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

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Wed Jul 9 14:47:33 UTC 2008

Yes. 27 per hour was a typo, as was my rounding of 52.56 to 56 -- it
should be 53.  But my correction of the mathematical computation is correct.


At 7/9/2008 10:27 AM, Benjamin Barrett wrote:
>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.
>>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
>>>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
>>>(neologism, a word, coined in France in the 1730s and borrowed by
>>>English in the 1770s, meaning 'a new word').
>The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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