Influence other languages have had on English...

I’m very interested in this topic and would like to learn more about the influence other languages have had on English. The most interesting thing is to observe different examples combining with modern English. Such point as international words is also worth seeing.

Yours sincerely,

Julia Petrova

Hi, Julia,
I find it pleasant when I read or hear about people who are interested in the connections between languages, specially how they influence one another.
I am also personally extremely interested in discovering or rediscovering the background of our languages. For example, why do people in English or other languages name a word this way or that way?
I could name you many frequent words in modern English (properly a Germanic language) deriving from French or Latin:
I will try to elucidate this by quoting some examples:
table and chair: from French la table and la chaise (Old French: chaire, I once read it was a spelling fashion in Paris to change s into r, a phenomenon known as “rhotacism”).
Other words like animal, pork, veal, mutton: French animal (lat. animalis: anima = soul, breath), porc, veau (Old french veal), mouton.
And still others such as: button, employ, finish, joy, change, charge etc…from French bouton, employer, finir (je finis, nous finissons), joie (joyeux), changer, charger etc…
The number of such examples will lead to a great deal of nouns, adjectives, verbs, adverbs, even other categories of words…
English is of course a Germanic language with a hybrid character (Germanic roots, French, Latin history, Scandinavian influence, influence from other languages) which gives this language an international character.
Have a nice weekend,
P.S Do you speak a Slavonic language (I guess because of your surname in -ova that sounds Russian or Czech…

one influence from Slav language to English and German which I remember was Czarnoziem it was quite easy to
achieve a link between me and any native German or English
It looks like they could not stand somewhere in Europe a soil giving twice a year harvest (jealous?).
Czarnoziem means Black-soil
everything else in common was mostly from Latin Roots.
Latin (Reads Rome) had given us the name Slav from their source of cheap slaves from Slav nations (maybe not cheap that time no clue, now still quite cheap even if more free). Of course German has a lot more as English in common from Polish or Russian but still main part of what we share is from Latin

I have read language at all develop from “bed activity”
a human being started to give the names (words) for pleasure from something like sex and the first words have
been slowly shifted to anything being worth enough for naming
I had found that explanation even logic nowadays.
Whatever makes fun for a man has a potential chance to develop anything boring will most probably extinct.

Yours Sincerely
Philosopher Jan

Hi, Jan, :smiley:
not every etymologist shares this point of view regarding the origin of Slavonic, Slav or Slavonic which sounds very similar to English slave deriving from Latin sclavus. There are other specialists that connect this words with Slavonic “slav- or slov- " that means “word, fame, famous, loquatious”. Of course, this second way to explain the origin of this very large culture and language group pertaining to the Indoeuropean languages is more attractive for the Slavonic people and etymologists themselves. They proceed from the following assumption : their westgermanic neighbours are called after the impression they got the first time they got in touch with each other, namely “nemec-njemiec-etc.” that means dumb or someone who does not want to speak” (ne = not, un-, and I think m- is related to the same Slavonic root for Polish "m?w-, Czech mluv- etc… that means speaking, speech. According to this etymology, Slav would mean “loquacious, willing to speak, eloquent” rather than slave from Latin sclavus. Many words in the Slavonic language could defend this thesis, e.g., Polish slovo (this l is pronounced like English w), Czech = Russian slovo = word, or the word for fame, famous in many Slavonic languages: slava (compare Latin fama = English fame, a noun derived from the verb fari = to speak, also fabulari = Portuguese falar or Spanish hablar).
“The bed activity” sounds very funny indeed :slight_smile: :lol: , but I think it is rather necessity what leads essentially to create or name and also to replace old-fashioned words, depending on the socio-cultural background of the people using the language.
That’s why there are many words which are more typical of one culture than of another one (the word snow in Inuit/Eskimo, perhaps Spanish siesta or German Gem?tlichkeit…).
By the way, I can name you some English words related to Polish or Russian because of the common past these languages shared (as indoeuropean languages):
Gold and zloto, z?loto (whereby g = z and d = t)
drudgery, drudge and trud = work, labour (trudnyi = difficult in Russian).
eat and jesc (sorry for the Polish spelling, I can’t type the proper signs), jest*.
love and ljubit* (Russian), considering that v = b (compare German lieben).
And a frequent word in English used in industry developped from Czech robota = work (also Russian rabota): a robot.
Yours Sincerely,

Hi Roberto

What I find interesting about English words like pork, veal, beef, mutton, etc. is that these words do not refer to the animal, but rather to something eaten (from a specific animal). In a nutshell, this is apparently due to the fact that French was the language of the nobility and English the language of the farmers at the time these words came into English.


Hi, Amy,
I enjoy reading more about this topic.
you have mentioned a part of the vocabulary in English that developed after the Norman Conquest (The conquerors spoke French). It is very fascinating to see the large amount, the torrent of French words that became popular in England at those times. It seems to be true that French played a very important role in the aristocracy, but there are also many words of French influx amid the other strata of the English society of that time.
Coming back to the French culinary aspect that had a substantial influence of the English language, this list could be completed by the following words:
boil (Fr. bouillir), fry (frier), roast (Old French rostir, today r?tir, that means these loans happened before s was dropped in some consonant clusters), mince (Fr. mince = thin), dine (Fr. d?ner), dinner (d?ner), supper (souper), appetite (app?tit), flour (Old French flour that also meant flower), grease (Fr. graisse), sugar (sucre), spicery (?picerie), vinegar (vinaigre), bacon (bacon), victuals (victuailles, related to vict-Latin for to live), venison (Fr. venison, lat. venari = hunt), lard (lard), sausage (Old Norman French saussiche, today saucisse), sauce (sauce), jelly (gel?e), salad (salade), juice (jus), cabbage (caboche), cream (cr?me), biscuit (biscuit: twice-baked, similarly in German Zwieback), cider (cidre), cucumber (concombre), onion (oignon), etc…
Well, Amy, if you haven’t eaten yet, I wish you “bon app?tit” or “Guten Appetit”. Any way, enjoy your meal, no matter if it is pork, veal, mutton, venison or a simple sausage. :roll: :slight_smile:

Hi Roberto,
as far as I remember Slav comes from Medieval Latin Sclavus
a captive Slav and number of etymologist is quite high sharing this.
All languages share basic vocabulary: water, fire ,mother ,father ,child ,sky or earth if you start to track them back you find connections ( 85% population of Europe was originally started from five or six small groups of people)
They also were from same places in majority already outside the continent.
This , I don’t remember exactly but no wonder less gays,
stronger culture connections, special if to servive means work togeather.
About science, in last 50 years of word history have lived something like 90% of entire human civilization scholars and searchers no wonder that there are many ,many versions of everything special in history field(even if it is just pure theory)

Hi again ,
I knew before about the origins of nemec / Polish Niemiec
for Germans, but being from mix family and experienced long history of Polish-German conflicts at home, I found more closer to the point the Polish word “jeniec” captive / captive at ride (more precisely).
Looks like French for English was like Latin for Germans
alien body somewhere in high society,
Have you heard maybe
Englishmen quite a long time were longing for liberation from Normands and theirs brothers in Arms supposed to be Norse,
Normands had found the idea no funny at all
and were used to murderi entire cities if they even whisper for help.
Well ,in conditions like this ,it is nothing strange that English is a language with more items on exemptions then in main rule trunk.