English is one of the most popular and important languages in the world, with many people around the globe opting to learn English as a second language. This allows individuals to communicate with more people from around the world in one common tongue. It is a form of the written and spoken word that is constantly evolving and was influenced during England’s long history by German, Dutch, Latin and Ancient Greek. While learners of English often study certain aspects such as grammar, syntax and vocabulary, there are often many interesting facts or occurrences in the language which most people are unaware of. Here are just 10 of the most fascinating facts about the English language.


  • On land there are over 6,500 languages still currently spoken, but in the skies, English is the official spoken language. All pilots communicate using English during international flights. Back on land however, English is the third most commonly spoken language in the world after Mandarin Chinese and Spanish, with roughly 1,200,000,000 speaking English as a first or second language.


  • There are a number of coincidental and amusing anagrams that crop up in the English language. For example ‘the classroom’ is an anagram of ‘schoolmaster’, ‘Apple Macintosh’ is an anagram of ‘laptop machines’, ‘listen’ is an anagram of ‘silent’ and ‘eleven plus two’ is an anagram of ‘twelve plus one.’


  • The word ‘funk’ was originally used in Tudor times to describe the stale smell of tobacco smoke.


  • There are over 280 words that end with the suffix –ology, but the shortest is oology, which is the study of eggs.


  • Sermocination is the process of asking a question, only to then immediately answer it yourself.


  • ‘Qwerty’ keyboards are arranged in such a way for a good reason and you may be surprised to learn that it’s not simply to make it harder to remember the location of the letters. It actually originated from the design of early typewriters that used mechanical rods and levers which were connected to the raised keys. For this machine to work efficiently, it was essential that the most commonly used letters of the alphabet were positioned away from one another so as to prevent the keys from jamming and breaking.


  • Uncopyrightable is the longest word that does not repeat any of its fifteen letters more than once.


  • Between the years 1932-1940, the English dictionary featured a word that had no meaning and therefore no use at all in the language. It is the word ‘dord’, which is believed to have appeared as a result of a printing error and has since become known as the ‘ghost word‘.


  • We all know that English is constantly developing and evolving but the incredible speed at which this is happening may come as a shock. It is believed that every couple of hours, a new word is created and integrated into the language, an idea that is reinforced by the fact that roughly 4000 words are added to the English dictionary every year.


  • The letter E is the most common letter in English and it single-handedly makes up 11% of the language.


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