English Language Day

English Language Day 30

The 23rd of April can also be linked to the birth date of William Shakespeare who has been referred to as the greatest writer of the English language.

This day was established in order to celebrate multilingualism and cultural diversity as well as to promote equal use of all six official languages throughout UN’s Department of Public Information.

Approximately 75 percent of world mail, telexes, and cables, 60 percent of world radio programs, and 82 percent of all World Wide Web traffic are in English (Gordon, 2005; Crystal, 2001).

As the third most-spoken native language in the world, English has been seen to take over in some countries as the official language or with a strong second-language base. The power of the English language is seen on the global stage in political, economic and educational spheres.

There has been an increased demand for English language education and communication across Africa, from formal settings in government and schools to informal ones such as businesses.

Today, 26 countries in sub-Saharan Africa use English either as an official language exclusively (like Nigeria and Ghana) or as an official language alongside another African language (like in Kenya or South Africa) (Negash, 2011; World Factbook, 2013)

Currently there are a lot of sites, books and also audiobooks that offer English learning and they showcase different aspects of The English Grammar to grow or improve your knowledge of it. They make it very easy to learn simple to complex forms of the English language. Tests on English are also administered; The most common ones are the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and the International English Language Testing Service (IELTS) both for people wanting to study in an English-speaking country or taking a course with a lot of English language content.

Here are a few English facts to learn on English Language Day;

  • “I” is the shortest and oldest English word.
  • The longest word in the English language is 45 letters long: “Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanokoniosis.” It is the scientific name for a type of lung disease caused by inhalation of silica dust.
  • The first English dictionary was written in 1755.
  • An ambigram is a word that looks the same upside down as right-side up. A great example is the word “SWIMS” with all capitalized letters.
  • If you wrote out all the numbers (e.g. one, two, three . . .), you would not use the letter “b” until the word “billion.”
  • Those who read fiction have a larger vocabulary than those who do not. Fiction usually contains a wider range of vocabulary than nonfiction does.
  • The phrase “long time no see” is believed to be a literal translation of a Native American or Chinese phrase as it is not grammatically correct.
  • A tautonym in linguistics is a word that consists of the same word twice. You might also hear this referred to as reduplication. The common English word so-so is the perfect example of a tautonym. It means “just okay; fine.”

The English language is interesting and very unique. It offers so much to learn from, from its Morphology, the Syntax, to the articulation of sounds and how it has even helped in negotiation platforms.

It also shows its uniqueness in how it got hit by a firehose spray of words from yet more languages. Examples of such words include;

French- Ballet, Croissant, Renaissance

German- Kindergarten, Gesundheit, Fest, Waltz

Yiddish- Glitch, Klutz, Schmooze

Spanish- Guerrilla, Plaza, Patio

Japanese- Karaoke, Tsunami, Karate

Chinese- Dim Sum, Tofu, Yin & Yang

Italian- Paparazzi, Torso, Tempo

Mexico- Chocolate (xocolati, in the Nahuati language of modern-day Mexico)

Each language is unmatched in its own way; English also, proves to be extraordinary.

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