This section is from the book "Bepler's Handy Manual of Knowledge And Useful Infomation", by David Bepler. Also available from Amazon: Bepler's Handy Manual of Knowledge and Useful Information.
It is said that the various nations of the earth speak about eighty-eight different dialects, but these can be traced to a much smaller number of languages, which again are all referred by the philosophers to three classes: 1. The Indo-Germanic embracing the ancient classical languages as well as those of modern Europe. 2. The Sanscrit embracing all the varieties of India. 3. The Semitic including Hebrew and Arabic.
Of old languages the Hebrew is the oldest, the most poetic ; the Latin the most copious and sonorous; the Greek the most impressive and sublime. These three are generally called the dead languages.
Modern Languages : The Chinese is the most difficult; the Italian the softest, the Spanish the most pompous, the French the most polite and passionate, and the most copious and energetic.
The English language contains 26 letters ; German 26 ; French 25 ; Hebrew 22; Chaldee 22 ; Syric 22 ; Greek 24 ; Latin 25 ; Spanish 27 ; Italian 20; Arabic 28 ; Persian 31 ; Moscovite 43 ; Turkish 33; Georgian 36 ; Copic 32 ; Sclavonic 27 ; Dutch 26 ; Ethiopic 222 ; Tartarian 222 ; Bengal, India 21 ; Brachman 19; Sanscrit 28.
The French language has about 32,000 words ; the Spanish 30,000; the Italian 35,000; and the German 37,000.
The English language consists of above 40,000 words and is continually increasing its stock. It is said to contain about 20,000 Saxon words, with about 9,000 of Latin or Norman origin and about 1,500 of Greek derivation, together with the German, Welsh, Danish, Arabic, Hebrew, etc.
In English the scientific words are mostly from the Greek; terms of Art from the French, Latin and Italian and names of places and rivers and most of the particles from the Saxon.