Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The Effect Of Latin On The English Language: Part 1

It goes without saying that Latin has had a huge effect on many languages. Thanks to Latin, we have many of our favourite Romance languages, such as French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, and Romanian, to name just a few.

Today, however, we'll be looking at how Latin has shaped The Lingua File's mother tongue, English. Thanks to the Romans, the Church, and the Norman Conquest, the residual effects of Latin can be seen on one of the world's most international languages.

The British Isles as seen from space.
In the time of Julius Caesar, the English language didn't even exist. The arrival of Anglo-Saxons wasn't until the 5th century, and the Jutes didn't arrive until the 7th century, which is perhaps the earliest we can begin to talk about the foundations of what would later become the English language.

Under Caesar's rule, the Roman Empire traded and maintained diplomatic links with Britain following several expeditions to the island, plus a few invasions for good measure. These relations would only last for about a century, and eventually Augustus planned his first invasion.

Over the space of 40-odd years, the Romans kept having a go at the poor British tribes and eventually held control of most of the island, with the Scots still causing trouble. The Romans maintained a level of control in Britain for about four centuries, yet its linguistic legacy is by no means as great as in nations such as France, Spain, and Portugal.

Tomorrow, we'll be continuing our look at how the Latin language, which was by no means thriving by the time the Anglo-Saxons arrived in the 5th century, still managed to shape the English language via more peaceful methods, albeit only after a few more invasions paired with rape, pillaging, and slaughter.