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This is Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch.
The longest place name in the UK
And it took me two weeks to learn that
And that's what word nerds do; we learn long words
because it's interesting,
we learn that okay, the longest word, technically, in the English language is about 100,000 characters long.
But it's the name of a compound, so it doesn't really count
We learn that the longest word in any major dictionary is pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis.
But that doesn't really count because it's technical
So then, we learn that the longest non-technical word in any major dictionary
is floccinaucinihilipilification.
But that doesn't really count because it was coined
because it was intended to be a long word
it means "being meaningless",
which is kind of ironic.
Deliberately
So, then we learn that the longest non-technical non-coined word in the English language is
antidisestablishmentarianism.
But that doesn't really come up in everyday speech
Language doesn't generally support,
at least, the English language doesn't generally support,
long words.
Because they're inconvenient,
because they're unwieldy,
because they slow everyone down.
We shortened "internet" to "net", for crying out loud,
because three syllables was too much.
This isn't a real place name
this isn't what anyone calls this place
it was a publicity stunt from Victorian times
Even years later, here I am
reciting that name to you
because it's now a tourist destination.
Long words are there because they're interesting,
not because anyone actually uses them in speech.
Longest word I use: internationalisation,
which is a term in technology.
That is an unhelpful 20 characters long
and that's long enough that it gets abbreviated to i18n
when it gets written down.
Not really impressive,
not difficult to say, not something you need to memorise.
But that's how language works
If it's inconvenient, we shorten it
This could never have arisen by anything
other than a publicity stunt.
Something you might not have known.
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