If you’re here to read some interesting facts about languages and get a daily spoon of fun knowledge, well… you won’t be disappointed.
But you’re probably wondering:
“Is this crazy long list really for me, I mean 99 facts, seriously?”
Well today I’m going to make it easy for you, just try to read along and you will see it’s not as long as you might think.
So with no further introduction, Let’s jump right in.
- English is one of six languages the United Nations official uses for conducting business and legal translations, the other five are French, Spanish, Chinese, Russian and Arabic.
- Despite the grammatical discrepancies sometimes associated with it English is the first choice as a spoken foreign language in most of the world's countries.
- A new word is added to the English dictionaries every two hours.
- The word swims is still the word swims in English, even if it is turned upside down. This is called an ambiagram.
- The longest English word to date is Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis, being a lung disease caused by the inhalation of dusts or ashes.
- Political jokes are called chistes in Spanish, which tends to be less politically correct about such things than English or other languages.
- If a word actually contains all five Spanish vowel forms it is called a murciélago, which means bat like the flying mammal or friend of vampires.
- When creating subtitles for movies and media, Spanish translations of English are considered too brash in many context. So they are not preferred.
- Por favor meaning please in Spanish is not as widely used as English, at least not when being polite. Spanish speakers usually say something more like would like me to do something, rather than can you help please.
- Spanish is also called Castilian, because of the Castile region of Spain. Spanish is spoken in Spain, Mexico and South America with this same root language form.
- Just to read the average Chinese newspaper, a person will need to have some mastery of over 2,000 Mandarin Chinese characters.
- The use of puns and play on words are more popular than other types of Western jokes, when spoken in Mandarin.
- The hardest part in speaking Mandarin are the tones. There are four primary tones and a single neutral tone.
- Mandarin Chinese is the language spoken by the most native speakers in the world, followed in order of usage by English, Spanish, Hindi, Arabic, Bengali, Russian, Portuguese, Japanese, German and French.
- Mandarin Chinese is considered one of the five most difficult languages to learn, followed closely by Arabic, Cantonese, Japanese and Korean.
- Teacher and student style jokes are much popularized in the Hindi language.
- Namaste is the most common formal greeting in the Hindi language, it formally means hello, but also can mean I bow to you.
- Hindi is written from left to right, like English and European languages.
- Hindi has no articles or words such as 'the' or 'a'.
- Hindi has many hundreds of dialects, but most all of them use the same basic script form called Devanagari.
- In Arabic, there is no use of capital letters in the entire language form.
- Every letter used in Arabic has four forms that can be utilized. These four forms are called the independent, initial, medial and final forms of each.
- Arabic is closely related to Hebrew and Aramaic linguistically speaking. So the term Arabic itself can have multiple meanings.
- Modern Standard Arabic or MSA is the only form of Arabic taught in all Arab language speaking schools and most commonly spoken in all Arab countries today.
- The Arabic language is simplified and skips many grammar rules, when put into a hand written form, but this is not true when spoken aloud.
- Some translations in Portuguese don't work very well, for example the word preservativo means condom, not preservative as it is often translated.
- In Portuguese humor, the most mentioned character of all time is actually named Little John.
- Two standards of Portuguese are spoken in the world today, the Northern form in Portugal and the Southern form in Brazil.
- In Macau, Portuguese still vies for official language status with Mandarin Chinese. The formerly Portuguese territory changed hands back to China in the year 1999.
- The national anthems of Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and India are written in Bengali, as their original language form for the musical compositions and lyrics.
- Bengali grammar was never formally documented in written form until the 18th century.
- Bengali is the official national language of Bangladesh, but is also spoken widely within India.
- Bengali was made an official language of the United Nations in 2009.
- In proper Bengali grammar, words are not allowed to use consonant clusters. This is a strict rule grammatically.
- In Russian, there are 10 words using only a single letter.
- All astronauts that are assigned to work on the international space station, must learn Russian in order to qualify.
- An old grammatical rule for Russian language states that no word can begin with the letter 'a'. Nearly all words that begin with this letter have been imported from other languages, with only three exceptions. The words for alphabet, I and maybe.
- Although not due to a grammatical rule, all words beginning with 'f' are imported from other languages, as this letter does not exist in Russian.
- The letter 'o' is the most commonly used of all letters in Russian language.
- Ukrainian language is also called Little Russian or Ruthenian by those who are not native speakers.
- Before the 19th century, the Ukrainian language was declining in use. So much so, that Ukrainian schools were no longer open and Ukrainian children were taught Russian or Polish formally.
- The longest Ukrainian word to date refers to a form of modern pesticide.
- There are over 4279 synonyms for words in the Ukrainian language, more synonymic orders than any other language today.
- The letter 'n' is used more in the Ukrainian language, than any other in the world.
- Japanese words like those of the English language, have no gender.
- Verbs in Japanese, always appear at the end of a sentence, making the language hard to learn for many Western visitors.
- Humor in Japanese language is usually based on storytelling and does not rely on short phrases or punch lines.
- Japanese language has nothing in its grammar to show a word is singular or plural.
- Plays on words, based on phonetic differences in dialect are considered funny in Japanese.
- All cities and state name in the United States are spelled the same in German, except for Kalifornien or California.
- The Swiss people speak two forms of the German language, Swiss German and High German.
- In the German language, 'ja' sometimes means 'no'.
- Rindfleischetikettierungsüberwachungsaufgabenübertragungsgesetz is the longest German word.
- English has a large number of German words directly imported and used today. So much so that German speakers tend to welcome English speakers readily. This familiarity created a language name for speakers using both grammar systems, it is called Denglish.
- French is the second language of 1.6 million Americans, who consider it their mother tongue.
- Over 20.000 new words are added to the French language every year.
- French is taught in almost every country worldwide, along with the English language.
- French was not spoken by most common citizens of France, during the French revolution.
- French language is used by 5 Commonwealth countries today.
- Many Italian speakers around the world speak their own dialect, based on their regional area. There are so many Italian dialects, that many of these qualify as their own languages.
- Many speakers of Italian argue that the real language of Italy is the use of gestures. This is considered a universal part of Italian speaking, because the hands are always used in emphasis with their words.
- Esofagodermatodigiunoplastica is the longest Italian word, being a type surgical procedure that follows removal of a person's stomach.
- Native Italian speakers often refer to Italy as "il Bel Paese" , or the beautiful country.
- The first documentation of the official Italian language and its vocabulary, became published in 1612.
- Dutch is considered the easiest language for speakers of English to learn, as a second language.
- In the late 19th century, Dutch was banned from school education systems in Prussia and France.
- The actual use of the word Dutch to represent the Dutch language, did not come into being until the 19th century.
- Dutch is most closely related to German and English, as a language.
- Dutch is most widely spoken within the Netherlands.
- Western speakers learning the Thai language often misunderstand that using first names is not an informal tense, therefore this can be understood as an insult.
- Although jokes are hard to translate to or from Thai language, many of their proverbs have a tone that utilizes humor.
- There is no universally agree do Westernization of the Thai language, so there are many translated discrepancies.
- Thai language is actually very similar to English, except there are no noun or verb endings.
- Much of the terminology used in Buddhism owes its usage to the Thai language, even though most Buddhist scripts are not written in any direct dialects.
- Being spoken within India, versions of Tamil are spoken by both the Brahmin and non-Brahmin castes in the country.
- Vowel lengths in Tamil can actually change the meaning of some words.
- Words in Tamil grammar have no limit to their number of suffixes added, this creates some very long words in use of everyday language.
- Of all the Dravidian language variants, Tamil is the oldest in origin, except for the root language Sanskrit.
- There are inscriptions of stone carved writings in original Tamil that date as far back as 200 BC.
- Root words from Greek are very often the beginning of words in other languages such as Russian, English, Hebrew and many more!
- Mother-in-laws are a favorite butt of many Greek jokes, but so are Western European people.
- Greek words can have masculine, feminine or a neutral gender tense. All three forms are used in a variety of situations.
- Over 30% of Greek words are also used in the English language, most of them being technical and scientific terms.
- The longest word ever written or spoken in Greek has 78 syllables and 171 letters, it is hated by actors and actresses alike.
- Latin became the lingua franca across Europe, during the high point of Rome.
- Latin was originally spoken by people living along the lower Tiber River, and is the eldest root of the modern romance languages.
- The Catholic Church utilized Latin as the primary liturgical language until the year 1965.
- Latin is the longest and widely used alphabet or written system in all the world, with its origins dating back to the year 1100 BC.
- Latin is a dead and unspoken language today, although it is still used in a written root form for the worlds of academics, medicine, law and science.
- Polish speakers are generally polite, even when they are in the middle of an argument. It is not uncommon to say the equivalent of, 'Sir, you are an idiot."
- If a Polish speaker calls someone a 'bitch' it isn't meant as an insult. This means essentially the same thing as in English saying 'to be'.
- Polish speakers often mix up saying 'thank you' versus 'hello'.
- The polish language is well known for its sense of humor, this includes jokes about doctors, blondes and even mother-in-law’s.
- For speakers of Polish, they will find it easier to learn Slavic languages such as Czech, than other near Asian languages.
- Romanian preserves more of the original Latin root language than any other romance language in existence today. This is due to the isolation of the country from many others on trade routes and other influences.
- The stress in any word can occur on any single syllable, but the change in position can change the meanings of the words (for example módele means ‘the fahsions’ but modéle means ‘models’).
- Romanian is also the officially used language of Moldova, a Soviet Union republic. Although to this day it is argued weather Romanian or Moldovian is the official language.
- The first verifiable text written in the Daco-Romanian dialect form of Romanaian language dates back to 1521 A.D.
- Four dialects of the Romanian language are spoken today; these are Daco-Romanian, Aromanian, Megleno-Romanian, and Istro-Romanian.