Origins of Latin and English


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Origins of Latin and English Journal for Latin 2 9/7/2005

What I Learned

I learned that English is a combination of several languages, including Latin, which was mixed together over thousands of years. Most of these languages are based off of Indo-European. I first learned that Indo-European spread quickly all over Europe by invaders on horseback. They laid the base for all of the languages that came from Europe. This language, I learned, was mixed with the native languages of the regions and was slowly adapted to their needs and dialects.

Latin was spoken by people who struggled for survival, and their version of Indo-European represented this at first. As the city of Rome was settled and expanded, Latin changed to represent their new needs for words of their new lifestyle of trading and science. As Rome expanded and conquered Central Europe and the Mediterranean, they spread Latin throughout. Again, the new language was mixed with the native language and new words were added.

In Britain, I learned, a new language was starting to take shape. Anglo-Saxons moved to Britain in 410 A.C.E. They picked up some words from Latin and mixed them into their German (a derivative of Indo-European). For example, street from strata and wine from vinum, are now both in English. Then Christianity spread to Britain with Latin as its language. More words migrated from Latin to what the Anglo-Saxons spoke at the time. In the 11th century, I learned that William, Duke of Normandy, conquered Britain. He was from France which was first conquered by Rome. Many French words were brought to Britain. French is a derivative of Latin, which is itself a derivative of Indo-European, which was changed and mixed over time.

Then the Renaissance period started and people became interested in the past and science. They borrowed many words from Latin and Greek to adapt to their new ways of life. After all of this mixing and spreading, English formed in Britain as a combination of Anglo-Saxon, French, and Latin and Greek. All of these were originally based off of Indo-European; so many words are similar because of this, I learned. As English spread with the United Kingdom always basking in sunshine and immigrants moved to America, more words were added from different languages from all corners of the globe.

So in the end, I learned why English has so many words and synonyms; because it is based off so many different languages. English was spread and adapted so much, that it is now widely and easily spoken all over the world. I learned that it almost 1 in 7 people can speak it and most people who communicate globally use it.

Personal Response

As I read this, I figured out why English has so many words and so many speakers in the global village. English is suck a mix of words and such a melting pot of information. I wonder why the article didn’t mention the vast expanses of the United Kingdom before American independence and then afterwards as immigrants came to the new world in a melting pot of diversity.