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Strange

Which language has most words

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6 minutes ago, Strange said:

All good English words!

Which reminds me of another great Japanese loanword: a buffet is a バイキング (baikingu, from Viking)

Berserk!!! Thank you. ;)

2 hours ago, CharonY said:

Anyhow, the thread has mostly discussed why the question in OP is mostly meaningless, anyway, so it has moved on to more interesting bits. 

Agreed.

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6 hours ago, studiot said:

Since I stopped being involved in "my daddie's car is bigger than your daddie's car" arguments when  was six, I consider the title question rather pointless.

I know exactly what you mean but ... do you know which island has the most languages?

Papua New Guinea has over 800 different languages, many with no obvious genetic relationship to one another. This is fascinating and should, presumably, tell us a lot about language development and how new languages arise. Unfortunately, it is not an area (geographically and linguistically) that I know anything about.

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Quote

Please cite another language  with a larger vocabulary.

Binary

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8 minutes ago, iNow said:

Binary

Please cite another language with a shorter alphabet. :D

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1 hour ago, joigus said:

Please cite another language with a shorter alphabet.

Love

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2 hours ago, Strange said:

Papua New Guinea has over 800 different languages, many with no obvious genetic relationship to one another.

I believe Indonesia is fairly high up there, too. I think in the Pacific space a lot of older languages have been preserved withing isolated communities. Would be interesting to read up on that.

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Posted (edited)

How about the language with the longest word/name?

Titin 

Quote

The name titin is derived from the Greek Titan (a giant deity, anything of great size).[17]

As the largest known protein, titin also has the longest IUPAC name of a protein. The full chemical name of the human canonical form of titin, which starts methionyl... and ends ...isoleucine, contains 189,819 letters and is sometimes stated to be the longest word in the English language, or of any language.[59] However, lexicographers regard generic names of chemical compounds as verbal formulae rather than English words.[60]

IMG_5599.JPG.429b651b3d21cf7a58a31881e8770f1a.JPG

just a small section. 

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Titin

 

Edited by Curious layman

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12 hours ago, iNow said:

Love

Love requires many letters. 26 fall short.

You almost got me.

Although love letters are a thing of the past, probably.

4 hours ago, Curious layman said:

How about the language with the longest word/name?

Titin 

IMG_5599.JPG.429b651b3d21cf7a58a31881e8770f1a.JPG

just a small section. 

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Titin

 

I once learnt that in Wales there is a place which has one of the longest toponyms. There seems to be a Maori toponym that is longer.

How about a weekend in,

Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateaturipukakapikimaungahoronukupokaiwhenuakitanatahu?

If that's too much of a stretch, you can always stay at,

Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch

I'm sure those are sentences in disguise!

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26 minutes ago, joigus said:

I once learnt that in Wales there is a place which has one of the longest toponyms. There seems to be a Maori toponym that is longer.

How about a weekend in,

Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateaturipukakapikimaungahoronukupokaiwhenuakitanatahu?

If that's too much of a stretch, you can always stay at,

Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch

I'm sure those are sentences in disguise!

Not forgetting Chargoggagoggmanchauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg in the USA (although I think some extra syllables were added to that one).

And, apparently:

Quote

This name is often shortened as Llanfairpwll or Llanfair PG for brevity. This is the name of a large community of villages in Wales found on the Islands of Anglesey. Initially, this community was referred to as Llanfair Pwllgwyngyll before its name was changed in the 1860s for promotional purposes.

https://www.worldatlas.com/articles/the-10-longest-place-names-in-the-world.html

And the full version of Taumata translates as "the place where Tamatea, the man who had big knees, the climber of mountains, the slider, the land-swallower that traveled about, played the nose flute that he had to the loved ones" (ibid).

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On 8/21/2020 at 3:53 PM, Strange said:

the man who had big knees, the climber of mountains, the slider, the land-swallower

Hard to believe. I'm trying to picture a land swallower who had big knees. Maybe something was lost in translation?

Perhaps the original meaning was something like "strong knees" and "conqueror of land"...

Anyway, eponyms and toponyms are a constant source of drift in meaning and spawning of new vocabulary.

Interesting that Walpiri loaned grammatical structure from English, rather than loan nouns, adjectives, verbs, and adverbs.

For example, the "'em" in "pick'em", "tell'em" etc. became a mark of direct object in Walpiri.

So grammar also flows from one language to another.

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On 8/21/2020 at 1:15 AM, iNow said:

Love

Vole = rearranged love letters.

On 8/21/2020 at 12:04 AM, iNow said:

Binary

Yes and no...

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42 minutes ago, John Cuthber said:

 

Vole = rearranged love letters.

Yes and no...

Imagine that....

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On 8/19/2020 at 4:03 PM, Strange said:

English comes 4th in the article above and 7th on this list: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_dictionaries_by_number_of_words

 

On the list, Finnish is listed 2nd, but it notes that "inflections"* are not included.  I assume that this means only the nominative case of each word.

For example: mennä - "to go".    However, "I go" - menen,  "you go" - menet, "we go" - menemme,  "You(pl) go" - menette- "they go"  menevät. ( with each of these could put the respective pronoun with it. minä -I, sinä - you, me - we, te- you(pl), he - they, but in general, since the pronoun is implied,  is left off. The exceptions are Hän - s/he, and se - it, as they both use "menee", so it has to be either hän menee or se menee. )**

Another example would be voida- "can",  where adding "ko"  changes things from a  statement to a question.

I can go - Voin mennä

Can I go? Voinko mennä?

Then there are the cases. 

Talo - house (nominative)

Taloa- House as objective in the sentence

Talossa - in the house

Taloon - to the house ( and going in)

Talolle - to the house ( not entering)

Talosta - from the house ( going from in to out)

Talolta - from the house ( going/coming from the house, but not from inside the house)

Talolla - at the house***

 

I'm also not

* though this could also refer to the difference between kirjakiele (standard/formal) and puhekiele(common/spoken) Finnish.  For example Minusta(K) vs. Musta(P), both meaning " In my opinion"

** When I recently learned this,  a light went on.  I grew up in a part of Northern Minnesota that was known for having its own accent/dialect.  One of the traits of this accent was to drop pronouns when they were implied.  Given that ~20% of the ethnic makeup of region was Finnish ( compared to  0.2% nationwide), it is reasonable to assume that due to Finnish influence

*** As a side note, adjectives also must follow the same case rules as the noun they are attached to.  Ruskea Talo - the brown house,  Becomes Ruskeassa talossa - In the brown house.

 

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3 minutes ago, Janus said:

Another example would be voida- "can",  where adding "ko"  changes things from a  statement to a question.

I'm sure it is just coincidence, but Japanese uses "ka" for the same purpose:

I eat = taberu 

Do I eat? = taberu ka?

Japanese also (nearly always) drops pronouns even though they are not implied🙀

I eat = taberu

You eat = taberu

She eats = taberu

They eat = taberu

We eat = taberu

So that could mean that Japanese has fewer words.

But

I ate = tabeta

I don't eat = tabenai

I want to eat = tabetai

I don't want to eat = tabetakunai

I didn't want to eat = tabetekunakkata

I can eat = taberareru

Let's eat = tabeyou

etc. etc.

So maybe it has more words.

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3 hours ago, Strange said:

I'm sure it is just coincidence, but Japanese uses "ka" for the same purpose:

I eat = taberu 

Do I eat? = taberu ka?

Japanese also (nearly always) drops pronouns even though they are not implied🙀

I eat = taberu

You eat = taberu

She eats = taberu

They eat = taberu

We eat = taberu

So that could mean that Japanese has fewer words.

But

I ate = tabeta

I don't eat = tabenai

I want to eat = tabetai

I don't want to eat = tabetakunai

I didn't want to eat = tabetekunakkata

I can eat = taberareru

Let's eat = tabeyou

etc. etc.

So maybe it has more words.

Finnish

I eat = syön

You eat = syöt

I ate = soin

you eat = soit

I don't eat = en syö

You don't eat = et syö

I want to eat = Haluan syödä

I don't want to eat =En halua syödä

I did want to eat =Halusin syödä

I didn't want to eat = En halunnut syödä

I can eat = voin syödä

I could eat = Voisin syödä

Let's eat = syödään

I didn't eat = En syönyt

we didn't eat = emme syöneet ( we ate = söimme)

In terms of tacking things to together, Finnish has:

Juoksentelisinkohan? = should I run around aimlessly?

And while Finnish has no articles ( the or a), and makes very limited use of prepositions (Relying on cases instead), It has two words for "What?" ( with rules as to which one to use)

Three words for "where" ( where is it?, where to?, and where from?)   

and it has separate question words for "by what"(millä), "of/like what"(miltä), To/at what?(mille),  and "what kind"(millainen)

On the other hand, there is

Kuusi palaa, which could have any of 9 meanings.  

or

Vihdoin vihdoin vihdoin

Which seems to be just the same word repeated three times, but actually means. "I finally whipped myself with a birch branch"

First Vihdoin = finally

second vihdoin :  Base word vihtoa = to whip or strike.  Past tense = Vihdoi,  Used with  the pronoun "I" = vihdoin

Third vihdoin:  Base word vihta, = a leafy birch branch, which, when put into the case meaning "using a birch branch", becomes vihdoin.

This not as unusual a sentence as you might think, as it is a common practice to use birch branches in such a way while taking sauna (Though it is one sauna tradition I personally didn't partake of.)

 

 

I was eating - soin ( the difference between "I ate", and "I was eating" is made by the following case.  Soin omenan = I ate an apple,  Soin omenaa = I was eating an apple.

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Posted (edited)

The declension significantly increases the total number of variations, if we count them as separate words..

I have database of the all words in my local language.. and it is over 3 millions with the all inflections/declensions..

 

Edited by Sensei

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If you just want to count words should you bother with all the variations?
 

If I know the verb "walk", I can deduce some of the variations "walks" "walked" "walker" etc
I'd need to learn the use of "walk" as a noun, separately. But from that, I can deduce a plural- "walks"

If I was counting the words in a language with a view to choosing one to learn, I might not need to count the words like "wugs" which I'll never need to remember because I can "create" them when needed.

But do I count walk(v) separately from walk(n)?

Perhaps I should. To the extent that there's a rule in English for making verbs into nouns, I should go to a walking, in the same way that I go to  a meeting.

It looks very much like the answer to the question "Which language has most words" is "it depends"

BTW, since the title of the thread lacks a question mark, it is a statement. So what's "which language"?
 

 

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22 minutes ago, John Cuthber said:

I'd need to learn the use of "walk" as a noun, separately. But from that, I can deduce a plural- "walks"

So maybe "walk" and "walks" are one word. But does that mean that "ox" and "oxen" are two? 🙂

30 minutes ago, John Cuthber said:

BTW, since the title of the thread lacks a question mark, it is a statement. So what's "which language"?

Misspelling for "Witch language", maybe

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Posted (edited)


I dont know which language has the most words, but if it has a finite number of letters in its alphabet[1] and a maximum word length then one can calculate the total number of letter combinations to arrive at the maximum  possible words.

Taking English as an example, the longest word accepted by the Oxford English Dictionary has 30 letters[2]

I don't know if this is the correct way to express this calculation, and I don't know how to show my thought process without longhand pencil and paper workings, but hopefully someone will show me the way...

26+(26^2)+(26^3) ... (26^30) = an awfully large number = maximum possible words in the English language.

Obviously, there will be a lot of non-words (abc... aaa... bbb... zxy...[3] etc) but at least it sets the upper limit and gives the wordsmiths something to work with.


[1] Letters in the Latin sense that is, I know nought about pictogram, hieroglyphic, alphasyllabary, cyrillic etc based languages.


[2] pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis
I know that there are much longer words but according to Wikipedia there is some doubt about their validity.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Longest_word_in_English#:~:text=The longest word in any,is the same as silicosis.
Obviously one may go on ad infinitum by making new words so maybe there is no answer to the OP.

[3] This then begs the question, what is a word? Are acronyms such as ICI, NATO, AA included?  Sometimes I wish I hadn't started some things!




 

Edited by Dord

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3 hours ago, John Cuthber said:

It looks very much like the answer to the question "Which language has most words" is "it depends"

If we go off the amount of words in dictionaries it's Korean, 1,100,373 words.

Ingush has only 11,142 words.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_dictionaries_by_number_of_words

Quite interesting: Toki Pona, 123 root words, 14 phonemes. 🙂

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toki_Pona

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Phonemes... Interesting. The Khoisan languages have most than any other family in the world. And Hawaiian, the least.

The pattern of decreasing number of phonemes as you go West is thought to have to do with the spread of humanity.

As a further curiosity, some Brahmin chants from Kerala seem to have many words with no known meaning, some people claim, which are repeated faithfully generation after generation. They've been compared to bird songs.

Are those soothing words, conjuring words, trance-inducing words? Or no words at all?

https://talkthetalkpodcast.com/110-brahmin-chant/

http://www.pbs.org/thestoryofindia/ask/answers_2.html#q3

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1 hour ago, joigus said:

And Hawaiian, the least.

Fewest.

(Well, it's a discussion about words..)

 

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Posted (edited)
36 minutes ago, John Cuthber said:

Fewest.

(Well, it's a discussion about words..)

 

You couldn't be rightest. :) +1. Thank you.

Edited by joigus

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3 hours ago, Dord said:


I dont know which language has the most words, but if it has a finite number of letters in its alphabet[1] and a maximum word length then one can calculate the total number of letter combinations to arrive at the maximum  possible words.

Taking English as an example, the longest word accepted by the Oxford English Dictionary has 30 letters[2]

I don't know if this is the correct way to express this calculation, and I don't know how to show my thought process without longhand pencil and paper workings, but hopefully someone will show me the way...

26+(26^2)+(26^3) ... (26^30) = an awfully large number = maximum possible words in the English language.

Obviously, there will be a lot of non-words (abc... aaa... bbb... zxy...[3] etc) but at least it sets the upper limit and gives the wordsmiths something to work with.


[1] Letters in the Latin sense that is, I know nought about pictogram, hieroglyphic, alphasyllabary, cyrillic etc based languages.


[2] pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis
I know that there are much longer words but according to Wikipedia there is some doubt about their validity.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Longest_word_in_English#:~:text=The longest word in any,is the same as silicosis.
Obviously one may go on ad infinitum by making new words so maybe there is no answer to the OP.

[3] This then begs the question, what is a word? Are acronyms such as ICI, NATO, AA included?  Sometimes I wish I hadn't started some things!




 

The longest known word in Finnish is ( take a deep breath)

Lentokonesuihkuturbiinimoottoriapumekaanikkoaliupseerioppilas 

Though to be fair, this is a compound word.

One of the possible reasons Finnish has so many words is the penchant for forming compound words.  "black and White" is Mustavalkoinen, which is Musta(black) and valkoinen(white) pushed together into one word.  Now there might be more of a reason behind this than originally appears.  Remember how I said above how adjectives had to be in the same case as the Noun?   

If you translate "it belongs to the black cat" you get "se kuuluu mustalle kissalle" (kissa = cat) the lle denoting a change of case

However, "it belongs to the white cat" translates as "se kuuluu valkoiseen kissaan", which has different case endings.   So if you try to translate "it belongs to the black and white cat" using Musta ja valkoinen for "black and white", which case ending do you use?  But if you use mustavalkionen as a single word, you only need to consider how it ends and

"it belongs to the black and white cat" - se kuuluu mustavalkoiseen kissaan.  So making a single compound word can simplify things when dealing with cases.

Thus with Lentokonesuihkuturbiinimoottoriapumekaanikkoaliupseerioppilas , which translates to "airplane jet turbine engine auxiliary mechanic non-commissioned officer student"

If you kept it as separate words, changing the case, As in " it belongs to the airplane jet turbine engine auxiliary mechanic non-commissioned officer student", would involve case changes for every word, rather than just making a change to the end of one word.

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4 hours ago, John Cuthber said:

Fewest.

(Well, it's a discussion about words..)

 

Nothing at all wrong with "least" in this context.

 

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