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Impact of Latin Influence on English Language



https://www.eng-literature.com/2015/11/impact-of-latin-influence-on-english.html

November 12, 2015 by Somnath Sarkar

Impact of Latin Influence on English Language - All About English Literature (eng-literature.com)

How has Latin influenced the English language?

The phenomenon of borrowing words and word formation is the way of enriching one language. English is a Germanic language, having a grammar and core vocabulary inherited from Proto-Germanic. However, a significant portion of the English word-hoard comes from Romance and Latinate sources. The Latin (Classical) influence on the English Language is the earliest and perhaps the greatest of all the influences. It began about the beginning of the Christian era and has still been continuing.

 The first Latin influence on English language is heralded by England’s contact with the Roman Civilization. The Latin words borrowed in this phase belong to agriculture, war and domestic life-

 Subject

Latin Loan

Trade and Commerce

Wine (from Lat. ‘Vinum’)

Mint (from Lat. ‘mynet’)

Mil (from Lat. ‘mile’)

Domestic

Kitchen, cup, dish, cook etc.

Food

Pepper, cheese, butter, plum, milk etc.

 

After the English settled in Britain, they received a few Latin words not directly from Latin but from native. Among these one is ‘ceaster’ < Lat. ‘castre’. It survives in many places name as ending- Lancaster, Gloucester, Winchester, Manchester, Worcester etc.

With the introduction of Christianity in 597 A.D. sets in another new chapter of Latin borrowing to define the new conceptions, new religion, new ideas and new faith. We may group these Latin loan words as follows-

 

Subject

Latin Loan

Church

Angel,  anthem, hymn, minister, monk,
disciple, apostle, alms, alter, Bishop, Pope, psalm, nun, shrine, candle etc.

Domestic Life

Silk, radish, pea, pine, poppy, pillow,
pin, fan etc.

Plant

Beet, pine, aloes, pea, poppy, plum
etc.

Education

School, master, grammar, verse etc.

Animal

Doe, lobster, phoenix, turtle etc.

Verb

Offer, spend, stop etc.

 

In the Middle English period, Latin comes via French and through translation works. The translation works. The translation of Bible gives the English people words like- ‘generation’, ‘persecution’ and ‘transformation’

 

Subject

Latin Loan

Law

Conspiracy, custody, legal, prosecute,

testimony etc.

Theology

Scripture, incarnate, limbo etc.

Literature

Allegory, genius, intellect, prosody
etc.

Science

Mechanical, solar, zenith, immune,,
rational etc.

 The Great Revival of Learning, Renaissance of the 15th century come to influence the English Language immensely. The Latin word borrowed this period are often basic noun, adjective and verb.-

 Noun

Radius, allusion, circus, atmosphere,
bonus, picture, axis etc.

Adjective

Appropriate, domestic, medieval,
filial, perfect etc.

Verb

Assassinate, benefit, affidavit, harass,
exit, emancipate etc.

The flow of Latin borrowings has been going on incessantly even in the present day scenario. Words like ‘neutron’, ‘mutant’, ‘penicillin’, ‘formula’, ‘column’, have become the integral part of English vocabulary.

 

Some native nouns have Latin adjectives:

 

Native Noun

Latin Adjective

Father

Paternal

Mother

Maternal

King

Royal

Mouth

Oral

Heaven

Celestial

Mind

Mental

Undoubtedly, Latin loan words leave a huge mark to the English vocabulary. Yet one can not deny that excessive latinization of English has stunned the growth of native vocabulary.

Somnath Sarkar

 

 

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