You are an English learner and have got bored with reading posts as to how to improve your English? You want to get rid of practice exercises and its dry theoretical aspects? Well, here’s the sad thing: You cannot better your English if you don’t work hard, and the same applies to pursue any other activities. Everyone should admit that a repeated routine to learn English is boring, but the language itself is by no means the same. Therefore, instead of paying too much attention to bookish knowledge, you should spend some time exploring the funny side of this international language. However, before we do that, let’s check out its widely known features:
WIDELY KNOWN FEATURES OF ENGLISH
- Despite being most commonly associated with the US and UK, English is the official language of 67 countries.
- English is one of the languages with most words (English learners give a deep sigh).
- Words with the same vowel structure don’t always sound the same. One example of this phenomenon is cough, though, through. The reason? Who knows?
- English is the most widely spoken and written language in the world.
- English borrows a lot of its vocabulary from other languages (Dutch, Spanish, French, Greek, etc.)
- Dutch is the most similar language to English.
MIND-BLOWING FACTS ABOUT ENGLISH
English is full of contronyms (words that have opposite meanings). For instance, the verb “dust” means “remove particles from” and “sprinkle fine particles onto”, or the adjective “fine” can be understood as “up to standard” or “excellent” . So one question is raised: “How to distinguish between these confusing indications”, well, the only solution is to consider the contexts in which they are used. Even native speakers find themselves at a loss to understand their mother tongue, so you should chill.
2. The Longest Word
The longest word in English is even longer than the whole alphabet! (By the way, the word alphabet is made up of the two first letters in the Greek alphabet: alpha, beta; it used to comprise 29 letters instead of 26 as nowadays). In the past, the word supercalifragilisticexpialidocious (remember to breath) won the title, which approximately means “perfect”. However, as if English pronunciation is not challenging enough, the term Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis, a type of lung disease caused by inhaling ash and dust, was created. Go on and try pronouncing it, but I have to warn you against being out of breath!
3. Ghost Words
Do you know what a dord or an abacot is? If you type these words on Microsoft Office Word or websites that check your grammar, they will be underlined and identified as mistakes. I know you would look them up in dictionaries if I didn’t continue explaining, but because I don’t want you to waste your efforts, I will go on. Whatever dictionary you use, whether it is Cambridge or Oxford-the most trustworthy dictionaries in the world, no exact match will appear. What is the reason? The editor forgot to include them because he was sleepy? Or the words have legs and run out of the dictionary themselves? Absolutely no, don’t be so absurd. Because they are ghost words, which are the result of misspelling, and surprisingly they are listed in outdated dictionaries and other reference resources.
4. Why Are There So Many Words?
A new word is added to the dictionary every two hours. Between your two meals, there are three new words, during a day 12 are created. Within a week, 84 unheard-of words are available in the dictionary, one month: approximately 360 and one year: about 4320. English is already one of the richest languages as regards vocabulary, but with this incredible speed, we should not be surprised if it is ranked first in the list of languages with most words in the future. This helps diversify the English language, but for English learners, well, you know what I mean. One more interesting fact: Shakespeare added more than 1000 words to English vocabulary, and some are familiar: cold-blooded, addiction, etc.
A word formed by combining parts of other words is called a “blend” (or less commonly a “portmanteau word”). If you haven’t understood yet, look at the following examples.
- “Smog”: a type of air pollution that is a mixture of smoke and fog, especially in cities. Yes, you got it, smog is the simplified form of smoke and fog.
- Sitcom: I bet this word sounds much more familiar. Sitcom = situation + comedy. “Friends” is one of the most popular sitcoms of the 90s.
- Brunch = breakfast + lunch. You eat brunch in the late morning and your next meal will be dinner. Brunch is popular with busy people, or, idle ones who don’t leave their beds until 9 am. Oops, I see myself in the latter category!
6. Names of the planets
The only planet which is not named after Greek and Roman gods and goddesses is our beloved Earth. So how did other planets get their name?
- Jupiter and Uranus were respectively the kings of Roman and Greek gods, wow! Jupiter is the most massive planet, while Uranus is the coldest one.
- Mercury was named after the Roman god of travel. Its distance to the Sun is shortest compared to other planets, and it is also the smallest one. * Venus was named after the Roman goddess of love and beauty. Seen from the Earth, Venus is the brightest one.
- Mars got its name from the Roman god of war. It is also the most Earth-like planet in the solar system.
- Saturn got its name from the Roman god of agriculture. Its size is 700 hundred times greater than that of the Earth.
- Neptune had its name from the Roman god of the sea. It is the furthest planet from the Sun.
- Pluto was the Roman god of the underworld. It is now categorized as a dwarf planet.
So, English is not boring at all by the look of it, right? If you find English a dry language, it’s just because you have ineffective learning methods or take it too seriously. Try to find out fun ways to learn English and read entertaining posts by visiting our website, as you can only acquire knowledge easily when you are pressure-free. You can also relax by challenging yourself with tongue twisters and blends. Only you can help yourself, other tools and teachers give you partial support. My advice to you is, as always, learn English and have fun!