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TOP-35 surprising facts about the English language

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TOP-35 surprising facts about the English language

Many people believe that English is popular because of its simplicity. This is not so: if you get to know him better, it becomes clear that English is not as simple as it seems at first glance! Here are 35 facts you hardly knew about this amazing language.

  1. English ranks third in the ranking of the most spoken languages in the world - after Spanish and Chinese 
  2. It is spoken by 79 million people, 60 of them are British citizens.
  3. The most famous English-language phrase, which uses all the letters of the alphabet - "The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog" (translation: A nimble brown fox jumps over a lazy dog ).
  4. The word Goodbye was formed by adding the first syllables of the phrase God be with you (may the Lord be with you).
  5. The word twitter was coined back in the 14th century by the poet, author of The Canterbury Tales, Geoffrey Chaucer, and translates as "chirping" or "chirping."
  6. If we consider in English ordinal numbers ( one , two , three , etc ), then the first numeral in which the letter " a " is encountered will become a hundred is a thousand .
  7. 20% of modern English vocabulary comes from the language of the ancient Vikings.
  8. The most polysemantic words in English are set and run , each of which has more than a hundred meanings.
  9. The ancient version of the language had the words overmorrow - the day after tomorrow and ereyesterday - the day before yesterday.
  10. The term from the chess game checkmate comes from the Persian phrase “shāh māt”, translated into English means “the king is helpless” (the king is defenseless).
  11. Nike was named after the ancient Greek goddess of victory - Nicky, so in England the name sounds like "Nike", and not "Nike", as we used to say.
  12. The English pass the international English proficiency test ( IELTS ) worse than the Germans 
  13. Every two hours a new word is added to English dictionaries. This is usually 4000 new words a year.
  14. English is the only official language for all international air travel pilots.
  15. The dog, the @ symbol, is called the at symbol or the at sign in English.
  16. In English, as in Russian, there are words that have only the plural form: scissors , glasses , etc.
  17. The shortest sentence, correctly constructed from the point of view of grammar, is “ Go !”.
  18. The most common pronouns in English are y ou (you, you) and I (i), the noun time (tense) and the adjective goo d (good).
  19. 80% of all information in the world stored on computers is in English.
  20. The romantic word bride (bride) goes back to the Germanic word , translated as "to cook".
  21. Each region has its own dialect of English: the most common are British and American.
  22. The oldest English-Russian dictionary was written in 1755.
  23. William Shakespeare enriched the English language by 1000 words.
  24. Until the 15th century, there were no punctuation marks in the language.
  25. Modern English is a mixture of two languages: French and Old English.
  26. English has more words than any other.
  27. The longest English word is pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis, which translates as pneumoconiosis - a respiratory illness caused by inhalation of volcanic dust.
  28. In English, there is another special offer: «James while John had had had had had had had had had had had a better effect on the teacher». 11 " had " in a row ! If it is to place punctuation marks, get this: «James, while John had had " had ", had had" had had "; "Had had" had had a better effect on the teacher »-« James, while John used the "had", used "had had"; “Had had” liked the teacher better . ”
  29. One of the most common myths about English grammar is: "A sentence in English cannot end with a preposition." So think even those who speak the language perfectly, so to say about it better - English: It is one of many misconceptions about the English language that even native speakers can not get rid of.
  30. In 1940, a study was conducted on the most beautiful English word. The winner was the word mother , second place - memory , third place - cellophane (cellophane).
  31. In English, there is a name for a situation where people misunderstand the words in a song - mondegreen . The term was invented by the writer Sylvia Wright, who in one Scottish ballad heard not “ And laid him on the green ”, but “ And Lady Mondegreen ”.
  32. The English words science and shit are derived from the same Latin word skheid (to divide).
  33. A large number of modern English words have existed for a long time, but before they looked different, and have undergone changes due to a large number of speech errors. For example, the word wasp was written as "waps", bird - "brid", empty - "emty", apron - "napron", and nickname - "eke name".
  34. German Heinrich Heine wrote that "English is when people take a dozen monosyllabic words into their mouths, chew them, swallow and spit them out." Englishman Bernard Shaw agreed with him on the complexity of the language: in his opinion, "German and Spanish are quite accessible to foreigners, but English is not available even to the British."
  35. Americans equate the British accent with high intelligence and low moral character. For this reason, the role of villains in Hollywood films is often taken by the British - Christopher Lee, Gary Oldman, Rafe Fiennes, Anthony Hopkins, Alan Rickman, etc.
Current material has been prepared by Egor Eremeev
Education: Kuban State University, Russia (World Economics); Westminster University (Business & Management).
Egor studied and lived in the UK for 8 years and graduated from the university of Westminster. He is currently the co-founder and the director of business development at Smapse Education and personally visits foreign schools and universities, interviews students studying in those institutions.
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