The English language – spoken by more than one billion people worldwide – will celebrate its one millionth word within a year, linguistic experts have revealed.
A new word is created every 98 minutes and the current number of official words stands at 995,844 with experts predicting the millionth word to arrive on 29 April, 2009. The latest word added to the language was ‘e-Vampire’, a noun describing electric equipment that consumes energy while in standby mode.
English has the most dominant position of any language and there are currently 1.35 billion people who speak it as their first, second or auxiliary language. Paul Payack, founding president of the Global Language Monitor, says the amount of English speakers means there is an unprecedented amount of sources for new words to be developed.
The Global Language Monitor, made up of leading academics, wordsmiths and bibliophiles, analyses trends in word usage and choices and their impact on culture.
Payack said: “English is different to most other languages in that it absorbs words like no other language in history. Language boils up from the people and we see this by the assimilation of words from ‘hip hop’, ‘Hollywood’ and ‘Bollywood’.
“Our calculations now show there is a new word created every 98 minutes. You can never have too many words, it just means there are more possible ways to communicate. We should have the one millionth word on 29 April, 2009.
“But despite having a million words at our disposal it is unlikely that we will ever use more than just a tiny fraction of them. “The average persons vocabulary is fewer than 14,000 words out of these million that are available. A person who is linguistically gifted would only use 70,000 words