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Where Did the English Language Come From?

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Where did the English language come from? The (earliest) English language has been around since 1,150AD and was first borrowed from the British who were greatly influenced by the Greeks. Since the Greek language was originated in the 15th century, how did the Greeks have so much influence on the language we still use today?

The Greek language was originated around the 15th century B.C. The Greek language was, as said by Saxey (n.d.), "one of the first Indo-European languages ever written" (Inquiry #1) and they were the first recorded society to use a “real” alphabet using “alpha, beta and gamma (etc…)” as their letters. Their language was more evolved than Latin which was first recorded in 75 B.C. and earlier than the Romans which also evolved during that century. Therefore, noted down as the longest documented language with a time span of 34 centuries.

The Greek language is a good structure for a new or blossoming language. That is probably why the Englishmen were inspired by the Greeks. As said by Peraki and Vougiouklaki (2015), “there are more than 150,000 English words are derived from Greek ... [and these] include technical and scientific terms…” (British Council). Because of the Greeks, there are words like philosophy, which is the study of knowledge, reality, and existence and kudos- glory. There are also Greek root words that are the basis of forming new ones. For example, a root word like tele is used in the English word telephone. In Greek, tele means far and people use a telephone to make a call or to connect with someone far away.

As said by Peraki and Vougiouklaki (2015)," Some common expressions in English derive from these ancient myths and beliefs”. (British Council) There is an Ancient Greek myth about a king named Midas who had a golden touch. He was extremely greedy and loved that he could turn everything and anything he touched into gold. The Englishmen must have found some kind of inspiration in the Greek myths because we still use the expression “Midas touch” today. Just as well, we still use their other expressions like Achilles heel and Crocodile tears. The Greek expression “crocodile tears” came from Ancient Greece when the people thought that crocodiles would cry when they eat their prey. That’s only partially true, Crocodiles lubricate their eyes when they eat their prey. Even though some expressions are scientifically wrong, people still use them.

The argument can be made that Latin was the inspiration for English instead of Greek. Even though English has many Latin root words, Latin cannot be the main inspiration for English as Latin is derived from Greek. It has many similarities in words and their variations of their nouns endings like “αι” (Greeks) which is the same as “ε” in (Latin) are nominative singulars like in the word female. Many people may argue the English language is from the Englishmen in Europe. That’s not all true, the Englishmen had to get their inspiration from somewhere and they just so happened to be inspired by the Greeks. Just about all European languages have some rooting in the Greek

The Greeks were the first recorded society to have a written language and there are over 150,000 English words that are derived from it, examples include philosophy, cosmopolitan and pyrotechnics. People use the Greek language as a base or root for the English language, one that is spoken around the word. There is also a similarity in expressions and the usage of their myths as an inspiration for our common expressions, like the fable of the Midas touch. The Greeks have a really useful language that helps the world communicate. So instead of saying congratulations to the Greek, give them “kudos”, for the language, alphabet and expressions that are still used today.



1. Background:

a. One of the older European languages

b. First to use a “real” alphabet (alpha and beta)

i. αλφα Alpha

ii. βῆτα Beta

2. Connection:

a. +150,000 English words derive from Greek language

i. usually words that start with “ph” usually

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