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Thursday, February 12, 2009

How much do you really know about the English language?

Let's try a quiz....

1) How many words are in the English language?
2) How many letters can be used (act) as vowels?
3) Name them
4) Define zenzizenzizenzic
5) Can the letter Q be used in a word without the letter U following? If so, give an example.
6) In what century did modern English evolve?
7) What year was the first modern English dictionary printed?

How far back does your English understanding go?
Old English:
Ōhthere sǣde his hlāforde, Ælfrēde cyninge, ðæt hē ealra Norðmonna norþmest būde.
(Ohthere said to his lord, King Alfred, that he of all Norsemen lived north-most.)

Middle English:
Whan that Aprill, with his shoures soote
The droghte of March hath perced to the roote

Early Modern English
That with no middle Flight intends to soar
Above the Aonian mount, whyle it pursues
Things unattempted yet in prose or rhyme.

Future English
(at the end of the day - all for one and one for all - may the force be with you)
Answers to the Quiz:
1) Oxford lists 218, 632 different entries, some of them considered obsolete words.
2) 7 different letters can be used as vowels in the modern English language
3) A,e,i,o,u,y, and w (cwm and cwrth are spelled correctly)
4) The eighth power or exponent of a number
5) Yes, there are quite a few words with Q not followed by U See the list
6) The 15th
7) 1755 by Samuel Johnson


  1. How many syllables does the word 'rhythm' have? I've heard arguments that 'h' could be considered a vowel in rare instances, not unlike 'w'.

  2. I think it has 2, at least the way I pronounce it. I'd think the H goes with rh and the y is the vowel in that word. Although I add a u at the end.

    English is a funny language!

  3. Nothing rhymes with "orange", I know that. Hehehehe. :)

    I am sending this quiz to my father in law. I'll let you know how he does.

    I failed. :(