English is one of the most widely spoken languages in the world. Today, the language has an official or special status in at least 75 countries with a total population of over two billion. April 23 is observed as UN English Language Day, every year. The date was chosen as the popular English poet William Shakespeare passed away on the day.
The day was established by United Nation's Department of Public Information in 2010 "to celebrate multilingualism and cultural diversity as well as to promote equal use of all six official languages throughout the Organization".
Often English is referred to as a funny language for its various connotations and usage. On English Language Day, we take a look at some of the most interesting facts about the English language. Check them out here:
1. Approximately one new word is added to the English language every two hours.
2. 'I am' is the shortest complete sentence in the English language.
3. The English dictionary has 'ghost words' that mean nothing. They are non-existing words which appear due to printing errors.
4. The word 'swims' will be 'swims' even when turned upside down.
5. 'Oxyphenbutazone' is the highest scoring word in a game of scrabble. (Try next time)
6. 'Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosi' is the longest word according to the Oxford Modern English.
7. The shortest, oldest, and most commonly used word is 'I'.
8. The word 'girl' was initially used to refer to a 'child' or 'young person' regardless of the gender.
9. A pangram is a sentence containing every letter of the alphabet. For example, the sentence 'The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog'.
10. The phrase 'long time no see' is a literal translation of a Chinese phrase,
it comes from the Mandarin phrase 'hao jiu bu jian'.
11. 'Twyndyllyng' is the longest word in the English language without any vowels. Another commonly used word is ' rhythms '.
12. The colour orange was earlier referred to as geoluhread which means red-yellow in Old English. The change came in after English became a widely spoken language.
13. In the 1800s, the word 'dude' was used as an insult towards young men who regularly kept up with the latest fashions.
14. The longest English that can be spelt without repeating any letters is 'uncopyrightable'.
15. There are around 360-400 million native speakers of the English language around the world.
The UN first celebrated English Language Day on April 23, 2010. The UN general body has organised several events including photo exhibits, quiz, talks by English authors, on this day. The day also witnesses book-reading events, literature exchanges, poetry recitation and other related activities that promote the English language. English is one of the two working languages of the UN Secretariat and one of the organisation's six official languages.