(Warning: Rambling post ahead)
Did you know that English is a language of relatively few words?
Yes, hard to believe isn't it?
If you are a native English speaker, your personal vocabulary is only about 20,000 words. And, of these words, you probably only use 2,000 on a regular basis.
Two thousand? It's not much really, especially if you spend a lot of time talking, or blogging, or even commenting on art work. Using myself as an example, just listen out for my use of nice, wonderful, gorgeous, colourful, super, beautiful, excellent, congratulations - these and serviceable words like them come up over and over when I comment. And over.
Not that there is anything wrong with them. On the contrary, they are all positive words that make us feel good and should be used more often. But they are just prime examples of the chosen few - some of the 2000 old faithfuls that I rely on in our communications with fellow beings.
Hola gente maravillosa, siento que no hay traducción al español. Voy a tener que traductor Google buton dispuesto lo antes posible. Pero este mensaje tiene un montón de palabras que (I made up the words!) he aprendido de memoria - por lo que no tendrá sentido. No tiene sentido que los hablantes de Inglés - pero no se lo digas a nadie. Feliz hacer arte! (be Happy in your art making)
Okay, well that's the one sided story. Admittedly, as English speakers we have a whole lot more than 2,000 (or even 20,000) words to choose from.
In fact, according to The Global Language Monitor, at this present second, there are exactly 1,007,711 words in the English language. But wait! By the time you finish reading this post there will be 1,007,711.5 words in the English language - depending on how slowly you read. (Of course you may not read the whole post and that means your vocabularly will be sadly depleted - because I have a surprise at the end, and it's not just that Eves' palm in the next image is missing.)
Well, 1,007,711.5 words seems a real lot doesn't it? But hold on to your horses, don't let the clappers go, nor spill your milk before she is counted.
Given that there are 508 million people who speak English as a first or second language, simple mathematics tells us that we have only 0.001968th of a word each to call our own. That's not even a single letter each in the longest word in the English language which, as you probably guessed is something like Lopadotemachoselachogaleokranioleipsano...pterygon at 183 letters (it means a long legged crustacean who eats Chinese takeway every third Sunday of the month).
Well how can we fix this problem?
Obviously we need to invent new words. We need more words to share around. At the moment a new English word is magicked up out of thin space every 98 mins.
One every 98 minutes? Not much isn't it? Considering those 508 million people, I reckon that that is a poor effort. While some of us are inventing new words, what are the other 507,000,956 people doing?
But the theory that a new word is magicked up every 98 minutes is merely a theory - just as it says.
And like every theory, it has its faults. And not surprisingly a brief analysis shows up its faults quite quickly.
The most obvious fault that I can see is that the theoreticians over at The Global Language Monitor didn't figure on me.
Yes me. (I'm the guy hugging the tree on the left at the back in the next image)
Poor humble me. I mean it's obvious to me that if there were more people like me in the world that the gross rate of new words being magicked up (the NWBMU rate) would suddenly inflate to a massive three words an hour - which, by amazing coincidence, is exactly the speed that I type at.
So, with this in mind I had a walk on the beach today. And while I was dodging the tentacle blessed Bluebottles and the scurvy scum cusking bottom creatures' dehydrated washed-up bodies that littered the hide tigh mark I came up with several new words - the most magick of them being "transpotated."
Now 'transpotated' by another amazing coincidence, isn't the Illustration Friday prompt this week.
The word for IF is, in fact, "Transportation".
Transportation? Yes, I kid you not. Transportation - a particularly weak, assidious and denostrating word.
Where is the assonance? The consonance? The sybillence? (okay I admit it has some assonance and consonance - but only a twiggle of each). Where is the kink in its armour that will allow people like myself to easily mispell it?
It's all too easy a word. "Trans' the preffix meaning 'across'. "Port' meaning 'to carry'. The suffix 'ion' indicating that it is a noun. And so we have from 'trans' and 'port' the words 'transported', 'transposed', 'transporation' etc. All bland, billious and beltany. Not much is it?
But as I said, the the theoreticians who came up with the NWBMU rate didn't figure on me.
And so, after my walk this morning I would like to proudly announce that English has four new words. Yes! Not one, not two nor three but four!