Language & Philology

Language & Philology

Language & Philology

Language & Philology

Excerpt

The English language, despite its present simplicity of grammatical structure, is of an almost unbelievable complexity in its origins, in fact of a complexity quite unrivaled by any of the better known languages of any period.

The chief sources of our English word-stock are, on the one hand, the Anglo-Saxon speech, and, on the other, the Latin and Greek languages. Yet their relative importance is ill understood by most users of English. Some instructive figures are to be found in the Literary Digest for January 25, 1913. In the seventeenth century, George Hickes calculated that nine tenths of our words were of Anglo- Saxon origin; his basis for estimating was the Lord's Prayer. But the sixty-seven words of the Lord's Prayer are hardly adequate for so general a conclusion, though among them are the Latin debts, debtors, temptation, deliver, power, glory, and the Hebrew amen. The . . .

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