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Am 19.03.2013 um 02:30 schrieb George Corley <[log in to unmask]>:

> On Mon, Mar 18, 2013 at 9:21 PM, Daniel Bowman <[log in to unmask]>wrote:
> 
>> Hey all,
>> 
>> I was talking to someone today, and he stated that English has the most
>> words of any language.  I'm pretty suspicious when I hear such claims, and
>> he did not have direct evidence to back up his assertion.  However, he is
>> one of the smartest and most knowledgeable people I know, and his father
>> happened to be chair of the department of linguistics at one point.  It's
>> hard to chalk his claim up to ignorance or misinformation, so I started
>> wondering: is this in fact true?
>> 
> 
> Number one: being intelligent does not prevent you from believing false
> things.  In fact, in some cases intelligent people will hold on to false
> beliefs longer simply because they devote their mental resources to
> rationalizing them.
> 
> On to the actual question -- there's no real way to put a solid number on
> the number of "words" in a language.  First of all, you need to define
> "word", and that is not an easy task.  Assuming that you mean a lexemes --
> there is a lot of debate over what words are actually stored in the
> lexicon, given that people productively coin words all the time, but not
> all of those are necessarily stored.  Then you have to somehow catalog all
> the words in the mental lexica of all native speakers.
> 
> I really don't think that there are any good solutions to "How many words
> does English have?".  At the very least, an absolute number is not
> possible.  Going further and claiming that English has "the most words" is
> even more problematic, considering the number of languages that aren't even
> documented or are under documented.

Through the Language Glass opines that undocumented languages have fewer words than those with a literary tradition since said tradition prevents deprecated words from falling out of use. If you consider that, the size of the language is not a benefit, but a curse: a load of obsolete, deprecated and vintage words, which take up space in the human mind and to a point become elevated to metrics of not just education but intelligence.