10 Weird Things About the English Language

English is known for being one of the hardest languages to learn. For all of its rules, there are even more exceptions which makes learning this language difficult for non-native speakers. Here are some weird and interesting facts about the language, but if you want to learn even more, don’t forget to explore our English courses available in fantastic destinations!

1| There are an estimated 2.5 billion words in the Oxford English Corpus

The Oxford English Corpus is a collection of 21st-century texts from the internet from sources all over the English-speaking world, including Canada, New Zealand, and South Africa. It is being used to track the way the English language changes over time.

2| The average person only knows about 50,000 words

This might be because words like ‘and’, ‘the’ and ‘I’ make up 25% of the language.

3| Words have lifespans ranging between 1,000 and 20,000 years

Researchers can even predict that words like ‘dirty’, ‘push’ and ‘stick’ will die out soon, based on how different the word is in multiple languages.

4| A new word is created approximately every 98 minutes

That adds up to over 4,000 words per year!

5| Over 50 countries use English as an official language

Aside from the U.S., U.K., and Australia, these countries include Singapore, Ghana, and India.

6| A word spelled the same backwards and forwards is called a palindrome

Palindromes include words like racecar, level, and kayak.

7| Dictionaries sometime publish made-up words by mistake

The word ‘dord’ was accidentally printed in Webster’s dictionary in 1934 and stayed there until 1947.

8| The oldest known word is ‘who’

It dates back more than 20,000 years. The next oldest words are ‘I’, ‘we’, ‘two’ and ‘three’.

9| The dot on lower case letters ‘i’ and ‘j’ is called a tittle

The original definition of the word ‘tittle’ was used to describe a tiny amount of something.

10| Words that we repeat often are called ‘crutch words’

We use them even though they don’t add much meaning to our sentences. These include words like ‘basically’, ‘actually’, or ‘honestly’.

 

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