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Showing posts from December, 2011

History of English

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The English language has 1.5 million words. Contrast this with Spanish, which has 80,000 words. How did English get so rich in vocabulary?


The English language is full of contradictions, exceptions and inexplicable irregularities. It is maddeningly difficult to teach and to lean English, because of its many inconsistencies and blurred rules. Often a particular English construction can't really be explained: all the teacher can say is, "that's how it is."

Why is English grammar so complicated? Why so complex and flexible, compared with other languages whose strict sentence structure (for example, German) makes it easy to build correct sentences? The history of English reveals the wayward nature of its development.

If the English language were a dog, it would be a mutt, not a purebred. If it were an ear of corn, it would be a hybrid, not a heritage strain. If it were a religion, it would be wide open, not orthodox. If it were a restaurant, it would be fusion, not ethni…