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Conventional wisdom says that English would be more like German, because it's a Germanic language. A lot of the simple words in English like "house" are similar to their German counterparts. But I've studied a bit of German and I didn't really find it to be all that similar to English. The more complex, higher words in English tend to have latin roots. Words like competition and television clearly have Latin roots. I actually feel like I had an easier time learning Spanish words than German ones.

So even though the Old English might have been a Germanic language, it seems like most of the stuff that was added on top of that (and a lot of the words we use today) have Latin origins.
 

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Paddington, I think the answer to your question might be a tough call for native English speakers. It might be useful to get opinions from speakers of German and Romance languages. That said, I remember flipping through the dial on the radio and catching what I thought might have been English - realizing only a split second later - it was German. I think you'd be hard pushed to do the same with French or Spanish.
 

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English is pretty weird because it doesn't sound latin AT ALL, but at the same time they have SO MANY words of their vocabulary that actually derived from latin words. I started learning German last March and I'm realising English has more to do with FRENCH rather than with German.
 

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English is a fundamentally Germanic language that has been heavily Latinized due to French domination of English society. Even some of England's famous kings did not speak a lick of English.

French is correspondingly the most Germanized Romance language, but not becuase of contact with the English, but because the Germanic Franks overan the Kingdom to a greater extent than other Romance territories(i.e. in comparison, the Germanic invasions in Portugal with the Suevi and Visigoths, Spain with the Visigoths, and Italy with the Lombards/Ostrogoths were much lighter than in the Kingdom of the Franks, aka France).
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
schmidt said:
English is pretty weird because it doesn't sound latin AT ALL, but at the same time they have SO MANY words of their vocabulary that actually derived from latin words. I started learning German last March and I'm realising English has more to do with FRENCH rather than with German.
That said spoken English sounds almost nothing like spoken French, which itself sounds little like the other Romance languages.
 

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French also has considerable Celtic influences IIRC.

As a native English speaker, to my ears German sounds closer to English than French, but Dutch sounds even closer. However, English speakers often find French easier to read than German because much of our vocabulary is very similar, and spellings have changed very little.
 

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Paddington said:
That said spoken English sounds almost nothing like spoken French, which itself sounds little like the other Romance languages.
We could say that French and English are unique in their own groups. As well as the Romanian language in the Latin group, which sounds a bit slavic of course.
 

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English is closer related to Swiss German than to German - especially several expressions and the easier grammar.

Otherwise: English originates from Saxon Germanistic tongues and after the battle of Hastings and the invasion of the Normands in the 11th century French became a big influence, BUT also a division of tongues:
For centuries the lower class was speaking a germanistic language while the upper class an old French tongue. Some words mixed, others separeted til today. Some examples:

- Beaf: from Boeuf (F), Cow: from Kuh (G) - because the Germanistic lower class RAISED the animal, the upper class French ATE it.
- There are also a lot of English words with the same meaning that originate from both tongues. That's why the English dictionary is one of the biggest.
- American English also has some own words that differ from the British (truck - lorry, pants - trousers, trash - rubbish etc)

So there is NO way to say that English is more latin or more german, it's the perfect mix and combination of both - historically and linguistically.
 

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Not necessarily. The more north the further developped the German language (also because of the influence of ports). The oldest kind of German is in the South (Swiss German - which is by Grammar already quite a different language, Bavarian, Austrian, Schwäbisch). They are by WORDS closer related to English, becaus of the 1000+ years German origins.

Example: Swissgerman: Einewäg, English: Anyway
 

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More than 95% of normal English speech features the native (Germanic) vocabulary.

However, 70% of English vocabulary is derived in some way or another from Latin.
 

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Kuesel said:
English is closer related to Swiss German than to German - especially several expressions and the easier grammar.
It's somewhat true. But Dutch and Afrikaans are clearly much closer to English than Swiss German in many aspects.

Swiss German--- I think Swiss German is one of the oldest type of German language and thus stays the closest to the original Alemmanic tongue but not necessarily the Saxon one, thus Swiss German is actually a Southwestern branch of Germanic Language, which is, excluded from many changes in Northern, Central and High German throughout the mediaeval period and subsequent centuries. One exception might be the Basel dialect, which sounds very High German like. The further east you goes, the dialect becomes even "higher", that's the usual Swiss German speech in Zuerich region, and a variation in Schaffhausen. In Bern, Luzern or Walais there are much more Romance influences, that makes another kind of Swiss German, which is, in one way, very conservative; but on the other hand, more heavily Latinised than other dialects (Even more so than English)

English--- Spoken English, especially in the Eastern Coast, which has the most characteristic "English" or "Scottish" accent, are typically different from both Low German or High German. But in some ways, however, resembles Swiss German. However, the most important influence is from Friesland with a variation of Old Saxon and to lesser extent, old Norse from Jutland. Due to geographic isolation, English still retains many features from mediaeval Jutland dialects--- indicates the presence of Danish influence (actually it's largely from Jutland and Friesland) in mediaeval period. Dutch, as well as Flanders, are somewhat separate influences to the Southeast England. Further South, in France, the influence is largely in the vocabularies, not the pronunciation. That is largely because French is the language of the upper class in Late Middle Age, but not the lower class since the native population of England is somewhat isolated from the Continent--- though later the contact become more significant, England had thus strengthen its influence and start influencing other parts of the world, especially in North America and later Australia. The English Channel, helps reduce influences of pronunciation of lower class, but could not prevent the communication between France and England of the upper class because France provided knowledge and money to England, and helped England to become the first industrialised country all around the world in early 19th century. English language, inevitably, having most of its technical terms, actually made up of Latin expressions or French expressions. Thus the tradition remains, and nowadays we kept using these Romance influenced words to express something which would not be easily, or commonly understood by original English expressions.

In my opinion, High German (Standard German), or in some extent, Austrian German are the most different Germanic Languages from English. While Romance languages, were once mostly act as "loan words" in English, which after centuries they became widely accepted in English Language, even for lower class Englishmen.
 

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its more latin in my opinion..
 

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I'm german and learned English and French in school for many years. English is definitely more close to German than to French, or the other roman languages.
 

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simplypotent said:
So what does English sound like to a non-english speaking person?
Different. It doesn't sound Latin at all, but at the same time it doesn't sounds like German either! One of the main characteristics of English is the "R"s, everybody can recognize English from its R's :D
 

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More than 95% of normal English speech features the native (Germanic) vocabulary.

However, 70% of English vocabulary is derived in some way or another from Latin.
I remember someone saying that there are at least two english expressions for everything. One of germanic and one of latin origin. I am not too sure as of how true this is but I like the idea.
 
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