I have a strange mind, it is filled with a lot of peculiar information and some of it is quite useless. I do enjoy reading about these strange things which, in all likelihood, will never be of any use to me.
So, this weekend I did a bit of useless reading and discovered a couple of strange things about the English language again...
I never knew there was a category of words called "sesquipedalian words". These are words which are very, very long and their prime characteristic is their length. They have little meaning or value other than this.
I have an example for you: honorificabilitudinitatibus. Wow, I had to read this a couple of times to get it all. Why would I tell you about this? A bit of senseless information, I know. The thing is, our dear friend William Shakespeare used this word. This means that it is not completely devoid of meaning, as you know, Mr Shakespeare had a monumental influence on the English language.
He used this word in Love’s Labour Lost. James Joyce, another famous English poet also used it in the poem Ulysses (which I studied at school!). In simple terms it means being honourable or being able to receive honour, but I promise you won’t need to use it.
It is quite interesting that in this word vowels alternate with consonants. I thought that was quite cool...
I always stress the importance of pronunciation, and the next bit of this article has much more significance, so maybe now you can pay a little more attention!
The letters "ough" are annoying to pronounce. In fact, there are eight (yes, eight!) different ways in which it can be pronounced. My apologies, the English language can be a challenge at times...
To practice your pronunciation, I found a sentence which contains all eight versions. Your task is simple, practice the pronunciation. You may need to search for the pronunciation of some online, that’s ok!
Here we go: A rough-coated, dough-faced ploughman strode through the streets of Scarborough, coughing and hiccoughing thoughtfully.
Have a great week! And, speak, speak, speak.
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