- How much of English is Indo-European?
- Hans-Georg Lundahl
Self Employed at Writer and Composer
- Answered Feb 21, 2018
- As I said in the comment, the question used to be “What is the significance of indo-European parentage to the growth of English?” - I have translated it to “How much of English is Indo-European?” which is more comprehensible in linguistic terms.
Now, English is mainly Germanic and Romance, and both of these are Indo-European language groups, but, both Germanic and Italic / Latin / Romance have traits which are not traceable to Indo-European commonalities or possible Proto-Language.
So, the question really boils down to, how much is Germanic Indo-European in the items kept in English (vocabulary and other) and how much is Romance Indo-European in the items borrowed by English.
For Germanic, it seems vocabulary is 20 - 50 % only Indo-European.
For Romance, I confess I do not know the proportions, the article (I have forgotten where I read it) only spoke about the Germanic part.
And on top of that, how much is there of each in English.
“I will lay down my sword and shield and study war no more”
Germanic and Indo-European:
“I will … my … no more”
Germanic and not clearly Indo-European:
“lay down … sword and shield and … war”
“… study …”
And I am not sure if there is an Indo-European cognate for that one or if it is restricted to Latin.