English Language Day 2023

April 23, 2023

Today is English Language Day, celebrated on April 23rd, the birthday and death of William Shakespeare, one of the greatest playwrights in the English language. As the world's lingua franca, English is spoken by over 1.5 billion people globally, making it the third most spoken language in the world after Mandarin and Spanish.

Here are some interesting facts about the English language that you may not know:

English has an extraordinary number of words. English is a language that has been shaped by many different cultures and languages, and as a result, it has an enormous vocabulary. Estimates vary, but it's believed that English has over 170,000 words in current use, and more than 47,000 obsolete words. To put this into perspective, French has approximately 130,000 words in its vocabulary, while Spanish has 93,000.

English spelling is notoriously difficult. One of the reasons English has so many words is that it has borrowed extensively from other languages, resulting in a vocabulary with a rich and diverse range of words. However, this has also made English spelling very difficult, with many words pronounced differently from the way they are spelled. For example, the word 'colonel' is pronounced 'kernel,' while 'bough' and 'tough' are pronounced differently despite having the same letters.

English is constantly evolving. New words are added to the language every year, while old words fall out of use. Some of the latest additions to the Oxford English Dictionary include deepfake (various media, especially a video, that has been digitally manipulated to replace one person's likeness convincingly with that of another, often used maliciously), antigram (in the antigram, the resulting phrase is the antithesis of the original word or phrase e.g. funeral = real fun) and groomzilla (a man thought to have become intolerably obsessive or overbearing in planning the details of his wedding).


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