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

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    1 out of 1 members found this post helpful.

    Question 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.

    List 1

    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.

    List 2

    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)


    List 3

    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)
    Last edited by Maciamo; 16-01-11 at 22:30.
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    Well.. I try to..
    My native tongue is Dutch.

    Romanic:
    abate, apology, cancel, cattle, caveat, customize, dispatch, endeavour, factory, genuine, grateful, issue, joke, office, picture, poor, quiet, rehearse, suitable, supply, ubiquitous

    Germanic:
    ban, cottage, council, price.

    Dutch:
    ban, kot(o), kansel(o), prijs.

    (o) Means old words, not often used anymore.

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    Good post!

    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)

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    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

    Celtic: car

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    1 out of 1 members found this post helpful.
    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.


    I "Ich"
    You "Du"
    we "Wir"
    this "dies"
    that "das"
    who? "wer?"
    what? "was?"
    not "nicht"
    all "alle"
    many (archaic "mannig-", as in "mannigfaltig", 'manifold')
    one "eins"
    two "zwei"
    big (no cognate but Germanic in origin, also possibly in the German river name "Bigge")
    long "lang"
    small ("schmal")
    wife "Weib"
    man "Mann"
    person "Person" (Latin loanword in both languages)
    fish "Fisch"
    bird - Unknown origin
    dog "Dogge" (see also English 'hound' versus German "Hund")
    louse "Laus"
    tree (no cognate in German, but Germanic)
    seed "Saat"
    leaf ("Laub")
    root (no cognate in German, but Germanic)
    bark ("Borke")
    skin (archaic "Schinde")
    flesh "Fleisch"
    blood "Blut"
    bone ("Gebein")
    grease -> via French from Latin 'crassus' (but compare English "smear" vs. German "Schmiere")
    egg "Ei"
    horn "Horn"
    tail (dialect "Zagel")
    feather "Feder"
    hair "Haar"
    head "Haupt"
    ear "Ohr"
    eye "Auge"
    nose "Nase"
    mouth "Mund"
    tooth "Zahn"
    tongue "Zunge"
    claw "Klaue"
    foot "Fuß"
    knee "Knie"
    hand "Hand"
    belly ("Balg")
    neck ("Nacken")
    breasts "Brüste"
    heart "Herz"
    liver "Leber"
    drink "drinken"
    eat "essen"
    bite "beißen"
    see "sehen"
    hear "hören"
    know (no cognate in German, but Germanic)
    sleep "schlafen"
    die (no cognate in German, but Germanic in etymology)
    kill (no cognate but Germanic)
    swim "schwimmen"
    fly "fliegen"
    walk ("walken" - to churn/mill)
    come "kommen"
    lie "liegen"
    sit "sitzen"
    stand ("Stand")
    give "geben"
    say "sagen"
    sun "Sonne"
    moon "Mond"
    star "Stern"
    water "Wasser"
    rain "Regen"
    stone "Stein"
    sand "Sand"
    earth "Erde"
    cloud (no cognate but Germanic)
    smoke (archaic "Schmauch")
    fire "Feuer"
    ashes "Asche"
    burn "brennen"
    path "Pfad"
    mountain -> Latin "mons"
    red "rot"
    green "grün"
    yellow "gelb"
    white "weiß"
    black (no cognate in German, but Germanic, however also compare English "swarthy" and German "schwarz")
    night "Nacht"
    hot "heiss"
    cold "kalt"
    full "voll"
    new "neu"
    good "gut"
    round "rund"
    dry "trocken"
    name "Name"

    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.
    Last edited by Taranis; 12-11-11 at 14:03.

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    Here is how Old English sounds like (compare to modern English, and check how much can you understand, if anything):

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ptp_v7chhm4


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    Quote Originally Posted by Tomenable View Post
    Here is how Old English sounds like (compare to modern English, and check how much can you understand, if anything):

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ptp_v7chhm4

    Hm interesting it actually sounds like Frisian with a bit of Old Norse influence.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Melancon View Post
    Hm interesting it actually sounds like Frisian with a bit of Old Norse influence.
    And probably that's why today you can still buy a nice fat brown cow in Friesland using Old English:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OeC1yAaWG34


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    English has certainly changed quite a bit since the Middle Ages. I didn't do my research carefully enough when I signed up for a course in medieval European literature. The professor made us learn how to read Chaucer in the original. I love Chaucer, but YIKES!

    This is the modern English of part of the Prologue of the lusty " Wife of Bath":

    "Experience, though no authority
    Were in this world, would be enough for me
    To speak of woe that married life affords;
    For since I was twelve years of age, my lords,
    Thanks be to God eternally alive, 5
    Of husbands at the church door I've had five
    (If I have wed that often legally),
    And all were worthy men in their degree.
    But I was told not very long ago
    That as but once did Jesus ever go 10
    To a wedding (in Cana, Galilee),
    By that example he was teaching me
    That only once in life should I be wed.
    And listen what a sharp word, too, was said
    Beside a well by Jesus, God and man, 15
    In a reproof of the Samaritan:
    'Now you have had five husbands,' Jesus said,
    'But he who has you now, I say instead,
    Is not your husband.' That he said, no doubt,
    But what he meant I haven't figured out; 20
    For I must ask, why is it the fifth man
    Wasn't husband to the Samaritan?
    How many men was she allowed to wed?
    In all my years I've never heard it said
    Exactly how this number is defined; 25
    Men may surmise and gloss how it's divined,
    But I expressly know it's not a lie
    God bade us to increase and multiply--
    That noble text I well appreciate.
    I also know the Lord said that my mate 30
    Should leave for me his father and his mother,
    But mentioned not one number or another,
    Not bigamy nor yet octogamy.
    Why should men speak, then, disapprovingly?"

    This is what it sounds like as first written. (Of course, I always had my doubts they could be certain of precisely how it would have sounded, but I kept my doubts to myself. I'm no expert on English accents. Is there more of a similarity to the modern pronunciation in one area rather than another? Is there something Scandinavian there as well?
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e0ybnLRf3gU

    A similar "accent" is used in Shakespearean English, but there were definitely changes since Chaucer's Day.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gPlpphT7n9s

    In general terms, I think it's clear that English is a Germanic language, but it is one that has received a large influx of words derived from French, and therefore originally from Latin. It has also developed independently enough that it is no longer mutually intelligible with German.

    For those of an irreverent and humorous turn of mind..."The History of English in ten minutes":
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r9Tfbeqyu2U


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    I assume everyone knows the history of the English language and why it's a mixture of English and French, with loan words from other languages (mostly Latin and Greek). Prior to the invasion of England by the Norman French, English was a Germanic language and it had borrowed a few (but not many) words from the Celts who were there before the Germanic tribes came. But when William of Normandy conquered England, he and his people made French the language of government, the law courts and the upper class, although Latin was the language of the church. Over time, Old English, Norman French and Church Latin fused into modern English. And during the last two centuries, many words have been borrowed from Latin and Greece whenever new words were needed in the areas of science and technology. And that's how we got the mess that is modern English.

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    English language is about two thirds Romance and one third Germanic.

    Albanian is also about 40-50% Latin-Romance.

    Me, as an Italian, can understand quite a lot of written Albanian. It was quite a surprise to me.

    But any Slavic language looks and sounds completely alien.

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    0 out of 1 members found this post helpful.
    As I've said before the English language is about two thirds Romance and one third Germanic.

    The only reason why it is considered as Germanic is that most of basic words, like conjunctions, prepositions,... are of Germanic origin.

    And even those Germanic languages are not that different from Italo-Celtic ones.



    For info, an incomplete list of English words of direct Italian origin.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_o...Italian_origin

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    Giuseppe, the english lexicon contains less germanoc words than other words but that said the germanic found is not so weak in it and in natural basic english the percentage of germanic words augments - it's not a revelation, other forumers already said this -

    concerning ancient pronounciations, I think scot dialects (someones, in East and North-East more than others) and North England dialects are closer to old english than the standard modern english, spite not identical of course! -

    very often when we speak of "english french" (or "french english"?) we speak of Normans french but we forget the subsequent Angevin french of the Plantagents, less 'germanic' than the anglo-normand stratum, so it countained more platalized K and G in it - all that roughly said,

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    It is very interesting thread.
    I uderstand now, why creol languages are so nonsensical...
    Fusional languages are much more logical and superior.

    Comparing anglosaxonic or even medieval english to present english and german,
    I must say, that old slavonic from IX century is much more similar and understandable
    do present day polish or russian. And their forms form XIV or XV century that is pice of
    cake compare to THAT - they are almost like modern tongues

    But Anglosaxonic is much more normal language than english.

    Spanish: =>>> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xjMKXsCnsZo
    Here I was shoked. The more easier word, then more problems they have!
    I was allways considering latin, spanish and italian as languages with VERY simple phonetics.
    But english-speaking people cannot do that! Now I know, why "english-latin" is so terrible...

    This is pretty funny: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IUTTosdOQGA

    This names aren't really so terrible, only this people don't want pronauce enlgish
    sounds or they dont want understand that (for examplne) in mostly european
    languages w = v. It is really so difficult?

    Warszawa = Varshava.
    Every "a" like british Apple, or Arabia.

    They were very lucky, that couple of oryginal sounds are lost in present polish.
    For example h, ł, ó, á, é, rz... even Poles cannot pronaunce them... maybe some villagers can

    Here: ==>>> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uUteMtNhe3g
    IRISH. I thought that it will be very extreme, but it wasn't!
    It is easy to pronaunce! But ORTHOGRAPHY is TERRIBLE.
    BUT old-Irish orthography was much worse, and they had to simplify her!

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    0 out of 2 members found this post helpful.
    Quote Originally Posted by giuseppe rossi View Post
    English language is about two thirds Romance and one third Germanic.
    The English inventory of lexemes is more Latin than Germanic, but the vocabulary doesn't really represent the essence of a language.

    Albanian is also about 40-50% Latin-Romance.

    Me, as an Italian, can understand quite a lot of written Albanian. It was quite a surprise to me.
    I would say a bit less like 30%, but most of them are not loans from Latin, but is quite the opposite. Latin representing a non-vernacular language was created from its creators based on the spoken language of the past, and the main one was :the Alban language of the ancient people of Rome, called Albanenses, which in my opinion nowadays Albanian nation dedicates its origin.

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    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AckzNzbF5E4

    And this should be supposed an international language
    when even native users have problems with him...??


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    A language is told be in some group of languages based on the core words,words that are naming body parts,family members and so on.
    English have lots of Romance origin words,but not in the core part.
    EDIT:
    Taranis forgot to compare the name of animals ,between Germanic and English language.
    Here is a little comparison between Norwegian and English,animal names:
    http://www.internetpolyglot.com/lesson-3902101010

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    Here a very interesting comparison between West Frisian and English:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anglo-...tch_and_German
    West Frisian English Dutch German
    dei day dag Tag
    rein rain regen Regen
    wei way weg Weg
    neil nail nagel Nagel
    tsiis cheese kaas Käse
    tsjerke church
    kirk (Scotland)
    kerk Kirche
    tegearre together samen
    tezamen
    zusammen
    sibbe sibling[note 1] sibbe Sippe
    kaai key sleutel Schlüssel
    ha west have been ben geweest bin gewesen
    twa skiep two sheep twee schapen zwei Schafe
    hawwe have hebben haben
    ús us ons uns
    hynder horse paard
    ros (dated)
    Ross / Pferd
    brea bread brood Brot
    hier hair haar Haar
    ear ear oor Ohr
    doar door deur Tür
    grien green groen Grün
    swiet sweet zoet süß
    troch through door durch
    wiet wet nat nass
    each eye oog Auge
    dream dream droom Traum
    it giet oan it goes on het gaat door es geht weiter/los



    Here a small movie which shows that English is very closed to Frisian:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OeC1yAaWG34




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    Another thing,there are strong North Germanic influences in English in the sentence structure,which were clearly brought by Vikings in England:
    English : This is what we have talked about.
    Norwegian : Dette er hva vi har snakket om .
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases...1127094111.htm

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    Here another example,which speaks for itself,about the fact that English and Dutch are very closed languages:
    From "Vulgaris Magistralis" ,Heidevolk:
    Ik kok mien potjen op een werkende vulkaan
    I cook my meal on an active volcano.

    Please note that the phrase structure is exactly same and some words are very closed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mihaitzateo View Post
    Here another example,which speaks for itself,about the fact that English and Dutch are very closed languages:
    From "Vulgaris Magistralis" ,Heidevolk:
    Ik kok mien potjen op een werkende vulkaan
    I cook my meal on an active volcano.

    Please note that the phrase structure is exactly same and some words are very closed.
    I can give you plenty of examples with French too.

    A group of lions devoured an antelope in the savannah. When they had finished, the rest of a carcass was assailed by vultures.
    Un groupe de lion dévorèrent une antilope dans la savane. Quand ils eurent fini, le reste de la carcasse fut assailli par des vautours.


    How much close does it get ? Actually having learned Dutch and German as well as Italian and Spanish (and being a native French speaker), I can tell you that English grammar and syntax are more Romance than Germanic.


    In your example 'active volcano' are words that come from French (actif + volcan), not Dutch or Germanic languages.

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    Yes,but basic words in English,which are used most of the times in folk languages are most closed to Frisian variant of Dutch.
    I noticed that because I can speak English I can learn with ease basic sentences in Dutch.
    And Frisian is even closer to English.

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    Ok how about:
    (Dutch)Jongens drinken water - (English) boys drink water
    Where Jongens is cognate to younglings?

    Or how about:
    (Dutch) Wij hebben een boek - (English) we have a book

    Or about:
    (Dutch) Ik heb water - (English) I have water

    Or about:
    (Dutch) Hij heeft een appel - (English) He has an apple

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    1 out of 1 members found this post helpful.
    Quote Originally Posted by mihaitzateo View Post
    Ok how about:
    (Dutch)Jongens drinken water - (English) boys drink water
    Where Jongens is cognate to younglings?

    Or how about:
    (Dutch) Wij hebben een boek - (English) we have a book

    Or about:
    (Dutch) Ik heb water - (English) I have water

    Or about:
    (Dutch) Hij heeft een appel - (English) He has an apple
    You can make up thousands of example sentences, some closer to Dutch, others closer to French, since English is a hybrid of Old Dutch/English and Old/Norman French. But the bottom line is that English vocabulary has about twice more French or Latin roots (58%) than Germanic (26%) ones.



    When it comes to grammar, English was originally Germanic but has adopted Latin rules, such as avoiding to end sentences with a verb or preposition (although the latter is a personal choice depending on the speaker).

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    Actually all Greek words and some Germanic words in English derived from Romance languages, since French and especially Italian have plenty of Germanic and Greek loanwords. So probably English derived from a Romance language for about 70%.

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