More on the centrifuge

The last few weeks I was totally absorbed by the Olympic Games, which accounted for the absence of new posts on this blog. Now I would like to go back to a topic we discussed earlier. In A natural centrifuge in English, we took a look at the general tendency in English to delay a heavy element until the end of the sentence. In the article, we looked at examples which apparently merely exchange the positions of two elements,

1. This house has a broken window.
2. This house has a window broken by a fallen tree nearby.

but the tendency is actually more profound than this.

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Never have I noticed this!

English is a Germanic language, it shares a common ancestor with languages like German, Dutch, Norwegian, Swedish and Icelandic. However, despite this Germanic origin, English has been heavily influenced by two other languages, namely Latin and French, due to the ruling of England by the Romans in the first century and by the Normans, who spoke a dialect of French, in the 11th. It is estimated that about 70% of all English words ultimately have their roots from Latin or French (which is itself a descendant of Latin). As a result, Present Day English (PDE) is vastly different from other Germanic languages such as German.

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A natural centrifuge in English

A centrifuge is a machine that makes use of the centrifugal force to separate the different substances in a mixture. After the process, the lighter substances float on the top, whereas the heavier substances sink to the bottom. Surprisingly, a similar process also happens in English.

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