Fact List Humans Science Society

30 Kickass and Interesting Facts About Languages – Part 2

Here is part 2 of 30 Kickass and Interesting Facts About Languages.  For part 1, click here.

1-5 Interesting Facts About Languages

Shrek

1. Midway through production on Shrek, Mike Meyers decided his character should speak with a Scottish accent, costing DreamWorks roughly $5 million in wasted animation. – Source

2. Humans usually imitate the speech of someone with a strong accent due to empathy and to create a bond and assimilate with them. – Source

3. Charlize Theron has an American accent because she only spoke Afrikaans at home and “learned to speak English properly in the US.” – Source

4. British people used to have American sounding accents, not the other way around. – Source

5. A budgie named Puck is listed in the Guinness World Book of Records as “The bird with the largest vocabulary in the world” with a vocabulary of 1728 words. Also he wouldn’t just mimic, he would often create his own phrases and sentences. – Source

6-10 Interesting Facts About Languages

Samuel L. Jackson

6. Samuel L. Jackson overcame a stuttering problem as a child by developing an affinity for using the word “motherfucker” in his vocabulary. – Source

7. Although English is considered a Germanic language, 60% of the vocabulary is of Latin or French origin. – Source

8. There is a dialect of German called Texas German that is only spoken in Texas. – Source

9. When the Japanese Emperor Hirohito broadcast his surrender order during World War 2 to the Japanese people on August 14, 1945, his subjects were not able to understand the obscure Royal dialect in which he spoke. An Army officer had to follow the Emperor’s statement with a translation. – Source

10. Most Southern U.S. English speakers make no phonic distinction between “pen” and “pin” and this is one of the most widely recognized features of Southern speech today. – Source

11-15 Interesting Facts About Languages

Dolphins

11. Dolphins name themselves when they’re young and keep the same name throughout their lives. Other dolphins know the name even if it’s not spoken by the dolphin whose name it is. – Source

12. You can actually donate your voice to help people with speech impairments so that they can select a vocal identity of their own. – Source

13. Queen Victoria was fluent in Urdu and Hindi. – Source

14. Children who speak Mandarin are far more likely to develop perfect pitch because of tone association with words, and that one word can have up to four different meanings depending on the pitch at which it is spoken. – Source

15. Basque is a language that is spoken on the French-Spanish border that linguists can’t conclusively link to any European languages. – Source


16-20 Interesting Facts About Languages

Scrabble

16. Understanding English actually hurts professional players of English scrabble. Some of the world’s best Scrabble players are Thai and can’t speak English. – Source

17. Since Latin had no general word for “yes”, the French created one out of the Latin words for “that is it” (hoc ille>oil>oui) and the Spanish created one out of the Latin word “thus” (sic>si) – Source

18. Before the English speaking world was exposed to the fruit, the color orange was referred to as “geoluhread” which is Old English for red-yellow. – Source

19. Italian singer Adriano Celentano released a song in the 70’s with nonsense lyrics meant to sound like American English, to prove Italians would like any English song. It was a hit. – Source

20. In 1883, a writer attempted to make a Portuguese-to-English phrasebook, despite not knowing English himself. Popularized in America by Mark Twain, “English As She Is Spoke” is filled with such nonsensical English idioms as “to craunch the marmoset” and “to buy cat in pocket.” – Source

21-25 Interesting Facts About Languages

Harry Potter

21. Harry Potter books were translated from British to American English. – Source

22. The French use the expression “the English have landed” to say a woman is on her period. – Source

23. Some Nigerian prince scammers use bad English and a dumb premise, not because they’re actually clueless, but because they want only the most gullible to respond, allowing them to dedicate their time and efforts to people who might actually pay up. – Source

24. The Lord of the Rings novels were written as if they were translated to English, and the actual common tongue of the books is called Westron. – Source

25. There are sign language equivalents of tongue twisters. They’re called “finger fumblers” – Source

26-30 Interesting Facts About Languages

Thomas Jefferson

26. Thomas Jefferson could read and write in 6 languages Greek, Latin, French, Italian, Spanish, and English. Post death, a number of books, dictionaries, and grammar manuals also suggest he knew Arabic, Gaelic, and Welsh. – Source

27. Herbert Hoover and his wife learned Mandarin when living in China during the Boxer Rebellion, and would speak it in the White House to foil eavesdroppers. – Source

28. For native English speakers, the hardest languages to learn are: Arabic, Cantonese, Mandarin, Korean, and especially Japanese. – Source

29. The Piraha language of the Amazonian Indians was first documented by a Christian missionary who had intended to translate the bible into Piraha. Instead, his encounters with the natives turned him into an atheist. – Source

30. The 19th-century poet William Barnes advocated the removal of foreign-derived words from the English language, and their replacement by words of native origin. For example, he suggested “birdlore” instead of “ornithology”, and “speechcraft” instead of “grammar.” – Source

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  • 10. Most Southern U.S. English speakers make no phonic distinction between “pen” and “pin” and this is one of the most widely recognized features of Southern speech today

    should read most southern us english speakers barley read write speak or understand proper grammer due to lack of educational funding from low taxes

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