why do germanic languages love to borrow words.

kenshin himura   Tue Jul 17, 2007 2:26 am GMT
i have a curiosity about why the germanic languages like to borrow words from the romance languages? is there anything special about them or just because they are the " THE ROMANCE LANGUAGES" CAN SOMEBODY REPLY!!
furrykef   Tue Jul 17, 2007 2:43 am GMT
All languages like to borrow words to some extent. Romance languages borrow many words from English, too.
die Wahrheit   Tue Jul 17, 2007 4:27 am GMT
kenshin himura...

When any language encounters something new, they have three choices.

1) They can come up with a new word for it.
2) They can borrow and use another language's word for it.
3) They can create a hybrid of their language and the other language.

There are three groups of languages in the Germanic language family (Northern/Western/Eastern). The two major groups are the Western and Northern Germanic languages.

The Western group, which includes English and modern German (high/low)...actually resisted the Romance languages for a while. The Romans never really got to influence them like they wanted to. It wasn't until Christianity came in a few hundred years later that they really started borrowing heavily from Vulgar Latin. Of all the Germanic languages, these have the least amount of borrowings.

English is a unique language...it is a 50/50 mix of Germanic and Italic influences. So it is usually best to talk about this separately because it always starts an argument here between those who like Romance languages and those who like Germanic languages.

The Northern Germanic languages which include languages like Swedish, Danish, and Norwegian have a slightly different history. When Christianity took over the Scandinavian countries, their language went through huge changes. They were really behind the curve living in such linguistic isolation...they changed their language to accommodate their new religion. It wasn't until later they started to look to German for more Germanic roots...

One last thing that should be brought up is that while Germanic languages do barrow from other languages...a lot of languages borrow from Germanic languages. In fact, if you look up the word origins of word you might be surprised at the number of words that come have Germanic origins.
Travis   Tue Jul 17, 2007 5:27 am GMT
The thing that people very frequently forget is that lexicon is but one aspect of a language; in the case of English, while there has been a large number of Romance, Latinate, and Greek loans, such has not really affected anything but lexicon and derivational morphology. Such borrowing really has not affected the other aspects of English, such as phonology, inflectional morphology, and syntax (aside from a few exceptions), which is something that is very commonly overlooked.
OïL   Tue Jul 17, 2007 11:26 pm GMT
Je crois même que les langues romanes empruntent autant et plus!

Simple exemple qui me vient à l'esprit: le mot "ville" est français, mais les adjectifs "urbain" et "municipal" sont des emprunts savants au latin, aussi exotiques en français que "urban" peut l'être en anglais.

En allemand par contre, on a l'adj. 'städtisch', et pour 'conseil municipal' on a selon les cas 'Gemeinderat' ou 'Stadtrat', qui ne font appel qu'à des racines indigènes très transparentes.