Origins of English words

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el uso los irá [estos términos] introduciendo con el tiempo, que con facilidad se entiendan;
y esto es enriquecer la lengua, sobre quien tiene poder el vulgo y el uso.
custom will bring [these terms] into use in the course of time, so that they will be readily understood;
this is the way a language is enriched, when the words are adopted by the multitude,
and naturalized by custom.

—Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra Don Quixote. Segunda Parte (1615:Ch. XLIII, De los consejos segundos que dio don Quijote a Sancho Panza)

Although 83% of the 1,000 most common English words are Anglo-Saxon in origin[2], a computerised survey of around 80,000 words in the old Shorter Oxford Dictionary, 3rd ed., came up with the following breakdown of sources of English vocabulary (Finkenstaedt & Wolff 1973):
·       French, including Old French and early Anglo-French: 28.3%
·       Latin, including modern scientific and technical terms: 28.24%
·       other Germanic languages (including Old English, Old Norse, and Dutch): 25%
·       Greek: 5.32%
·       other etymology (including words derived from proper names): the rest

 Figure 1: Sources of English vocabulary (after Finkenstaedt & Wolff 1973)

with other estimated made as well[3]:
·       French: 40%
·       Greek: 13%
·       Anglo-Saxon (Old English): 10%
·       Danish: 2%
·       Dutch: 1%
·       Latin (directly; with around 50% of English derived from this language ultimately): 10-15%

and a survey of 10,000 words taken from a corpus of several thousand business letters yielding yet another set of statistics:
·       French: 41%
·       ‘native’ English: 33%
·       Latin: 15%
·       Danish: 2%
·       Dutch: 1%
·       other: 10% (Joseph M. Williams 1975)

Germanic:
-          Scots (caddie/caddy, canny, clan, convene, cosy, firth, glamour, golf, gumption, links, pernickety, plaid, pony, raid, rampage, scone, wraith);
-          German (delicatessen, dollar, hamburger, kohlrabi, lager, muesli, sauerkraut, strudel, gestalt, angst, doppelgänger, abseil, rucksack, dachshund, dreck, dummkopf, ersatz, kindergarten, lebensraum, Neanderthal, poltergeist, rottweiler, schadenfreude, schmooze, übermensch, weltanschauung, wunderkind, zeitgeist, festschrift, quartz, ostpolitik, realpolitik, blitzkrieg, leitmotiv/f, umlaut, bildungsroman, ansatz, null, waltz, weltschmerz);
-          Dutch (since the 12th century when merchants from the Netherlands settled in East Anglia, Dutch words have infiltrated into Midland speech: boss, and nautical and sailing vocabulary: ahoy, buoy, deck, dock, yacht, cruise, kill, leak, maelstrom, and civil engineering dam; bluff, boom, brandy, bundle, bumpkin, coleslaw, cookie, dollar, drill, decoy, easel, etch, filibuster, forlorn hope, freebooter, freight, frolic, furlough, gas, gin, haul, hoist, holster, hunk, hotchpot, knapsack, landscape, manikin, mannequin, measles, morass, patron, polder, poppycock, pump, quack, roster, Santa Claus, scone, ship, skate, sketch, skipper, sled, sleigh, sluice, slurp, smuggle, snack, snuff, spa, splinter, stove, trigger, waffle, wagon, Yankee);
-          Afrikaans (apartheid, commando, trek);
-          Yiddish (bagel, chutzpah, glitch, kibitz, klutz, kvetch, latke, lox, maven, nebbish, nosh, schlep, schlock, schmaltz, schmooze, schmuck, schnook, shamus, shtick, spiel, yenta, zaftig);
-          Swedish (ångström, bradgard, bark, boulder, flounder, gauntlet, kink, lug, mink, ombudsman, scuffle, slag, tungsten, wicker);
-          Norwegian (aquavit, cog, dashboard, fjord, floe, kidnap, krill, quisling, rig, ski, slalom);
-          Old Norse (sky, law, husband, birth, crook, dirt, egg, knife, race, window, awkward, ill, sly, ugly, die, want);

Romance:
-          Latin (technical or biological names, e.g. radio, medical and legal terminology, and loads of others);
-          Italian (especially in art and architecture, cuisine and musical terminology; arcade, artisan, balcony, bronze, caricature, carpet, cartoon, corridor, dilettante, dome, façade, gallery, graffiti, grotesque, miniature, model, mosaic, porcelain, replica, saloon, sketch, studio, virtue, broccoli, cauliflower, caviar, pasta, pepperoni, pistachio, pizza, salami, zucchini, lingua franca, motto, novel, concert, opera, orchestra, piano, violin, ballot, influenza, alarm, bank, bomb, buffalo, casino, credit, disaster, giraffe, group, lottery, mafia, manage, pants, pilot, risk, traffic, umbrella, zero);
-          French (many terms relating to dress and fashion, cuisine and viticulture, politics and diplomacy, drama and literature, art and ballet; e.g. art, genre, naïve, collage, competition, force, machine, oboe, police, publicity, role, routine, table, boil, fry, painter, depot, dime, apart from several others which have been completely anglicised; tower; introduced not only in the wake of William the Conqueror’s embarkation from Dives-sur-Mer to launch the Norman Conquest of England, but also thereafter through literature, the arts, diplomacy, and other cultural exchanges; also numerous phrases, many of which are now defunct in their protolanguage: à gogo, à la, à la carte, à la mode, accouchement, adieu, agent provocateur, aide de camp, aide-mémoire, amuse bouche, ancien régime, aperçu, apéritif, appliqué, Après nous, le déluge, après-ski, arête, armoire, artiste, art nouveau, attaché, au contraire, au courant, au jus, au naturel, au pair, Au revoir!, avant garde, beaucoup, beaux arts, bel esprit, belle époque, belles lettres, bête noire, bêtise, billet doux, bistro, bivouac, blasé, Bon appétit!, bonhomie, Bonjour!, bon mot, bonne bouche, Bonne chance!, bonnet rouge, bon vivant, Bon voyage!, boudoir, bourgeois, bourgeoisie, boutonnière, brasserie, bric-à-brac, bricolage, cachet, café au lait, cap à pie, carte blanche, carte d’identité, C’est la mode, C’est la vie!, C’est magnifique!, chaise longue, chanson, chanteuse, chapeau, chargé d’affaires, châteaux en Espagne, chef d’œuvre , Cherchez la femme, Chevalier d’Industrie, chez, chic, chignon, cinéma vérité, claque, cliché, clique, coquette, commandant, comme il faut, comme ci comme ça, crème de la crème, communiqué, concierge, concordat, confrère, congé, connoisseur, conte, contretemps, cortège, corvée, cotte d’armes, coup de foudre, coup de grâce, coup de main, coup d’état, coup d’œil, couture, couturier, crèche, crème brûlée, crème de la crème, crêpe, cri de cœur, cul-de-sac, déclassé, décor, découpage, déjà vu, déjà entendu, déjà lu, démarche, demi-monde, dénouement, de nouveau, dérailleur, de règle, de rigueur, dernier cri, derrière, déshabillé, détente, de trop, diablerie, divertissement, dossier, double entendre, douceur de vivre, doyenne, dressage, droit du seigneur, du jour, eau de toilette, élan, émigré, éminence grise, enfant terrible, en bloc, en masse, ennui, en passant, en route, en suite, entente, entre nous, entrée, entrepreneur, escargots, écritoire, esprit de corps, exposé, extraordinaire, fait accompli, faute de mieux, faux, faux amis, faux pas, femme fatale, fiancé, fiancée, film noir, fils, fin de siècle, flambeau, flambé, flâneur, fleur de lis, folie à deux, force majeure, forte, gaffe, garçon, gauche, gaucherie, genre, glissade, Grand Prix, Grand Guignol, habitué, haute couture, haute cuisine, haute école, hauteur, haut monde, Honi soit qui mal y pense, hors de combat, hors-concours, hors d’œuvre, idée fixe, insouciant, ingénue, J’accuse, J’adoube, Je ne sais pas, Je-ne-sais-quoi, joie de vivre, je m’appelle …, l’affaire, a cause célèbre, laisser-faire, Laissez les bons temps rouler, Lamé, layette, la petite mort, l’esprit de l’escalier, L’état, c’est moi, liaison, Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité, littérateur, louche, macramé, maison, malaise, mal de mer, Mardi Gras, marque, matériel, mélange, mêlée, ménage à trois, Merci beaucoup!, Merde, métier, milieu, mirepoix, mise en place, mise en scène, moi, montage, motif, mousse, naïve, né, née, négligée, N’est-ce pas?, noblesse oblige, nom de guerre, nom de plume, nouveau, nouveau riche, nouvelle cuisine, objet d’art, œuvre, panache, papier-mâché, par excellence, pas de deux, passé, pastiche, patois, peignoir, père, petite, pièce de résistance, pièce d’occasion, pied-à-terre, plat de résistance, plat du jour, plus ça change, précis, prix fixe, portemanteau, poseur, prêt-à-porter, protégé, provocateur, Quel dommage!, Quelle horreur!, Qu’est-ce que c’est?, raconteur, raison d’être, rapport, rapprochement, recherché, résumé, rendez-vous, reparte, répertoire, reportage, restaurateur, risqué, roman à clef, roué, roux, sabotage, saboteur, Sacrebleu/Sacré bleu!, sang-froid, sans, sans-culottes, savant, savoir-faire, savoir-vivre, s’il vous plaît, si vous préférez, sobriquet, soi-disant, soigné, soirée, soupçon, soupe du jour, succès d’estime,table d’hôte, tableau vivant, tant mieux, tête-à-tête, toilette, touché, tour de force, très, trompe l’œil, utilise un traducteur, venue, vignette, vis-à-vis, Vive!, Vive la différence, Voilà! or Et voilà!, volte-face, Voulez-vous coucher avec moi (ce soir)?, voyeur, or—found only in English—auteur, cause célèbre, décolletage, double entendre, encore, faux pas, femme, le mot juste, maître d’, Répondez s’il vous plaît, succès de scandale, voir dire;
-          Spanish (amigo, adios, mosquito, piñata, vanilla);
-          Portuguese (albino, baroque, breeze, cobra, embarrass, fetish, marmalade, piranha, savvy, tank);
-          Romanian (pastrami);

Slavic:
-          Russian (bistro, mammoth, sable, steppe, taiga, vodka, tsar);
-          Ukrainian (babushka, borscht, Cossack, hetman, kasha)
-          Serbo-Croatian (cravat, vampire);
-          Czech (pistol, polka, robot);
-          Polish (kielbasa, mazurka, pierogi, polack, spruce, schav, szlachta);

Celtic:
-          Gaelic (trousers);
-          Irish (banshee, bog, bother, boycott, clan, dig, drum, galore, keen, loch, leprechaun, quiz, shanty, smashing, slob, slogan, spree, smithereens, whiskey, hooligan, slogan); also including Shelta; a cant based on Irish and English, with a primarily English-based syntax, spoken by some of the Irish Traveller people (phoney);
-          Welsh (bard, coracle, corgi, druid, flannel, flummery, penguin);

Basque:
-          (bizarre);

Greek:
-          (medical terminology; enthusiasm, hoi polloi, bible);

Iranian:
-          Persian/Farsi (paradise, bazaar, caravan, chess, pyjamas, salamander, shawl);
-          Kurdish (tiger);

Indic:
-          Hindi (bangle, bungalow, caravan, cot, cushy, dinghy, dungaree, jodhpur, shampoo, thug);
-          Urdū (sherbet/sorbet, Pakistani);
-          Sanskrit (avatar, bandana, cashmere, candy, cheetah, guru, jungle, juggernaut, karma, loot, mandarin, mantra, mother, musk, orange, pundit, sugar);

Finno-Ugric:
-          Hungarian (coach, sabre, goulash);
-          Finnish (sauna);

Turkic:
-          (via traders and soldiers from and in the Ottoman Empire and via Russian; baklava, balaclava, coffee, kiosk, caviar, Cossack, uhlan, yoghurt);

Semitic:
-          Hebrew (abacus, amen, Armageddon, Ashkenazi, Beelzebub, behemoth, cherub, golem, goy, jubilee, kibbutz, kosher, messiah, Sabbath, Satan, shibboleth; cider, cinnamon, camel, sack, sapphire);
-          Arabic (also via Spanish; admiral, adobe, albacore, albatross, alchemy, alcohol, alcove, alembic, algebra, algorithm, alkaline, almanac, arsenal, artichoke, apricot, assassin, average, Betelgeuse, carafe, caramel, caraway, chemistry, coffee, cotton, crimson, decipher, elixir, gerbil, jar, magazine, mascara, massage, mattress, monsoon, mummy, Muslim, nadir, racket, safari, saffron, sherbet/sorbet/syrup; soda, sofa);

Dravidian:
-          Tamil (curry, mulligatawny, cash, catamaran, pariah, anaconda);
-          Malayalam (mango, teak);
-          Kannada (mongoose);

Etruscan:
-          (antenna, area, autumn, belt, Caesar, ceremony, element, letter, palate, people, person, satellite, sentinel, serve, style, vernacular);

Chinese
-          (spread via the silk road, by missionaries, maritime trade route, early immigrants to the US, and colonisation of Shanghai and Hong Kong; chopstick, chow, feng shui, ginseng, ketchup 茄汁, kung fu, soy, Tai Chi, tea, tofu 豆腐, tycoon, typhoon, wok, zen);

Japanese:
-          (animé, tycoon, shogun, kimono);

Korean:
-          (Korea, taekwondo);

African:
-          West African (banana, cola, jumbo, okra, voodoo, zombie);
-          Fon (tango);
-          Bantu (banjo, chimpanzee, jazz, mamba, marimba);

Australian Aboriginal:
-          (budgerigar, dingo, kangaroo, koala, wallaby, wombat, boomerang);

Native American:
-          Algonquian (caribou, chipmunk, hickory, Eskimo, moccasin, moose, muskrat, opossum, pecan, raccoon, skunk, tomahawk, totem, wigwam, woodchuck);
-          Nahuatl (mainly via Spanish; avocado, Aztec, cocoa, chilli, chocolate, coyote, guacamole, mesquite, tomato);
-          Quechua (coca, cocaine, condor, llama, quinine);
-          Cariban (cannibal, canoe, hurricane, potato);
-          Arawakan (barbecue, iguana, hammock, hurricane, maize, tobacco);
-          Inuit (anorak, igloo, kayak);
-          Tupi (jaguar);
-          Utian (abalone);

Maya
-          (cigar)

Malayo-Polynesian:
-          Hawai`ian (ukulele, wiki);
-          Māori (kiwi);
-          Polynesian (taboo, tattoo);
-          Tagalog (boondocks, cogon, manila, yo-yo, cooties);
-          Indonesian (agar, gecko, gong, papaya, sago, satay);
-          Malay (Bahasa Melayu): amok, bamboo, cockatoo, compound, orangutan, paddy, sarong);

source: Paradowski, Michał B. (2007) Exploring the L1/L2 Interface. A Study of Polish Advanced EFL Learners. Institute of English Studies, University of Warsaw, pp. 241–6.


[1] Compiled using: generally accepted unabridged dictionaries: The Oxford English Dictionary (2nd Ed.) John Simpson & Edmund Weiner (Eds) 1989. Oxford: Oxford University Press. http://www.oed.com; Webster’s Third New International Dictionary, Unabridged. 2002. Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster Inc. http://unabridged.merriam-webster.com; Online Etymology Dictionary http://www.etymonline.com; Encyclopaedia Britannica Online http://www.britannica.com/eb/; Characteristics of Modern English vocabulary http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-74807/English-language; Encarta Online http://encarta.msn.com/dictionary/; The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language. 4th Ed. Pickett, Joseph P. et al. (Eds) 2000. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. www.bartleby.com/61/; http://dictionary.reference.com; http://www.reference.com/browse/wiki/; http://Answers.com; Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lists_of_English_words_of_international_origin
[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_language
[3] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_language