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English: One Million Strong?

Written By: Usree Bhattacharya on January 3, 2009 No Comment

Somewhere within “five days either side of” April 29th, 2009, the English language will surpass one million words, the Global Language Monitor says, according to the Economist. Really?

Ummm, not so much….the article concludes thusly-yes, thusly:

So…is the 1m-word claim meaningless? Yes, largely. But English does indeed have lots of words, almost certainly more than any other tongue. That is the consequence of its evolution. Basically Germanic, it was expanded by the conquering Normans, who introduced French, and the medieval scholars and clergy, who used Latin. As the global language of the modern world, it now has lots of local variants—some recompense perhaps for the words it helps to obliterate as more and more languages become extinct.

Wow. I don’t even know where to begin.

Update: The Language Log has some breaking news on the story; also check out the comments stream. Hat tip: Youki.

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