Did you know you could speak several languages? I was once talking to a German, who spoke perfect English, about the similarities between our languages, and she tried to tell me that this was because they share a common Latin root – but although there are a lot of words of Latin origin in English, that’s not really true. Does this sound familiar? (I’ve written it in what I hope is a phonetically correct version):

Faeder ur

thu the eart on heofonum

Or this?

and forgyf us ure gyltas

In modern English it is:

Our Father

Who art in heaven


and forgive us our sins

You may have guessed by now that it’s the Lord’s Prayer. The fact is that after all the changes over the centuries we speak heavily modified and evolved Anglo-Saxon.

However, if you were to say:

I bear no animosity just because you own a superb digital camera

you would be relying heavily on Latin (italicised words).

I’ll give that horrible hotel a negative review

is mostly French.

It doesn’t take skill to whisk eggs and makecake

consists largely of words the Vikings introduced into our language. There are few words of Celtic origin in English, which is particularly surprising in view of genetic studies which I understand show that our population is still largely of pre-Saxon British origin. Place and river names, such as Dover and Thames, seem to form the main remnants of that tongue in English.

All that remains for today is to bid you adieu!

About ramblesofawriter

Writer, thinker, tea drinker.
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2 Responses to Language

  1. chloefb says:

    I love that the word for ‘sins’ was gyltas. That’s really cool – I’m a bit of a geek for spotting where we get modern words from old/foreign ones. I was the only person who enjoyed Latin at school for that very reason!

    • ramblesofawriter says:

      Yes, I like the gyltas thing too. We would never be able to understand an Anglo-Saxon if we travelled back in time, but in some situations we might be able to make ourselves understood with words like Nama (name) Cuman (come) etc.

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