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February 22, 2013
Q. If the English language were a cake, what etymological languages would be its major ingredients? The flour? Sugar? Butter? Milk?
A. Think of this as a much simplified view of language, according to Anu Garg's A.Word.A.Day at Wordsmith.org: The batter would have Germanic flour, and Norse, French and Latin origins would constitute the sugar, butter and milk. Atop the icing would be little flourishes of Arabic, Chinese, Spanish, Hindi, and dozens of others. In fact, “the recipe for the making of the English language takes hundreds of ingredients, thousands of years of messy hodgepodge, and it goes on forever — it's still in the oven. A language is never finished, unless it's a dead language.”
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