Monday, December 20, 2004

The English Language… Amazing

Well I was talking to a German friend of mine who, in some random conversation, thought that the English language had something like 400,000 words (I think that is what he said), and I thought it was more. Today I took a peek at my beloved wikipedia under its entry for “The English language”, damn, pretty extensive.

Turns out that there are 800,000+ words and counting, the page (it’s a link from The English Language page on Wikipedia) states that its an estimate, and is not exact, but hey close enough. The Wikipedia entry touches on just about everything you could think of relating to English plus some. One of the things it mentions a few times is its Germanic and Latin roots (though the entry seems to say it is more Germanic than Latin, interesting).

I have a fair number of German friends so I hear German quite a bit when I am around them and of course pelt them with questions. Myself, not being anything close to a master of the English language (still learning, refer to my grammar/writing skills) I am always interested amused when I learn new German and Latin words, and how lots of English words can be explained through either German or Latin.

Then I think about Japanese and Chinese, whoa, talking about night and day difference, especially writing. I hear lots of Germans saying that English is way easier than German, and I am inclined to agree but it doesn’t hold a candle to Japanese or Chinese.