different ,being typical to West Germanic languages.

    Let me explain it in other way,if both English and Italian are taking a word from an exotic language,for a fruit,or so on,one is pronouncing the word in a way and another one,in a different way.
    For example coffee.

    I haven't read every post, but I don't think anyone is saying that English is a Romance language. I think what they're trying to say is that it's usually placed among the Germanic languages because of grammar and some basic vocabulary, but that it has drifted far from those roots in the direction of the Romance languages, certainly in the area of vocabulary. All of this has been established by linguists, so I don't really understand what point you're trying to make here.

    The relationship among the Romance languages is much closer than that between English and German. Even without studying each other's languages, Italian and Spanish speakers can get the gist of a movie scene or a song in the other language. With French, although the written language is very easy to decipher, spoken French is more challenging because there are more differences in pronunciation. Most Italians can't understand Romanian, although I had occasion to spend some time there once, and started to pick some of it up. The problem is not just the Slavic loan words.

    The changes that occurred on the journey from German to English are much more profound. One problem, as has been explained to you many times, is that the majority of the English vocabulary is Latin based. The other has to do with changes in spelling and grammar.

    I assure you that this is totally unintelligible to native English speakers:
    "Beowulf in Anglo-Saxon

    Hwæt! We Gardena in geardagum,
    þeodcyninga, þrym gefrunon,
    hu ða æþelingas ellen fremedon.
    Oft Scyld Scefing sceaþena þreatum,
    5 monegum mægþum, meodosetla ofteah,
    egsode eorlas. Syððan ærest wearð
    feasceaft funden, he þæs frofre gebad,
    weox under wolcnum, weorðmyndum þah,
    oðþæt him æghwylc þara ymbsittendra"


    English speakers would have a much easier time reading French.

    Chaucer's English is a little easier, but when I took a course in him people were still dropping like flies out of the course because it was too difficult. Also the pronunciation has greatly changed. English speakers can't understand this, but Italian speakers can understand a lot of Latin.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_K13GJkGvDw

    No everyday English speaker can understand a movie in German. Picking out one word out of 20 does not equal mutual intelligibility. Yes, there are some sounds that a German speaker learning to speak English might be able to pick up easier than a Romance speaker, but there are many that he can't duplicate. Did you bother to listen to Henry Kissenger speak? At times he can become unintelligible. The same thing happens with some Slavic speakers.

    Perhaps you're not aware of this because you're not a native English speaker yourself.

    If an Italian learns American English and start to talk with a strong American accent,than he will also talk Italian with an American accent.
    There are some linguists who hold that one can only speak one language perfectly. Sadly, that may be true. However, what you've just pointed out would also apply to a German who learns American English and has less and less contact with German. His German will acquire an "American" sound. The accents are not identical. If they were, Henry Kissinger wouldn't sound so foreign even after fifty to sixty years living in the U.S. Maybe you can't hear the differences because you're not a native English speaker.

    Btw, because you can't hear your Romanian accent when you're speaking Italian doesn't mean native Italian speakers can't hear it, just as they can hear a Spanish accent. I'll grant you that it's less offensive to the ear than what Americans and Brits etc. produce.

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    You should know that the studies are not telling same thing.
    I already gave a link from wikipedia,showing that are dual words,in English,like beef/cow or mutton/sheep.
    Sheep is Germanic word,mutton is Romance word taken from French.
    No offense,but I do not know which Brit uses mutton instead of sheep .
    So there are lots of words which are actually not used,in English and the real percentage of words borrowed from French and Latin,which are normally used is at maximum 40%.
    But,a part of these words,more exactly some words taken from French ,are words of Germanic origins.
    So if French have words of Germanic origins and these words were brought in English by Normans,I highly doubt that these Germanic words,brought through French in English can be included of words of Romance origins in English.
    But I am not arguing still I do not want to impose my point of view to others.
    If someone thinks that English is rather Romance,than Germanic,is his opinion.
    I retain my opinion that English is much more Germanic than Romance.

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    I may be wrong, but actually modern French has less Germanic loanwords than modern Italian. The German language, on the other hand, has so many French loanwords, which is not possible to say which language influenced more the other one.

    Italic languages are very close to Celtic and especially Germanic ones. The latter has about 30% pre IE non Italo-Celtic words.

    Indo-European "wheel-related" words, together with the current or most recent distribution of IE language branches (extinct language branches are in italics). Based on the delightful Fig. 4.2 of Anthony (2007), but with additions and changes discussed in the text.



    One example of an Indo-European family tree, based on Atkinson & Gray (2006)


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    Quote Originally Posted by Vukodav View Post
    ...

    Indo-European "wheel-related" words, together with the current or most recent distribution of IE language branches (extinct language branches are in italics). Based on the delightful Fig. 4.2 of Anthony (2007), but with additions and changes discussed in the text.



    ....
    Many "wheel-related" words in modern English can clearly be mapped to a likely source in the chart above:
    1) Cycle, cyclic, cyclical, wheel (via Grimm's Law)
    2) Round, rotary, rotate, rotund, rotisserie (food that is cooked by spinning it on a wheel over a fire)
    3) Axle, axis (a spinning top or planet spins on its axis)
    4) Hub
    5) Yoke

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    0 out of 1 members found this post helpful.
    The only Germanic "wheel-related" word which is not shared with Italic, is "wheel", which is of Indo-Iranian origin.

    I do think that Italo-Celtic and Germanic languages differ only for the 30% pre-IE words in the latter. Otherwise they would be quite intelligible.

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    1 out of 1 members found this post helpful.
    Quote Originally Posted by Vukodav View Post
    The only Germanic "wheel-related" word which is not shared with Italic, is "wheel", which is of Indo-Iranian origin.
    What makes you think "wheel" is supposed to be of Indo-Iranic origin? Its clearly from PIE, and its native Germanic, modified by Grimm's Law (*kw > *hw). It is a direct cognate with Greek "kyklos" (κυκλος) and Hindi "chakra".

    If you disregard English, you also have German "Rad", which is a cognate with Latin ("rota"), Celtic (Irish "roth", Welsh "rhod", Gaulish "roto-") and Hindi "ratha" (which means "chariot", however).

    Also Gray & Atkinson's tree makes no sense: Celtic and Italic languages are closer to each other than Germanic (notably the assimilation of *p > *kw before another *kw). Likewise, Albanian being closer with Indo-Iranic makes no sense (Albanian, for example, does not obey to the *e, *o > *a or the *l~*r merger in Indo-Iranic).

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    Quote Originally Posted by mihaitzateo View Post
    You should know that the studies are not telling same thing.
    I already gave a link from wikipedia,showing that are dual words,in English,like beef/cow or mutton/sheep.
    Sheep is Germanic word,mutton is Romance word taken from French.
    No offense,but I do not know which Brit uses mutton instead of sheep .
    So there are lots of words which are actually not used,in English and the real percentage of words borrowed from French and Latin,which are normally used is at maximum 40%.
    But,a part of these words,more exactly some words taken from French ,are words of Germanic origins.
    So if French have words of Germanic origins and these words were brought in English by Normans,I highly doubt that these Germanic words,brought through French in English can be included of words of Romance origins in English.
    But I am not arguing still I do not want to impose my point of view to others.
    If someone thinks that English is rather Romance,than Germanic,is his opinion.
    I retain my opinion that English is much more Germanic than Romance.

    I repeat...
    I haven't read every post, but I don't think anyone is saying that English is a Romance language. I think what they're trying to say is that it's usually placed among the Germanic languages because of grammar and some basic vocabulary, but that it has drifted far from those roots in the direction of the Romance languages, certainly in the area of vocabulary.

    No native English speaker would ever say they had sheep for dinner. Sheep is the word for the animal. Lamb is the meat of sheep under one year of age, and mutton is the meat of the adult sheep. You would never substitute one for the other. What happened is that the Germanic names for the barnyard animals were retained, but the words involved with cooking are from the French, presumably because those were the words used in the Castle or the manor where the cooking was done for the upper classes who for some centuries still exclusively used "Norman" French as their everyday language. The same thing happened with cow...the meat is "veal" or "beef", not cow meat.

    Often, the more "elevated" the setting, or the more educated the person, the higher the percentage of French derived words.

    These are just a few examples, with the German derived word first and then the French one.

    ask/inquire
    drink/beverage
    fall/autumn
    smell/odor
    thinking/pensive

    In certain situations and with certain kinds of people I might use the first versus the second.

    That's not always the case, though; sometimes the different versions have just acquired different connotations.

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    Most British-English speakers are using fall,most American English speakers are using autumn.
    As for odor,never heard an American English speaker or a British English speaker to use it.
    Same about pensive.
    So I do not find normal to include these words,like odor or pensive in statistics,about how many English words are of Romance origins and how many are of Germanic origins.

    If this thread is about words of Germanic or Romance origins in English an interesting word,is write.
    Most Germanic languages are using a cognate to Romance language,for writing:
    schreiben in German,schrijven in Dutch,skriva in Swedish,skrive in Danish/Norwegian,skrifa in Icelandic.
    The origin of this verb is told to be ,on wikipedia
    "from Proto-Germanic*skrībaną, a late borrowing from Latin scrībō (“write”), ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *skreyb"
    So this means that Proto-Germanic speakers had contact with Latin speakers.
    A very weird thing is that English is the only Germanic language that is using instead write:
    From Middle English writen, from Old English wrītan (“to incise, engrave, write, draw, bestow by writing”), from Proto-Germanic *wrītaną (“to carve, write”), from Proto-Indo-European *wrey- (“to rip, tear”). Cognate with West Frisian write (“to wear by rubbing, rip, tear”), Dutch wrijten (“to argue, quarrel”), Dutch rijten (“to rip, tear”),Low German wrieten, rieten (“to tear, split”), German reißen (“to tear, rip”), Swedish rita (“to draw, design, delineate, model”), Icelandic rita (“to cut, scratch, write”),German ritzen (“to carve, scratch”).
    Another thing,it seems that this word,write,refers at stone carving,while the word from other Germanic languages refer to write on paper. Germanic people were known for their rune stones so a more logic word for write is this from English.
    So English preserved some Proto-Germanic words that other Germanic languages did not preserved.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mihaitzateo View Post
    Most British-English speakers are using fall,most American English speakers are using autumn.
    As for odor,never heard an American English speaker or a British English speaker to use it.
    Same about pensive.
    So I do not find normal to include these words,like odor or pensive in statistics,about how many English words are of Romance origins and how many are of Germanic origins.

    If this thread is about words of Germanic or Romance origins in English an interesting word,is write.
    Most Germanic languages are using a cognate to Romance language,for writing:
    schreiben in German,schrijven in Dutch,skriva in Swedish,skrive in Danish/Norwegian,skrifa in Icelandic.
    The origin of this verb is told to be ,on wikipedia
    "from Proto-Germanic*skrībaną, a late borrowing from Latin scrībō (“write”), ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *skreyb"
    So this means that Proto-Germanic speakers had contact with Latin speakers.
    A very weird thing is that English is the only Germanic language that is using instead write:
    From Middle English writen, from Old English wrītan (“to incise, engrave, write, draw, bestow by writing”), from Proto-Germanic *wrītaną (“to carve, write”), from Proto-Indo-European *wrey- (“to rip, tear”). Cognate with West Frisian write (“to wear by rubbing, rip, tear”), Dutch wrijten (“to argue, quarrel”), Dutch rijten (“to rip, tear”),Low German wrieten, rieten (“to tear, split”), German reißen (“to tear, rip”), Swedish rita (“to draw, design, delineate, model”), Icelandic rita (“to cut, scratch, write”),German ritzen (“to carve, scratch”).
    Another thing,it seems that this word,write,refers at stone carving,while the word from other Germanic languages refer to write on paper. Germanic people were known for their rune stones so a more logic word for write is this from English.
    So English preserved some Proto-Germanic words that other Germanic languages did not preserved.
    Detailed expositions about the derivation of individual English language words from German may be interesting in and of itself to certain people, but it's irrelevant to the topic of the post and as to whether the majority of the words in the English language derive from German or Latin/Romance languages. The question was answered by linguists who looked at the entire lexicon and who concluded that the majority of the vocabulary is not derived from German. It's pointless to argue about that fact.

    I'm also afraid that what you, as a foreigner using the English language, may or may not have heard in the language of English speakers is also irrelevant. You obviously are not going to have had the exposure of a native speaker or someone who has lived in an English speaking country for decades. In addition, to be blunt, it depends on the class of the speaker and the situation. Someone who may not even have graduated from high school, watching football down at the bar, will not use the word pensive, even if he knows the meaning of it. He might not even use the word odor, although he will probably know the meaning. There is also a difference between the common "spoken" everyday English and written English, even the English of a newspaper, for example.

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    There is 'colloquial' and slang talk and of course each generation create their 'code or secret' words to hide from their parents or school teachers. I read a book by black convict with a reputed IQ of 160 who was pimp and his book was titled with the 'Ice something'. He mentioned that many of the teenagers got their words from convicts who served time for a while and released. Most likely involved with marijuana and drugs. "Big time" was convict lingo even Dick Cheney used. Of course the computer introduced a lot of new words and things like wtf and lol came from the board technology. Technology such as telegraphs brought 'asap' it into business language as words were charged by the letters by telegraph.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Angela View Post
    Detailed expositions about the derivation of individual English language words from German....The question was answered by linguists who looked at the entire lexicon and who concluded that the majority of the vocabulary is not derived from German. It's pointless to argue about that fact....
    It may be worth mentioning that English does not itself derive from German, it derives from Proto-West Germanic, the common source of High German, Low German, and Dutch. There is a temptation to gloss over the details and say that English comes out of German, but that would actually be similar to claiming that Hungarian derives from Finnish or that Spanish is a derivative of Italian. Spanish is based on Latin, and Italian is also based on Latin.

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    Well is not like that,English is derived from some kind of Germanic variant (Anglo-Frisian dialect),from which Frisian also derives.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Histor...glish_language
    It should be noticed a thing,Vikings speaking North Germanic did not attempt to change the language of English people.
    However,Normans,even if genetically mostly Scandinavian people,already got Roman Empire-like behavior and massively shifted English language towards French,denationalizing English people.
    If English people still have some dignity remained in them should throw at the garbage the Romance origin words that were brought by Normans and adopt instead words from Frisian.
    Or they should do as Welsh,Scottish and Irish people are doing,when they learn their native Celtic languages,so they should learn Old English.
    Scottish,Irish and Welsh people are learning their native Celtic languages,which are not tainted by Latin plague.
    If you see such a bad economic situation in Greece,South Italy,Spain that is the result of "Latin culture".
    France had the chance to be conquered by Franks,which were Germanic people,so this why they have such a better economy and culture and civilization compared to South Italy , Spain,Greece.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RobertColumbia View Post
    It may be worth mentioning that English does not itself derive from German, it derives from Proto-West Germanic, the common source of High German, Low German, and Dutch. There is a temptation to gloss over the details and say that English comes out of German, but that would actually be similar to claiming that Hungarian derives from Finnish or that Spanish is a derivative of Italian. Spanish is based on Latin, and Italian is also based on Latin.
    Good point, Robert.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mihaitzateo View Post
    ...
    However,Normans,even if genetically mostly Scandinavian people,already got Roman Empire-like behavior and massively shifted English language towards French,denationalizing English people.
    If English people still have some dignity remained in them should throw at the garbage the Romance origin words that were brought by Normans and adopt instead words from Frisian.
    ...
    France had the chance to be conquered by Franks,which were Germanic people,so this why they have such a better economy and culture and civilization compared to South Italy , Spain,Greece.
    Romance words and languages are not "garbage". They are of great value in communication, science, and history. Romance languages have great bodies of literature behind them and tie Europe to many areas of the Americas that speak Romance languages (Spanish, French, and Portuguese).

    You might not personally care for Romance languages, and that's fine. There's a line, however, when it comes to bashing them.

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