Of words and dictionaries

Keeping to the subject of English (we hate to see it leave), the Oxford Dictionaries website has some interesting insights into the lexical sphere and its succulent riches.

Did you know, for instance, how many words there are in the English language?

Well, although it is very difficult to decide what counts as a separate word and what counts as English (Latin legal terminology? French cuisine? German angst? Slang and dialect?), the Second Edition of the 20-volume Oxford English Dictionary contains “full entries for 171,476 words in current use, plus 47,156 obsolete words and roughly 9,500 derivative words included as subentries”.

More than 50% of English words are nouns, about 25% are adjectives and around 15% are verbs. And how does a new word make it into the dictionary? Well, apparently, Oxford monitors the World Wide Web and when there’s evidence of a new word being used by a variety of sources, it becomes a candidate for inclusion in the Oxford Dictionary.

For more details, go straight to the source. Enjoy the rest of the day with an enhanced vocabulary!


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.