How many words...

Wow! Moof has a great post today talking about the number of words in both the English and Spanish languages. I've known for a while that the vocabulary in English is many times larger than that of Spanish, I just didn't realize HOW many times larger.

that's about 230,000 words in the English language. That's a lot of words. As a comparison the preamble to the 21st Edition of the Diccionario de la Re�l Acadmeia Espa�ola claims that there are roughly 83,500 entries in that book, and that's in the second most recent edition. What's more, the OED excludes most technical language.

It seems to me that I read somewhere that there was like 600,000 words in English but obviously that was way off...

The sad part about this is the .dic file from the site only has about 60,000 words in it. This is what I'm using for the spellchecker in the Journal (yes, a web logger with a spell checker, imagine that). Actually, not having all the words is a good thing for spell checkers because otherwise it can find uncommon spellings of just about everything, but still, 1/4th of the words?

My hard drive is 16 Gigs... I wonder if it would be possible to have a list of every word on the planet. Every language in it's entirety on my computer. That would rock. You know, some people collect stamps, I think I'm going to start collecting words.


Later... Moof noted that the OO dictionary probably has a bunch of word forms, so it actually contains a lot less words. But that brings up the question of what is a word. Here's a good site on that subject. ;-) Personally, having learned another language I think of all word forms (climb and climbing for example) are different words. If you know "ser" for example in Spanish, but you don't know that "era" is one type of past tense of this word, you don't know the word. There's a lot of difference between is and was even though they're the same verb to be. So therefore, in my mind, they're all words!

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