Latin contribution?

Robin Hamilton robin.hamilton2 at BTINTERNET.COM
Mon Nov 16 22:44:45 UTC 2009

> There are certainly Roman Empire borrowings into Germanic, like
> kitchen, pepper, mint, etc., but I don't know of any into British
> Celtic before the fifth c. that survived the Germanic invasion.
> Herb

Baugh, _A History of the English Language_ (1959), p. 93 suggests that apart
from place names, less than five words result from secondary transmission of
Latin through Celtic to English.  He lists "ceaster" (Latin "castra", a
camp), "port", "munt" (mountain), "torr" (tower, rock), and "wic" (village).

In contrast, he says (p. 91), "some fifty words from Latin can be credited
... to the ancestors of the English in their continental homes."  So fifty
words in the English lexis are derived from Latin during the Common Germanic
period, and reach us from there.

Still miles behind the French influence, which Baugh discusses on pp. 200
ff.  In all three cases, we're talking about contact borrowing (would that
be the correct term?) rather than the sort of literary/literate borrowing
that occurred from Latin in the Renaissance period.

(I used Baugh's text as an undergraduate at Glasgow many years ago, and see
I had underlined most of the words.  For some reason.)

Robin Hamilton

The American Dialect Society -

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