Where did English get words like sky, feet, judge and sandals?
Greek, Latin, Christianity, the bible, The French, The Vikings.
English has been influenced by so many things over time. We’re going to try to explain some of these influences on the English language in 20 minutes.
Dominique from France has recommended a podcast:
“I can also recommend a good podcast ” the earful tower”. The host Oliver Gee is from Australia but he has been living in France for 5 years. All his podcasts are about Paris. It is a good way to improve your English and to discover this wonderful city at the same time.” https://theearfultower.com/
Voice message from Gideon from Tenerife
The Time Traveller’s Guide to Medieval England – Ian Mortimer
A History of Britain in 20 minutes – AIRC153
Words from Shakespeare – AIRC233
A History of the English Language in 20 Minutes
55 BC – Roman invasion of Britain brought Latin. Words like human, animal, library (libro), solar/lunar, factory, station, (static) manual (mano), decimal, digital (10) (29% of words we use today come from Latin)
5th century – Germanic invasion from the Saxon area (Anglo-Saxon – Old English) Everyday words like woman, apple, bad, good, cake, eat, drink, eye, feet, arm, boy, girl, house, hand, bread (29% of words have a Germanic source)
6th century – Christianity and biblical texts (More Latin, Greek, Hebrew) words from Greek are about 6% of words today. Words like academic, android, basic, climate, democracy, economy, idea, geography, history, politics, technology
8th-11th century – Vikings came and other Scandanavian influences (sky, drag, die, give and take)
1066 – The Normans (French and more Latin) Words like beef, pork, veal, liberty, journey, continue, justice, jury, judge, evidence, people, very (from the French word for ‘true’ = vrai – truely)
15/16th Century – exploring the world (India, China, America, etc.)
Sometimes the British explored places after the Spanish, so simply copied their words: mosquito, sierra, bodega, armada, conquistador, embargo, etc.
Or sometimes they adapted Spanish words with slight changes: tobacco, potato, galleon, cockroach, ranch, lasso (lazo), buckaroo (vaquero), etc.
16/17th Century – Shakespeare introduced about 2000 new words: Words from Shakespeare http://www.inglespodcast.com/233
18th and 19th century and colonialism – the British Empire: zombie (Africa), bungalow, guru, pajamas(US)/pyjamas(UK), shampoo (India), barbeque (Caribbean), etc.
20th/21st century – the internet, email, download, toolbar, to google, to hoover, Kleenex, Tippex (correcting fluid) sellotape/scotch tape (sticking tape), post-it notes etc. – are about 4% of the language we use today.
Loanwords – As a global language, English has ‘borrowed’ words from almost everywhere – over 350 languages. These words are called “loanwords”. It’s been estimated that up to 80% of all English words are loanwords!
“Popular loanwords” are those that most native speakers know and use. e.g. buffet (French), delicatessen (German), glitch (Yiddish), vice versa (Latin).
“Learned loanwords” are those that only some people/specialists know. e.g. andante – walking pace, forte – loud (Italian for classical music), and, habeas corpus, in loco parentis (Latin legal terms).
Around 1.5 billion people speak English. About a quarter of these are native speakers.
…and now it’s your turn to practise your English.
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On next week’s episode: Old Jobs, New Jobs
The music in this podcast is by Pitx. The track is called ‘See You Later’