You may have heard the news that the English language is set to acquire its millionth word sometime early next year. At that point, Edgar Allen Poe’s 50,000-word vocabulary will seem considerably less impressive, and no one you ever speak to will be able to honestly say “I am completely fluent in English.”
You have to wonder how much padding was added to the list to get this high. Right now the count stands at 995,844, with the most recent addition being “e-Vampire”. See? E-Vampire? If “douchenozzle” is on there, I’m going to go learn Mandarin.
I wish someone had been simply making a list of words all along. Not any categorized collection or cross-referenced tome, but an actual numbered list of unique words–and maybe a sentence or two for reference’s sake. It would be worth noting if “cock” was in fact first used for a rooster or a penis.
This is the last great milestone any of us can really expect to see, as far as the growth of our language is concerned. There will be other milestones, obviously. but most of them will be along the lines of “English is stupid; let’s all learn Swahili.”