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A great number of words of French origin have entered the English language to the extent that many Latin words have come to the English language. According to different sources, 45% of all English words have a French origin. This fact suggests that 80,000 words should appear in this list; this list, however, only includes words imported directly from French, such as both and , and does not include derivatives formed in English of words borrowed from French, including , , , and . It also excludes both combinations of words of French origin with words whose origin is a language other than French — e. g.: , , , , , and — and English-made combinations of words of French origin — i. e.: ( + ,) ( + ,) , , , , , and . This list also excludes words that come from French but were introduced into the English language via a language other than French, which include , , , , , , , , , , , , , , and .
Although French is mainly from Latin (which accounts for about 60% of English vocabulary either directly or via a Romance language), it also includes words from Gaulish and Germanic languages (especially Old Frankish). Since English is of Germanic origin, words that have entered English from the Germanic elements in French might not strike the eye as distinctively from French. Conversely, as Latin gave many derivatives to both the English and the French languages, ascertaining that a given Latinate derivative did not come to the English language via French can be difficult in a few cases.
Most of the French vocabulary now appearing in English was imported over the centuries following the Norman Conquest of 1066, when England came under the administration of Norman-speaking peoples. William the Conqueror invaded the island of Britain, distributing lands and property to the Normans. As a result, French became the language of culture and the administration. The majority of the population of England continued to use their Anglo-Saxon language, but it was influenced by the language of the ruling elite, resulting in doublets. Consider for example the words for the meats eaten by the Anglo-Norman nobility and the corresponding animals raised by the Anglo-Saxon peasants: / , / , / , / , or pairs of words pertaining to different registers of language: / , / , / , / , / , / . Words of French origin often refer to more abstract or elaborate notions than their Anglo-Saxon equivalents (e.g. / , / ), and are therefore of less frequent use in everyday language. This may not, however, be the case for all English words of French origin. Consider, for example: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , and .
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