Word Origins

Language; the way in which we communicate with one another, can be an important factor in how we form and shape personal relationships and the way in which we develop social structures.

We all might wonder about the origins of human language or how people first communicated with one another.  There are many theories, however, we may never have a conclusive answer to this question.


By contrast the origin of individual languages has been the subject of very precise study over the past two centuries.There are about 5000 languages spoken in the world today (a third of them in Africa), but scholars group them together into relatively few families – probably less than twenty. Languages are linked to each other by shared words or sounds or grammatical constructions. The theory is that the members of each linguistic group have descended from one language, a common ancestor. In many cases that original language is judged by the experts to have been spoken in surprisingly recent times – as little as a few thousand years ago.

 (History World)

You can read through the Collins Dictionary’s Origins of Words list to have an idea of the cultural diversity of the words we use, and explore the OED Timelines  for discovering when words entered the English language.


Academic Vocabulary

‘Many words in academic vocabulary are of Latin origin because institutions of higher learning in England used Latin, while English, a Germanic language, was used in more everyday settings.

Academic vocabulary, is very different from that of the English used day to day.  Academic vocabulary tends to be multisyllabic, comprised of morphemes, or word parts, each of which carry meaning.  Conversational vocabulary on the other hand; because it is more contextualized, relies less on the words carrying meaning than academic vocabulary.’

(How To Teach Intermediate and Advanced Learners Like a Pro)

Latin is still used in the creation of new words in modern languages of many different families, including English’



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