French, Latin or Germanic origin
What is the proportion of English words of French, Latin or Germanic origin?
It is very hard to make this estimate, particularly as many words reached English, for example, from Latin by way of Norman French. However, the result of a computerized survey of roughly 80,000 words in the old Shorter Oxford Dictionary (3rd edition) was published in Ordered Profusion by Thomas Finkenstaedt and Dieter Wolff (1973). They reckoned the proportions as follows:
• Latin, including modern scientific and technical Latin: 28.24%
• French, including Old French and early Anglo-French: 28.3%
• Old and Middle English, Old Norse and Dutch: 25%
• Greek: 5.32%
• No etymology given: 4.03%
• Derived from proper names: 3.28%
• All other languages contributed less than 1%
Other Related Links:
• How Many Words are there in the English language?
• What is the difference between Old English and Anglo-Saxon?
• Why is W pronounced DOUBLE U rather than DOUBLE V. Why?
• Why don't you introduce some form of phonetic English spelling?
• Is it true that English has the most words of any Language?
• What is the proportion of English words of Other Languages?
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