All languages have their own oddities and eccentricities. Here are just a few to admire which are found in English.
- Polish: The only word in the English language that changes its pronunciation when capitalised. “My Polish relatives gave me some furniture but I have to polish it every week.” (The ‘o’ in ‘ Polish’ is pronounced /ou/. In ‘polish’ it is pronounced /ɔ/ (‘o’ aberto))
- Month, Silver, Purple, Orange: There are no words in English to rhyme perfectly with these four. (not yet!)
- Dreamt: The only word in English ending with an “mt”. (dreamt is the irregular form of the verb to dream which has also a regular past form: dreamed)
- Subcontinental: The only word with all the vowels in reverse order.
- 45 Letters: The world’s longest-named lake has 45 letters – Lake Chargoggagoggmanchauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg. (I wonder if people refer to this lake as ‘Cha’, just to make things easier.)
- Two Us Together: Only four words in English – muumuu, residuum, vacuum and continuum. (no, muumuu is not to emit the sound made by a cow – this sound is “moo”. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary muumuu is “a loose, often long dress having bright colours and patterns and adapted from the dresses originally distributed by missionaries to the native women of Hawaii.” Of course!)
- Two-syllable words which become one-syllable words when you add a letter(s): Ague/Plague, Ague/Vague, Rugged/Shrugged, Boa/Boat, Ragged/Dragged, Naked/Snaked, Sour/Source. (Whoever said ‘less is more’ was right!)
- Ewe and You: Sound exactly the same but have no letters in common. Other examples are Eye/I, Oh/Eau. (Eau is a French word, but widely used in English)
- I, You, The and A are the most commonly spoken English words. (I thought ‘love’ was in this list. Just kidding!)
- Interchangeability: Contains these numbers – Three, Eight, Nine, Ten, Thirteen, Thirty, Thirty-Nine, Eighty, Eighty-Nine, Ninety and Ninety-Eight. (I wonder what the person who found this out was doing at the moment of this discovery.)
- Intestines: each of its letters occurs twice. (if you forget that, you just have to remember that we have two intestines and the letters occur twice. Hum…never mind!)
- Monday: the only day of the week having an anagram – dynamo. You’ve made an anagram if you can take a name or a word and jumble the letters to form another word or phrase. A nag’s arm is an anagram for anagrams!)
- Strengths: is the longest word in English with only one vowel
Smiles: is the longest word in English language. (There is a mile between the first and last letter! I caught you now! lol)
- Book of words. Compiled by Michelle O’Regan. Axiom Publishing, 2006.
- Wikipedia: Longest word in English on 22/11/2012.