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Linguistic Curiosities
Thread poster: Paul Dixon

Paul Dixon  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:46
Portuguese to English
+ ...
May 5, 2009

I just thought I would start a discussion about some quaint linguistic features of the languages of the world. To start off (correct me if I am wrong):

Word with most umlauts: kääntäjää (Finnish for translator - I came across this one by chance the other day - could also be the word with most repeated letters)

Word with most accents: hétérogénéité (French for heterogeneity)

Word with most consonants in English: strengths (9 letters, only 1 vowel)

Words with vowels in correct order in English: facetious / abstemious

Word with three double letters in succession in English: bookkeeper

English Phrase with all letters of the alphabet: Quick-wafting zephyrs vex bold Jim.

If you have any other fascinating gems of the world of words, please bring them to this space!


Sergei Leshchinsky  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:46
Member (2008)
English to Russian
+ ...
Russian words... May 5, 2009

ВЫНУТЬ (take out) -- the word has no root.
It consists of prefix ("ВЫ-"), suffix ("-НУ-"), and infinitive ending ("-ТЬ").

Neither English no Russian have a word to name the back side of the knee.

All the words in the following story are meaninggless. They are artificial, but they sound Russian-like and the grammar, actions, moods and attitudes are well recognised due to inflections. This passage demonstrates the richness of synthetic languages, where inflections render more meaning that roots.

Л. Петрушевская. "Пуськи бятые"

Сяпала Калуша по напушке и увазила бутявку. И волит:
-- Калушата, калушаточки! Бутявка!
Калушата присяпали и бутявку стрямкали.
И подудонились.
А Калуша волит:
-- Оее, оее! Бутявка-то некузявая!
Калушата бутявку вычучили,
Бутявка вздребезнулась, сопритюкнулась и усяпала с напушки.
А Калуша волит
-- Бутявок не трямкают. Бутявки дюбые и зюмо-зюмо некузявые.
От бутявок дудонятся. А бутявка волит за напушкой:
-- Калушата подудонились! Калушата подудонились! Зюмо
некузявые! Пуськи бятые!

(from (сЕмачки=-))


Jack Doughty  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:46
Member (2000)
Russian to English
+ ...
Transliterations of Khrushchev May 5, 2009

Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev's surname in Russian is Хрущев (six letters - the "e" is actually pronounced "o"), in English Khrushchev (10 letters), in German Khruschtschow (12 letters), and in French Khrouchtchov (12 letters) (If I'm wrong about the French or German, I'm sure someone will let me know).


Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:46
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Spanish sentence with all letters May 5, 2009

This is a well-known one: "El jovencito emponzoñado de whisky, qué figurota exhibe."


José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:46
English to Portuguese
+ ...
A riddle May 5, 2009

What word (in English) has kst in the middle, in the beginning, and at the end?

(answer tomorrow)


Word_Wise  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:46
English to Romanian
+ ...
answer :) May 5, 2009

Inkstand. KST in the middle, IN (is) the beginning. AND (is) at the end.


José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:46
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Thanks, Alla! May 5, 2009

One less item on my "to do" list for tomorrow.


Marek Daroszewski (MrMarDar)  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:46
English to Polish
+ ...
English panagram (=sentence with all letters) May 5, 2009

Paul Dixon wrote:

English Phrase with all letters of the alphabet: Quick-wafting zephyrs vex bold Jim.

Another one I find easier to remember is:

The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.

Funnily enough I don't know any panagram in my mother tongue (Polish)icon_frown.gif and had to google oneicon_smile.gif

Mężny bądź, chroń pułk twój i sześć flag (be brave, protect you regiment and six flags)



Kathryn Sanderson  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 08:46
French to English
Abbreviation May 5, 2009

This is something that turns up in those e-mails that people forward all the time:

Why is abbreviation such a long word?

Why indeed?icon_biggrin.gif


Word_Wise  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:46
English to Romanian
+ ...
Welcome, but... May 5, 2009

José Henrique Lamensdorf wrote:

One less item on my "to do" list for tomorrow.

I did not know it was the task you set for yourself for tomorrow José. Sorry. I will try to find something else for tomorrow then .icon_smile.gif

What is the word that has 1 syllable, but when you add 1 letter to the end, it becomes 3 syllables?

[Edited at 2009-05-05 23:36 GMT]


Zamira B.  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:46
English to Uzbek
+ ...
25 English Language Oddities May 6, 2009

25. “Rhythms” is the longest English word without the normal vowels, a, e, i, o, or u.

24. Excluding derivatives, there are only two words in English that end -shion and (though many words end in this sound). These are cushion and fashion.

23. “THEREIN” is a seven-letter word that contains thirteen words spelled using consecutive letters: the, he, her, er, here, I, there, ere, rein, re, in, therein, and herein.

22. There is only one common word in English that has five vowels in a row: queueing.

21. Soupspoons is the longest word that consists entirely of letters from the second half of alphabet.

20. “Almost” is the longest commonly used word in the English language with all the letters in alphabetical order.

19. The longest uncommon word whose letters are in alphabetical order is the eight-letter Aegilops (a grass genus).

18. The longest common single-word palindromes are deified, racecar, repaper, reviver, and rotator.

17. “One thousand” contains the letter A, but none of the words from one to nine hundred ninety-nine has an A.

16. “The sixth sick sheik’s sixth sheep’s sick” is said to be the toughest tongue twister in English.

15. Cwm (pronounced “koom”, defined as a steep-walled hollow on a hillside) is a rare case of a word used in English in which w is the nucleus vowel, as is crwth (pronounced “krooth”, a type of stringed instrument). Despite their origins in Welsh, they are accepted English words.

14. “Asthma” and “isthmi” are the only six-letter words that begin and end with a vowel and have no other vowels between.

13. The nine-word sequence I, in, sin, sing, sting, string, staring, starting (or starling), startling can be formed by successively adding one letter to the previous word.

12. “Underground” and “underfund” are the only words in the English language that begin and end with the letters “und.”

11. “Stewardesses” is the longest word that can be typed with only the left hand.

10. Antidisestablishmentarianism listed in the Oxford English Dictionary, was considered the longest English word for quite a long time, but today the medical term pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis is usually considered to have the title, despite the fact that it was coined to provide an answer to the question ‘What is the longest English word?’.

9. “Dreamt” is the only English word that ends in the letters “mt”.

8. There are many words that feature all five regular vowels in alphabetical order, the commonest being abstemious, adventitious, facetious.

7. The superlatively long word honorificabilitudinitatibus (27 letters) alternates consonants and vowels.

6. “Fickleheaded” and “fiddledeedee” are the longest words consisting only of letters in the first half of the alphabet.
5. The two longest words with only one of the six vowels including y are the 15-letter defenselessness and respectlessness.

4. “Forty” is the only number which has its letters in alphabetical order. “One” is the only number with its letters in reverse alphabetical order.

3. Bookkeeper is the only word that has three consecutive doubled letters.

2. Despite the assertions of a well-known puzzle, modern English does not have three common words ending in -gry. Angry and hungry are the only ones.

1. “Ough” can be pronounced in eight different ways. The following sentence contains them all: “A rough-coated, dough-faced ploughman strode through the streets of Scarborough, coughing and hiccoughing thoughtfully.


Stephen Rifkind  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:46
Member (2004)
French to English
+ ...
3 x 2, French R practice, and onomonopia May 6, 2009

1. Add "sweettooth" to 'bookkeeper"

2. My favorite word to practice French "r"'s: serrrurerie (or, if you prefer) une serrureriere. It took me years before I could say that properly. Then, I learned Russian and to relearn the flat "r"!

3. The Russian term for laughing хахатать, pronounced "hahatatz"


Jennifer Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:46
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Tongue twister May 6, 2009

Here's an English tongue twister of my own composition:

There's horseradish sauce on this shot silk short-sleeved shirt.



Spencer Allman
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:46
Finnish to English
Estonian May 6, 2009

There is a word in Estonian that has four a's with two dots over them (umlauts) in a row

can't remember what it is, though


Noni Gilbert  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:46
Spanish to English
+ ...
Jenny's tonguetwister May 6, 2009

To be recited in tone of dismay?!

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