We know that currently speaking more than one language is vital to excel professionally and even personally. English, of course, is one of the most required due to its global nature.
And if you have a love-hate relationship with English because sometimes it seems beautiful or funny, but other times complicated or confusing, you should know that every language has a history that makes it special. Therefore, we leave you some interesting facts about the English language, which could surprise you and awaken your interest in learning it even more.
1. Shakespeare incorporated more than 1000 words into English
Did you know that English would not be the same without the famous writer Shakespeare Shakespeare invented more than 1000 words that he incorporated into his writing. Today, native English people still use these words today. Some of these great words and phrases that this famous poet invented are:
- Addiction – Being physically or psychologically dependent on something, usually a drug.
- Bedazzled – blinded by something unbelievably wonderful.
- Swagger (swagger) – Walking in a cocky or disrespectful way.
2. Most English words come from French or Old English
After the Conquest of Normandy in 1066, French became the language of the nobility in Great Britain. Meanwhile, the peasants and lower classes continued to use Old English (or Anglo-Saxon), created with Germanic vocabulary.
Over time, there was a mixture of the two languages and thus Middle English was born, which resembles today’s English. But why does this matter for English learners? Words that come from French are usually considered more formal or sophisticated, while words that come from Anglo-Saxon are more informal.
For example, the words commence and begin mean “begin.” But in use. “C ommence” is a much more sophisticated word, so native English only use it in more formal contexts.
3. The United States does not have an official language
Technically, the United States does not have an official language at the federal level, although some states have declared English an official language.
Although English is the most widely spoken language in the United States, it is not the only one. America is made up of many people from different backgrounds who speak so many beautiful languages!
4. English used to have 29 letters instead of 26.
The English alphabet has declined over the years! Centuries would pass, and the fall of more than a few letters along the way, before the alphabet took shape as such. By the year 1011, the order we know today was largely in place, excluding “J,” “U,” “W,” but there were 29 letters, including the ampersand. However, the alphabet we know today takes its modern 26-letter form in the 16th century.
5. English is the official language of the air
This means that English is the official language when traveling by plane. Have you ever realized that no matter where you travel, your pilot and flight attendants always know English? This is why!
6. The most used noun is time
The Oxford English Dictionary has identified time as the most used noun. Person received second place, followed by year in third place.
7. The closest living language to English today is Friesian
Friesian is a language that is currently spoken in only three small areas of Germany and the Netherlands.
8. A new word is added to the dictionary every two hours.
The editors of the Oxford English Dictionary estimate that some 4,000 new words are added to the dictionary each year. That means a new word every two hours!