Sunday, March 04, 2007

Are you obsessed with time? (Most common English words)

This is just a fun news story, but reading between the lines it shows why people are so stressed-out these days: they don't think of resting, playing, relaxing!

You know that where you put your attention is where your energy goes, too. If you spend most of your time and energy worrying about the negatives of life, you don't take any positive steps toward stress and anxiety relief. What's worse is that you add stress and anxiety to the list of things to worry about!

The words people use most often must obviously be the subjects of most converstaions, otherwise they wouldn't be the most-used words! They are also a snapshot of a person's thoughts, activities and lifestyle.

This article on the most common nouns can be an eye-opener into needed changes leading to a more relaxed and stress-free lifestyle. Here is what everyone is talking about:

The most common nouns used in the English language

June 26, 2006

LONDON (AFP) - A new list of the most common nouns in the English language published in the latest Oxford dictionary reveals that English speakers are obsessed with time, Oxford University Press (OUP) researchers said.

The word "time" topped the list, with "year" in third place and "day" in fifth position and "week" at 17th.

"Person" reached number two on the list but men are still on top, with "man" ranking at number seven, "child" at 12 and "woman" trailing at 14. "Work" appears at number 16, while "rest" and "play" are nowhere to be seen in the top 100. "Money" appears not to be as important as people might think, weighing in at number 65, although researchers thought this could be due to the multitude of other related words such as "cash".

English speakers talk about "war", 49th, far more than "peace", which does not even feature in the top 100.

The common nouns section appears in the revised eleventh edition of the Concise Oxford English Dictionary, considered as the definitive guide to the evolving language. The dictionary's content is taken from the Oxford English Corpus, which contains a billion words.

OUP project manager Angus Stevenson said the frequency with which words such as "time" and "man" occur could be down to the love of phrases in English such as "I would not even pass the time of day with him", and "time waits for no man".

"The thing that struck me when I put together this list was that 90 percent of the top 100 words were one syllable," Stevenson said.

"A large proportion were actually from Old English, meaning the basic words we use all the time in basic sentences are from before the Norman Conquest.

"We always put the focus on new words, changing language and words from other countries, but in reality the basic language we use has been the same for hundreds and hundreds of years."

OUP researchers used the Internet as a guide to everyday English usage, examining online newspapers, weblogs, bulletin boards and fiction.

While the 100 most common words were the usual suspects -- "the", "be", "to" and "of" -- researchers found that looking at the most common nouns provided a more interesting snapshot of the English language.

The 10 most common nouns:
1. Time
2. Person
3. Year
4. Way
5. Day
6. Thing
7. Man
8. World
9. Life
10. Hand


JLB said...


Michelle said...

I find things like this fascinating, too. :-)

Geraldine said...

Good stuff M, and I do agree, thinking negative only makes the problems worse. The problem, how to break the cycle consistently, not easy when the 'pile' of problems continues to grow.

Andrea > Become a Consultant said...

I wonder how much time is accounted for by involvement with men, women, children and money. ;)

Michelle said...

Hi Geraldine,
Yes, when your thoughts are negative, that is all you notice...all the negative stuff. To break the cycle, I think we need gratitude. Be thankful for all the good things.

Good point! I think money would have been in the top five if we didn't have so many different words for it, all being considered individually. :-)