Language facts never fail to impress – partly because everyone speaks a language and can therefore appreciate their quirks and nuances. The English language is the second most widely spoken language in the world after Mandarin and is the most popular second language to learn. Wherever you go in the world, you are guaranteed to meet people that speak English and while it might not seem to hard to learn, it is full of crazy abnormalities.
Now, you don’t need to be a fluent English speaker to be able to appreciate a fun fact about the language. Here are some cool facts about the English language that you can use to impress your friends around the world!
- “The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog” is called a pangram, which means that it contains one of every letter in the alphabet.
- The longest word in the English language is ‘pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis’. It contains 45 letters and is a lung disease caused by inhaling too much sand and ash.
- Queueing is the only word in the entire English language that has five vowels in a row – but you only actually pronounce a couple of them.
- Roughly one new word is added to the English language every two hours, meaning the language is constantly evolving and expanding.
- English is the language of the skies. No matter what the airline or where the plane has taken off from, pilots will always communicate with one another and with ground control in English.
- Ironically, the most mispronounced word in the English language is actually pronunciation.
- The letter E is the most commonly used letter in the English language – in fact around 11% of English is just the letter E and it is used roughly once in every eight letters.
- Over the course of history, we have had some very specific words come into existence. For example, in Tudor English, a gandermooner was a man who flirted with other women while his wife was recovering from childbirth.
- The word SWIMS will still read as SWIMS even when you turn it upside down (provided you write it in block capitals).
- You should be thankful you never had to learn about anenneacontakaienneagon in geometry because it is a real killer to pronounce. It means a shape with 99 sides.
- The shortest complete sentence in the English language is “I am”.
- A crutch word is a word that we add into a sentence for no reason and contributes nothing to the value of the sentence. “Like” is a particularly common crutch word.
- Due to printing errors in dictionaries, there is such a thing as ghost word. These words appear in the dictionary without definition and are removed once they are spotted. The word “dord” was in the dictionary for eight years!
- The word “girl” used to be a general word for a child, regardless of their gender.
- The longest word in the English language with just one syllable is “screeched”.