Featured category: Language

An international alphabet, the tongue-twisters of click languages, language chains across continents, and the five million dollar comma.

Miriam Makeba
Anefo / CC0

Xhosa, one of the most famous African click languages, has some pretty spectacular tongue-twisters.


IPA
International Phonetic Association [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

The International Phonetic Alphabet is an attempt to provide a symbol for every meaningful sound in human language.


Imagine a chain of people, each speaking the same language as their neighbour, stretching across a continent. The people at either end of the chain could be using completely different languages.


Comma
GJo [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

A misplaced comma once cost a shipping company five million dollars.

For more trivia about strange sounds, extreme words, curious writing, and lost languages, begin here:

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