English Reaches One Million Words...

Old Feb 27th, 2008, 11:59 AM
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English Reaches One Million Words...

putting it far ahead of languages like French which are said to have about 100,000 distinct words.

The English growth has leapt in recent years due to internet terms, high tech terms, etc.

Well this is what at least one august dictionary company or whatever recently said i read

Thus is English getting harder for locals to use and comprehend and will this cause problems communicating in Europe?
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Old Feb 27th, 2008, 12:09 PM
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The average English speaking person only has about 2,000 words in their vocabulary. For a person with a university degree this range in vocabulary would rise to about 3000 to 4000. These are about the same as for speakers of French.

FWIW, William Shakespeare, based upon his writings, is believed to have possessd a vocabulary of around 21,000 words. An overwhelming weapons arsenal with which to engage in verbal dueling.
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Old Feb 27th, 2008, 12:13 PM
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I've seen to me shocking figures that teens in America basically use only a few hundred words or so - maybe less when talking to each other
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Old Feb 27th, 2008, 12:38 PM
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You mean going to university doubles your vocabulary? Let's see .... beer, jug, case, party, flunk, dropout. Yeah maybe it does.
 
Old Feb 29th, 2008, 04:03 AM
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The fact that English is growing in vocabulary so extraordinarily and French and other langues are fairly stagnant only shows what is a blessing for the tourist - the dominance of English as the world's common language

Thank God
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Old Feb 29th, 2008, 04:10 AM
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>English Reaches One Million Words...

Yeah, but when those words are those such as
prioritize
monatize
irregardless
grody
snarky.....

is that such a good thing?


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Old Feb 29th, 2008, 04:17 AM
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I'd challenge the assumption here.

Internet and hi tech words get used in French and German too. Next time you get a new medical problem, find out what it's called in French or German, then google it, specifying results in German or French only. Words like hypoprothrombinemia find their way into French and German texts - and probably Chinese and Russian ones too.

What's far more likely is that French and German dictionaries aren't picking up new words as obsessively as the OED and its competitors because - with a far smaller customer base - they have neither the resources to monitor new use, nor the revenue that's available from having perpetually updated dictionaries.
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Old Feb 29th, 2008, 04:27 AM
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I wonder how many people have started using nouns as verbs, as in, "Let us dialogue together."

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Old Feb 29th, 2008, 04:33 AM
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Hi D,

>I wonder how many people have started using nouns as verbs,

This is not a new phenom(enon).

In the 1680's Mr Pepys wrote in his diary, "The King went sliding on his skates" (on the frozen Thames).

Today, we would say, "The King went skating".

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Old Feb 29th, 2008, 04:49 AM
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http://www.askoxford.com/asktheexper...twords?view=uk

While most of the English IT or tech vocabulary becomes part of the German vocabulary untranslated (i.e. blog, chatroom, cursor, etc), mostly medical vocabulary is derived from Greek or Latin. So, I would say that neither hypothermia nor Hypothermie is English, French, or German.

I read somewhere in some magazine from some important organization that - according to recent scientific studies - to follow a typical Fodor's forum discussion, one only has to master a rather limited vocabulary of appr. 100 words of English which includes: "shoes/ wear", "foodie", "Euro/ expensive", "(to) train", "adaptor", and the meaning of the abbreviations AC, CT, MSM, CDG, and BO ;-)
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Old Feb 29th, 2008, 04:55 AM
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"So, I would say that neither hypothermia nor Hypothermie is English, French, or German."

Good point. But the OED DOES regard 'hypothermia' as an English word, so when it got coined it became English word no 900,001 or whatever. The Academie Francaise probably gets round to discussing whether it's worthy to be counted as French some time in 2035.
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Old Feb 29th, 2008, 05:06 AM
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LOL.. good point!

I did not mean that hypothermia should not be listed (and counted) as an English word.

But the plethora of words derived from Latin/Greek makes it actually a bit easier for a foreign student to learn English - while the abundance of verbs which describe more or less the same action (but in detailed variation, respectively) makes it harder.

From my personal experience, I would say that English is a language which will let you get started quite easily. But it is almost impossible to reach a level of perfection, in my opinion.
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Old Feb 29th, 2008, 05:54 AM
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The French?

They spend years getting round to renaming new English words, out of spite as far as I can work out.

Quite recently the Academy Francaise decided that "email" which everyone uses, was Anglo-Saxon, and the correct French term is "Courriel", which no-one uses at all.
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Old Feb 29th, 2008, 06:16 AM
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Thanks to the endless compound words we are able to create, the number of words in German is infinite. So we're just smiling about that lousy one million!
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Old Feb 29th, 2008, 06:19 AM
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Yes but fewer than 10 can be said to be true English words - the rest are from other languages.

English users tend to adopt foreign words and give them a more restricted meaning. Eg the French maison means house, but also means home.

In English we could say home, house, flat, apartment, bungalow, cottage, dwelling etc.

But if a French person tells you he lives in a house on the third floor you will probably know what he means.

It probably makes it easier for locals - they can just say their local word with an English accent and it will be understood.
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Old Feb 29th, 2008, 07:01 AM
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I think I have made up about half that number when I saw the price of the Euro.
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Old Feb 29th, 2008, 07:42 AM
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quokka, English and German being related, German makes new verbs by attaching a preposition. In English, the preposition follows. E.g., run into, run out, run over, run through, run for, run to, etc. So whereas in German those might be considered separate words, they're not in English.

I remember hearing that an article or book translated into French, for example, has many more words. English has many word choices with fine shadings of meaning. In French to convey the same meaning, adverbs and adjectives have to be added.
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Old Feb 29th, 2008, 08:10 AM
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Hyphenated words were not counted it said

for example the written words for 1 thru one million - three-hundred-forty-three would not count as a separate word or you would have one million words just there
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Old Feb 29th, 2008, 08:17 AM
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"In English we could say home, house, flat, apartment, bungalow, cottage, dwelling etc."

We say : maison, villa, appartement, manoir, château, pavillon, chalet, bastide, mas, pied-à-terre,maisonette, hôtel particulier, chaumière, fermette, gentilhommière, demeure, studio, bonbonnière, résidence, logement, immeuble, etc..........

"But if a French person tells you he lives in a house on the third floor you will probably know what he means".

The problem is : he won't !
Je rentre à la maison = I am going home = je rentre chez moi regardless of the type of building his "home" is. Or even better : je rentre.
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Old Feb 29th, 2008, 08:53 AM
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One thing I have remarked about the French is that they have gaps in their own vocabulary describing everyday things. Examples include.

Hinges
Cup handle
Bollard
Ball bearing
key (as on keyboard)
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