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Posted: 17 November 2013 01:01 AM   [ Ignore ]
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I think some of these are fun and interesting, but I haven’t perused reliable sources to validate accuracies.

The letter W is the only letter in the alphabet that doesn’t have one syllable; it has three.

The most used letter in the English language is E; Q is the least used.

Skepticism is the longest typed word that alternates hands.

The oldest word in the English language is town.

You would have to count to one thousand to use the letter A in the English language to spell a whole number.

“I am” is the shortest complete sentence in the English language.

In English, four is the only number that has the same number of letters as its value.

Facetious, abstemious and arsenious contain all the vowels in the same order.

Stewardesses is the longest word typed with only the left hand.

Six words in the English language have the combination uu: muumuu, vacuum, continuum, duumvirate, duumvir, and residuum.

No word in the English language rhymes with month, orange, silver or purple.

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Posted: 17 November 2013 01:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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The oldest word in the English language is town.

How so?

“You would have to count to one thousand to use the letter A in the English language to spell a whole number. ”

Unless, like me, you’re from a place that reads 101 as “one hundred and one”.

“I am” is the shortest complete sentence in the English language.

Is there some sense in which a sentence in the imperative mood is not a complete sentence? If not, then “Go” would be a better contender than “I am”.

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Posted: 17 November 2013 05:04 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Most such lists are simply wrong, and this one is no exception. Most of these can be debunked by a quick Googling.

The idea that town is the oldest word is just silly. Think about it. Putting aside the ambiguity of when English became English, how can a single word be the oldest? It must appear with other words that are equally as old.

Letter frequency varies with genre, so it depends what corpus you use to make the count. E is the most common regardless of genre, but Z is the least frequent in most styles of writing. Q is the rarest in general fiction, but Z takes the prize in journalism, religious writing, and science writing.

Other of the “facts” are incomplete. Many words have all the vowels in order, consecutive Us (the OED lists forty), can be typed with alternating or only one hand, etc.

There are many English words that have no exact rhyme. (Most words with antepenultimate stress do not, e.g., animal, citizen, necessary.) But the four listed all have rhymes, although the rhyme for orange is a bit of a stretch—it’s Blorenge, a hill in Wales.

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Posted: 17 November 2013 10:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Most such lists are simply wrong, and this one is no exception. Most of these can be debunked by a quick Googling.

I agree, for this reason I submitted the list on this forum knowing that your expertise would challenge the majority of these factoids. There are, however, a few submissions that have insignificant credibility, such as: W being the only letter in the alphabet with more than one syllable.

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Posted: 17 November 2013 11:37 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Is there some sense in which a sentence in the imperative mood is not a complete sentence? If not, then “Go” would be a better contender than “I am”.

I don’t think “Go” would be technically considered a complete sentence, for it lacks a subject and a modal verb. Comparing “Go” to “I am” one would have to admit that “I am” seems more complete. 

I understand that the imperative “Go” the subject (you) and the helping verb (can) are implied, so I guess it’s debatable.

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Posted: 17 November 2013 02:11 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Not really.

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Posted: 17 November 2013 02:54 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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There are, however, a few submissions that have insignificant credibility, such as: W being the only letter in the alphabet with more than one syllable.

The credibility of the statement is boundless; its import is insignificant.

I don’t think “Go” would be technically considered a complete sentence, for it lacks a subject and a modal verb. Comparing “Go” to “I am” one would have to admit that “I am” seems more complete. 

Sentences do not require modal verbs in order to be grammatical. Lots of sentences have no modal verb. (Like that last one.) The sentence “I am” has no modal verb either. Perhaps you meant “finite verb,” but in that case the sentence “Go” does have a finite verb (and nothing else).

I understand that the imperative “Go” the subject (you) and the helping verb (can) are implied, so I guess it’s debatable.

The sentence “You can go” is not an imperative, at least not grammatically. (Semantically it can carry the sense of a command, but grammatically it is not in an imperative form.) Imperatives in English do not have helping (i.e., modal) verbs.

The subject of an imperative in English is usually implicit; it need not be stated to be “complete.”

[ Edited: 17 November 2013 02:59 PM by Dave Wilton ]
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Posted: 18 November 2013 09:00 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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No word in the English language rhymes with month, orange, silver or purple.

When, at a very public dinner, you misguidedly consume a large serving of beans,

And flatulence supervenes ---

If nothing else will relieve you (while the effort to contain your fart is turning your face purple),

Maybe a burp’ll.

(with grateful acknowledgements to that unchallenged champion of unheroic verse, Ogden Nash)

I realize that purists hungry for nits will pounce on my rhyme, and object that the rhyming word is actually two words, like I’ll, don’t, etc.
So let them object --- who cares? fasolia ejacta est.

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Posted: 18 November 2013 11:11 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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There’s also hirple, a Northern and Scots word meaning to limp.

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Posted: 18 November 2013 01:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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lionello - 18 November 2013 09:00 AM

No word in the English language rhymes with month, orange, silver or purple.

When, at a very public dinner, you misguidedly consume a large serving of beans,

And flatulence supervenes ---

If nothing else will relieve you (while the effort to contain your fart is turning your face purple),

Maybe a burp’ll.

(with grateful acknowledgements to that unchallenged champion of unheroic verse, Ogden Nash)

I realize that purists hungry for nits will pounce on my rhyme, and object that the rhyming word is actually two words, like I’ll, don’t, etc.
So let them object --- who cares? fasolia ejacta est.

I enjoyed that, very funny, and far more amusing than my list.

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Posted: 19 November 2013 06:38 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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The letter W is the only letter in the alphabet that doesn’t have one syllable; it has three.

Or two, if you’re from Texas. ;-)

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Posted: 19 November 2013 07:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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As I’ve probably said before I’ve never understood the orange rhyme one. My 1980 Penguin dictionary says orinj which rhymes with binge, cringe, singe, minge, whinge, hinge, etc. Maybe other people pronounce it differently but no one I’ve ever met. Is it a Word Myth?

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Posted: 19 November 2013 09:53 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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[

quote author="venomousbede" date="1384896979"]As I’ve probably said before I’ve never understood the orange rhyme one. My 1980 Penguin dictionary says orinj which rhymes with binge, cringe, singe, minge, whinge, hinge, etc. Maybe other people pronounce it differently but no one I’ve ever met. Is it a Word Myth?

Orange is pronounced with two syllables, stress on the first. The words you submitted are all pronounced as one syllable; or should be.

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Posted: 19 November 2013 02:40 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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This turned up about four days ago:  Orange rhymes with fringe and cringe. Oh I know you’re going to quibble over the stress. Those other so-called unrhymables, purple and silver, also have rhymes. (Hurple and quilver I think, but I haven’t checked.) – Lingua Franca - Blogs - The Chronicle of Higher Education

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Posted: 19 November 2013 06:44 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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I think we’ve had a conversation here about perfect and imperfect rhymes, but can’t find it.

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Posted: 20 November 2013 01:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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How about blancmange?  Works on paper, but maybe not so good spoken…

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