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27 September 2012

The Magical English Alphabet

The Magical English Alphabet
It’s unbelievable isn’t it! Just twenty-six letters make up the English alphabet and yet the number of words that can be created from those few singular characters - that we all take for granted - is astonishingly high. 

The Oxford English Dictionary lists over 600,000 main headwords, but the actual number is far higher and grows daily. Armed with these words there is no limit to what you can write, the only restriction is your imagination.

It has been estimated — I didn’t count them myself — that a staggering 130,000 new books are published every year in the United Kingdom alone (No wonder its hard to get a novel published). The figure for the United States of America is even higher, at nearer the 200,000 mark. These figures should be taken as a rough guide because they don't take into consideration the huge amount of titles, such as local history books, text and reference books or self-published items that are produced without an ISBN number.

Add to this the enormous quantity of written work that appears in newspapers, magazines, web content, advertising leaflets, brochures, emails, texts, private diary entries, letters - and, of course, blogs like this then you’ll begin to realise what a colossal amount of literature there, and I don’t think there is a number to express its figure?

I think it’s amazing that all of those classic works of literature, plays, poems, sonets, lyrics, television and film scripts, the bible and everything that will be written in the future, is only possible because of those twenty-six little letters (with of course some help from those punctuation symbols we all know and love).

And that is why I think the English alphabet is so magical.

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