What influence has the Latin language had on the development of the English language?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The language of Latin has had a profound effect on the evolution of the English language.

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, approximately 50% of all English words have Latin roots or derivatives. The dictionary goes on to say that most of these words have Latin roots, making the words themselves approximately 25-33% Latin.

If you were to look at the Latin language itself, even a person without classical training would be able figure out the meaning of most Latin words due to the fact that most Latin vocabulary has made its way into the English language in one form or another. Sometimes the words are nearly identical, and sometimes the connection is totally obscure. The word “iris” in English comes from the Latin word “arcus pluvius” which means rainbow.  

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team