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Weird facts you didn't know about the French language
Photo: WikiCommons

Weird facts you didn't know about the French language

Oliver Gee · 12 Aug 2016, 15:47

Published: 12 Aug 2016 15:47 GMT+02:00

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The longest word in the dictionary is anticonstitutionnellement at 25 letters. Its English equivalent, antidisestablishmentarianism, is among the longest words in English, so it should come as no surprise really. 
The longest word of all is the full chemical name for thiamine which has 49 letters. Click here if you want to see it in its entirety, we don't dare risk spelling it incorrectly (and don't have the space). 
The shortest French word with all the vowels is oiseau (bird).
How to say 'OUCH' in French (and ten other sounds)
OUCH! Photo: Richard Gillin/Flickr
Meanwhile oiseaux (birds) is the longest word where you don't pronounce any of the letters individually. 
There are more words that have just one letter than there are letters in the alphabet.
Explainer: While you've heard of words like y and a, there are also words like à. But it also includes words like j' (as in j'aime) and c' (as in c'est). This would be the equivalent of counting 't as a word in English (as in the word don't) - and some English dictionaries actually do this
There's only one French word with the letter ù, and that's (where). Yet the letter still gets its own key on the French keyboard. (Read also: What annoys expats the most about the French 'Azerty' keyboard)
What annoys expats the most about the French keyboard
The word "simple" doesn't rhyme with any other French word. Neither does "quatorze", "quinze" or "monstre". 
French is the only language (besides English) that's spoken on all the continents. (Much of west Africa is French speaking, Canada in North America, French Guiana in south America, Vanuatu in Oceania.) 
The longest town name is Saint-Remy-en-Bouzemont-Saint-Genest-et-Isson in the Marne département, north eastern France.
There are several words that have three e's in a row, like créée and agréée which mean "created" and "approved", respectively. 
Oeil (eye) is the only word that starts with a different letter when in plural yeux (eyes).
Story continues below…
The most common letter in French is e, recurring at a frequency of 14.7 percent. It's followed by s at 7.9 percent and a at 7.6 percent. In comparison, in English the top three are e at 12.7 percent, t at 9.1 percent, and a at 8.2 percent. 
The least common letter is the ï (known as a trema) at 0.005 percent. 
And lastly, the shortest town name is Y in Somme, northern France.
Photo: WikiCommons
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