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Not a word

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 9 Jul 2014, 10:01

Fig. 1 You turn your head to take in the view and risk getting run over

I came out to Spain on a one way ticket with instructions to get a bus, followed by a four hour cross-country hike. My ignorance of Spanish is so great that before I even go into a toilet I have to keep an eye on whether men or women and coming in and out.

Ask, ask ... ask.

Even if neither of you have much clue what the other is saying. I tried writing out a few phrases, such as 'where can I get the bus too ...' and ended up showing this note to people. I nearly got a bus to La Lina, Grenada ... rather than La Linea, Concepcion. I would have ended up 200 miles in the wrong direction.

In awe as the bus came over the rise of a mountain and in the distance the cliff face of a mountain rising out of low cloud in front of a channel of dark, busy water. I was looking across the straights of Gibraltar. Bus cracked on at speed. I could have sat there for the day. 

Spanish courtesy of Rosetta Stone. This is so good at perfecting pronunciation that one phrase and I get a stream of Spanish back. More useful is one of those 'Spanish Basics'. 

We stepped back into England to watch the Germany Brasil game in a British Pub in Gibraltar. Very odd. What is it with Gibraltar? The curiosity has me again.

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Design Museum

Some interesting facts about English

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 30 Aug 2010, 12:02
Courtesy of Henry Hitchings. 2008

K.O. = 'Knock Out' so 'OK' ... not so!

I’ve learnt something. And so simple. I thought it might be American Airforce derived. Code. I always wondered about OK.

What about F.A.B? From ‘Thunderbirds.’

There are 6,900 different, mutually unintelligible natural languages.


96% of the world's languages are spoken by 4% of its inhabitants.

There are 750 languages in Indonesia.

Eleven languages account for the speech of more than half the world's population:


1. Mandarin Chinese
2. Spanish
3. Hindi
4. Arabic
5. French
6. Bengali
7. Portuguese
8. Russian
9. German
10. Japanese
11. English

Only SIX may be significant in fifty years time:


1. Mandarin Chinese
2. Spanish
3. Hindi
4. Bengali
5. Arabic
6. English

English dominates in diplomacy, trade, shipping, the entertainment industry and youth culture.

English is the lingua franca of science and medicine.

Its position is prominent, if not dominant, in education and international business and journalism.

There are more fluent speakers of English in India, where it persists as 'subsidiary official language' than in Britain.

English as a second language is spoken by some 120 million non-British.

English is spoken by

* 80% of the population of the Netherlands and Sweden
* 50% of the population of Germany, Slovenia and Finland
* 30% iof the population of Italy, France and the Czech Republic

REFERENCE

The Secret Life of Words. How English Became English. Henry Hitchings. 2008
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