English has more words (615 000!) than any other language

There are more English words – about 615 000 – than in any other language.

But why?

English is a Germanic language that borrows from around the world.

It is still expanding and rapidly changing.

More than 70% of English words have their origins in Latin and Ancient Greek.

John Maytham interviewed Gail Symington.

Symington is a Senior Lecturer (Classical Studies, School of Languages and Literatures) at the University of Cape Town.

Listen to the interview in the audio below (and/or scroll down for quotes from it).

French and Spanish have about 100 000 words. German has 135 000.

Gail Symington

Other languages are more linguistically proud or insular.

Gail Symington

A native English speaker’s vocabulary consists of about 20 000 words, but you could make do with about 1000.

Gail Symington

Recommended

by NEWSROOM AI
Read More
We're not just cyclists - CT man turns punch-up with driver into safety message

We're not just cyclists - CT man turns punch-up with driver into safety message

He was punched in the face by a motorist last week and tracked the driver down for a meet-up, instead of laying charges.

Media watchdog to fight Manyi's bid for broadcast licence

Media watchdog to fight Manyi's bid for broadcast licence

The director of Media Monitoring Africa explains why Afro World View (the old ANN7) shouldn't be granted a free-to-air licence.

uServ: Get your online order within 90 minutes

uServ: Get your online order within 90 minutes

uServ co-founder Steven Mauerberger chats about what he says is new unrivaled accelerated experience when ordering online.

No need to declare your laptop or electronic devices when leaving SA - Sars exec

No need to declare your laptop or electronic devices when leaving SA - Sars exec

Travelers are required to declare any goods that could be liable for payment of duties on a travel concession card (TC01).

ConCourt can't force Dlamini to pay legal costs of Sassa saga, lawyers argue

ConCourt can't force Dlamini to pay legal costs of Sassa saga, lawyers argue

The former Social Development Minister doesn't want to pay the legal costs of the Sassa grants payment saga out of her own pocket.

W Cape DA leader Madikizela denies party trying to purge De Lille supporters

W Cape DA leader Madikizela denies party trying to purge De Lille supporters

DA's Bonginkosi Madikizela says mobilising other members of the party against the party as happened on Friday is unacceptable.

Popular articles
We're not just cyclists - CT man turns punch-up with driver into safety message

We're not just cyclists - CT man turns punch-up with driver into safety message

He was punched in the face by a motorist last week and tracked the driver down for a meet-up, instead of laying charges.

7 suspects arrested in Joburg heist

7 suspects arrested in Joburg heist

EWN Reporter Barry Batemen says eight people including two bystanders were hurt in the heist.

[WATCH] The spectacular moment AB de Villiers bent the laws of physics

[WATCH] The spectacular moment AB de Villiers bent the laws of physics

The world now knows never to underestimate the athletic form of SA cricketer AB de Villiers after this gravity-defying catch.

What's better than sex with your partner? Sex with YOURSELF! #MasturbationMonth

What's better than sex with your partner? Sex with YOURSELF! #MasturbationMonth

It's time to dim the light, lie back, relax and enjoy a bit of one-on-one time - with yourself!

[LISTEN] Dailene, the lady behind the video from Thursday's heist in Boksburg

[LISTEN] Dailene, the lady behind the video from Thursday's heist in Boksburg

Another heist was carried out in Boksburg on Thursday morning and led to five people being arrested.

Blind athlete sues popular winery after guide dog barred entry

Blind athlete sues popular winery after guide dog barred entry

Paralympian Hendri Herbst will take Durbanville Hills to court after his guide dog was denied entry inside the restaurant in 2014.

Health Minister proposes scrapping of medical aid co-payments

Health Minister proposes scrapping of medical aid co-payments

The eradication of medical aid co-payments is one of a number of changes to the medical aid scheme proposed by Aaron Motsoaledi.

[LISTEN] Is it Yanny or Laurel? Test your ears!

[LISTEN] Is it Yanny or Laurel? Test your ears!

What's Gone Viral with Khabazela brings you tweets, posts and YouTube videos that have social media talking.