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Lindsey asked in Science & MathematicsZoology · 1 decade ago

Where do most of the words (ie. the root words) in science come from? What languages (in order of most comon)?

I know a lot comes from latin? but what are the other most common languages for science words (such as the root/ base word)...for example I know the word homo (as in homosapian) comes form latin and means man. But homo (as in a homogeneous mixture,or mixture that is the same throughout) comes from the greek language and means "same". I know if you looked long enough you could find the science words came from almost every language, but where are most of the words from. I am asking because I want to go into the science field and I am choosing my languages next week for high school. I think I want to study biology and specialize in genetics. If not I am defiantly going into some type of science. So what languages are good to take...

I am already taking spanish just because it is useful to know in general...but I can take up to 3 languages throughout High School. I just wanna take one or two years of each (besides spanish, I am taking all 4 years...and then some), just to help me on the SATs and in general, but mostly for science.

What language(s) do most base/root words (found in science) originate from?

3 Answers

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Latin and Greek are the two most common source languages for scientific terms but it hardly pays to take them. What you need are the languages in which people are publishing. English leads the list but that won't help you any. German probably comes next and is possibly third, after Latin and Greek as a source of root words. Sometimes the German word has no English equivalent. When I took my language exams, I was wondering what I would do if I ever had to translate "anlage"; there is no English word to use. The closest I could come was the French "ebauche". Luckily, the problem never arose.

    Back to you. Spanish is good. German will help. I took French. Some people are in fields, such as ichthyology, in which there is a large literature in Russian. It varies with what you want to do. Generally two languages will get you through graduate school.

  • 1 decade ago

    Most taxonomy, physiology, chemistry, and biology verbage is of Latin origin, as are a majority of languages of Europe and the Americas, so Latin is your best option if you seek a future in the science field. With Spanish and English, you've probably already found many linguistic similarities which help you relate a Spanish word to its English meaning and visa versa, as they are Latin based languages.

  • 1 decade ago

    I think it goes Greek, and then Latin. Greek is used more in physics ( like muon, ana and kata, anything ending in -techno, -tachy, -logy, )

    Latin shows up more in the natural sciences, like biology, b/c most of that was done during the Age of Enlightenment, when the Europeans were using Latin for their taxonomy (Greek word!)

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