I am trying to clarify my thinking about English word origins. It seems as if:

  1. Many (most? all?) English words originate in another language.
  2. Some that come from other languages are used regularly by English speakers, and have been for some time, yet are not considered English words (ski, spaghetti, for instance).
  3. Others that come from other languages are considered English words (happy from Old Norse, say, or signal from Latin).

So, how does one know if a word is English or not? Or, to put it another way, what makes one word English and another not when both are in common English usage?

Is it that words that come down the Germanic/Anglo Saxon/Old English branch are English and the rest are not? If so, wouldn't that mean that the large majority (some 75%) of English words are not English?

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