Kenneth H. answered 08/20/12
Reading/Study Skills, English and ESL
Many words stem from Latin, and they will be very similar in sound, spelling, and pronunciation. French, Spanish, and English fall into this particular situation. Plus, as time changes, so do words. There are more words put into the English dictionary every year, and many of them stemming from another language.
English is Germonic in origion not Latin. I took a Cultural Anthropology class in college that studied the origion of languages and it maped many of the languages used in the precent in Europe and Asia, English is thought to have had a Germonic origion. While some of the words were derived from Latin when the Roman Empire invaded the British Ilse, the root of the langege can be traced to the Germonic langueges.
Sarah, you're correct that English is classified as a Germanic language by comparative linguists and the Roman invasion of Britain has had quite the effect in lending vocabulary. I would recommend searching for 'the History of English in Ten Minutes' as openlearn.edu provides a brief, humorous account of how words came into English usage.
I would add, however, that while English is classified as a Germanic language, both Germanic languages and Romance (Latin-based) languages are part of the Indo-European family. If you do an image search for Indo-European languages you will quickly find pictures of a language 'tree' which shows linguists' conclusion that Germanic languages are so related to Romance languages -- to fully support these conclusions would require other materials which I could not fit into this space.
Dianne R.Too complicated of an answer. More info than asked.