Wednesday, July 7, 2010

I love to talk - 6

Vanity of vocabulary ...

This is a weird dilemma that I have faced since last 20 years now; to be more specific since the time I have graduated from Calcutta University with an honors in English Literature. Things became worse after my post graduation. People would come up to me and ask the meanings of random English words. And incase I fail to answer readily there would always be a leer that conveys – “and I thought you have done your M.A. in English???!!!” I honestly feel so murderous when people ask me meanings of words indiscriminately and I am supposed to have them on my fingertips, or may be my tongue tip just because I have studied and taught English. Soon their derisive tone starts – “and don't you TEACH English??” And invariably, I would end up feeling damn guilty and with an expression of a crestfallen soul I would start cursing myself, thinking all these years of my studies have really gone to a waste bin, and would scurry away like a dirty mouse!

So, I often wonder if it is possible to know just anything and everything about a language and its vocabulary. Is it really feasible to have 100% vocabulary of a particular language, even if it is ones mother tongue? To my utter dismay and shame I realize that I do not know so many words that exist in Bengali which happens to be my mother tongue! :-(

a few tongue twisters and head - reeling read for you ---- (gathered from different websites)

1. Honorificabilitudinitatibus

This word has 27 letters which appears in Love’s Labour’s Lost, Act V, Scene I, which means “invincible glorious” or “Honorableness.”
2. Antidisestablishmentarianism

This is the best known long word which has 28 letters. It means “opposition to the withdrawal of state support or recognition from an established church, esp. the Anglican Church in 19th-century England” as explained in

3. Floccinauccinihilipilification

This 30- letter-word is a non-scientific English word and it appears in the first edition of the Oxford English Dictionary.” It means “act or habit to deny the value of some particular things” but some dictionaries translate it as “the act of considering something to be worthless.”

4. Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious

This 34-letter word appears in the Oxford English Dictionary. It is a word specifically created for a song in the movie Mary Poppins until its film version of the musical was popular enough that everyone got to know this word.

5. Hepaticocholangiocholecystenterostomies

This 39-letter long is the longest word found in Gould’s Medical Dictionary. It is a surgical terminology, which refers to surgical creation of a connection between the gall bladder and a hepatic duct and between the intestine and the gall bladder.

6. Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis

This 45-letter long word is the longest word found in dictionaries. According to the eighth edition of Webster dictionary, it means, “pneumoconiosis disease caused by inhaling small particles of quartzite.” This is the scientific name for a coal miner’s disease, which is particularly caused by breathing in particles of siliceous volcanic dust. It is the lung disease that miners in Africa came down with from getting silicon silvers in their lungs.

7. Antipericatametaanaparcircumvolutiorectumgustpoops

This word has 50 letters. There is a display of one French writer’s ancient story in a library shelf, with this long Englishword as its book title.

8. Osseocaynisanguineoviscericartilagininervomedullary

This word has 51 letters. It is a terminology related to an anatomy. It appeared in a novel called “Headlong Hall” written by an English writer, 1785-1866.

9. Aequeosalinocalcalinoceraceoaluminosocupreovitriolic

This word is at 52 letters, describing the spa water at Bath, England. It was invented by the British Medical author, Dr. Edward Strother, 1675-1737.


This word has 100 letters. It appeared in the book titled “Finnegan wake” written by Irish author, Andean James Joyce, 1882- 1942. This word refers to the downfall of Adam and Eve.


bhaskar said...

maam...chakkar a raha not good at gymnastics;/

Celestial Dreamz said...

^I can very well feel the sarcasm underneath :)thanx anyway.