Does English have more vocabulary than Italian?

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saskiax
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I've seen a film before where the character said a word like "sorrowful" or "dismal" and it was translated in the Italian subtitles as "triste" which just means "sad," which isn't very descriptive. So we do we have more words for the same word than in Italian?
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LuigiMario
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Good question, (living near Milan)...I guess it was just that film translator being not very poetic

Looking at Google translations of: triste (adjective)

sad
(Similar: triste, mesto, doloroso, malinconico, addolorato, afflitto)

unhappy
(Similar: infelice, triste, lasso)

dismal
(Similar: triste, lugubre, tetro, squallido)


So there are poetic options in beautiful italian, [and whilst I speak ok Italian with a British accent, written Italian is rather harder, more grammatical than oral, and does have a wide choice of words, many of which I am still surprised by, from time to time]

But. I think your original question is actually valid, that English DOES have more words, and I base this analysis on the debatable origins of English as a trading communications language across the ancient Danelaw boundary (a political boundary was agreed between King Alfred of Wessex and King Guthrum of the Danes in the late-9th century AD)

(Info from etc. http://www.viking.no/e/england/danel....htm?showall=1 )

I bet you never thought your answer would end-up in Norway!
“because Old Norse and Old English(Anglo-Saxon) had different rules of grammar, it could lead to confusion (across the Danelaw) between it being one horse, or more than one horse, that was for sale. Many everyday incidents like this made it necessary for both languages to come together and be simplified so that there was no risk of confusion.

Vikings affected the language spoken throughout England and, today, we can identify many words which were 'loaned' to English by Old Norse, such as 'knife', 'take', 'window', 'egg', 'ill' and 'die'. There are probably about six hundred more 'loan' words of this kind in modern Standard English.


But it didn’t stop there - from about 1066 for the next 300 years, Britain was invaded by Normans (French vikings), we already had words for “sheep” and “cows”, but the Norman aristocracy – who usually only saw these animals on the plate – introduced mouton (mutton) and boeuf (beef).

Today, nearly thirty percent of English words come from French! Modern English is commonly thought of as a West Germanic language with lots of French and, thanks to the centuries of teachings by the church, Latin influence, but it has a lot of Viking/Norwegian words too, especially around Yorkshire...

forse era così, piuttosto affascinante, per la storia dell'ampiezza della lingua inglese, Grazie per la tua domanda.
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