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The Origins of the English Language: FAQs

The Origins of the English Language: FAQs

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Published by Kieran McGovern
Where do English words come from? How did Latin change the language? Why are there so many French words in English? What's the difference between Old and Middle English?

Brief introduction to this fascinating topic. Ideal for teachers to use in English language classes. You can find linked texts and activities here: http://englishlanguage.eslreading.org/english/vocabulary/latingreekfrench.htmls.

See http://englishlanguage.eslreading.org for more fun facts about the English language. Updates on Twitter @eslreading
Where do English words come from? How did Latin change the language? Why are there so many French words in English? What's the difference between Old and Middle English?

Brief introduction to this fascinating topic. Ideal for teachers to use in English language classes. You can find linked texts and activities here: http://englishlanguage.eslreading.org/english/vocabulary/latingreekfrench.htmls.

See http://englishlanguage.eslreading.org for more fun facts about the English language. Updates on Twitter @eslreading

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Published by: Kieran McGovern on Mar 19, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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07/05/2013

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English
The
Origins
of the English language
 FAQs:
 
2
!
How much did theRomans change English?
!
!
!
How many French words have enteredEnglish?
!
!
!
What
ʼ
s the difference between Old andMiddle English?
!
!
http://englishlanguage.eslreading.org/ 
 
http://esolebooks.com/ 
 
 Where does English come from?
English is essentially a Germanic language.Its grammar around 30% of its lexicon (vocabulary) areAnglo-Saxon in origin. These words tend to be the mostcommonly used – over 70% according to most estimates. Thetop ten most commonly used verbs, for example, are allsurvivors from old English.What makes the English language unusual is its largenumber of ‘loanwords’ from other languages –particularlyLatin, Greek and French.Loanwords are an important feature of English. Theydo not, however, affect the structure of the language. AnEnglish speaker may use the word ‘ballet’ but he will not saydancer of ballet’ as you would in French.A few imported terms retain their original syntax. TheUnited Nations has a
 secretary general 
 while the chief officer of the English legal system is the
 attorney genera
l . But these arerare exceptions.
How much did the Romans change English?
 Very little.Perhaps surprisingly the Roman occupation of Britain didnot have a major impact on the development of the English

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