https://ell.stackexchange.com/a/335999/499 says

A computerised survey of about 80,000 words in the OED estimated the origin of English words to be as follows:

French: 28.30%
Latin: 28.24%

Since French is a descendant of Latin and therefore strongly influenced (more than 50% of French vocabulary?), do French's 28.30% influence on English and Latin's 28.24% overlap?

What amount in French's 28.30% influence on English came from Latin's 28.24%?

Which part of French's influence on English vocabulary is larger, the one that came from Latin, or the one that didn't?


  • An interesting question, but not one about learning English, so it's off-topic here. This might be better suited at our sister site, English Language & Usage: English Language & Usage. The etymology is for questions about the origin of one word, not all words in the language. And even then, the tag wiki itself recommends asking at EL&U.
    – gotube
    May 3, 2023 at 13:29

1 Answer 1


As French is a Romance language it is likely that a lot of the French loanwords in English ultimately trace back to Latin, but the influence on English would still be thought of as French rather than Latin. The statistics refer to the direct influence rather the deeper etymology of any word.

The original question to which that was my answer was about the English language - specifically whether Greek was a big enough influence on English for it to be worthwhile learning it to assist with learning English. To answer this question thoroughly would require an analysis of the French language, which is off-topic here. However, I thought it was worth an answer to establish that the particular study quoted was in reference to English and its influences.

  • Thanks. Did Latin influence English mostly directly or indirectly via French or other Romance languages?
    – Tim
    May 3, 2023 at 11:02
  • @Tim That is an especially difficult question to answer. 'Classical Latin' is considered a dead language, and yet it has had revivals and is still used partially for legal terms, botanical names and the like. Romance languages like French evolved over time from 'vulgar Latin', so it is almost impossible to say when one ended and the other began, but I think it is fair to say that by the time French was a recognisable language in its own right, Latin had ceased to be the language of a nation and its influence was limited to either religion, academia, or traditional institutions like monarchies.
    – Astralbee
    May 3, 2023 at 11:18
  • So which occurs more frequently as source in etymology of English words, Latin or French? What do the French and Latin influence percentages mean in your data?
    – Tim
    May 3, 2023 at 12:11
  • @Tim According to that specific study cited - French is more frequent, by a margin of 0.06%.
    – Astralbee
    May 3, 2023 at 13:59
  • I am still wondering what differences are between French's influence and Latin's influence. I suspect Latin's influence mostly was done indirectly by French's. Did French's influence mostly happen when France ruled British territory two centuries ago? Was English influenced by French or Latin before French ruling as much as after?
    – Tim
    May 3, 2023 at 14:24

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