9 Interesting Facts about the English Language

For students and teachers of English:

* The longest word with only one vowel is ‘strengths’ (a nine-letter word).

* There are only four words ending with -dous are tremendous, stupendous, hazardous and horrendous.

* The oldest word is ‘town’.

* The longest one-syllable word is ‘screeched’.

* The longest word with all the letters in alphabetical order is ‘almost’.

* The only two words ending with -gry are hungry and angry.

* The longest word without the main vowels is ‘rhythms’.

* The dot on the top of the letter ‘i’ is called a tittle.

* The most commonly-used word in conversation is ‘I’.

Three Ways to say Happy New Year in German

In German, we actually have three different ways of saying Happy New Year.

Surprised…? Not really, are you.

1) Anytime late December until midnight Dec 31, we wish others “Einen guten Beschluss!” ( =  a good ending to the year!) or ” Einen guten Rutsch! (=  a good “slide” into the New Year!)

2) At midnight itself, when we run into others with a drink in hand, we say “Prost Neujahr!” (Cheers to the New Year!)

3) Once we get past the partying stage and anytime up to the end of the first week (or later), we greet others by saying “Alles Gute im Neuen Jahr! (Happy New Year!)

New Year's good luck charm

New Year’s good luck charm

In the supermarkets and other shops, you might find quite a few of these gifts, such as pots of four-leaf clover decorated with a plastic piglet, marzipan pigs at the bakery, and various other good-luck presents.

The chimney sweep is also a favorite good-luck messenger.

These small gifts are given to friends, family, neighbors and/or business associates before and shortly after the New Year.

Quote of the Day

The limits of my language mean the limits of my world.

(German: Die Grenzen meiner Sprache sind die Grenzen meiner Welt)

– Ludwig Wittgenstein –

Happy New Year Greeting in German

Before the new year begins, Germans greet either with:

Einen guten Beschluss! (a good closure) or

Einen guten Rutsch! (a good slide).

Only when the new year has actually begun, you will hear Ein gutes neues Jahr! (A happy New Year).

To either of these greetings, if you happen to be in Germany, you can reply with several general versions of “The same to you!” by saying:

Ebenso! or Gleichfalls! or Ebenfalls!

or more directly addressing the person:

Ihnen auch! (you too; the polite version) or

Dir auch! (you too; the familiar version)

Clover and pigs (as well as chimney sweeps) are among the many good luck charms we give away before New Year’s Day. Starting 2 January, these items usually go half-priced.

So tomorrow, Monday, 31 December, is your last chance to buy presents. Keep in mind that stores close by early afternoon.

Quote of the Day

Kindness is a language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.

–  Mark Twain –

Pond in the Taunus Mountains