In 1940, the Nazis sent 12 spies to Britain to pave the way for an invasion. However, the plan failed due to the ineptitude of the agents. None of them were that fluent in English and they lacked basic knowledge of British customs. theguardian.com/world/201…
Death from laughter is a recorded cause of death throughout history. One such instance, an English man laughed for 25 consecutive minutes at a joke on the TV show The Goodies. His widow wrote a letter to the show creators thanking them for making his last moments of life so pleasant. historycollection.co/10-p…
A rescue ship at the Titanic sinking pulled a dead infant from the sea who wasn’t able to be identified. The ship’s sailors paid for a graveside monument dedicated to The Unknown Child. In 2007, DNA testing showed the child to be from an English family of six, the Goodwins, who all drowned. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The…
Coca-Cola once held a promotion in Canada. They randomly printed an English word and a French Word inside bottle caps to one of their products. They wound up apologizing to a family because their bottle cap said, "YOU RETARD" on it. In French, the word 'retard' means 'late'. ctvnews.ca/mobile/canada/…
One man, Steven Pruitt, was responsible for a third of Wiki pedia's English content with nearly 3 million edits and 35k original articles. Nicknamed the Wizard of Wiki pedia, he still holds the highest number of edits for the English Wiki pedia under the alias "Ser Amantio di Nicolao". en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ste…
"fart" is one of the oldest words in the English language, and can be traced back to its Proto-Indo-European roots through its cognates in other European languages and Sanskrit en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Far…
A medieval French soldier climbed up a toilet into a besieged castle to let his army in. King John of England had specifically requested that toilet be installed for personal use during church services. The castle’s fall led to English loss of Normandy and the signing of the Magna Carta. medieval.stormthecastle.c…
The verb 'egg' (i.e. egged on, to incite into action) has been in the English language longer than the noun 'egg'. grammarphobia.com/blog/20…
Scientists discovered a cypress tree in North Carolina that is at least 2,624 years old, which means the tree was alive for centuries before the advent of Christianity, the Roman Empire, and the English language. charlotteobserver.com/new…
There is an Antarctic dialect of English, which has developed among researchers in Antarctica who have their own slang and speech patterns. Since this is one of the few linguistically isolated areas in the world, it is being used to understand how dialects originate. scientificamerican.com/po…
An English man, Darren Hickey, died after eating a scolding hot fishcake at a wedding - He suffered injuries to his throat similar to those who die of smoke inhalation in house fires. independent.co.uk/news/uk…
Danny DeVito did the voice of the Lorax in English, German, Italian, Spanish and Russian. youtube.com/watch?v=qxih6…
The original English version of the Deck the Halls line "don we now our gay apparel" was "fill the meadcup, drain the barrel" en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dec…
Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, the actor of Shang Tsung in the Mortal Kombat movies, is a legal citizen of Japan, America, Russia, and is fluent in English, Japanese, Spanish, Hawaiian, and Korean. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Car…
If your kids want to have a lemonade stand in Canada's capital city, Ottawa, the sign must be in English and French, as well 7% of the profits must be donated to charity. globalnews.ca/news/350599…
Today I learned about a Horror themed Japanese Anime series called Ghost Stories that was not well received in Japan and when it was dubbed over in English the voice acting cast were given free rein to say whatever they wanted. This led to the entire series becoming a Dark Comedy rather than Horror. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gho…
Sweden has a higher percentage of English speakers than Canada. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lis…
A tiny English village twinned itself with Paris after writing to the Mayor of Paris proposing a twinning, receiving no reply, assuming it was fine, and so put up road signs declaring it official. bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england…
Four times more people speak English as a second language (roughly two billion) than as a native one (approximately 350 million). newyorker.com/magazine/20…
Shakespeare’s scripts contain over 2200 never-before-seen wordsβ€”a diverse collection of loan-words from foreign languages, compound words from existing English terms, nouns turned into verbs, and creatively applied prefixesβ€”many of which have entered into everyday language. mentalfloss.com/article/4…
King George VI and Queen Elizabeth were the first reigning English monarchs to visit America in 1939, 163 years after the American Revolution. history.house.gov/Blog/20…
A "Baker's Dozen" is a result of a 13th century English law saying that selling a dozen units that failed to meet a certain average weight could result in a fine. Bakers got around the law by selling by the "13" instead. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doz…
Clare Hollingworth, an English journalist who first broke the story of the German occupation of Poland in 1939, putting her phone out her window so a doubting British diplomat could hear the tanks. wikipedia.org/wiki/Clare_…
Vladimir Lenin spoke English with an Irish accent. According to a Russian diplomat, "Lenin said that his tutor in English was an Irishman and that was why he was speaking with an Irish accent." irishcentral.com/news/rus…
Today I learned of the Johnson gang. Travelling criminals from Gloucestershire, UK who specialised in stealing fine art and antiques from English country manors over a period of 20 years. The goods they stole are valued between Β£30 - Β£80 million. The gang were sentenced to a total of 49 years in prison in 2008. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The…
American Sign Language and British Sign Language are not mutually intelligible. While English speakers can understand each other across the Anglosphere, deaf people from different English speaking countries are unable to understand each other. accreditedlanguage.com/in…
In 1923 Illinois officially passed legislation replacing English with 'American' as their official language, making it the only state in the Union where people legally 'speak American' languagepolicy.net/archiv…
Eleven and Twelve do not follow the teen pattern because they come from Old English terms that mean "one left after ten" and "two left after ten," or "ain-lif" and "twa-lif," due to the fact that these numbers were used commonly, unlike the other teens, and therefore developed much earlier. mentalfloss.com/article/7…
There are only 23 words that date back 15,000 years and are considered the oldest known words in the English language. They are: thou, I, not, that, we, to give, who, this, what, man/male, ye, old, mother, to hear, hand, fire, to pull, black, to flow, bark, ashes, to spit, and worm. itworld.com/article/27099…
The English language is the only language (of the most spoken languages in the world) that doesn’t have a regulator body/institution. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lis…
, Gropecunt Lane was a street name found in English towns and cities during the Middle Ages, believed to be a reference to the prostitution centred on those areas en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gro…
English and Norwegian share not only the same syntax, but also have very similar pronunciation / sounds and even shared words (although usually with different meanings). English is classified as western Germanic but it fits all the characteristics of a northern Germanic language. partner.sciencenorway.no/…
Thomas Jefferson made his own version of the Bible, called The Jefferson Bible, by literally cutting and pasting passages from Greek, Latin, French, and English bibles that referenced Jesus' moral teachings, but left out his miracles. christianity.com/wiki/bib…
There are ten different indigenous languages still spoken today in the British Isles; English, Scots, Welsh, Gaelic, Irish, Cornish, Manx, Angloromani, Shelta and British Sign Language theguardian.com/education…
Both "canceled" and "cancelled" are acceptable ways to spell the past tense of the verb "cancel". Americans favor "canceled" (one l), while British English and other dialects prefer "cancelled" (two l's). However, there is only one correct spelling of the noun "cancellation". grammarly.com/blog/cancel…
In 1714, a Norwegian captain and an English captain had a 14-hour long ship fight. Afterwards, both ships were badly damaged and the Norwegian captain was running out of ammo. He sent an envoy to the English ship, asking if he could borrow some of their ammo. They said no. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pet…
Cat mummies were so plentiful in Egypt that, in the 1800s, an English company bought a load of 180,000, pulverized them and spread them on farm fields as fertilizer. Also so many baboons and ibises were mummified for the trade it likely drove them to extinction in Egypt. smithsonianmag.com/smart-…
As compensation for claiming New Amsterdam (New York) from the Dutch in 1667, the English relinquished claims to the disputed South American territory of Suriname. Today, Suriname is the only independent country in the Americas where most people speak Dutch. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sur…
That the West Country Dialect is the closest form of English to the original Saxon language en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wes…
Today I learned that Soccer was actually coined and originally used by the English for over a century and they are the reason that Americans call Football Soccer today. time.com/5335799/soccer-w…
The β€œStar Spangled Banner,” the United States’ National Anthem, uses the exact melody of an old English drinking song called β€œTo Anacreon in Heaven” which was popular among Americans in 1812 sporcle.com/blog/2018/08/…
There are more people who have learned English as a second language than there are native speakers. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eng…
A small island in the middle of the Chesapeake Bay named Tangier Island still speaks a dialect of Old Modern English that sounds the most like British English. youtu.be/AIZgw09CG9E
Mother Damnable, who ran Seattle's first brothel, could swear expertly in Chinese, English, French, German, Portuguese, and Spanish. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mot…
Today I learned about Albert Pierrepoint, an English hangman who executed between 435 and 600 people in a 25-year career that ended in 1956. During his tenure he hanged over 200 people convicted of war crimes in Germany and Austria, as well as some high-profile murderers. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alb…
Today I learned of ablaut reduplication, an unwritten English rule that makes "tick-tock" sound normal, but not "tock-tick". When repeating words, the first vowel is always an I, then A or O. "Chit chat" not "chat chit"; "ping pong" not "pong ping", etc. It's unclear why this rule exists, but it's never broken rd.com/culture/ablaut-red…
The Groom of the Stool (person in charge of helping the English monarch poop) was a coveted position of power and influence due to the close, intimate access to the King/Queen. wikipedia.org/wiki/Groom_…
Richard Valenzuela, better known as Ritchie Valens, was born in California and only spoke English at home. Valens had to learn the lyrics phonetically to record "La Bamba" in Spanish. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rit…
The Bay of Pigs in Cuba is called "BahΓ­a de Cochinos" in Spanish, cochino being a common fish in the area. Cochino can also be used as an insult in Cuban Spanish very similarly to how "pig" is used as an insult in English, leading to the mistranslation. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bay…
The last US President who was fluent in a language other than English is Franklin D. Roosevelt, who spoke good French and German. Roosevelt died in office in 1945 mashable.com/2015/02/02/u…
When US-born giant panda twins arrived in China, they struggled with local food and language. Mei Lun & Mei Huan were confused by "have you eaten up" in Chinese but responded to English "come here". They preferred "Western fast food" biscuits instead of local "wowotou" (steamed corn bread). straitstimes.com/asia/eas…
Codpiece (Middle English: cod, meaning β€œscrotum”), feature of 15-16th c. men’s fashion, was shaped & padded to emphasize the genital area. It became fashionable to design the codpiece to hold the penis in a position insinuating it was erect constantlyβ€”a statement of political and economic power. fashionhistory.fitnyc.edu…
There is an extinct language called Mbabaram which evolved separately from English. The word for "dog" in Mbabaram happens to also be "dog" by complete coincidence en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mba…
There is an English book on atomic theory that avoids all foreign loan words: elements become "firststuffs", hydrogen is "waterstuff", and the title, Uncleftish Beholding, means Atomic Theory en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unc…
Martin Van Buren was the first president who was born after the United States declared independence, and the first to have English as a second language. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mar…
Coca-Cola had to pull its water drink from the U.K., because the water turned out to be contaminated water from near Peckham, England. The exact storyline of a joke in the English sitcom β€˜Only Fools And Horses’ episode 12 years earlier standard.co.uk/news/coke-…
Joseph Conrad, who is regarded as one of the greatest novelists to write in the English language, was born in Poland and did not speak English fluently until his twenties. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jos…
Three English sailors walked from Florida to Nova Scotia in 1569 publicdomainreview.org/es…
Tournai is the only Belgian city to be ruled by England. It was under English control from 1513 to 1519. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tou…
English Muffins are designed to be split with a fork, not a knife thomasbreads.com/frequent…
Today I learned about the Groom of the Stool: the most intimate of an English monarch's courtiers, responsible for assisting the king in excretion and ablution. Under Henry VII, the Groom of the Stool became a powerful official involved in setting national fiscal policy. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gro…
Danny Elfman composed and performed The Little Things, soundtrack for film Wanted, in English AND Russian himself en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dan…
The name "Ivan the Terrible" reflects the older English usage of terrible as in "inspiring fear or terror; dangerous; or powerful" and not the more modern connotations in English where terrible means "defective" or "evil". en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iva…
There are more English speakers in China (390 million) than in the U. S. academia.edu/2034954/The_…
While filming "Barry Lyndon" in Ireland Director Stanley Kubrick received word his name was on an I.R.A. hit list for directing a movie featuring English soldiers. Star Ryan O Neil said "He was given 24 hours. He was gone in 12." thejournal.ie/stanley-kub…
Indian English has a word for a hundred thousand: Lakh en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lak…
Nigeria is the third largest English speaking country, behind India and United States en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lis…
The United States has no official language at the federal level. Hawaii recognised Hawaiian Pidgin English and South Dakota made Sioux an official language. babbel.com/en/magazine/wh…
MMA fighter Ronda Rousey is of English, Polish, Trinidadian & Venezuelan descent. Her Trinidadian great-grandfather was one of the first black doctors in Canada & her English-American mother holds a PhD & won the World Judo Championship in 1984. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ron…
The best-selling English translations of Rumi, the famous 13th Century Persian poet, were done by a woefully underqualified man who doesn't know Persian; never studied Islam or Sufism; took extreme liberties with the original texts; and omitted much of the Islamic references and context newyorker.com/books/page-…
Today I learned of Harold Shipman, an English GP who is believed to be the most prolific serial killer in history. In 2000, a jury found Shipman guilty of the murder of 15 patients under his care, with his total number of victims estimated to be around 250. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Har…
At the Battle of Almansa in 1707 the french army was led by an englishman, while the opposing english army was led by a frenchman. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bat…
The true meaning of 'Aloha' in Hawaiian is love, peace and compassion. The literal translation of Aloha from Hawaiian to English is β€œthe presence of breath”. β€œAlo” is a Hawaiian word for presence and β€œha” means β€œbreath”. icchawaii.edu/what-does-a…
The longest place name of any English speaking country is TaumatawhakatangiΒ­hangakoauauotamateaΒ­turipukakapikimaungaΒ­horonukupokaiwhenΒ­uakitanatahu en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tau…
Today I learned of the Pequot War (1636-1638), now considered a genocide by historians. English settlers led a campaign against the Pequot tribe, culminating with the Mystic massacre, when Pequot women and children were set on fire. Afterwards, Connecticut was formed and the word "Pequot" was banned. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peq…
Today I learned of Jane Digby, an English aristocrat who had 4 husbands and many lovers, including King Ludwig of Bavaria and his son King Otto of Greece, a Bohemian nobleman, Austrian statesman and Prince, and a Greek general. She died in Syria, the wife of a Sheikh 20 years her junior en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jan…
The longest English word takes three and a half hours to pronounce en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lon…
There are 7 different types of English surname, originally based either on personal characteristics, location, occupation, estate, patronage, or ancestry. goodtoknow.co.uk/family/t…
The oldest occurrence of the word "fuck" in adjectival form in English comes from the margins of a 1528 manuscript copy of Cicero's De Officiis. A monk had scrawled in the margin notes, "fuckin Abbot". en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fuc…
The English word 'Tantalise', meaning temptation without satisfaction, coes from the Greek Myth of Tantalus, a man who stole ambrosia from Zeus and served his son Pelops to the Olympic Gods at a banquet. As punishment he was stood by a pool that receding whenever he went to take a drink. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tan…
After conquering China, by 1241 the Mongols were expanding their empire to the west, using Chinese rockets (self-propelled flying bombs) in battles across Eastern Europe. And with them came secret of black powder - the recipe was first written down around 1250 by English scholar Roger Bacon. needforscience.com/astron…
Doves and pigeons are the same bird. In English, the smaller species tend to be called "dove" and the larger ones "pigeon". The distinction is not consistent, and does not exist in most other languages. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/pig…
Chinese Pidgin English. Used for 200 years in Chinese ports, the language mix Chinese syntax and English words creating a grammar like: "Chinese man very great rogue truly, but have fashion, no can help". Some expressions were introduced back into English: "Long time no see"; "No money no talk". en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chi…
King Richard the Lionheart of England couldn't speak English and spent very little time in England. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ric…
C.S. Lewis was Irish, once saying β€œI'm Irish not English. Did you ever know an Irishman who didn't puff and blow?” when informed his heavy breathing was interfering with a radio broadcast. hansard.parliament.uk/Lor…
President Martin Van Buren is the first and only US President to speak English as a second language, being Dutch his first. He is also the first president that was born after America's Independence from the United Kingdom. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mar…
Encyclopedia Britannica was the oldest continuously published reference source in the English language. The last printed edition was published in 2010. The publisher was at that time 244 years old. theguardian.com/books/201…
To prevent English tech vocabulary from entering the French language, French officials suggested 'le mobile multifonction' (mobile multifunction) as an alternative to the English word 'smartphone.' smithsonianmag.com/smart-…
Today I learned about Arthur John Priest (1887 - 1937), who was an English stoker in the 1900s - 1910s. He became famous because he survived at least five shipwrecks (including Titanic) and several other ship collisions. He gained the nickname "The Unsinkable Stoker". He died in mainland in 1937. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Art…
Up until the early 1900s, German used to be the dominant language of international science. "The story of the 20th Century is not so much the rise of English as the serial collapse of German as the up-and-coming language of scientific communication". bbc.com/news/magazine-295…
In 1608, English writer Thomas Coryat wrote a book detailing his five months’ travel through Europe in which he described, among other things, use of the table fork as an eating utensil. He also introduced β€œumbrella” into English after noticing Italians shielding themselves from the sun. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tho…
In film editing, that in 1994 only 3 feature films had ever been edited digitally. By 1995 none had ever won an Oscar for best editing. In 1996 "The English Patient" was the first (edited by Walter Murch on the Avid). Since then every Oscar winner has been.except 1998's "Saving Private Ryan". premiumbeat.com/blog/fun-…
The reason we refer to people as redheads instead of more accurately as β€œorangeheads” is because both the fruit and the word to describe its color doesn’t enter the English language until the 1300’s. quickanddirtytips.com/edu…
While American Sign Language is NOT universal and vastly different than even other English speaking countries, it is similar to French Sign Language because of frenchman Laurent Clerc who helped found the first school of the Deaf in America. gallaudet.edu/tutorial-an…
When Sean Connery departed the role of James Bond, Dick Van Dyke was asked to consider taking over. When Van Dyke reminded Bond producer Albert Broccoli of his famously bad English accent from 'Mary Poppins,' Broccoli replied: "Oh, that's rightβ€”forget it!" yahoo.com/entertainment/b…
Referring to a bathroom or water closet as a Crapper, stems from Thomas Crapper. Thomas was an English businessman and plumber that made significant improvements to toilet design. He held 3 toilet patents and we still use most of them today. courses.washington.edu/ce…
Despite the popularity of the legend of King Arthur, no English monarch from 1066 onwards ever took the name after coronation royal.uk/kings-and-queens…
40% of the population in India speaks Hindi, and 8% speak Bengali, making it the second most widely spoken language. Around 10% of India’s population speak English, but it is only a first language for 0.019% listenandlearnusa.com/blo…
The Polish Beer-Lovers' Party was a satirical Polish political party, whose goal was to promote cultural beer-drinking in English-style pubs instead of vodka and thus fight alcoholism. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pol…
Today I learned of Philippa Fawcett, an English mathematician and the first woman to have topped the Cambridge Mathematical Tripos, but who despite scoring 13% higher than the second top scorer did not receive the honorary title of Senior Wrangler. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phi…

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