Wednesday, June 17, 2009

English: now with a million words to choose from

From The Editing Room (can I post it, please? and thanks, Mead!)

All right, so the concept may be bogus, but according to the Global Language Monitor, the English language gets its millionth word this coming Wednesday, 6/17, at 10:22am (Stratford-upon-Avon time).

How does GLM know? Elementary. Because it has ascertained that neologisms are currently entering the language at the rate of 14.7 a day , it’s statistically likely we’ll get to a million words, including those freshly mined, just 30 scant hours from now.

Not everyone accepts GLM’s pronouncement, of course. Leave it to CNN to round up a few nay-sayers. While you’re reading the cheerfully skeptical article on its site, be sure to click on the inner link (what we called an “inset box” in the previous millennium) to see how English stacks up to other tongues — especially in regard to number of words vs. number of speakers vs. degree of global influence. There may be surprises for you there.