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English Language Facts

If you’re thinking about learning English 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
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8 Interesting English Language Facts:

1. English originates from North West Germany and the Netherlands

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.

2. English is spoken by 952 million people around the world

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.

3. Most English grammar and spelling follow standardised rules

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.

4. The most used adjective in the English language is ‘good’

The most common noun in the English Language is ‘time’, and the most mispronounced (and often misspelt) word in the English language is ‘Pronunciation’.

5. English is the language of the sky

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.

6. The longest word in the English language contains 45 letters

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.

7. William Shakespeare had a great influence on the English language

William Shakespeare was an English poet, playwright, and actor. Above all, he introduced thousands of words and phrases into the English language.

8. Some English words are formed by combining two words together

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.

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Frequently asked questions

What will I learn?

Our Course Outlines give an overview of the content and learning framework of Cactus courses. Includes themes, grammar and vocabulary you can typically expect to cover. These are intended as a guide only. Language teachers may at times adapt the course content to suit the specific level, aims and interests of the class.

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Are you unsure where to start or progress to? Then take our level test and read our level descriptions for guidance.

Do I receive a qualification or certificate?

At the end of your course you receive a certificate of participation. You will be able to be download it from your MyCactus account. This confirms the language and level of course you have taken. Our course levels are based on two internationally recognised systems. You will have a universally accepted reference for your studies. (Important: Please note that you must complete the end of course questionnaire sent to you to be able to get your certificate! You will receive the course questionnaire by e-mail at the end of your course.)

Do I need a course book?

You will need a course book to attend your course. Course books are not included in the course fees. We recommend that you buy your own course book separately before your course starts. We will let you know which course book you will require and advise where you can purchase this. Please note that a course book often covers more than one level. So if you progress to the next course, you may not necessarily need to buy a new book. Again, we will advise you of this at the time. The course book is chosen by our teachers and academic team. This is based on which book is most suitable for the level of the class whilst offering the most communicative approach.

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