Tuesday, June 9, 2009

In Less Than 12 Hours!

The English language is constantly evolving (who ever heard of the word Twitter before 12 months ago??) and there is actually a formula for counting how many words are added each day. According to the site, the Global Language Monitor, the language should hit its one millionth word at about 5:22AM Wednesday morning. Maybe I should wake up early and celebrate with a mimosa.

A million words is just an amazing amount, considering we are born without language at all and learn (primarily through experience and observation) words one at a time. I wonder if there are people who try to learn every word in the English Language, although I don't even really know how you would test that --because every time a dictionary is printed it becomes irrelevant.

A recent CNN article explains which words are considered:

"Words must make sense in at least 60 percent of the world to be official, he said. And they must make sense to different communities of people. A new technology term that's only understood in Silicon Valley wouldn't count as a mainstream word, he said.

His computer models check a total of 5,000 Web sites, dictionaries, scholarly publications and news articles to see how frequently words are used, he said. A word must make 25,000 appearances to be deemed legitimate."

I love that American's have an interest in words--jugding by the popularity of books and movies about Scrabble, Spelling Bees (1,2,3) and Crossword Puzzles.

Here's to the one-millionth word in the English Language. Maybe learning them all can be my next project...

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