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Can a dead language (Latin) affect English?

Modern English comes from many languages. That is why even today, you can find many no English vocabularies.

Grazia Spano
Grazia Spano
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Have you ever pronounced Latin words and asked what English has to do with a Romance language? If yes, take a seat and read the following article. We will find out how and why the Romance language affected English.

How and when did the English language appear?

Modern English comes from many languages. That is why even today, you can find many no English vocabularies.

The English language contamination dates back to Roman Empire up to Rainessence, passing through the Essential role of Christianity. Coming across German Tribes, Romans bequeathed many Latin words related to trade (street), war, and means of transport (vessels).

Due to their shortness and practicality, these words were easily picked up orally and assimilated by locals. Many words were in this way transmitted verbally so to influence spoken language. But at that time, Latin influenced even English written, and that is when the Latin alphabet replaced runes.

Christianity brought Latin words to English

The beginning of Christianity also played a crucial role in the affection of Latin of English. Thanks to St. Augustine, Christianity spread, and through it, Latin words resurfaced. Hymn, priest, psalm, and tunic are only a few of many words coming from the religion. But it was in the Middle age, Latin vocabulary was a big success in the English language and in many fields like science (in medicine, for example) or law. “Client,” “discuss,” “library,” “essence,” “imaginary,” words commonly used nowadays, date back to this period.

Rainessence and its influence on English

During the Rainessence Classical language greatly influenced English, especially the unspoken language. Rainessence is indeed known as the era of many writers, borrowed through the inkhorn terms, many Latin writings. It is said that authors like Thomas More had the merit to enrich the English language with more of hundreds and hundreds of Latin words.


In conclusion, even though it is not possible to determine how much Latin contributed to modern English, we cannot neglect the role of Latin as a gap filler in the language especially introducing many abstract words or adjectives.

For sure, one could object that Romance languages have prevented the development of Native English drastically, but on the other hand, they made it more and more sophisticated, at the peak of synonyms, decisive in helping to express the different forms of meaning.

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Grazia Spano

Hi, my name is Grazia. I am an Italian and English native speaker. I have a Master's degree in International Politics. I work in Aviation as a teacher. I will be happy to help you in learning.

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