The https://homeloansplus.org/payday-loans-id/ reason for this is over 10,000 English words come from French. Many others come from Latin, the language from which French originated.
This means that a significant number of English words have either exact French counterparts or very similar equivalents in French.
That’s something to celebrate! But, you might be wondering, just how did all of these French words get into English? How many French words are there in English? Let’s take a look at the French influence on the English language, and how it can help you with French vocabulary today!
When were French words borrowed into English?
In order to understand the way French influenced the English language, you have to know a little bit of history.
In antiquity, Celtic languages were spoken in the British Isles. Then, around 50 CE, most of the territory was invaded by the Romans. “Britannia” became a part of the Roman Empire, and Latin became the language of political and administrative life.
In the 5 th and 6 th centuries CE, Germanic tribes, including the Angles and the Saxons, invaded Britain, bringing their language with them.
But Latin remained a strong presence, since it was the language of the powerful and far-reaching Catholic Church (the Germanic tribes had quickly converted to Catholicism).
All religious services and texts were in Latin. This led to words commonly heard during masses and in religious parables becoming a part of everyday vocabulary.
Some of the Latin words that began to infiltrate the language of British people at this time include “devil” (Latin: diabolus) and “angel” (Latin: angelus).
Like its fellow Romance languages, French is a form of Vulgarized (that is, spoken by the people and influenced by previously existing local dialects) Latin. This is one of the reasons why there are so many similar words in French and Latin-influenced English. But it’s not the only reason why – not by far.
The main reason for the large number of French words in English can be chalked up to another invasion: the Norman Invasion of 1066, when William the Conqueror (Guillaume le Conquerant in French) staked his claim to the British throne and won it in the Battle of Hastings.
If you’re an art person, rather than a linguistics or history person, this battle iliar – it’s immortalized on the Bayeux Tapestry.
After William’s accession to the throne, the royal court was made up of Norman (from Normandy) nobility, who spoke French.
These were mainly in areas like law, administration, and, unsurprisingly, food. For example, this excellent (and very funny) video about the history of English points out that while words like “pig” and “sheep” have Germanic roots, their food forms– “pork” (porc) and “mutton” (mouton) – come from French.
A few other French words that entered the English language in this era include sovereign (souverain), justice (justice), and counsel (conseil).
As the centuries went by, English continued to evolve, and and became recognized in its own right. It was used in the daily life of the upper classes and clergy, as well as the commoners. Latin did make a comeback, though. During the Renaissance, cultured people spoke it, and later, in the Age of Enlightenment, Latin was used again when classifying scientific discoveries and phenomena.
French words in English today
Over the course of its tumultuous history, and English has borrowed from and been influenced by many different languages. But French and Latin have had the most influence. French and Latin words make up 58 % of modern English vocabulary today. On their own, purely French words make up 29% of English.