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