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How has the Latin language influenced the modern English language?

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likemoths2flames | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted August 17, 2013 at 3:57 PM via web

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How has the Latin language influenced the modern English language?

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wordprof | College Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted August 17, 2013 at 5:23 PM (Answer #1)

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The English language, despite its Celtic and Anglo-Saxon origins, was developed into a full-blown language after the Roman Conquests of the early centuries, when Roman soldiers and civilization ruled all of Europe.  Even after the Norman Invasion, which brought “Latinated” language with it from France, the language of learned men and women was Latin (including clergy and other religious), and not only a large percent of English vocabulary had Latin origins, but, more importantly, suffixes and prefixes, with which new words were formed (especially during the Renaissance), were Latin-based (brief note: Greek also contributed here), such as inter-, sub-, bi-, etc.  Modern English, by which is meant the virtually universal language that has evolved from the British colonization period, is heavily indebted to these Latin roots, as witnessed by the high percentage of Latin-based words in Webster’s dictionary (over 50%).  It should also be noted that during Elizabeth I’s reign, the English language grow exponentially, in large part because of the dramatists and poets flourishing during that time.


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