The English language officially has hit one billion words so you'd think I could muster a few of them to post to this blog in the past week. But no.
Nonetheless, the notion of one billion words is daunting. For somebody who loves words, my mind is appropriately boggled. William Shakespeare had less than 100,000 words from which to choose in his day, and they sufficed to summarize mankind quite nicely, thank you. Now, with one BILLION words, we seem to say less. I'm astonished ... awed ... stupefied ... astounded ... flabbergasted ... dumb-founded ... taken aback ... bewildered ... and 69 other synonyms for intensely surprised.
Here are a few other word facts from the Global Language Monitor:
o The average American's vocabulary is only about 14,000 words.
o There are fewer than 100,000 words in the French language;
o Fewer than 20,000 different words in the Bible, (actually, 12,143 in the English, 783,137 total in the King James Version, 8,674 in the Hebrew Old Testament, and 5,624 in the Greek New Testament);
o And 24,000 differing words to be found in the complete works of Shakespeare, about 1,700 of which he invented.
Have you used your 14,000 words today?