Thursday, February 09, 2006

Things That Make You Go . . . WTF?

So it seems there are 986,210 words in the English language. As of Tuesday, anyway.

Mr Payack, who works for Global Language Monitor, a San Diego-based consultancy, said 20,000 new English words were registered on the company's databases last year - twice as many as a few years ago.

But here's the thing: That number includes words from Chinglish (Chinese-English), Japlish (Japanese-English), Spanglish, and other language hybrids. Should we really count those languages as English or English dialects? Or are they variations of the other language? Or are they standalone languages, with their own vocabulary and rules?

And who gets to decide what is a word? If it's in the dictionary? If it's printed in a newspaper? If someone says it in casual conversation? Is "drinktea" really an English word, or is it gobbledygook that happens to look and sound like an English word but really has no meaning in an English-language context?

What say you?


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