Latin influence on English language after Renaissance

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      Latin influenced English a great deal. Latin words that were taken over by the English during the old English period may be divided into two categories - those that were taken before Christianity and those that were taken after. Some of the important Latin words which the forefathers of the English borrowed when they were still on the continent are camp, wine, cheese, pea, plum etc. It is to be noted that even before the English had been converted to Christianity they had a few Latin Christian words - as for example Church.

Latin influenced English a great deal. Latin words that were taken over by the English during the old English period may be divided into two categories - those that were taken before Christianity and those that were taken after.
Latin influence

      But the Latin influence as a result of the Renaissance has a peculiar significance. It embodies especially abstract or scientific words, adopted through the medium of writing and never attaining to the same degree of popularity as words belonging to the older strata. But here Greek elements were more than the Latin elements. Greek words, however, came into English through Latin and have at any rate been latinised in spelling and endings. Some of the Greek words borrowed in the 16th century are alphabet, chorus, dilemma, genius, circus, exit etc. The 17th century gave dogma, hyphen, museum, orchestra etc. Latin and Greek words continued to enrich the English language through the centuries. Greek words bathos, philander, acrobat, agnostic and Latin words apparatus, bounds, deficit, bacillus, ego, opus, referendum entered into the English language.

      The first thing to be noticed about this class of Latin importations is that it cannot be definitely separated from the French loan-words. A great many words are ascribed to Latin and French, especially grave, gravity, consolation, position, etc. It is a curious thing that during and after Renaissance quite a number of French words were re modelled into closer resemblance with their Latin originals. Perfet and Parfet were the normal English forms for centuries but the 'c' was introduced from the Latin at first in spelling only but afterwards in pronunciation. Verdit has given way to verdict. Latin prefix ad has changed the middle English avis and aventure as advice and adventure.

      Intricate relations between French and Latin are shown in derivatives - colour is from French but in discoloration, the second syllable is made from Latin. Machine, achinery are from French but machinate and: machination are from Latin; Certainty (Fr) - certitude (L) although different in sense

      It is interesting to see what proportion of the Latin vocabulary has passed into English. Imported Latin words did not always conform with the rules of Latin nunciation or with the exact classical meaning - as for example, Enormous (L, Enormis-irregular); climax (Greek, Klinax - udder) etc.

      With the revival of classical learning people began to suspect new vistas in art and science and so classical words with their ideas were adopted. But in course of time the ideas derived from classical learning proved insufficient, yet the people drew on the Latin and Greek vocabulary to find words to accord with new ideas. It is seen extensively in the nomenclature of modern science in which hundreds of botanical, biological and other terms have been framed from Latin and Greek roots.

      A number of words that belong to the vocabulary of ordinary life have been coined more or less exactly on classical analogies - for example, such modern coinages as eventual with eventuality, fragmental, primal, fixation, etc. There are formations in - ism, e g, alienism, classicism, realism, individualism; formations in - ist, e. g. determinist, economist, individualist.

      Authors sometimes coin quasi-classic words - viduous, macular viparious etc. Latin hybrids are seen as much as French hybrids The ending - action is found in starvation. Johnsoniana, Miltoniana are quite modern. In - ist, we have walkist. Hybrids in - ism abound, heathenism Among verbal formations must be mentioned those in - ize for example, womanize, Londonize, etc.

      Latin and Greek prepositions nave in recent times been extensively used to form new words: Ex-ex-king, ax-headmaster, Anti the anti-taxation movement; Inter - intermingle, intermix, etc. International was coined by Bentham in 1780, Pre - the Pre - Danwinian explanations. Other prepositions used in this way are anti-antichamber. Pro - Pro-vicechancellor, etc. Latin has influenced English not only in vocabulary but also in style and syntax. The absolute principle was introduced in imitation of the Latin construction (everything considered). This construction was not naturalised in England till 1660 when English prose style developed a new phase and which was saturated with classical elements. Some other Latin idioms and constructions such as 'to do what service am I sent for hither ?' comes as a result of the Latin influence. The omission of the relative pronoun is found almost in all the writings of Milton and Shakespeare as well as of Addison, Tennyson, etc. But it is in deference to Latin syntax that Dryden changed such phrases of the age I live in' into 'of the age in which I live'.

      English vocabulary is rich chiefly because of its adopted French and Latin words. Mental laziness and regard to the momentary convenience led the English to retain the Latin words and give them only English terminations. It is surprising how many pairs English have of native nouns and foreign adjectives; mouth-oral; eye - ocuiar, mind-mental; English proper names and their latinised adjectives e. g, Dorset: Dorsetian; Oxford: Oxonian, etc. English has a number of endings: -en, -y, -ish. English possesses not a few native adjectives by the side of more learned ones, e.g fatherly, paternal, etc. The Germanic languages combine the two ideas into a compound noun. It is really contrary to the genius of the language to use an adjective at all. Birthday is much more English than natal - day eyeball than ocular globe. The unnaturalness of forming Latin adjectives is shown by the vacillation often found between different endings: feudatory, feudatary: festive, festal, etc.

      The richness of English language manifests itself in its great number of synonyms. There are words of exactly the same meaning and words with nearly the same meaning. The latter class is important as if allows speakers to express subtle shades of meaning. Juvenile does not signify the same thing as youthful, ponderous as weighty, miserable as wretched. Sometimes the Latin word is used in a more limited and special sense than the English word, as is seen by a comparison of identical and same; science and knowledge. Homicide is the learned, abstract word for man - slaughter. The Latin masculine is more abstract than the English manly. These examples suffice to illustrate the synonyms relations between classical and other words.

      However, even if there is no real difference in the value of two words, the existence of the synonyms enables an author to avoid a trivial repetition of the same word and this gives felicity to style. These synonyms are of great help to the poets. Poets often find the sonorous Latin words better for their purposes than the short native ones. The use of Latin words in prose gives dignity and majesty to the style. It is often said that the classical elements are commendable on the score of international intelligibility. But for national convenience, 'to wire' is preferable 'to telegraph'. It is proper to have popular rather than learned names. Sleeplessness is more important than insomnia.

      Another drawback is shown in the relation between emit and immit, emerge and immerge, etc. While in Latin emitto and immitto, emergo and immergo were easily kept apart, because the vowels were distinct and double consonants were rigorously pronounced double and so kept apart from single ones, the natural English pronunciation will confound them, just as it confounds the first syllables of immediate and emotion. A still greater drawback arises from the two meanings of initial 'in' which is sometimes the negative prefix and sometimes the preposition. The first syllable of inebriety is the preposition in - so, that it means the same thing as the rare ebriety drunkenness. But T. Hook mistook it for the negative prefix and so, substracting in - made ebriety meaning sobriety.

      Loan-words do not necessarily make a language inharmonious. Borrowings have enriched English language. But such set of words as intellectual or latitudinarian, father paternal - parricide are out of harmony with the central part of the language. The adoption of learned words entails difficulty of pronunciation. Dr. Murray relates how he once heard in a meeting the word Gaseous pronounced in six different ways by six eminent physicians. The worst thing is that these learned words never become democratic. With these learned words, educated class wilfully make the language complicated. Johnson is the example in regard to the use of learned words in literary style.

      To sum up, the classical words adopted since the Renaissance have enriched the language and increased its synonyms. But much of it is superfluous and has stunted the growth of native formations. The international currency of many words is not a full compensation for their want of harmony with the core of the language and for the undemocratic character of the vocabulary. The composite character of the language gives variety and precision to the style of the literary masters and also encourages an inflated style. Therefore it is right to hold that the influence from the classical languages is something between a hindrance and a help.

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