English Language
Languages and Cultures

How much of the English language comes from latin?


Wiki User

This question is a bit complex and is not simply answered with any given ratio. While Latin may be the ultimate derivative of a little over half (about 55%) of the words in our English language, most of these words are very obscure and are not often used. In truth, English is a Germanic language, and, while the raw number of words derived from German may be less than those derived from Latin, almost all of the most basic one syllable English words, which are most commonly used, derive from German. Of the 100 most common words in the English language (words like the, a, I, tree, farm, etc.), only a handful come from Latin, while words that are longer and often more obscure are dominated by Latin. So if the frequency of occurence in the English language is taken into account, German comprises most of the language, even though Latin gives us more words in terms of sheer numbers. So if you want to improve your vocabulary, learning a little Latin can go a long way.