The Latin Invasions of English

"When all is said and done,
something sticks in the Barbarians."

—Rudyard Kipling

We need a practical education, an education that will be valid in the unforeseen and unforeseeable future. There are many possible forms, but all must include mathematics and Latin. Of the 100 most commonly used words in English, only 10 or so come from Latin. Of all English words, however—over a million in the latest dictionaries—more than half are of Latin origin and those of Greek origin take up most of what remains. For a job where you need to use only the most commonly used words, Latin is unnecessary. Those who are planning on careers in law, medicine, or the other professions will find it useful.

How did such a situation, at first sight a rather unnatural one, come about? It is a story of some interest, one I like to call the Latin Invasions of English. The island of England, you see, was Britain and spoke Latin long before it ever heard the voices of the Germanic ancestors of modern English. Julius Caesar tried to invade Britain twice in the 50's of the last century B.C. The account in his Commentaries is so brilliant that one hardly notices that two invasions followed by two retreats represent defeat, not victory. It was a 100 years before another Roman tried to conquer Britain, and then it was the Emperor Claudius. Claudius was not...

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