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Many English words used to be spelled phonetically (e.g. debt was 'det') until some scholars purposely added silent letters to make them look more like Greek or Latin words, sometimes erroneously.

2. Phrases like, "Long time no see," and "Chop chop" are grammatically incorrect and originate from Chinese immigrants. These phrases may have been coined by native speakers imitating these immigrants.

3. Expecto Patronum roughly translates to "I await a protector" in Latin.

4. Ye, as in "ye olde whatever", is pronounced 'the'. It comes from typesetters using y instead of the Old English letter þ which had a ‘th’ sound.

5. We say "pardon my French" after swearing because, in the 19th century, English-speaking people would drop French phrases into the conversation to display class, apologizing because many of their listeners wouldn't know the language. Then people hid swear words under the pretense of them being French.


Young children, especially twins, will often develop their own language that they can understand but is unintelligible to any adult observers.

7. “American” was the official language of Illinois from 1923 to 1969.

8. "Huh?" is a universal word and is found in roughly the same form and function in spoken languages across the globe.

9. A greater percentage of Dutch people speak English than Canadians. About 90% of Dutch speak English, while only 85% of the Canadians speak English.

10. The reason so many traditional legal terms come in pairs (aid and abet, null and void, part and parcel, will and testament) is that old English courts used English terms along with Latin or French terms to avoid confusion.

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11Nikola Tesla

Nikola Tesla could speak eight languages: Serbo-Croatian, Czech, English, French, German, Hungarian, Italian, and even Latin.

12. The American Sign Language for “pasteurized milk” is the sign for “milk” while moving your hand past your eyes.

13. A common English-speaker has roughly 50,000 words in their mind and generally finds the correct one in approximately 600 milliseconds.

14. The Chinese word for "contradiction", 矛盾, consisting of the characters for "spear" and "shield" respectively, is said to derive from an old tale in which a Chinese merchant proclaimed to sell "spears that could pierce any shield" and "shields that could defend from all spear attacks".

15. “Sh*tstorm” has been adopted into the German language as a perfectly polite noun meaning an internet-born controversy.

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Elephants can tell the difference between human languages and know which languages belong to their enemies, i.e., people with a history of hurting elephants.

17. "The Chaos" is a poem written by Gerard Nolst Trenité to show differences in pronunciation of English words which are spelled similarly. The poem only rhymes if you know how to pronounce them correctly.

18. Paraguay is the only country in the South America where more people speak a native language than a colonial one (90% Guarani vs 87% Spanish).

19. To show how Classical Chinese had become an impractical language, linguist Chao Yuen Ren wrote a 92-character poem in which every syllable has the sound "shi". The poem "Shī Shì shí shī shǐ" translates to "Lion-Eating Poet in the Stone Den".

20. In Spanish, "Esposas" has two meanings: "handcuffs" and "wives". Esposas is the feminine plural of esposo, which comes from the Latin sponsus, which comes from the Latin spondere, which means "To bind."

21Procrastination German rhyme

There is a short German rhyme about procrastination that also rhymes when translated into English. "Morgen, morgen, nur nicht heute, sagen alle faulen leute." in English means "Later, later, not today, all the lazy people say."

22. The word Shampoo is derived from the Hindi word 'chāmpo' which in turn is derived from the Sanskrit root 'chapayati' meaning: "to press, knead and soothe".

23. '&' was originally the 27th letter of the English alphabet. Until early 1800s, school children reciting their ABCs concluded the alphabet with the &. The students said, "And per se and." "Per se" means "By itself," so the students were essentially saying, "X, Y, Z, and by itself and."

24. Motto of the news satire organization, “The Onion” is “Tu stultus es” which in Latin translates to “You're an idiot.”

25. The English language capitalizes the pronoun 'I' because it looks too small when it's in lowercase.


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