A Million Words

Do you know where were you on June 10, 2009, at 10:22 a.m.?
Something momentous happened at that moment.
It was a big day in the world of liguistics.
(Linguistics: the science of language.)

Give up?
The English language passed the million word threshold.
As of January 1, 2020, the official count was 1,057,379 words.

3D animation

That’s a lot of words.

Unfortunately, the most current Oxford English Dictionary only contains 171,476 of them. And the average English speaking person only uses about one eighth of those. Just think of all the things we could say and write and sing about if we made use of all those lovely words.

In contrast, the Biblical Hebrew language had 8,000 words stemming from 2,100 root words. That’s 992,000 less words to work with than contemporary English.

Paradoxically, the richness of Hebrew comes from its poverty. Because this ancient language has so few words, each one is like an overstuffed suitcase, bulging with extra meanings that it must carry in order for the language to fully describe reality. (Lois Tverberg, Walking in the Dust of Rabbi Jesus: How the Jewish Words of Jesus Can Change Your Life) 

Unpacking those suitcases full of extra meaning
is what makes studying the Bible so interesting.
Thank you for studying with me.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s