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The Fascinating History of 10 Extra Letters the English Alphabet Used to Have

At 26 letters long, the English alphabet isn’t the most complicated string of symbols and characters to master, even for a five-year-old. But that’s because it has been put on a strict diet over the years that helped it slim down and shed 10 additional letters that were either deemed superfluous, redundant, or just downright confusing. Read More >>

language
These Are the Colours that Words Make When Used as Hex Code

Hexadecimal format allows us to instruct a computer to display a colour using three or six characters. For example, #000 will produce black. But how many words can be created in Hex and what colours do they produce? One intrepid programmer has tackled this problem so that we don’t have to. Read More >>

war
WWII Guide to the ‘Frigid’ English Explains the Country’s Ways to Americans

The Imperial War Museum is set to republish a WWII-era guide to the English, with lovely pamphlet The English and Their Country yours for just £6.99. Read More >>

watch this
Why Americans and the British Spell English Words Differently

Have you ever wondered why Americans and Brits spell English differently? How are colour and color the same word? Centre and center? What’s up with that? Read More >>

education
Do You Know More Than 42,000 English Words? Take This Test to See if You Comboblify

The average American knows around 42,000 dictionary words, they say. We've got to do better than that, seeing as we invented them all and all America has contributed is a few random extra Ls to confuse us on the internet. Read More >>

history
How Far Back in Time Could You Travel and Still Understand English?

Time travelling back into the past is almost always a bad idea. Everybody is racist, everything is dirty, and you’ll probably get some terrible disease and/or get stabbed with a sword that everyone is carrying but you. The world is generally dumber and worse off. And on top of that! You might not even be able to understand the English they’re speaking. Read More >>

uncategorized
The Guide to Shakespearean Pronunciation Gives Elizabethan Toilet Humour a Funny Accent

How has it taken us so long to figure out that the key to getting more people interested in Shakespeare is through dirty jokes and funny accents? Linguist David Crystal has painstakingly created The Oxford Dictionary of Original Shakespearean Pronunciation, which will present the works of Shakespeare in their original, strange-sounding glory. Read More >>

uncategorized
It’s St George’s Day, So What’s Your Favourite English Invention?

It's St George's Day today, when the English gather in pubs across the country to celebrate the anniversary of Saint George of Birmingham killing the last living dragon in the land and making it safe for his children and his children's children to play out in the woods. So *awkward transition* what's your favourite English technological invention? Read More >>

chatroom
Should We Teach Kids Shakespeare or Russell Brand?

English A-Level students will soon be allowed to read Russell Brand's newspaper columns and Caitlin Moran's Twitter feed on study time without worry, as part of a move by the OCR exam board to jazz up the teaching of English by adding the literary stars of today to its reading list. Read More >>

money
Rare Kew Gardens 50p Coin Could be Worth £24

The 2009 edition 50p coin, with a pretty sketch of the Royal Botanic Gardens' pagoda on it, has become something of a rarity among collectors, with the 50p now netting around £24 when traded between hardcore money enthusiasts. Read More >>

internet
The Top Words of the Year Are “404” and “Fail”

No matter how you feel about 2013 it's depressing to learn that the two most popular words of the year, according to the Global Language Monitor, are "404" and "fail". You can't paint a clearer picture than that. Read More >>

uncategorized
Selfie, Derp and Phablet Are Now Words in the Oxford Dictionaries Online

Because language doesn't really matter anymore to the Internet, words that people use online all the time (even though people are often too embarrassed to say them aloud in real life) are now part of the dictionary. The Oxford Dictionaries Online is adding these wonky words to its dictionary: twerk, phablet, derp, selfie, bitcoin, vom and more. Read More >>

longest word
wtf
The Longest Word in English Takes 3.5 Hours to Pronounce

The longest word in English has 189,819 letters and would take you three and a half hours to pronounce correctly. Seriously. It's the chemical name of Titin (or connectin), a giant protein "that functions as a molecular spring which is responsible for the passive elasticity of muscle." You can listen to a guy pronounce the whole damn word. Read More >>

wtf
The Wacky Words That Are Now in the Oxford Dictionaries Online: LOLZ, Photobomb, Mwahahaha and More

Dictionaries exist in between a rock and a hard place: jump on new words too late and they look like a dinosaur, add in words too early and they're made into a mockery. Words are hard, yes, but some words don't exactly need defining like some of these just added to the Oxford Dictionaries Online. Read More >>

apps
The Queen’s English (Literally) Added to SwiftKey Predictive Keyboard

SwiftKey's a superb little alternate keyboard for Android-based smartphones, which analyses your typing patterns and tries to guess the next word you're about to type. Now the makers have committed the treasonous task of analysing the Queen's speech, so you can text like our monarch. Read More >>