If you’re thinking about learning a language it’s always good to know a little about the origins and history of the language you are learning. Here, Cactus Language offers up our most interesting English language facts:
English has its origins in Old High German, Old Norse, and Anglo Norman. Modern English started being used in the 14th century and the closest languages to English are Dutch and West Flemish.
339 million people speak English as a first language, and 603 million speak it as a second language. It is the official language in 67 countries and 27 non-sovereign countries such as Hong Kong.
Dr.Johnson’s Dictionary of 1755 sets out the rules of English grammar and spelling. This dictionary was the first to comprehensively document the English lexicon and is one of the most famous dictionaries in history, taking over 8 years to compile.
The most common noun in the English Language is ‘time’, and the most mispronounced (and often misspelt) word in the English language is ‘Pronunciation’.
All pilots must identify themselves in English during international flights. Likewise, all air traffic controllers at international airports must be able to communicate with the pilots in English.
The forty-five letter word, ‘pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis’, refers to a lung disease caused by inhalation of fine silca dust. The second longest word in the English language dictionary is ‘Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia’, that ironically means the fear of long words.
William Shakespeare was an English poet, playwright, and actor. Above all, he introduced thousands of words and phrases into the English language.
For instance, ‘Hangry’ is a word in the English dictionary that combines two words together. The word combines ‘hungry’ and ‘angry’, describing the feeling of being irritated as a result of hunger. Hangry was added to the Oxford English Dictionary in January 2018.