Just came across this in McWhorter’s The Power of Babel
Out of all of the words in the Oxford English Dictionary, however, no less than ninety-nine percent were taken from other languages. The relative few that trace back to Old English itself are also sixty two percent of the words most used.
I know that McWhorter is given to exaggeration at times, but is this one of them?
He also argues that there is no other language with as many loan words. Reason? Three “earthquakes” he says,
1. The Viking invasion of 787 adding to Old English, Old Norse.
2. The Norman invasion of 1066 who were the Vikings again (Norsemen), but now they’ve learned French. They introduced some 7500 words.
3. The Latinate layer added because English began being used as a language of learning.
thus earthquakes 2 and 3 make the Romance languages more accessible to English speakers and German and Dutch and related non-Romance languages all the more difficult.