A million English words, or only 600,000? Either way, it's a language packed with more words than you'll ever need

Benjamin Barrett gogaku at IX.NETCOM.COM
Wed Jul 9 14:27:30 UTC 2008

Hmmm. 27 per day, isn't it? BB

On Jul 9, 2008, at 5:43 AM, Joel S. Berson wrote:

> Dennis, please check your computation for the 1590s. 10,000 words per
> year is about 27 per hour, so there was a neologism more frequently
> than every 60 minutes.  You apparently computed words per hour, and
> then multiplied by minutes per hour, giving a meaningless scale of
> words X minutes / hours squared, when you wanted minutes / words.
> For minutes per word, divide a year's minutes by 10,000: 365 X 24 X
> 60 / 10,000 = 52.56, or for the precision with which the 10,000 is
> measured, 56 minutes per word.
> And one could point out how much more linguistic the 1590s were by
> dividing the times per word by the number of English speakers in the
> two periods.
> Joel
> At 7/8/2008 10:53 PM, Dennis Baron wrote:
>> Paul Payack, professional word-counter and the founder of
>> YourDictionary.com, claims that someone coins an English word every
>> 98
>> minutes, which seems pretty fast until we consider that during the
>> word-coining frenzy of the 1590s, when the pace of life was slower,
>> about 10,000 new words popped up every year.  If Shakespeare and his
>> contemporaries never slept, that comes to a neologism every 68
>> minutes
>> (neologism, a word, coined in France in the 1730s and borrowed by
>> English in the 1770s, meaning 'a new word').

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