Random Facts 8: the wonder of words

According to Illinois state law, it is illegal to speak English. The officially recognized language is “American.”

Widow is the only female form in the English language that is shorter than its corresponding male term (widower).

Victor Hugo’s Les Miserable contains one of the longest sentences in the French language 823 words without a period.

There is only ONE word in the English language with THREE CONSECUTIVE SETS OF DOUBLE LETTERS…. Bookkeeper

There is a word in the English language with only one vowel, which occurs five times: “indivisibility.”

There is a seven letter word in the English language that contains ten words without rearranging any of its letters, “therein”: the, there, he, in, rein, her, here, ere, therein, herein.

There are two words in the English language that have all five vowels in order: “abstemious” and “facetious.”

There are thirteen languages spoken by more than 100 million people. They are: Mandarin Chinese, English, Hindi, Spanish, Russian, Arabic, Bengali, Portuguese, Malay-Indonesian, French, Japanese, German, and Urdu.

There are roughly 6,500 spoken languages in the world today. However, about 2,000 of those languages have fewer than 1,000 speakers. The most widely spoken language in the world is Mandarin Chinese. There are 885,000,000 people in China that speak that language.

There are only two sequences of four consecutive letters that can be found in the English language: “rstu” and “mnop.” Examples of each are understudy and gynophobia.

The word “queue” is the only word in the English language that is still pronounced the same way when the last four letters are removed.

 

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About robertstevenson

Dr. Robert Stevenson is a Professor of Journalism and Director of Student Publications for the Department of Mass Communications and Theater at Lander University in Greenwood, SC. He received the Distinguished Faculty of the Year award for 2007-'08, and the Lander University Young Faculty Scholar Award in 2005-06. Stevenson also serves as chair of the Lander University American Democracy Project. First and Formost I am a dad of two wonderful boys.
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3 Responses to Random Facts 8: the wonder of words

  1. René says:

    Scuze me? I am Dutch, and I strongly disagree with your supposedly clever grammatical observation “There is a word in the English language with only one vowel, which occurs five times: “indivisibility.””

    What about the “y”? HERE it is a vowel.

    Does the word “Styx” have a vowel?

    And then some: There are only two sequences of four consecutive letters that can be found in the English language: “rstu” and “mnop.” Examples of each are understudy and gynophobia.

  2. Well howdy there, Rene.

    You are correct: actually indivisibility has seven vowels; 6 are i’s and one is y.

    In response to your questions: about the “y”: Here it can be either a vowel or consonant. As you pointed out, it is a vowel in indivisibility.

    And the answer to your last question is “yes.”

    And thank you for catching my typo; the word to which you are referring is gymnophobia.

  3. René says:

    We certainly do not want to be gynophobiacs, do we?

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