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Fun Language Facts

English is a funny language; that explains why we park our car on the driveway and drive our car on the parkway. (Author Unknown)
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Did you know this about artificial languages…?

Fun Language Facts

  1. That four literary works, among them Shakespeare’s Hamlet, have been translated into Klingon (tlhIngan Hol), a language constructed for the fictional Klingons in the Star Trek movies….
  2. That Na’vi , the language spoken by the inhabitants of the moon Pandora in Avatar, only contained one thousand words when the movie was released in 2009. The vocabulary is now extensive and chat rooms, dictionaries and educational websites are issued by devoted fans…
  3. That J. R. R. Tolkien, the author of Lord of the Rings (both novels and movies) developed Sindarin (often called Elven) as the language of the Elvish people, the inhabitants of Middle-earth? To indicate different “tribes”, he even devised dialects. Tolkien was a professional linguist and developed the phonology and grammar based on a mix of Old English, Old Norse and Welsh.
  4. That George Orwell, the author of the science fiction novel 1984 (published in 1949) created a language called Newspeak with a very simple vocabulary without synonyms? By this he presented his pessimistic view of how the language would limit and regulate the thoughts of people in 1984.
  5. That supposedly 1 million people are fluent in Esperanto, an artificial language created by an eye doctor in 1887? The creator of Esperanto (meaning hopeful) was hoping that this language could develop into a universal language and promote peace and understanding.

Did you know this about the English language...?

  1. That English is the dominant world language with about 1 billion users, but that Chinese Mandarin as a mother tongue exceeds English?
  2. That the Oxford English Dictionary contains 59 million words and twenty volumes and that it took the American Ammon Shea one year to read the volumes? If you want to store it electronically it requires 540 megabytes and if you want to transform the text into one single line, it would make 140 kms.
  3. That the Celts were the first to influence the English language, but that they have left few traces behind apart from place names? Prominent examples are London and the Thames.
  4. That 2000 Old Norse words were adopted in English due to the Viking invasions? Examples are words like bag, angry, cake and dirt.
  5. That since 1066 about 30% of English words are of French origin? We can see the French contribution in words associated with food, administration and culture.
  6. That up to the 1100s, speakers of Old English and Old Norse could communicate and understand each other?
  7. That Latin probably is the most important source of English words due to the Roman invasion in 43BC and the influence of the Church?
  8. That the English language contains just 14 vowels, whereas Kashmiri contains 28?
  9. That the English language only uses 3 gender words; he, she and it, whereas a Mexican language (Tzeltal) has the world record with about 400 genders?
  10. That 90% of all published texts are in English?
  11. That a recent study among EFL (English as a foreign language) speakers in Europe revealed that Swedes were the most proficient in English? Nine out of ten claimed that they could speak English.

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CC BY-SAWritten by: Eli Huseby.
Last revised date 01/31/2019

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English as a world language