2. The English Language Is 30% French
French and English don’t share the same language roots. However, France and Britain have had multiple interactions, and as result, certain words were borrowed by speakers from both countries. France’s influence on the English language began with the Norman conquest of Britain in the 11th Century. It still continues today, as trade and exchange between France and the Anglo-Saxon world remains active.
This has long-lasting consequences on the English language. An estimated 30% of English words are borrowed from French, making French, as well as Latin, the most influential language in English. Most of these words look the same and have the same meaning, such as ‘banana’/’banane’, ‘tiger’/tigre’. But others are misleading: linguists call them ‘false cognates’, words that look similar but differ in meaning (like ‘library’/‘librairie’, which means ‘book store’ in French).