12% of the English language has Greek origin (source Wiki). Over 50.000 English words derived from the Greek language ! You surely ask yourself why so many Greek words used in English language are exisiting! Let’s see what is greek influence on English language…
Christianity’s arrival in the 6th century permitted the addition of Greek words into English language. The Greek language became the predominant source of the international scientific vocabulary. It contributes to English vocabulary in the huge number of scientific, medical and technical neologisms coined by compunding roots and affixes to produce new words in English in order to serve modern needs (in every domain as the communication & significations, ideas and various successes of technological civilization)
Here are the greek words, greek etymological doublets and greek word elements that are still productive as a base for English novel words :
- Ancient greek words in English language : physics, chaos, martial, echo… etc
- Ancient greek roots of english words totally new : anthropology, chronical, democracy, philosophy… etc
- Coinages of classical Greek affixes with other roots or not: anarchy, autosarcasm, biotope, geography, ideogram, microscope, television, antichoice
- Greek suffixes list creating english words : biology, biography, thermometer, geometry, agoraphobia, telephone, fascistic
- English words borrow words from Modern greek : bouzouki
Without knowing it, an average good educated English or American speaker use about 5% of the words coming directly from Greek and 25% indirectly (if we count modern coinages from Greek roots as Greek) ! It is really huge ! In that way, we must recognize that Greek language played a large part in the evolution of European language and then west worlwide languages.
The Mycenaean greeks (1.500 BC) gave us the first today words (for example anthrope), then on the 9th century BC, Homer with Iliad and the Odyssey gave us the oldest existant words of European literature. The Ancient greek of Greek philosphers lays down our attitude that can lead to success and happiness. Koine Greek language shed Christian light on us with translated hebrew bible and Medieval Greek kept it bright within European borders.
It is a deep European inheritage starting 3.500 years ago we can be proud of.