English is a fascinating language. Created from many different languages and even some errors, today this language is spoken by over 1 billion people worldwide. Even with such an extensive network of people speaking and using the language everyday, hardly anyone uses all the words at their disposable and in fact most native speakers wouldn’t even know what half of the words in the dictionary mean.
1. The Longest Word Is 45 Letters Long
The longest word in the English language is pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis. This 45 letter word is the name of a rare lung disease. The second longest word is floccinaucinihilipilification which means the estimation of something as worthless. And the third is antidisestablishmentarianism meaning opposition to the disestablishment of the English church. However, the longest word with all the letters in alphabetical order is aegilops. And the longest word with the letters in reverse alphabetical order is spoonfeed.
2. There Are “Ghost Words” In The Language
Not words to describe ghosts, but words you’ve never heard of that actually originated from printing errors. These words include dord which made an appearance in the 20th century because of a printing error.
3. Every 98 Minutes A New Word Is Added To The Dictionary
The lexicon is constantly growing. So much so that a new word is added to the dictionary every 98 minutes. Most recently words such as normie, selfy and swag have been added to the dictionary. In total approximately 4000 words are added to the dictionary annually, imagine the possibilities of how many new words can be created in just 365 days!
4. The Shortest Sentence Is “I am”
The shortest sentence in the English language consists of only two words. But if you’re really looking for interesting and fascinating sentences look no further than this pangram:
“My girl wove six dozen plaid jackets before she quit”
This sentence contains every letter in the English language. Another equally fascinating sentence would be this sentence that makes us of the word “that” eleven times but still makes perfect sense.
“It is true for all that that that that that that that refers to is not the same that that that that refers to”.
5. In 79 Countries and Territories English is an Official Language
Although it may not be the only language spoken (or even the only official language) English has become a language of trade, modernisation and opportunity. As a result many countries and territories have chosen to make English an official language. Growing the population of English speakers (native and non-native) to approximately 1.5 billion people worldwide.
6. English Isn’t The Official Language of Australia, UK or the US
While it is an official language in 79 countries English isn’t the official language of these English countries. Although these countries are known for English, since many other languages are spoken in these regions English is yet to become the official language, although it is the defacto language.
7.There Was No Word For Orange Until the 16th Century
If you know the colours of the rainbow you’ll know that it follows a specific pattern, ROYGBIV. Which stands for red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. Unfortunately it wasn’t until the 16th century that there was a word for the colour orange, making describing a rainbow and any other yellow tinged red colour impossible before then.
8. 10 Words Make Up 25% Of Our Vocabulary
Although there are over 600 000 words in the English language we hardly use most of them. In fact 10 words make up a quarter of the average English vocabulary. These are: Be, The, Of, To, A, And, In, Have, That, and I.
In addition 11% of our vocabulary is filled with the letter E.
9. The Suffix “ough” Has So Many Different Pronunciations
There aren’t many parts of words that have as many pronunciations as ough. Think drought, ought and Scarborough. Just have a look at this sentence:
A rough coated, dough faced, thoughtful ploughman waltzed in Scarborough where he fell into a slough, he coughed and hicoughed.
10. Shakespeare Has Made A Major Impact on English
William Shakespeare has added over 1000 words to the English language, words that include dwindle, critic and bandit. In todays society Shakespeare would be an influencer, his prolific writing skills being affirmed in day to day activities.