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THE RICHNESS OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE

A reasonably concise language


I wrote a book a few years ago and then translated it to my native Afrikaans, it was considerably longer, a third more than the English version even though it was word for word the same. The difference probably has to do with conciseness and the ability to express. Hebrew is the opposite. It is usually shorter than their English equivalents by up to a third.

English does have a lot of jargon in it, yet at its heart it is sorted out as a language. It is seen as the world language because it is so widespread and in use more than any other language. That gives it legitimacy and gravitas. Our previous blog showed the importance of speaking English. It is an ability that opens doors and new avenues.


SO how large would the English vocabulary be? I did some research. The 1989 revised Oxford English Dictionary lists 615,000 words in 20 volumes, officially the world’s largest dictionary. If technical and scientific words were to be included, the total would rise to well over a million. By some estimates, the English lexicon is currently increasing by over 8,500 words a year, although other estimates put this as high as 15,000 to 20,000. It is estimated that about 200,000 English words are in common use, as compared to 184,000 in German, and a mere 100,000 in French.


Don’t worry, you don’t need to learn all the above words to speak English, in fact, some studies show that about 600 words will give you enough vocabulary to communicate and understand English. The grammar is generally simpler than most languages. It dispenses completely with noun genders (hence, no dithering between le plume or la plume). There is no difference between familiar and formal addresses as (in German: du, dich, dir, Sie, Ihnen, Ihr and euch). In German, each verb has 16 different forms. Latin has a possible 120. But English only has 5 at most (e.g. ride, rides, rode, riding, ridden) and most only 3 (e.g. hit, hits, hitting). It has been estimated that 84% of English spellings conform to general patterns or rules, while only 3% are completely unpredictable (3% of a very large vocabulary is, however, still quite a large number, and this includes such extraordinary examples as colonel, ache, eight, etc).


Anglais 4x Plus Vite! can help you to achieve English fluency with various courses offered both at the Lausanne and Vevey campuses or online. Established in 1996 Creative Language Center is the first and most experienced Callan Method English school in Switzerland. Thousands of students were assisted throughout the years in a friendly but efficient way. Fact, the Callan Method is four times faster than any other. Contact us today. A new world filled with opportunities awaits you.


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