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English has hit the Billion mark

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English has hit the Billion mark

Postby Bailey » Wed Apr 26, 2006 12:05 pm


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Postby anders » Thu Apr 27, 2006 12:17 pm

From http://www.languagelog.com/ Numerous journalists have already swallowed the absurdly specious claim that the English language is going to add its millionth word some time later this year. But doesn't "one million" sound a little paltry? Well, never fear. Today the Associated Press trumpets even bigger news:

"English Language Hits 1 Billion Words"

Do I hear a trillion?

languagelog has much more on this.
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Postby Perry » Fri Apr 28, 2006 8:46 am

It is wonderfull to have so many words to choose from, and yet "Today, more than 750 million people use the English language. An average educated person knows about 20,000 words and uses about 2,000 words in a week."
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Postby William » Fri Jun 09, 2006 6:01 pm

Anders wrote:

Numerous journalists have already swallowed the absurdly specious claim that the English language is going to add its millionth word some time later this year. But doesn't "one million" sound a little paltry?



The Story of English, 3rd revised addition, page 10 starting at line 3, authors Robert McCrum, Robert MacNeil and William Cran:

The statistics of English are astonishing. Of all the world's languages (which now number some 2,700), it is arguably the richest in vocabulary. The compendious Oxford English Dictionary lists about 500,000 words; and a further half-million technical and scientific terms remain uncatelogued.


Maybe the claim of 1,000,000 words is not so specious after all.

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Re: English has hit the Billion mark

Postby Huny » Sat Jun 10, 2006 4:43 am

Bailey wrote:Check this out
English Language Hits 1 Billion Words

mark


Now I know why my friends from other countries say Americans talk to much, it's because we can! I'm interested in what BD has to say on this subject. :wink:
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Postby Brazilian dude » Sat Jun 10, 2006 1:18 pm

I agree. English really has lots of words, many more than any other language that I have studied. I think it's partly to be ascribed to the different sources that have contributed to the language, Old English, Latin, French, etc. A lot of times the same concept can be expressed using a Germanic, a Latin or a French word. But again what is a word? Сan the 60-odd different verb conjugations we have for the same verb be counted as a word? Can masculine plural, feminine singular and feminine plural also be counted as words? I don't know.

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Postby Bailey » Sat Jun 10, 2006 1:46 pm

I have email friends in many countries, I feel sorry for them trying to learn English like we speak it becase our idioms are such a part of our language, I find this a lot while writing to these friends I try to write without all our goofy idioms so they can understand, but many have become established usage and fair game for communication in normal discourse. Off hand I can't think of any good examples but when conversing or 'rapping' with a foreign friend I can.

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who never uses the word rapping anyway :oops:

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Postby frank » Sat Jun 10, 2006 2:40 pm

Brazilian dude wrote:Сan the 60-odd different verb conjugations we have for the same verb be counted as a word? Can masculine plural, feminine singular and feminine plural also be counted as words? I don't know.

If so, then i wouldn't like to start counting the billions of words in Turkish or Finnish...

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Postby Bailey » Sat Jun 10, 2006 2:57 pm

don't forget that be, were and am are all the same word too.we just use combos for the rest of the conjugations.

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Postby Huny » Sat Jun 10, 2006 5:17 pm

Brazilian dude wrote:I agree. English really has lots of words, many more than any other language that I have studied. I think it's partly to be ascribed to the different sources that have contributed to the language, Old English, Latin, French, etc.

I agree, also.
This would be indicative of all the different poeple from all different lands, that came to the new world and started this great country. A "melting pot of languages", if you will. ( it's the french stuff that makes spelling complex for me)
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Postby Brazilian dude » Sat Jun 10, 2006 7:21 pm

NO, it's way before the US was discovered and peopled, Huny, but of the course the "melting pot" has contributed to it in a way.

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Postby Grogie » Sun Jun 11, 2006 5:10 am

Yes,I had seen the news about the one billion word milestone too. It,s absolutely astounding.
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Postby anders » Sun Jun 11, 2006 9:39 am

The reason English seems to have so many words is that there are more lexical efforts for English than for other languages. You can easily find 1000 lexicologists quoting millions of words each before there is even a consensus on the definition of a "word" in Chinese.

English has a certain advantage in being able to draw heavily on Romance as well as Germanic languages, with a fair sprinkling of Greek especially for scientific language.

Consider Hindi, drawing from not only Indo-European languages like Sanskrit, Persian and languages of colonial powers like English, Dutch and Portuguese, but also Arabic, Turkish and a few Greek words, as well as using Dravidian and other indigenous language families. Imagine the numbers possible if somebody were to investigate in depth!

And if we in Sweden (or Germany etc.) would like to break records in this aspect, English would soon be beaten by our way to create words. For the English "the fused chilled water circulating pump switch" I could come up with several different parsings to yield for Swedish techie guys perfectly transparent words but that can't be found in any dictionary. "Köldmediepump" (chilled water pump) for example gets three (3) Internet hits. You won't find it even in very specialised dictionaries; I tried several of them for this case.
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Postby Huny » Sun Jun 11, 2006 5:11 pm

Brazilian dude wrote:NO, it's way before the US was discovered and peopled, Huny, but of the course the "melting pot" has contributed to it in a way.

Brazilian dude


But does not the language we speak here in the U.S. now, differ from that of our English forefathers even down to the spelling--tire vs trye, and pronunciation, garage (GARE-age vs ga-RAGE) and laboratory ( la-BOR-atory vs LAB-ra-tory)? Along with other languages (not to be forgotten)that have morphed over the years. I think this is why I have heard some people say we (as in the U.S.) generally speak "American" and not English, as it were. It's like the whole world of languages(combined effort) spawned off a whole new language that is now what the general U.S. population speaks. Another good example would be the different accents and dialects that are heard throuout that U.S.that is a throw back to early settlers from various countries.
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Postby sluggo » Sun Jun 11, 2006 5:51 pm

anders wrote:And if we in Sweden (or Germany etc.) would like to break records in this aspect, English would soon be beaten by our way to create words. For the English "the fused chilled water circulating pump switch" I could come up with several different parsings to yield for Swedish techie guys perfectly transparent words but that can't be found in any dictionary. "Köldmediepump" (chilled water pump) for example gets three (3) Internet hits. You won't find it even in very specialised dictionaries; I tried several of them for this case.


And on the other hand, Köldmediepump still draws from its own Swedish lexicon whereas English has no qualms about tapping the aforementioned myriad of word wells. Having our linguistic hands in so many pies makes the menu more limitless, nicht?

While living in France and learning that language I always noted that any given thought generally seemed to take more total words/syllables in French than English (e.g. "appereil de photo" vs. "camera"). Obviously with individual exceptions, but I remember being able to follow TV programs that were originally in French, while shows that were dubbed into French from English went by too fast for my ear.
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