https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MissThorson

English Language Facts 4

I haven't made an English Language Fact posts in a while, as I decided to do some more research on my facts and it takes time in order to do some research. If you find anything wrong with these facts, please feel free to correct! Thank you! Have fun reading! :)

  • An English person from 2015 could not understand an English person from 1300 without using a translator.

  • The equivalents of the English saying That's Greek to me are This appears to be Spanish (German) This is Chinese to me (Dutch), It's German to me (Philippines), It's Hebrew (Finnish), It's Chinese to me (Hebrew), Sounds like Mars language/These are chicken intestines. (China) See here

  • Old English is unreadable for the average reader.

  • Shakespeare invented over 1,700 words that we use today. See here

  • Before the English speaking world was exposed to the fruit, the color orange was referred to as geoluhread which is Old English for red-yellow. See here

  • Switching letters is called spoonerism. For example, saying jag of Flapan, instead of flag of Japan. See here

  • The proper name for speaking through clenched teeth is dentiloquy. See here

  • The sentence This sentence contains thirty-six letters. contains 36 letters.

  • The words a, and, be, have, he, I, in, of, that, the, and to make up 25% of all written English.

  • '⸮' is a punctuation mark that was first proposed in the 1580s to denote sarcasm or irony. See here

  • Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch procejt at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosnt mttaer waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. This is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter.

  • Niblings is the plural, gender-neutral term for nieces and nephews. See here

  • Cluck-and-grunt was 1930s slang for ham and eggs. See here

  • The opposite of postpone is prepone, meaning to bring something forward in time. See here

  • Flea market comes from the French marché aux puces a name orginally given to a market in Paris which specialized in shabby second-hand goods of the kind that might contain fleas. The earliest English use that the 20-volume Oxford English Dictionary has found dates from 1922. See here

  • The onion is named after the Latin word unio meaning large pearl. See here

  • The dab of toothpaste you squeeze onto your toothbrush is called a nurdle. See here

  • Google, Meerriam-Webster, and Macmillan added an additional definition for the word literally. Now it can indicate emphasis when a given situation is not literally true. I literally died of embarrassment, is now a valid sentence, despite the fact that embarrassment can't kill you.

  • The word impossible dropped in use by 50% over the course of the 20th century.

  • The first purely English alphabetical dictionary was called A Table Alphabeticall, and was written by English schoolteacher Robert Cawdrey in 1604.

  • The word gorilla comes from a Greek word that means a tribe of hairy women. See here

  • The proper name for taking your shoes off is discalceation.

  • If you wrote out every number in the standard English counting system (one, two, three, four) in alphabetical order, no matter how high you counted the first number would always be eight, the second would always be eight billion

  • The pep of pep talk is an abbreviation of pepper.

November 25, 2015

34 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/remoonline

Prepone is used by many Indian speakers as the opposite of postpone. But, I am not sure if it is considered correct. Most English teachers advocate against using it.

November 26, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MissThorson

Interesting that English teachers advocate against it. If it's an English word, I think we should be able to use it. I always used to wonder if there was an opposite for postpone.

November 26, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TheHockeyist

Yeah. I'm a native English speaker and I had never even heard of it.

November 26, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MissThorson

I think, I hope I'm a native English speaker? xD

Yes, I'd never heard if it either. I want to try using it now. :)

November 26, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TheHockeyist

And then confuse everyone. ;-)

November 26, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MissThorson

Ha, yeah. ;)

November 26, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/remoonline

I don't reject regionalism as that adds character to the language. But, some words get added due to misconceptions and I believe prepone is one such case. In normal correspondence, I use advance.

November 26, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Physiker729

I for sure thought that niblings was going to be some sort of small snack for when you just can't make it until your next meal. Given that it's actually a gender-inclusive word for nieces and nephews, what an awkward mistake that could have been!

November 26, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MissThorson

It does sound like it could be a snack word.

Oh, I had a few niblings before lunch. ;)

November 26, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/alex_tv80

I literally died of embarrassment, is now a valid sentence, despite the fact that embarrassment can't kill you.

Interesting. In Russian it is also possible to say "Я буквально (literally) умираю от стыда".

November 26, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MissThorson

I think it's a little sad that this word got misused so much that it was decided to make a secondary definition.

So you would be able to say the same exact sentence in Russian?

November 26, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/alex_tv80

Буквально - literally, умирать - die, стыд - shame
Я буквально умираю от стыда - "I am literally dying of shame". It is quite natural sentense in Russian.

I literally died of embarrassment - Я буквально умирал(а) от смущения. Hm... Why not? I think it is also possible.

November 27, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/frankenstein724

You act as if it is only within the past decade that this word has been "misused". You -are- aware that this secondary definition was used at least as far back as either Dickens or Shakespeare, yes?

November 27, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MissThorson

No actually, I was not aware, but thank you for informing me.

And sorry for replying so late. :)

December 5, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TheHockeyist

Haha. I can't even understand English from the 1500s very well. The spelling is too irregular!

November 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MissThorson

Yes, it's simply unreadable unless you've studied Old English. :)

November 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TheHockeyist

As a native speaker of English, thank god for standardized spelling. Even if it makes no sense to foreigners. (Even native speakers have problems spelling words! I have seen high school students spell like third graders! So don't worry!)

November 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MissThorson

Yep! I agree with you. :)

November 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TheHockeyist

;-)

November 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/EpicPowerHero

Spoonerism is named after a person, I think.

November 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/EpicPowerHero

Nice facts! Hope to see more soon!

November 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MissThorson

Thank you. I hope so too. ;)

November 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/marcy65brown

I really enjoy these. Thank you!

November 26, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MissThorson

Glad you did! You're welcome! :)

November 26, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Tessallation

Thanks...I love word anecdotes and history.

November 26, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MissThorson

You're welcome! :)

November 27, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/stripedkitty

Enjoyed reading- thanks!

November 28, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MissThorson

:)

November 30, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/buenotc

Bom trabalho!!

November 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MissThorson

Thank you! :)

November 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LucBE
  • 1508

I think you meant procejt in stead of procejit. :-D

I stumbled over the word. Which indicates that it's true, you can jumble the letters in a word! :-)

November 26, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MissThorson

I probably did, thanks for pointing that out.

As a person who loves words spelled correctly, it was especially hard for me to type that paragraph in correctly. :)

November 26, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LucBE
  • 1508

:-D

On a side note, I have been wondering if us being able to read a text scrambled like that, also is valid for people with dislexia. Isn't this exactly what their problem is, not being able to see all the letters in a word as a whole?

November 26, 2015
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