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Showing posts from November, 2012

What is a pangram?

A pangram is a sentence containing all 26 letters of the alphabet. The best know example is The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.

What are the most common letters used in English?

Scott Bryce uses statistical analysis to provide Cryptogram fans/Scrabble players with a list of the most used letters in the English language:
1. E     12.51%2. T9.253. A8.044. O7.605. I7.266 N7.097. S6.548. R6.129. H5.4910. L4.14 Interesting to note that there are four vowels in the top five, but 'u' is a surprisingly low 13th.

More fun facts about the English language here (short audio with worksheet)

Is the importance of English overstated?

A recent article challenges the idea that English is the unstoppable homogenizing world language
 ... it would also be a big mistake to overestimate the reach of English. Though it is widely assumed that the planet is becoming more linguistically homogeneous, hard evidence suggests otherwise. Most of the approximately six thousand languages in use today are indeed spoken by relatively small communities, nearly half by populations of less than ten thousand. Although a great many of these idioms are in danger of dying, many new languages and dialects are coming into existence as well. More broadly, there are a number of major world languages other than English, used by large portions of the planet’s inhabitants, in the context of dynamic social, cultural, and economic activities.Fifteen idioms are spoken by at least one hundred million people—including Spanish, Hindi, Arabic, Japanese, Portuguese, and French. At around one billion, there are more than twice as many speakers of Mandarin Ch…