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Theudiskaz
Friday, July 14th, 2006, 10:40 PM
[Moderation note: Discussion on the English language has been split from this thread (http://forums.skadi.net/showthread.php?t=60987&page=2).]



Btw, well, if this is a "Germanic" forum, then you should speak just German languages, and not English. But you are not able to. "German" and "Germanic" do not mean the same thing. English is a Germanic language with significant borrowing from other languages, namely from the Romance family. But it is not a "German" language so to speak.

Alaric
Friday, July 14th, 2006, 11:01 PM
"German" and "Germanic" do not mean the same thing. English is a Germanic language with significant borrowing from other languages, namely from the Romance family. But it is not a "German" language so to speak.

he meant germanic though. there is only one german language. i sturred up the hornet's nest, didn't i?

Edit: forget my second sentence, i see what you mean now.

Jorich
Saturday, July 15th, 2006, 12:12 PM
English is a Germanic language, just like German is.

http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Germanische_Sprachen

Not for real
Its a mixed language with france,latin and german.

(http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Englische_Sprache)

German has also some latin influences ,but mostly in foreign words.

Btw. i can t understand why everyone want to be a germanic.
I have german ,fenno ugrian and slavic and i'm proud of all roots.

Leofric
Monday, July 17th, 2006, 07:29 AM
Not for real
Its a mixed language with france,latin and german.

(http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Englische_Sprache)

German has also some latin influences ,but mostly in foreign words.
Linguistically, your argument holds no water.

First, languages are typologically classified not by their leixcon, but by their morphosyntax. The syntax and grammatical morphology of English is completely Germanic, with no non-Germanic influence. Of that there is no question among experts in the field (or if there is such question, it's from a small fringe -- and their objections can easily be disproved, anyway).

Second, the lexicon of English is mostly Germanic. That is, if you listen to an extended session of native speakers speaking with one another, most of the words you will hear will be Germanic.

Third, the French influence on the English lexicon is really quite tiny.

Fourth, the Latin influence on the English lexicon is of two types. The first is technical jargon. The second is the product of early modern embellishment. In the field of technical jargon, most of the Germanic languages have allowed the same Greco-Roman lexical invasion. In the field of embellishment, the foreign words are falling away from the lexicon with each generation that gets us further from the 1700s.

Fifth, in some cases, English is the only Germanic language to have preserved certain aspects of our earlier common language. Modern preservation of sibilation in the morpheme represented by the fifteenth rune in early runic transcriptions, for example, is found in modern times uniquely in the English verbal and nominal inflection paradigms.

Sixth, in certain aspects of its syntax, German has more in common with non-Germanic European languages than with any of the other Germanic languages, suggesting the possibility that German has been affected by areal influence from non-Germanic languages in its syntax, something that the other Germanic languages have seemed to avoid. And remember that syntax is far more integral to the language than lexicon.

English is unquestionably a Germanic language, and it occupies a very key spot in the Northwest Germanic linguistic spectrum.




Btw. i can t understand why everyone want to be a germanic.
I have german ,fenno ugrian and slavic and i'm proud of all roots.
For many people, it's not that they badly want to be Germanic. They just are. They have no choice in the matter.

And people like that who are staunchly proud of their Germanic ancestry are proud of all their roots, too.

RedJack
Monday, July 17th, 2006, 05:32 PM
Modern preservation of sibilation in the morpheme represented by the fifteenth rune in early runic transcriptions, for example, is found in modern times uniquely in the English verbal and nominal inflection paradigms.

Can you give us an example of this, please?

WestPrussian
Tuesday, August 8th, 2006, 03:04 AM
Second, the lexicon of English is mostly Germanic. That is, if you listen to an extended session of native speakers speaking with one another, most of the words you will hear will be Germanic.

Third, the French influence on the English lexicon is really quite tiny.
Really? According to Wikipedia's article on the 'English language':



A computerised survey of about 80,000 words in the old Shorter Oxford Dictionary (3rd ed.) was published in Ordered Profusion by Thomas Finkenstaedt and Dieter Wolff (1973) which estimated the origin of English words as follows:

French (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_language), including Old French and early Anglo-French: 28.3% (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_English_words_of_French_origin)
Latin (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Latin), including modern scientific and technical Latin: 28.24%
Other Germanic languages (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Germanic_language) (including Old English (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_English), Old Norse (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_Norse_language), and Dutch (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dutch_language)): 25%
Greek (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greek_Language): 5.32%
No etymology given: 4.03%
Derived from proper names: 3.28%
All other languages contributed less than 1%

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_language

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/a/ac/Influencegraph.PNG

So according to this English is about 57% Romance and 25% Germanic. Of course, the French conquest of England (1066) postdates the German/Dutch/Danish incursions (eg Vortigern 466) so there is no surprise in that, really. The high percentage of Latin loanwords may indicate a widespread interest in classical culture and the high intellectual standards one would naturally associate with one of the leading nations of Europe.


if you listen to an extended session of native speakers speaking with one another, most of the words you will hear will be Germanic.

That's a very poor argument. The words you hear will of course depend on frequency distributions as well as on who you are talking to and what you are talking about. For instance, words such as 'and' and 'it' are much more likely to occur than words like 'constellation' or 'galaxy'. Of course, if all you keep hearing is "hey man let's go have some beer" over and over again English will seem 100% Germanic.

Urho
Tuesday, August 8th, 2006, 08:05 AM
Really? According to Wikipedia's article on the 'English language':


French, including Old French and early Anglo-French: 28.3%
Latin, including modern scientific and technical Latin: 28.24%
Other Germanic languages (including Old English, Old Norse, and Dutch): 25%

So according to this English is about 57% Romance and 25% Germanic.

Again, languages aren't classified by lexicon but by morphology. Finnish has only around 200 Finno-Ugric words but it's still a Finno-Ugric language.

fms panzerfaust
Tuesday, August 8th, 2006, 04:43 PM
Now I understand why english is so easy to learn.

Leofric
Tuesday, August 8th, 2006, 08:54 PM
Modern preservation of sibilation in the morpheme represented by the fifteenth rune in early runic transcriptions, for example, is found in modern times uniquely in the English verbal and nominal inflection paradigms.

Can you give us an example of this, please?
Sure!

Nominal inflection:
I love runes.

Verbal inflection:
She loves me.

Germanic languages have long had an interesting alternation between /s/ and /r/ (G "gefroren" ~ Eng "frozen"; G "Eisen" ~ Eng "iron"; etc.). One key locus for such alternation occurred in the fifteenth rune. By the time Old Norse was getting written in Roman letters instead of runes (during Christianization), the fifteenth rune was regularly being transliterated as 'r', and was indeed even being switched for the fifth rune in runic transcriptions. But during the time of the earliest runic transcriptions, the spot that would be held by the fifteenth rune in Northwest Germanic was being written as 'z' by the already Christianized Goths. So we can surmise that the rhotacization occurred sometime during the runic period.

Also during the runic period, the Norse set up shop in northern England, bringing their dialect of Northwest Germanic with them. There is every evidence that the Old Norse dialect and the Old English dialect were mutually intelligible (which is why I call them dialects), and there was a great deal of dialectal shift among the two speech varieties in the area of Norse occupation. One such shift occurred in the nominal and verbal paradigms. The OE - ending for verbs was replaced with a -s ending and the -s ending for plurals, already quite common in OE, extended itself rapidly throughout the nominal system (notice the cognate -r ending for both verbs and plurals in modern NGmc languages).

But notice that the dialectal shift from the ON of Britain was to -s rather than to -r. That implies that the -r of modern NGmc languages was, at least in some varieities, still a sibilant during the time of the Danelaw. That sibilant, represented by the fifteenth rune, has now been lost to rhotacization in the inflectional paradigms of all other Germanic languages. But because of the medieval dialectal shift in northern England and the early modern dialectal spread to southern England, the sibilant has been preserved in English, which is its sole haven.






if you listen to an extended session of native speakers speaking with one another, most of the words you will hear will be Germanic.
That's a very poor argument. The words you hear will of course depend on frequency distributions as well as on who you are talking to and what you are talking about. For instance, words such as 'and' and 'it' are much more likely to occur than words like 'constellation' or 'galaxy'. Of course, if all you keep hearing is "hey man let's go have some beer" over and over again English will seem 100% Germanic.
Is it a poor argument?

Even eliminating grammatical words and just focusing on lexical words, most of the words you hear will still be Germanic. Do you really think a word like constellation is equally important to the speaker of English as a word like see? I use see at least a dozen times a day, yet I go months between ever saying or hearing the word constellation. A person would be hard pressed to say he knew English without words like see at his disposal, but he could never learn the word constellation and still be universally recognized as a fluent speaker (and in some cases, he would even be a native speaker).

And if constellation is such a crucial lexical item, then German is likely equally un-Germanic (cf. Konstellation). Indeed, since most of our languages have a quasi-Latin vocabulary for our scientific jargon, and since scientific jargon constitutes the bulk of the dictionary's word-hoard, I guess we can safely say that the Germanic languages have universally died out. But that would be absurd, since we can still see and identify them as a distinct group within the Indo-European languages generally. So I guess that would actually be the poorer argument.

That's one of the reasons lexicon has little bearing in linguistic typology. But, if you're going to consider lexicon in this matter, it's essential to consider tokens rather than types. Considering types leads to inanities like this Wikipedia article you've cited. (Incidentally, from that same article, you can find the following statement: "It should also be noted that 83% of the 1,000 most-common English words are Anglo-Saxon in origin." It does not mention how many of those thousand words are of non-Anglo-Saxon Germanic origin, but such words as sky, skirt, ill, and skin definitely rank higher on my list of commonly-used words than, say, constellation.)

Also note that the only non-Germanic words that exist in English that have no Germanic synonym are either scientific neologisms (like uranium), or words borrowed from foreigners for things that don't exist in our lands but do exist in theirs (like kangaroo). And again, if those words make our language non-Germanic, then no Germanic languages exist on earth. No other non-Germanic type is needed in the lexicon all others can easily be replaced by Germanic words. Our non-Germanic borrowing hasn't replaced our native lexicon, but enhanced it. Remember that the English lexicon is substantially bigger than those of other European languages. To put it another way, English has all the same words that German or Scnadinavian have and then some. Sure, I can say "domicile" or "residence," but I can and do say "house" and "home" far more frequently.

So still, even though it doesn't matter in determining whether English is Germanic or not, the lexicon of English, properly considered (that is, considering tokens rather than types), is overwhelmingly Germanic.

Witukind
Tuesday, August 8th, 2006, 10:56 PM
Linguistically, your argument holds no water.

First, languages are typologically classified not by their leixcon, but by their morphosyntax. The syntax and grammatical morphology of English is completely Germanic, with no non-Germanic influence. Of that there is no question among experts in the field (or if there is such question, it's from a small fringe -- and their objections can easily be disproved, anyway).

Second, the lexicon of English is mostly Germanic. That is, if you listen to an extended session of native speakers speaking with one another, most of the words you will hear will be Germanic.

Third, the French influence on the English lexicon is really quite tiny.

Fourth, the Latin influence on the English lexicon is of two types. The first is technical jargon. The second is the product of early modern embellishment. In the field of technical jargon, most of the Germanic languages have allowed the same Greco-Roman lexical invasion. In the field of embellishment, the foreign words are falling away from the lexicon with each generation that gets us further from the 1700s.

Fifth, in some cases, English is the only Germanic language to have preserved certain aspects of our earlier common language. Modern preservation of sibilation in the morpheme represented by the fifteenth rune in early runic transcriptions, for example, is found in modern times uniquely in the English verbal and nominal inflection paradigms.

Sixth, in certain aspects of its syntax, German has more in common with non-Germanic European languages than with any of the other Germanic languages, suggesting the possibility that German has been affected by areal influence from non-Germanic languages in its syntax, something that the other Germanic languages have seemed to avoid. And remember that syntax is far more integral to the language than lexicon.

English is unquestionably a Germanic language, and it occupies a very key spot in the Northwest Germanic linguistic spectrum.




For many people, it's not that they badly want to be Germanic. They just are. They have no choice in the matter.

And people like that who are staunchly proud of their Germanic ancestry are proud of all their roots, too.
English is indeed a Germanic language no doubt about that, but the influence of French is far from tiny however. I've put in bold all the Latin/French you used in your reply (and there's a Greek one "Morph-").

As far as German being more influenced by non-Germanic languages, this is far from the truth. In fact it has been very good at preserving it's Germanic-ness (id est Fernsehen (Television), Rundfunk (Radio), Wagen (Car)... I could go on about it). The simpler grammar that English, Dutch and Scandinavian share is an evolution that German did not follow. If you take a look at some scandinavian dialects you'll find out that they use declinations too (Icelandic uses declinations too I believe). And in English there are remnants of declinations as well, just no one thinks about it. "us" accusative for "we". You say "believe us!" not "believe we!". In French which has no declinations at all it's "believe we" ;)

Leofric
Wednesday, August 9th, 2006, 02:52 AM
Originally Posted by Leofric
Linguistically, your argument holds no water.

First, languages are typologically classified not by their leixcon, but by their morphosyntax. The syntax and grammatical morphology of English is completely Germanic, with no non-Germanic influence. Of that there is no question among experts in the field (or if there is such question, it's from a small fringe -- and their objections can easily be disproved, anyway).

Second, the lexicon of English is mostly Germanic. That is, if you listen to an extended session of native speakers speaking with one another, most of the words you will hear will be Germanic.

Third, the French influence on the English lexicon is really quite tiny.

Fourth, the Latin influence on the English lexicon is of two types. The first is technical jargon. The second is the product of early modern embellishment. In the field of technical jargon, most of the Germanic languages have allowed the same Greco-Roman lexical invasion. In the field of embellishment, the foreign words are falling away from the lexicon with each generation that gets us further from the 1700s.

Fifth, in some cases, English is the only Germanic language to have preserved certain aspects of our earlier common language. Modern preservation of sibilation in the morpheme represented by the fifteenth rune in early runic transcriptions, for example, is found in modern times uniquely in the English verbal and nominal inflection paradigms.

Sixth, in certain aspects of its syntax, German has more in common with non-Germanic European languages than with any of the other Germanic languages, suggesting the possibility that German has been affected by areal influence from non-Germanic languages in its syntax, something that the other Germanic languages have seemed to avoid. And remember that syntax is far more integral to the language than lexicon.

English is unquestionably a Germanic language, and it occupies a very key spot in the Northwest Germanic linguistic spectrum.




For many people, it's not that they badly want to be Germanic. They just are. They have no choice in the matter.

And people like that who are staunchly proud of their Germanic ancestry are proud of all their roots, too.
English is indeed a Germanic language no doubt about that, but the influence of French is far from tiny however. I've put in bold all the Latin/French you used in your reply (and there's a Greek one "Morph-").
LOL! Touch!

I'll be the first to admit that I talk like a book, and that my writing is even worse! I'd hate to think that my own writing is representative of the English language as a whole.

But if you don't mind, I'd like to look more closely at this sample of text.

First let me say that you've missed a few non-Germanic words (and wrongly identified key and seemed as non-Germanic). Here's the text again:


Linguistically, your argument holds no water.

First, languages are typologically classified not by their leixcon, but by their morphosyntax. The syntax and grammatical morphology of English is completely Germanic, with no non-Germanic influence. Of that there is no question among experts in the field (or if there is such question, it's from a small fringe -- and their objections can easily be disproved, anyway).

Second, the lexicon of English is mostly Germanic. That is, if you listen to an extended session of native speakers speaking with one another, most of the words you will hear will be Germanic.

Third, the French influence on the English lexicon is really quite tiny.

Fourth, the Latin influence on the English lexicon is of two types. The first is technical jargon. The second is the product of early modern embellishment. In the field of technical jargon, most of the Germanic languages have allowed the same Greco-Roman lexical invasion. In the field of embellishment, the foreign words are falling away from the lexicon with each generation that gets us further from the 1700s.

Fifth, in some cases, English is the only Germanic language to have preserved certain aspects of our earlier common language. Modern preservation of sibilation in the morpheme represented by the fifteenth rune in early runic transcriptions, for example, is found in modern times uniquely in the English verbal and nominal inflection paradigms.

Sixth, in certain aspects of its syntax, German has more in common with non-Germanic European languages than with any of the other Germanic languages, suggesting the possibility that German has been affected by areal influence from non-Germanic languages in its syntax, something that the other Germanic languages have seemed to avoid. And remember that syntax is far more integral to the language than lexicon.

English is unquestionably a Germanic language, and it occupies a very key spot in the Northwest Germanic linguistic spectrum.




For many people, it's not that they badly want to be Germanic. They just are. They have no choice in the matter.

And people like that who are staunchly proud of their Germanic ancestry are proud of all their roots, too.

That's 123 non-Germanic tokens, and 239 Germanic tokens. That makes 362 tokens total. That's 34.0% non-Germanic in a pretty technical bit of writing.

134 of these tokens are grammatical rather than lexical, and all but one of those ("very") is Germanic, as you would expect in a Germanic language. Indeed, that gives a very strong indication that English is Germanic. But that would mean that there are 122 non-Germanic tokens and 106 Germanic tokens: 53.5% non-Germanic among the lexical tokens. And it's still a pretty technical bit of writing, as I'm sure any native speaker would attest.

In fact, 43 of the non-Germanic tokens are jargon. None of the Germanic tokens is jargon. Jargon like this is non-Germanic in most Germanic languages, so it's probably best to discount it. So the number of non-jargon lexical tokens goes down from 228 to 185. Of those 186 tokens, 106 are Germanic and 80 are non-Germanic. That's 43.2% non-Germanic from someone who talks like a book. That's mostly Germanic.

Now let's look at the sources for the 123 non-Germanic tokens. 55 of them might come from French, 48 might come from Latin, and 20 come from Greek. It can be difficult to tell the difference sometimes between a word that come through French and a word that come directly from Latin because when English speakers of the late medieval and early modern period started borrowing a lot of words from Latin, they would frequently Frenchify them before throwing them into their writing. The word unique is a good example of such a word. It looks French, and today is even pronounced as though it were French, but when it first entered the English language during the early modern period, it was pronounced and sometimes spelled as though it had come direct from Latin.

At any rate, that means that about 15.2% of the total tokens in that text might come from French, and about 23.7% of the total lexical tokens might come French. And again, that's a piece of technical writing from someone who talks like a book. I mean, how many native English speakers really use words like embellishments in their everyday speech?

So in a text that's pretty far removed from normal speech, we have 15.2% of the text coming from French. Compare that to the 28.3% posited by that Wikipedia article. That means that the reality of this text is about half the projection bandied about on places like Wikipedia. Quite tiny, I'd say. Like a three-foot man who's half the expected size. ;)

I think we just have differences of opinion on what constitutes tiny. My main point was that the influence from French was nowhere near as important as people make it out to be. The inclusion of Latinate words in the English lexicon was largely the result of late medieval and early modern writers wanting to make our language more like that of Virgil or Cicero, rather than of the Norman Conquest.








As far as German being more influenced by non-Germanic languages, this is far from the truth. In fact it has been very good at preserving it's Germanic-ness (id est Fernsehen (Television), Rundfunk (Radio), Wagen (Car)... I could go on about it). The simpler grammar that English, Dutch and Scandinavian share is an evolution that German did not follow. If you take a look at some scandinavian dialects you'll find out that they use declinations too (Icelandic uses declinations too I believe). And in English there are remnants of declinations as well, just no one thinks about it. "us" accusative for "we". You say "believe us!" not "believe we!". In French which has no declinations at all it's "believe we" ;)
I didn't say German was universally more influenced by non-Germanic languages.

What I said was this:

in certain aspects of its syntax, German has more in common with non-Germanic European languages than with any of the other Germanic languages, suggesting the possibility that German has been affected by areal influence from non-Germanic languages in its syntax, something that the other Germanic languages have seemed to avoid
I say that the similarity is in certain aspects, and I am careful to avoid calling it a causal relationship. I merely point out that the similarity suggests the possibility of a causal relationship.

And I was specifically talking about syntax. Lexicon (like Fernseher) is irrelvant to that issue.

One example of syntactical similarity between German and non-Germanic languages is the use of the present perfect in place of the preterite. That's a feature of German, French, and increasingly, Iberian Spanish. It is not a feature of other Germanic languages (except perhaps the Netherlandic languages I'm not certain about those). There may or may not be a causal relationship there, but there is a similarity that German shares with non-Germanic languages in distinction with other Germanic languages. That says something. And as I said before, syntax is more important that lexicon in language typology.

I don't think this aspect of the syntax is an evolution that German did not follow. I think it's an evolution that German alone underwent. The fact that Romance languages also underwent it makes one wonder about the possibility of areal influence in the matter.

Finally, in terms of declensions, you should know that they are not uniquely Germanic. We inherited our declensions (with varying degrees of degradation) from our Aryan ancestors. No IE language seems to have retained the whole the PIE declensional system, but I don't think any IE language has lost it all. Even French exhibits declension (je, moi, mon/ma/mes). And English is not alone among the Germanic languages in its relatively high degree of declensional degradation the declensional system of Norwegian, for example, is not much different (indeed, some dialects of Norwegian have less declension than some dialects of English).

My point with all this is that English, as a language, is not the black sheep of the Germanic family that so many like to make it out to be. It's a fully Germanic language, and the so-called impurites in it are either no different from those in many other members of the family (like the loss of declension) or else not as integral to the system as folks say they are (like the addition of a double lexicon through Latinate borrowing).

Witukind
Wednesday, August 9th, 2006, 06:43 AM
LOL! Touch!

I'll be the first to admit that I talk like a book, and that my writing is even worse! I'd hate to think that my own writing is representative of the English language as a whole.

Well, it's true that you could have used a number of synonyms of Germanic origin for example "tongue" instead of "language".



But if you don't mind, I'd like to look more closely at this sample of text.

First let me say that you've missed a few non-Germanic words (and wrongly identified key and seemed as non-Germanic). Here's the text again:


I thought "key" = "chiave" (italian) = "cl" (french) as opposed to "schlssel" in German. And as for "seemed" to me it sounds quite close to "sembler" (thought it might be more akin to "same"?). I might be wrong...



That's 123 non-Germanic tokens, and 239 Germanic tokens. That makes 362 tokens total. That's 34.0% non-Germanic in a pretty technical bit of writing.

134 of these tokens are grammatical rather than lexical, and all but one of those ("very") is Germanic, as you would expect in a Germanic language. Indeed, that gives a very strong indication that English is Germanic. But that would mean that there are 122 non-Germanic tokens and 106 Germanic tokens: 53.5% non-Germanic among the lexical tokens. And it's still a pretty technical bit of writing, as I'm sure any native speaker would attest.


Yes, I don't dispute the fact that there were a good number of technical words. And indeed I didn't notice "very" ("vero"/"vraiment"?).



In fact, 43 of the non-Germanic tokens are jargon. None of the Germanic tokens is jargon. Jargon like this is non-Germanic in most Germanic languages, so it's probably best to discount it. So the number of non-jargon lexical tokens goes down from 228 to 185. Of those 186 tokens, 106 are Germanic and 80 are non-Germanic. That's 43.2% non-Germanic from someone who talks like a book. That's mostly Germanic.

Agreed.



Now let's look at the sources for the 123 non-Germanic tokens. 55 of them might come from French, 48 might come from Latin, and 20 come from Greek. It can be difficult to tell the difference sometimes between a word that come through French and a word that come directly from Latin because when English speakers of the late medieval and early modern period started borrowing a lot of words from Latin, they would frequently Frenchify them before throwing them into their writing.

Yes, once upon a time what became modern French was called "vulgar Latin". So the border remains unclear.



The word unique is a good example of such a word. It looks French, and today is even pronounced as though it were French, but when it first entered the English language during the early modern period, it was pronounced and sometimes spelled as though it had come direct from Latin.


It's hard to determine if it comes from Latin or French. In Italian it would sound more like English ("ju") because the "u" is pronounced as in German. In French the "u" is a "". However this word is spelled exactly the same in both French and English.



At any rate, that means that about 15.2% of the total tokens in that text might come from French, and about 23.7% of the total lexical tokens might come French. And again, that's a piece of technical writing from someone who talks like a book. I mean, how many native English speakers really use words like embellishments in their everyday speech?

So in a text that's pretty far removed from normal speech, we have 15.2% of the text coming from French. Compare that to the 28.3% posited by that Wikipedia article. That means that the reality of this text is about half the projection bandied about on places like Wikipedia. Quite tiny, I'd say. Like a three-foot man who's half the expected size. ;)


I think Americans tend to use more words coming from French/Latin. It is obvious to me that the french/latin stuff is an "add-on". But I don't think this add-on is tiny as it has a much greater "footprint" than say in German.



I think we just have differences of opinion on what constitutes tiny. My main point was that the influence from French was nowhere near as important as people make it out to be. The inclusion of Latinate words in the English lexicon was largely the result of late medieval and early modern writers wanting to make our language more like that of Virgil or Cicero, rather than of the Norman Conquest.


From what I know, the Norman conquest made "French" (at least what was called "French" in those days) the de facto language for the nobility.



I didn't say German was universally more influenced by non-Germanic languages.

What I said was this:

I say that the similarity is in certain aspects, and I am careful to avoid calling it a causal relationship. I merely point out that the similarity suggests the possibility of a causal relationship.

And I was specifically talking about syntax. Lexicon (like Fernseher) is irrelvant to that issue.

One example of syntactical similarity between German and non-Germanic languages is the use of the present perfect in place of the preterite. That's a feature of German, French, and increasingly, Iberian Spanish. It is not a feature of other Germanic languages (except perhaps the Netherlandic languages I'm not certain about those). There may or may not be a causal relationship there, but there is a similarity that German shares with non-Germanic languages in distinction with other Germanic languages. That says something. And as I said before, syntax is more important that lexicon in language typology.

I don't think this aspect of the syntax is an evolution that German did not follow. I think it's an evolution that German alone underwent. The fact that Romance languages also underwent it makes one wonder about the possibility of areal influence in the matter.


Yes, but French was also influenced by Germanic languages (it is said to be the most Germanic of the Romance languages). And I could pinpoint the differences between French and Italian and how in some cases French is closer to German than Italian. Also in French there are several ways to say the same thing, you can have a syntax like Italian, or you can have a syntax like German. This is probably due to the divide between the so-called "Langue D'Oc" and "Langue d'Oil" (South/North). So to me it seems more obvious that French was influenced by the Franks, rather than German being influenced by Romance languages.



Finally, in terms of declensions, you should know that they are not uniquely Germanic. We inherited our declensions (with varying degrees of degradation) from our Aryan ancestors. No IE language seems to have retained the whole the PIE declensional system, but I don't think any IE language has lost it all. Even French exhibits declension (je, moi, mon/ma/mes). And English is not alone among the Germanic languages in its relatively high degree of declensional degradation the declensional system of Norwegian, for example, is not much different (indeed, some dialects of Norwegian have less declension than some dialects of English).



My point with all this is that English, as a language, is not the black sheep of the Germanic family that so many like to make it out to be.

It's not, but yet it is far from being as pure a western Germanic language like German or Dutch, it was quite influenced by Scandinavian because of the Danegeld. So you must take this into account also when you compare the English and German syntax/grammar.



It's a fully Germanic language, and the so-called impurites in it are either no different from those in many other members of the family (like the loss of declension) or else not as integral to the system as folks say they are (like the addition of a double lexicon through Latinate borrowing).

J.B. Basset
Wednesday, August 9th, 2006, 07:02 AM
:) English and German suffered from the Great vowel shift and thats a point.

The problem with English language is that it has become a "lingua franca" so it is being barbarized and bastardized till it forgets all its germanic roots. I recommend American authors like Thomas Pynchon who bet for a new way to recover forgotten vocabulary.:thumbup

Leofric
Wednesday, August 9th, 2006, 11:03 PM
Well, it's true that you could have used a number of synonyms of Germanic origin for example "tongue" instead of "language".
This fact the fact of the double lexicon is part of why I think it's not quite accurate to say that the English lexicon is less pure than that of other Germanic languages. It's over twice the size! The native English part is just as large and productive as the native German portion of the German lexicon (or any other Germanic language). The fact that we have another set of words on top of our native set doesn't mean we have to use non-Germanic words. To call the lexicon impure implies otherwise, I think, and that's just not an accurate picture of the situation.

I know you know this, Witukind. I'm just soapboxing. :)




I thought "key" = "chiave" (italian) = "cl" (french) as opposed to "schlssel" in German. And as for "seemed" to me it sounds quite close to "sembler" (thought it might be more akin to "same"?). I might be wrong...
According to the OED, key goes back to the OE period and is also attested in Old Frisian, but is attested in no other Germanic languages. I suppose it could come from Latin clavis, but I have difficulty seeing where the /l/ would have gone in that case. I don't think /kl/ reduced to /k/ in any other Latinate borrowings of the OE period or earlier.

The OED offers a Norse etymology for seem, listing cognates in Modern Icelandic and Middle Swedish.




Yes, once upon a time what became modern French was called "vulgar Latin". So the border remains unclear.
No, that's not quite my point. I'm talking about borrowings from Latin that came as late as the 16th century, when the border between Latin and French was already very well established. In order to "improve" English, many English writers would import Latin words. But in order to make the Latin words seem more familiar, they would often spell them as though they had come from French words.

Take the word sorority. It was introduced in the 16th century into English, and it was taken directly from Latin, as is evident from the historical record and even by examining the form of the first morpheme in the word. But the ending is made to correspond to the Anglicized version of the French -it derivation of the Latin -itas, rather than simply taking the word un-Frenchified into English. The effect makes the word more acceptable than the alternative (sororitas) would have been.

Now that's an example of a word that clearly didn't come from French but that nevertheless underwent Frenchification. Very many words fall into a shady area in this regard. They could have come from Latin and been Frenchified, or they could have come from French.

On the other hand, some words which came from French (like debt) were subsequently Latinized in spelling to make them appear more dignified.

A lot of these words entered English during a period of aggressive lexicon expansion (a period which began in the mid-1300s and went to the early 1700s). Most of them can be traced to specific authors that is, for a given inkhorn word like this, one can go back and see the author who singlehandedly introduced it into the English language. That being the case, most of these words definitely came from Latin or definitely came from French the choice was made in the mind of the author who introduced the word.

A few authors during the period were actively involved in improving the language by importing French. Chaucer is a good example of this. He had a strong agenda to improve English letters by infusing them with French language and literary conventions. But he also was well versed in classical languages and did translations from them, so we can't be certain that all of his lexical loans would have come from French.

Most of the authors of the period preferred to take words from Latin. Dryden is a great example of this. He is sometimes credited with having added more words to the English language than any other person who ever lived. He very actively pursued Latin words to press them into English service. But, being such a prolific borrower, the chance does exist that he took a few from French as well.

So when we're dealing with words that entered English after about 1300, it can be difficult to know whether they come from Latin or French. That difficulty has nothing to do with Late Latin/Early Romance. It has to do with funny spelling changes to make a word from one language seem like a word from another.






It's hard to determine if it comes from Latin or French. In Italian it would sound more like English ("ju") because the "u" is pronounced as in German. In French the "u" is a "". However this word is spelled exactly the same in both French and English.
The word unique is a great example of a Frenchified Latin borrowing. When it was originally borrowed, the stress fell on the first syllable, as in Latin (but not as in French). This is evident from the way the word was used in poetry.

But to spell it "unicus" or even "unic" would have been quite odd for an English word. At first they spelled it "unick," but spellings like that fell out of favor over the centuries, as etymologists began to insist that words from Latin not be spelled as though they were Germanic. As a result, the French spelling was adopted, since it is a legitimate derivative bisyllabic spelling of the Latin root. After a while of being spelled like a French word, it came to be pronounced like a French word as well.

But, the word was borrowed directly from Latin.

This is a great example of the difficulty in determining the real source of a modern Latinate English word.







I think Americans tend to use more words coming from French/Latin. It is obvious to me that the french/latin stuff is an "add-on". But I don't think this add-on is tiny as it has a much greater "footprint" than say in German.
I don't know about whether Americans use more Latinate words than other English speakers. It could well be. America was settled during the peak of the inkhorn period, after all, and our language reflects the older form. Since that time, most of the Latinate words have fallen away throughout the Anglosphere. But it could well be that the linguistic conservatism of colonization has kept more of the inkhorn terms in American English. I just don't know.

But I do wonder whether you're clear on the difference between French and Latin sources for English words. It is most certainly not the case that most of our Latinate words came from French, and I kind of get the feeling that you're thinking otherwise, or that at least you think the two can be just treated as one source.

Latin has entered the English lexicon in various ways over time, and in various periods. Linguists divide the Latin influence on English into four or five periods, in fact.

First is the Latin Influence of the Zero Period. This includes all the Latin borrowings into English from before the Germanics left the Continent (you can see why it's called the Zero Period). This includes words like camp, sign, wall, street, mile, pound, monger, cheap, wine, kettle, kitchen, dish, linen, cheese, tile, butter, mule, chalk, pipe, Caesar, and Satur(day). A lot of these words don't feel foreign and many of them have cognates in many other Germanic languages (as you would expect). Quite a surprising number of words entered Northwest Germanic from Latin during this period.

Then came the Latin Influence of the First Period. This occurred when the Germanics encountered Romanized Celts in Britain and acquired Latin words from them. A lot of these are in placenames (-chester and -wick are two good examples). Mountain and port also seem to come from this period. This is not a very big period of Latin borrowing.

Next was the Latin Influence of the Second Period. This occurred during the Christianization of the English. During this period, English acquired another large number of Latinate words. For example, alms, altar, angel, candle, chalice, cleric (and its derivative clerk), deacon, mass, noon, offer, pope, priest, rule, shrift, temple, tunic, cap, sock, silk, purple, chest, sack, oyster, pear, radish, lobster, pine, lily, marshmallow, school, master, grammatical, verse, meter, anchor, fever, place, circle, giant, spend, and crisp all entered the language during this period.

Notice that the Latin influence of the Zero and Second periods was substantial, but that it all predated any French influence on the language. All of it was direct from Latin into Old English. Furthermore, one would expect much of the Latin influence of the Second Period to have been somewhat similar to Latin influence on other Germanic languages during Christianization. I don't mean to say that every word from the Second Period in English will have its semantic partner in other Germanic languages as a Latinate word. But one would expect the overall impact of Latin influence during Christianization to have been somewhat comparable from language to language. I would guess that the only reason English might have tended to borrow more words during this period was the fact that the English were Christianized while Latin was still a living language, which was not the case with the Norse, for example. But many of the southern Germans were Christianized during the same time period as the English.

Next came the Latin influence of the Third Period. This was the Norman Conquest. This is where the French influence comes in. Most of the words that entered the language during this time were related to government, either civil or military, but some were more everyday words. This period includes words like jury, castle, loyalty, fealty, real estate, domain, foreign, chivalry, government, jail, indict, debt, and other such governmental words. It also includes words related to luxurious living, like beef, pork, dance, fur, poultry, paint, art, ruby, and diamond. This period saw the largest influx of Latinate words into the vocabulary to date.

Next came the Latin Influence of the Fourth Period. This began occurring as the Norman nobility stopped using French and as literacy spread through the middle class. The time period in question here is from the 14th century to the 17th or 18th century. The main vehicle of borrowing was the inclusion of Latin words into English writing, with or without modification to make them seem more acceptable to the English eye. These words are often called "inkhorn terms," which was a word that started being used in the 16th century during a period of opposition to the growing introduction of these words. Words introduced in this period are many and pervasive, occurring at all levels of the vocabulary. They include words as commonplace as different or commit and as abstruse as circumforaneous or expede (and notice that expede still shows up in the dictionary and gets counted in those stats that say our vocabulary is mostly Latinate now I ask you, how many native English speakers know the word expede? I for one learned it today while writing this reply. Is it really fair to let that word be equal to words like hurry? Sorry, sopaboxing again.)

Far and away, more Latinate words entered the language during this period than during any previous period of Latin influence. In fact, it is likely that more words entered the language during this period than during all other previous periods combined. We're talking about tens of thousands of words here. Specialists in language acquisition figure that a person will be fully functional (like, functional enough to conduct high-level business or even diplomacy) in a European language with a working vocabulary of about 10,000 words. So we added whole languages to our lexicon during this period. That's hefty.

Some folks also talk about a Latin Influence of the Fifth Period. Those that do figure that it covers the time period of growing scientific and technological expansion that has occurred during the modern age. Without question, we have added more Latinate words during this period than during any other. Most of them are jargon. This period includes words from a wide variety of fields. Some examples are submarine, terrarium, binomial nomenclature, molybdenum, appendicitis, levator labii superioris alaeque nasi, gravity, differential, unnilquadium, abscissa, cosecant, adipose, linguistics, affricate, combinatorics, microcandela, ranunculaceous, lactescent, alluvial, iridium, anapestic trimeter, viviparous, constellation, volitorial, and caprifoliaceous. These words came directly from Latin, with little to no help from French. It should be noted that a substantial number of Greek words entered the lexicon at this time as well, but many of them have Latinate counterparts. An example of this is cinenchymatous (from Greek), which is the same as laticiferous (from Latin).

Now just to get back on the soapbox, words like these get included in the lists that show that the English lexicon is mostly non-Germanic. A word like ranunculaceous gets counted just the same as run in the lists that generate those stats. That's why it's so important to count tokens rather than types. If you count tokens, then each occurrence of each word counts as a separate word, so if the word beer happens to show up more frequently than the word hordeaceous, then it gets counted more frequently in generating the list. And that makes good sense, since we all know what beer is, but very few of us realize that it can, in fact, be called a hordeaceous beverage. The word beer is more definitely a part of the English language than the word hordeaceous it's certainly in the vocabularies of more native speakers! Okay, thanks for humoring me on the final soapboxing of the post. :)

Anyway, a lot of our Latinate vocabulary came directly from Latin, without going first through French. The French footprint is quite tiny, coming primarily during only one period of Latin influence on the language. The Latin influence as a whole can be pretty substantial, especially due to the Latin Influence of the Fourth Period. But the specifically French footprint is relatively small. That was my point when I said, "the French influence on the English lexicon is really quite tiny."






From what I know, the Norman conquest made "French" (at least what was called "French" in those days) the de facto language for the nobility.
The reason for this was that the Norman Conquest made native speakers of French the de facto (and de jure) nobility of the realm. Normans replaced the English as the rulers of the country. That's why the nobility spoke French. It wasn't a situation of Englishmen learning and using French.

A few thousand words related to upper class life entered the language during this period as the French-speaking Normans contacted English-speaking Englishmen on those issues, but the language of the people remained English throughout. And the nobility eventually came around and returned to their Germanic roots by dropping French and adopting English as their language.






Yes, but French was also influenced by Germanic languages (it is said to be the most Germanic of the Romance languages). And I could pinpoint the differences between French and Italian and how in some cases French is closer to German than Italian. Also in French there are several ways to say the same thing, you can have a syntax like Italian, or you can have a syntax like German. This is probably due to the divide between the so-called "Langue D'Oc" and "Langue d'Oil" (South/North). So to me it seems more obvious that French was influenced by the Franks, rather than German being influenced by Romance languages.
The Franks were already as Romanized as they were going to get by the time the loss of the preterite occurred, so that particular syntactical question cannot be resolved by an appeal to common Germanic inheritance among the Franks and their fellow Germanics.

But you are right, if there is areal influence, it could well be that German has influenced French, which then went on to influence Spanish. I don't really know. I do know, though, that it's a feature shared by German and multiple Romance languages that other Germanic languages lack. I don't think it's reasonable to assume that the influence must have been from German to Romance, though, or even that it's more reasonable to assume that it was in that direction. Given the circumstances, I think it's more reasonable to assume that it came from Romance (where it is more widespread) into German (in whose family it is less widespread). But either way, it's really just speculation in the absence of evidence, which is where we are.






It's not, but yet it is far from being as pure a western Germanic language like German or Dutch, it was quite influenced by Scandinavian because of the Danegeld. So you must take this into account also when you compare the English and German syntax/grammar.
This is very true, and a very good point. English is not purely Western Germanic. That's why I say it occupies a key spot in the Northwest Germanic linguistic spectrum.

Experts in Germanic historical linguistics are beginning to revise the theories on the boundary between North and West Germanic. The division was originally drawn by some rather chauvinistic Scandinavians who wanted to show that they weren't German. They assumed that the earliest runic inscriptions were Proto-Norse and that they represented a language already distinct from Continental Germanic.

That turned out to be a false assumption. The early runic inscriptions have been re-examined, and have been shown to represent a language that could have given rise to either Scandinavian or Continental Germanic. Before the Vlkerwanderung, all the non-Eastern Germanics spoke one language. Linguists are calling this Proto-Northwest Germanic. But the languages didn't divide immediately upon the beginning of wandering. In fact, it took a few centuries for the languages to differentiate themselves fully.

When the English came to Britain, they spoke Proto-Northwest Germanic (as did the Norse and the Germans). That caused the PNW-Gmc speech area to become pretty broad. Because Britain was fairly equally accessible to both Continental and Scandinavian Germanics, it experienced dialectal influence from both groups to a rather large degree. As the Northwest Germanic language fractured (a split that was starting to cement itself about 1000 years ago), English defined itself as a language that shared many traits with Continental Germanic languages and many traits with Scandinavian Germanic languages.

In fact, it has been through examining Old English that many historical linguists have come to the conclusion that the idea of a Northern and a Western branch of the Germanic family is flawed. It could be said that English fills a gap between the West and North branches of the family, but that's just not an accurate representation of what happened. Rather, there was a whole region of Northern Europe and its islands that spoke Germanic, and the various regions split up into different languages. Regions that are more closely geographically tied tend to have linguistic ties as well. Scandinavia is fairly cohesive, so their dialects are similar. Continental Germania is fairly cohesive, so their dialects are pretty similar. Britain is fairly evenly tied with both Scandinavia and the Continent, so its form of Germanic is quite similar to both of the others.

That's why it's so essential to recognize that English is Germanic (and don't worry, I know you do it's just that others are watching, and I want to tie this into the thread's title). That understanding gives a much more accurate picture of Germanic linguistic (and cultural) history as a whole than would be had otherwise. Understanding the full Germanicness of English lets a person see the cohesiveness of the Germanic family as a whole.

Theudiskaz
Wednesday, August 9th, 2006, 11:41 PM
We have established that English is a Germanic language. No arguing about this. But Leofric, with all due respect, you are downplaying the importance of lexicon.

Whereas German and the other Germanic languages (most notably Icelandic) have resisted borrowing words from Latin and Greek, especially in the category of technical and scientific words, and have in stead coined Lehnuebersetzungen, English has simply borrowed and Angliczed words from classical languages. The English, other than a few patriots such as William Barnes, have made little effort to create technical words from purely English roots. This is very important in my opinion. We also have lost much Old English vocabulary, and the overall effect is that English is simply not as Germanic as its relatives. It is less pure! English doesn't have the Germanic feel that it once did. If English were still largely Germanic I would not be interested in creating threads concerning the re-Germanicization of it!:D What is the benefit of denying the fact that our language has become a creole? If we acknowledge this we can begin to make English English again!:thumbup

http://forums.skadi.net/showthread.php?t=53192&page=6
http://forums.skadi.net/showthread.php?t=52257&page=3

Witukind
Thursday, August 10th, 2006, 01:21 AM
Well all this clears up a lot of things for me, and I've learned a few things too :thumbup



In fact, it has been through examining Old English that many historical linguists have come to the conclusion that the idea of a Northern and a Western branch of the Germanic family is flawed. It could be said that English fills a gap between the West and North branches of the family, but that's just not an accurate representation of what happened. Rather, there was a whole region of Northern Europe and its islands that spoke Germanic, and the various regions split up into different languages. Regions that are more closely geographically tied tend to have linguistic ties as well. Scandinavia is fairly cohesive, so their dialects are similar. Continental Germania is fairly cohesive, so their dialects are pretty similar. Britain is fairly evenly tied with both Scandinavia and the Continent, so its form of Germanic is quite similar to both of the others.

I think the answer lies in studying the various Germanic dialects.

Leofric
Friday, August 11th, 2006, 01:49 AM
We have established that English is a Germanic language. No arguing about this. But Leofric, with all due respect, you are downplaying the importance of lexicon.

Whereas German and the other Germanic languages (most notably Icelandic) have resisted borrowing words from Latin and Greek, especially in the category of technical and scientific words, and have in stead coined Lehnuebersetzungen, English has simply borrowed and Angliczed words from classical languages. The English, other than a few patriots such as William Barnes, have made little effort to create technical words from purely English roots. This is very important in my opinion. We also have lost much Old English vocabulary, and the overall effect is that English is simply not as Germanic as its relatives. It is less pure! English doesn't have the Germanic feel that it once did. If English were still largely Germanic I would not be interested in creating threads concerning the re-Germanicization of it!:D What is the benefit of denying the fact that our language has become a creole? If we acknowledge this we can begin to make English English again!:thumbup

http://forums.skadi.net/showthread.php?t=53192&page=6
http://forums.skadi.net/showthread.php?t=52257&page=3
I certainly don't disagree with you that English has gotten a lot of words from foreign sources. But I don't think it's lost enough native words to make it impure.

And it is most definitely not a creole. The only people who can make a decent case for English exhibiting characteristics of creoles are the ones who have claimed that it's a creole of Old English and Old Norse. But even that claim has been quite soundly shown to be wrong. We do have a lot of non-Germanic words, but they haven't affected our syntax or our morphological paradigms. If English were a creole with both Germanic and non-Germanic roots, that wouldn't be the case.

I do think we should do more to emphasize our native words, however. I especially think this as regards loans from the Latin Influence of the Fourth Period.

I think most loans from the Zero Period are fairly well integrated into the language, and would be hard to attack why fight street or cheese when we have words like perambulate going around?

The loans from the First Period are too few to attack.

The loans from the Second Period are mostly technical words related to Christianity. I don't see any problem with keeping those, but I wouldn't mind seeing them go either. But I don't think they're hurting our language very much. Those loans from this period that aren't technical jargon are fairly well established and would be hard to get rid of. And again, why go after sock, pear, or pine when we have bigger fish to fry?

The loans from the Third Period are indeed extensive within their fields. It's tough to talk about government or legal matters anymore without using Latinate words. At some point we should probably go back to using English for that field. But as long as it stays in its field, jargon isn't a real problem. And aside from governmental jargon, words like dance and fur are not our biggest problems.

The loans from the Fifth Period are all mostly jargon, too. And while some other Germanic languages have found Germanic words to fill the some of the lexical gaps created by advancing technology, the technology has advanced far too quickly for most of those gaps to be filled in with native words. I mean, what can you call dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane? And if you go with something like wonderful bug killer, how will you distinguish it from N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide? The best we can do is to use letters for them. No language planning committee can work fast enough to get rid of all this highnose gobbledygook. Those Germanic languages that do attack the loans from this period stick to only the very most common words from the group, like television or computer.

I think that as long as only a few people are ever using the word dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane, it doesn't matter too much that the word is on the books.

But the loans from the Fourth Period are different. As I said before, they are pervasive. They can be used in any discussion. They float from our tongues almost naturally. Any of them could easily be replaced by a word (or phrase at times) of good, solid English. But instead, we want to sound sophisticated, our carry extra nuances that our native words seem to lack. These words are perfectly insidious, infecting everyone's vocabulary with extreme subtilty. In fact, each sentence in this paragraph has at least one such word.

Another problem with the loans from the Fourth Period is the idea behind their introduction. Unlike other loans, which have come in either because of contact with other cultures or because of the need to name previously unknown things, actions, concepts, etc., the loans from the Fourth Period were introduced because the borrowers felt like the English word wasn't good enough. It's one thing to make a brand new television that never existed before and to call it a Greek/Latin word that never existed before (even if your motivation for calling it that is that you think English isn't good enough); it's a whole other thing to shun the English word that already exists for a well known concept because you don't like your own language. That's how the Fourth-Period words came into the language, and I think they should be the first to go.

Fortunately, they are leaving, and of their own accord. People don't say expede anymore they say hurry. Perspicacious is dying, and without any help from language planners, leaving plenty of room for insightful. These words are already going out the door. I do think, though, that we can encourage their departure by using their English counterparts a bit more often. And that's something I think we should do and should encourage.

But the process needn't be very intrusive. We still have all the equipment we need to increase the (already high) frequency of Germanic tokens in our speech. All the types are still there. We just need to use them. We don't need to overcome an obstacle in our lexicon we just need to stop supporting the obstacle. That's the real problem. We keep using non-English words to say English ideas. We don't have to. All the English words are still there. But we feel ashamed of them, so we hide them, and speak our mind in Latin instead. If all of us would just stop doing that, there'd be no more problem.

And don't worry. I know I'm one of the worst offenders. I'm working on it! ;)

Klegutati
Saturday, September 16th, 2006, 02:13 PM
Why do people always want to be soemthing they're not?:~(

Leofric
Tuesday, September 19th, 2006, 04:59 AM
Why do people always want to be soemthing they're not?:~(
What did you have in mind?

Hanna
Saturday, March 29th, 2008, 01:42 PM
Do you think by speaking English we are speaking a Germanic language?

Schmetterling
Saturday, March 29th, 2008, 01:53 PM
No, we speak a West African language. What kind of question is this?

http://www.usu.edu/markdamen/1320Hist&Civ/slides/07ie/germaniclanguages.jpg

Hanna
Saturday, March 29th, 2008, 01:58 PM
No, we speak a West African language. What kind of question is this?

http://www.usu.edu/markdamen/1320Hist&Civ/slides/07ie/germaniclanguages.jpg

I know how the language system is rooted:D, but it's more a subjective question of what you preceive.

Freydis
Saturday, March 29th, 2008, 02:23 PM
English today isn't a purely "Germanic" tongue, more so than Dutch or German, but the two both have foreign influences also.

edit: "more so isn't purely" in regards to Dutch/German

Thrymheim
Saturday, March 29th, 2008, 02:28 PM
Present day English is a mix of Germanic, Celtic and Latin stemed words, with some others thrown in for good measure. However I think what your asking is the perception of the language and there I would have to say yes it is a Germanic language although not as strongly as some.

Schmetterling
Saturday, March 29th, 2008, 02:29 PM
I know how the language system is rooted:D, but it's more a subjective question of what you preceive.
My subjective answer is "yes". :D

Karl_
Saturday, March 29th, 2008, 02:39 PM
I say no. Our english teacher did read to us a text in english that was written BEFORE the norman(french) invasion. It sounded like norweigan or danish.
The language english is about 30% germanic, that's what I think.

CharlesDexterWard
Saturday, March 29th, 2008, 03:13 PM
No, we speak a West African language. What kind of question is this?

http://www.usu.edu/markdamen/1320Hist&Civ/slides/07ie/germaniclanguages.jpg

It's funny how people from all over the world have some sort of grudge against Swedes that lead them to all sorts of freudian slips and omissions, as in the case of this language tree. But still, I guess the Scandinavian branch should really be divided into Danish, Norwegian and West Geatish, since West Geats had a sophisticated culture long before the tribe of Swedes.

(Just commenting on the map, not on Nachthimmel in person.)

Schmetterling
Saturday, March 29th, 2008, 05:02 PM
I just googled a Germanic language map and posted the first that I could get my hands on. Icelandic is also missing, not to mention Scots and Yidish. ;)

Matamoros
Saturday, March 29th, 2008, 10:33 PM
Yes I think English is a Germanic language. Perhaps we have adopted many new words, but the structure is still Germanic, and most of the words we use in our day-to-day life are Germanic.

Hanna
Saturday, March 29th, 2008, 10:41 PM
Yes I think English is a Germanic language. Perhaps we have adopted many new words, but the structure is still Germanic, and most of the words we use in our day-to-day life are Germanic.

Sorry, for saying that you're thinking inside a box,Yes English a Germanic language, just a structure, but only Germans has the right to that valid knowledge and claim for their language.

Huzzey
Saturday, March 29th, 2008, 11:35 PM
partly

Thousands of words are from the Semitic Hebrew language. The English like to steal words.

stormlord
Sunday, March 30th, 2008, 12:01 AM
Present day English is a mix of Germanic, Celtic and Latin stemed words, with some others thrown in for good measure. However I think what your asking is the perception of the language and there I would have to say yes it is a Germanic language although not as strongly as some.


not to get all high and mighty and be rude or anything, people can say what they want etc, but it drives me INSANE :D when people make uninformed statements as if they were obvious fact. Misconceptions based on common sense but simply wrong tend to go unchallenged; a philologist or a linguist would be horrified by some of the statements people make. Celtic influence on English, really? Celtic influence on English is virtually non existent, (which is one of the reasons for the genocide theory of the Anglo Saxon invasions) there are if I remember correctly, even less celtic words in English than there are in German. With regard to the language itself, vocabulary is a fairly minor factor in defining a language, so the statements about "only 30% of words in English are germanic" etc are mainly irrelevant. The primary factors in defining a language are grammar and syntax etc, and with regard to those English is a relatively unaltered standard form west germanic language. Many of the inflections in English are in fact less altered from hypothetical proto germanic than german is, so yes English is a germanic language.

>>rant ends.

Guntwachar
Sunday, March 30th, 2008, 05:43 AM
YES
if you look at the old versions of our languages they are all much closer to eachother now we have alot of influences from all over the world.
Old English has similar things to Old Frisian and Danish i think even in Old Dutch and English you can find quite some similar words.

Dr. Solar Wolff
Sunday, March 30th, 2008, 06:19 AM
There never was such a thing as a pure language. Every language originated from another and all borrow words.

Angelcynn Beorn
Wednesday, October 1st, 2008, 11:26 AM
Yes English is a Germanic language, although the older forms may have been more purely Germanic than the form we use today. In fact as an Englishman learning other Germanic languages, it always surprises me how much like slightly accented versions of old fashioned English so many sayings and words in other Germanic languages sound like.

BeornWulfWer
Wednesday, October 1st, 2008, 12:25 PM
not to get all high and mighty and be rude or anything, people can say what they want etc, but it drives me INSANE :D when people make uninformed statements as if they were obvious fact. Misconceptions based on common sense but simply wrong tend to go unchallenged; a philologist or a linguist would be horrified by some of the statements people make. Celtic influence on English, really? Celtic influence on English is virtually non existent, (which is one of the reasons for the genocide theory of the Anglo Saxon invasions) there are if I remember correctly, even less celtic words in English than there are in German. With regard to the language itself, vocabulary is a fairly minor factor in defining a language, so the statements about "only 30% of words in English are germanic" etc are mainly irrelevant. The primary factors in defining a language are grammar and syntax etc, and with regard to those English is a relatively unaltered standard form west germanic language. Many of the inflections in English are in fact less altered from hypothetical proto germanic than german is, so yes English is a germanic language.

>>rant ends.

I recollect reading an article where the author was setting out the basis that the influence of British Celtic on the English language was there, not in only loanwords and place names, but in nominative and grammatical structure.
The theory went along the lines that the replacement of the British people by the Saxons did not occur on a great scale, but that they were assimilated culturally and therefore learnt the 'English' language by adapting the structure of English according to their own native language.

There is also the theory which Oppenheimer postulated in which the English language had been here earlier than previously thought. It relies on the Belgae Gauls speaking a Germanic language and invading the English South, but it is an interesting theory nonetheless.

I do not have the same article anymore, unfortunately, but I did find this PDF which may help.

“The Influences of the Celtic
Languages on Present-Day
English” (http://archiv.ub.uni-marburg.de/ed/2007/0001/pdf/niehuMA.pdf)

This might interest you, Rivalin, as it may also interest others. It shows the English language is still strong and well and still holding on to its roots. :D

Do You Know What You Are Saying? (http://forums.skadi.net/showthread.php?t=55418)

Imperator X
Wednesday, October 1st, 2008, 08:57 PM
Celtic influence on English, really? Celtic influence on English is virtually non existent

The whole "I am going to the store" part is most likely Celtic.

For example, in German you would say, "Ich fliege nach Deutschland" not "Ich bin fliegende nach Deutschland*", or "Ich bin nach Deutschland fliegende*"

Also, in Irish for example, (illustrated in Irish English) one says "He's after leaving" to mean "he left", and "It's whiskey that he's drinking"

Teuton
Wednesday, October 1st, 2008, 09:54 PM
English is a Germanic language.

But what is important to understand is that it has been extremely influenced by the Romance(Latin, Italian, French, Spanish etc.) languages. It's difficult to say whether it is still fitting to say if it is or not. Of course, Old English was 100% Germanic, most people who speak German can read Old English with few problems.

BeornWulfWer
Wednesday, October 1st, 2008, 11:12 PM
"...most people who speak German can read Old English with few problems..."

Yet, as an Englishman, I find it hard to learn German. To compound it even further, I found learning French easiest and Spanish beyond my comprehension.

Teuton
Thursday, October 2nd, 2008, 01:44 AM
Yet, as an Englishman, I find it hard to learn German. To compound it even further, I found learning French easiest and Spanish beyond my comprehension.

English has lost most of it's South Germanic roots:
Word Order:

For example to say 'I went to the shops' in Afrikaans(Almost like a dialect of Dutch) it's:

Ek het winkel toe gegaan.
Which in direct translation is:
I did shop to go.
Which sounds quite silly, Afrikaans has the same word order as German(Though German has some fancy little ways to change it) and Dutch.

Words:
Most English words have nearly the same French counterparts, while very few German, if you look very carefully, if you have very good English, you can understand some very basic French writing with little or no knowledge of French.



There are many other examples, but you can see very easily that English is a Germanic language with tons of Romance influence.

Thusnelda
Thursday, October 2nd, 2008, 02:16 PM
most people who speak German can read Old English with few problems.
Can you show me some texts written in Old English please? I want to try it out...;)

Blood_Axis
Thursday, October 2nd, 2008, 02:23 PM
:voteyes

I say "yes" and I can especially testify to that now, that I'm learning swedish on the side. The similarities are surprisingly numerous, sometimes it's like reading an english sentence in a funny font :P (yet I know it's the other way around) :)

Hauke Haien
Thursday, October 2nd, 2008, 06:47 PM
Can you show me some texts written in Old English please? I want to try it out...;)

http://www8.georgetown.edu/departments/medieval/labyrinth/library/oe/texts/a4.1.html
I am sceptical :|

I can feel that English is a Germanic language, but it feels much more alien than other West Germanic languages or even North Germanic languages. I think part of the problem is that so many non-Germanics speak the English language and it is therefore difficult to recognize it as specifically Germanic.

Ulf
Thursday, October 2nd, 2008, 06:58 PM
English doesn't feel Germanic to me, which may be one of the reasons I pursued learning Deutsch. I wanted to feel closer to my Germanic roots by having at least a better than average understanding of Deutsch.

Hrodnand
Thursday, October 2nd, 2008, 07:03 PM
:voteyes

I say "yes" and I can especially testify to that now, that I'm learning swedish on the side. The similarities are surprisingly numerous, sometimes it's like reading an english sentence in a funny font :P (yet I know it's the other way around) :)

Yes, indeed I have been noticing the same since I am learning swedish too.

Thusnelda
Thursday, October 2nd, 2008, 07:35 PM
http://www8.georgetown.edu/departments/medieval/labyrinth/library/oe/texts/a4.1.html
I am sceptical :|


Okay, I tried to read it but I can understand not even 1%. :(

Try to compare it with Old High German (here the "Merseburger Zaubersprche"):

"Eiris sazun idisi, sazun hera duoder
suma hapt heptidun, suma heri lezidun
suma clubodun umbi cuoniouuidi:
insprinc haptbandun, inuar uigandun!

2. Phol ende Wodan vuorun zi holza
Du uuart demo Balderes Volon sn vuoz birenkit
Th biguol en Sinhtgunt Sunna era suister
Th biguol en Fria Volla era suister
Th biguol en Vuodan S h uuola conda
Sse bnrenk, Sse bluotrenk Sse lidirenk:
Bn zi bna,
bluot zi bluoda
Lid zi geliden
Sse gelmida sn

English translation:

"Once the Idisi set forth, to this place and that.
Some fastened fetters, some hindered the horde,
Some loosed the bonds from the brave:
Leap forth from the fetters,
escape from the foes.

2.Phol and Wotan rode into the woods,
There Balder's foal sprained its foot.
It was charmed by Sinthgunt, (so did) her sister Sunna.
It was charmed by Frija, (so did) her sister Volla.
It was charmed by Wotan, as he well knew how:
Bone-sprain like blood-sprain, like limb-sprain:
Bone to bone,
blood to blood,
Limb to limb,
As though they were glued"
----

I can see some slight common similarities, but that is no big difference to the todays similarities between English and German.

-

Reid
Saturday, October 4th, 2008, 01:58 AM
Does anyone know the approximate percentage of Latin-based words in modern German? The modern English vocabulary is estimated to be about 45% Latin in origin, but the German vocabulary is supposed to have a significant Latin component as well. According to someone in a linguistics seminar of mine last year, most German words that end in -tat are Latin-based.

BeornWulfWer
Saturday, October 4th, 2008, 02:01 AM
Try here.

http://www.anonym.to/?http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/history/ram/routes_doyouknowwhat.ram

I found it very interesting. :)

theTasmanian
Saturday, October 4th, 2008, 04:24 PM
There was a series on SBS tv about History of English Language & Bible

i could not find the whole series on you tube it only has two parts of it

but when i watched the lot on tv it was easy to see how much of the Old Anglish and even middle English was Germanic BUT the Latin was there from an early age because of monks but the "normal" people didn't learn Latin until latter years then the French bastardised it even more

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WagGv_Qdmfc

Leofric
Monday, October 6th, 2008, 01:33 AM
I can't believe this discussion has yet again reared its ugly head.

See my posts in these threads:
http://forums.skadi.net/showthread.php?t=93233
http://forums.skadi.net/showthread.php?t=63317

You might also enjoy this thread:
http://forums.skadi.net/showthread.php?t=56632

English is thoroughly Germanic.