The English language has a lot of words… maybe even the most words of all the languages in the whole wide world. I can’t be totally sure of that because I haven’t counted myself, and even if I had, I probably still wouldn’t trust my count. I’m the kind of person who gets a headache and has to lie down if I think too hard about how Daylight Savings Time works.
Nonetheless, that’s what reputable sources (ahem OXFORD ENGLISH DICTIONARY cough) tell me, and I’m sticking to it, despite claims to the contrary from certain Swedish acquaintances of mine (cough MY HUSBAND I really have to get some cough drops) that the Swedish language actually has more words than English.
Apparently Fredrik Lindström (Notable Expert on the Swedish Language) told him that the English language’s claim to having the most words was a myth. Having not seen the clip myself, I’m going to just keep on saying that English has the largest vocabulary in the world until Fredrik Lindström or Horace Engdahl (another Notable Expert on the Swedish Language) personally consent to an arm-wrestling match or convince me otherwise.
All the same, the English language could always stand to add a few more words to the list.
In the time that I’ve lived in Sweden, I have encountered some words that are just so amazingly perfect I want to buy them coffee, ask them out on a date, and then somewhere down the line ask them to spend the rest of their lives with me. And if they agreed—oh, how happy I would be!!
Here’s the catch, though: it’s likely that no one outside of Sweden would understand my Swenglified English. Then everyone would think that I’m a stark raving lunatic (as usual), poke my eyes out and cast me out of society. (It’s happened before.)
My solution is, therefore, to spread my favorite and most useful Swedish words to the rest of the world so that I can keep using them and everyone will understand what I mean.
Ideally, of course, all the words that make me laugh (here and here) would make it on the list, too, but I’ve actually narrowed down the list to only the words that cover some concept that we don’t have a word for in English.
Biggest vocabulary or not, there’s always room for a few more words in the English language. Read more » >>