S. Berliner, III's sbiii.com Language Page keywords = language English U. S. first French Franais German Deutsch Hungarian Magyar Japanese Nihongo kana kanji Chinese limerick tongue twister long word oxymoron hotentoten Fridolin Llanfair Chargoggagoggmanchauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg

Updated:   30 Dec 2019; 14:55  ET
[Page converted 29 Aug 2011
    original AT&T Worldnet Website begun 30 May 1996.]

URL:  http://sbiii.com/language.html
[was at "home.att.net/~Berliner-Ultrasonics/language.html"]

S. Berliner, III
Consultant in Ultrasonic Processing
"changing materials with high-intensity sound"

[consultation is on a fee basis]

Technical and Historical Writer, Oral Historian
Popularizer of Science and Technology
Rail, Auto, Air, Ordnance, and Model Enthusiast
Light-weight Linguist, Lay Minister, and Putative Philosopher

note - The vast bulk of my massive Web presence (over 485 pages) had been hosted by AT&T's WorldNet service since 30 May 1996; they dropped WorldNet effective 31 Mar 2010 and I have been scrambling to transfer everything.  Everything's saved but all the links have to be changed, mostly by hand.  See my sbiii.com Transfer Page for any updates on this tedious process.

S. Berliner, III's


Language Page


ENGLISH FIRST* - English as the official (and ONLY) language of the United States.
    (moved to its own page 08 Apr 03)

FRA (Federal Railroad Administration) Terminology.









    (including Palindromes).

On the Language Continuation Page 1 page:   new (06 Jul 2019)

  Weird Usages.

On the DENGLISH page:

    DENGLISH - Neutered or Degenderized English

    Original Proposal of 11 May 1990.

See also the Infinity Printer Page:   new (30 Dec 2019)
  George Gamow's One Two Three Infinity.
  Going Gamow One Better
    (with digressions into orthographies)
  W3C Unicode Charactersets


This page is concerned with language only; please visit my DENGLISH - Neutered or Degenderized English page, my CULTURE page (so-called) for literature and such and my fun page for humor (again, so-called).

Incidentally, how DOES one write PI RHO, for example?  The ISO 8859-7 D0 and D1 (Alt 208 - and 209 -) don't work, at least not yet; and how are we supposed to render the Magyar double-acute accent mark, ", ISO 8859-1, "dblac", above a vowel, or the ogonek below or the hachek above Romanian letters and such?  I have explored ISO 8859-2, Latin-2, but don't know how to implement it (or that anyone out there can read it - see my COMPUTER page).

If you love the great outdoors and the Earth, itself, you must read (if you haven't long since)
Chief Seattle's Letter, one of the greatest environmental pleas ever written.
{phoney though it be!}


English is my native tongue, and although by no means a died-in-the-wool conservative or reactionary (hardly!), I do support the move to make English the official (and thus only) national language of the United States of America.  However, unlike the apparent-majority of those who propose such, I am 100% against doing so to the disadvantage of ethnic minorities; I propose, rather, to spend whatever it takes to educate same to read, write, and speak English well enough to assume the full responsibilities of citizenship.  I further favor making such literacy in English a mandatory prerequisite for citizenship!  In no way do I denigrate ethnic desire to maintain a language; I applaud the wish and the practice, but it is a private matter for such minorities, not to be mixed in with the official obligations and requirements of citizenship.  Far to the contrary, I feel that, not only should ethnic groups preserve and foster their heritages, second and third languages should be mandatory for college-entrance high school programs and mandatory prerequisites for college degrees of any sort.

    [Further coverage on this topic was moved to its own page on 08 Apr 2003.]

I propose to add little tidbits here and there on this page, such as limericks, tongue twisters, long words (especially German words), and so on.  Who knows, I might even proof-read them carefully.

This is so wonderful (and awful) that I'm putting it first (adapted for non-railfans from my Railroad page, RR Miscellany:

FRA (Federal Railroad Administration) terminology took two giant steps backward, per a deliberately-unnamed Ringling Bros.-Barnum & Bailey trainmaster; I mentioned to him evidence (grooved ties) of equipment going on the ground at the Garden City freight yard as the RBBBC circus* train was being assembled by the New York & Atlantic RR to pull to NYC.  It seems that such things, also formerly known as derailments, are henceforth termed WHEEL RAIL RELATIONSHIP DISCREPANCIES!  Worse yet, a stripped screw situation is now a FASTENER RELATIONSHIP DEBILITATION!  I kid you not!  Since I had the feeling that my leg was getting longer than an RBBBC elephant's trunk, I cautiously inquired about same of a NY&A (New York & Atlantic Railroad) freight trainmaster (also mercifully unnamed here) who confirmed it as gospel.  This led to a disheartening discussion amongst both crews as to the sad state of our society and culture.

* - The word "circus" may have to be dropped because of the vociferous clamor of animal rights activists!

LIMERICKS {more will follow}:

I never saw the golden calf,
I never hope to see one;
But I can tell you here and now,
I'd rather smelt than free one!
    - S.B.,III - 03 Jul 97 {with apologies to Ogden Nash - but NOT very sincere ones!}


Say 'em fast!


She sells sea shells by the sea shore.*

    [* - 26 Dec 98 - Peter van Broekhoven (e-mail: pvanb@canada.com) asks
     if anyone knows the full-page-long version of this?]

Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers;
If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers,
Where's the peck of pickled peppers Peter piper picked?

    [Thomas R. (back in Aug 97) said that Peter Piper was only one of a series of rhymes that
     existed for each letter of the alphabet; does anyone out there know them all
     (or any other of them)?]

Courtesy of S. Berliner, Jr.:

Around the rugged rocks, the ragged rascal ran!

Theophilus Thistle, the successful thistle sifter,
Sifted ten thousand thistles in sixty thousand seconds.

Courtesy of S. Berliner, III:

A skunk sat on a stump;
The stump thought the skunk stunk,
But the skunk thought the stump stunk.

and my own puny efforts:

Ten tiny tapping toes totter timidly toward Tinseltown. (S.B.,III - 23 May 97)

Five filthy fingers forced forwards for faucets. (S.B.,III - 23 May 97)

Fifty frightful frogs fight fiercely. (S.B.,III - 23 May 97)

Thirty thoroughly thrifty thinkers thinking thoughfully. (S.B.,III - 23 May 97, rev'd. 26 Dec 98)

Dried dirty dozens dutifully dunked daily. (S.B.,III - 23 May 97)

(I believe this had to do with filthy conditions in a NYC Dunkin' Donuts shop.)

    [Thomas R. {???} sent me the first line of this one back in Aug 97 but
     I forgot to add it (with my own unworthy continuation):

Richard's wretched ratchet wrench
Wrecked rather rotten Rolls Royces;
Rolls Royce reacted really rattily,
Rapidly reaching Richard's reserves.

How about Black Bugs Blood?

Or that really gross one the kids sing -
Great Green Gobs of Greasy Gopher Guts
(or something to that effect)?

Here's one from my grandaughter's Cracker Jacks box (Feb 00):
"Hopping hedgehogs have hideous hairdos."
but I prefer my own version (hedgehogs don't have hairdos!):
"Horrendous hedgehogs have hideous hides!"
    which is certainly more accurate (if you've ever seen a hedgehog).

Sixth sick sheik's sixth sheep's sick - toughest tongue twister in the English language?  Try it!

Here's one from a staffer at the Nassau County Museums:

Once I knew a gnu that knew the news.
He knew the news like no gnu ever knew.
But now he's dead and, though I know another nosy gnu,
I never knew a gnu that knew the news like that gnu knew.
I thought of another oldie and promptly lost it; I HATE this!

How about:

Wonderful Wrttembergerisch words woefully worry wordsmiths. (S.B.,III - 04 Jul 97)

    which leads naturally enough to:


die Hotentotenpotentaten - the kings of the Hottentots - BUT get this one:

Hotentotenpotentatenschwiegermutter, u.s.w. - MUCH more to follow on just this one incredible "word"!

  C'mon, folks; some German out there must know this one!

I may have a lead!

Konstantinopelitanischerdudelsackspfeifergesell (courtesy of Gertrude Auerbach, May 97)
    (technically, it's really two words, but try to say it quickly!)

Gottinhimmeldonnerwetter - {help! who remembers the rest?} - bimbam!
    (from The Prince and the Showgirl, uttered by Laurence Olivier).

Well, no one volunteered but my Nrnbergersiche friend told me the actual German "word" from which it was taken:


which, in Nrnbergerisch Deutsch, comes out as:


which means (sort of):  "Lord God's cross pebble thunder-weather yet again!"

[the name of the first German tank, the A7V of the First World War]
  {actually, this is phoney; it's what I've remembered for some 45 years.  The real name turns out to be FIVE words:
    Allgemeine Kriegsdepartment 7, Abteilung Verkehrswesen,
    and that stands for a War Ministry committee of automotive industry leaders
    and the Commercial Testing Commission.
        - from Tanks and Armored Vehicles, Lt. Col. Robert J. Icks, Duell, Sloan and Pierce, New York, 1945}


The Germans have no monopoly on long words, we have:

            10        20      28
- which has something to do with opposing the disestablishment of the Arian heresy and is supposedly the longest word in the English language.

Peter van Broekhoven disagrees and suggests that this is the longest word in the English language:

             10        20        30        40   45
    I respectfully suggested to him, rather, that "pneumo - - - (etc.)" is

    1) not a word in the language but rather a term of art, and

    2) not English at all, but rather medical "Latin" (thus a term of art).

Finally, at the railway museum in Darlington, England, as I walked over to see Locomotion #1, the world's first steam passenger locomotive, I found the full reference to that grand old Welsh town on the southeast coast of the isle of Anglesey off the north coast of Wales, hard by the Menai Bridge, named Llanfair P G for short (to fit railroad timetables and such), on an old (or reproduced) station sign, the full name of which is:

            10        20        30        40        50      58

For the pronounciation and translation, turn to Llanfair P G's own village page, which just may have the longest URL, as well!

Oh, I dunno; the longest place name in the United States is Lake Chargoggagoggmanchauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg - REALLY!  It's near the tri-point of Rhode Isl;and, Connecticut, and Massachussetts, where the great East Thompson, Connecticut, train wreck occurred in 1891.  That wreck was the only time in U. S. history that FOUR (4) trains collided at one place.  Anyway, let's see what we have (without "Lake"):   new (16 Oct 2015)

            10        20        30        40   45
"ONLY" 45 characters?  Aw, shucks!

According to Stuart Gough, the longest place name still in use belongs to a New Zealand hill called:

            10        20        30        40        50        60        70        80  84

and (sez Stuart), according to the Guinness Book of Records, the world's longest place name is the official name for Bangkok, (locally known as Krung Thep), which in its scholarly transliteration has 175 letters.

Found it!  Capitalized for phonetics, the romanization is:

         10        20        30        40        50        60        70        80        90       100       110       120       130       140       150       160     168

    (that sure looks like "only" 168 to me)

which transliterates (filled with mythological references) as:

The city of angels, the great city, the residence of the Emerald Buddha, the impregnable city (of Ayutthaya) of God Indra, the grand capital of the world endowed with nine precious gems, the happy city, abounding in an enormous Royal Palace that resembles the heavenly abode where reigns the reincarnated god, a city given by Indra and built by Vishnukarn {whew!}.


This is new (26 Jun 99), so I'll just start with this gem from a U. S. Postal Service package
(there are those who think "Postal Service" itself oxymoronic, but I love the new Postal Service):

Special Standard Mail!

Anent "special standard", on my SS and Jaguars continuation page, I quote from a letter in which the initiation of the marque was described as the melding of a Swallow body with a

"special Standard chassis";

although it's quite legit (Standard was an automaker), it sure looks like an oxymoron and perhaps deserves "honorary oxymoron" status.


The Arab world has given us so much in the way of culture and art and science but one of the most interesting to me is their system of numeration.  Did you know that there is art in Arabic numerals?  A Muslim travelled to India and found the concept of zero there and introduced it to Arab mathematicians; they used it to create modern numeration.  Notice that each number is characterized by the number of angles in the symbol:

Arabic Numerals
[Image adapted from Al-Haaj Ghazi Khankan, Director,
Islamic Center of Long Island, Westbury, New York]

The Arabic word for "zero" is "CIPHER". Note that each number, as drawn in the original Arabic, has one more angle than the previous one and the number of angles matches the value of the numeric symbol; cipher or zero being a circle has no angles.

" - - - ; but do good, for Allah loves those who do good."
[al Qur'an - II.191]


Since many of our European and Asiatic friends mostly use their own special keyboards, it may help to know what their unfortunate American colleagues use; the U. S. ASCII Keyboard reads as shown (my Computer page is almost full):

[The numbers are accessed by pressing the "ALT" key and the number to get the character.]

       32             88      X      144           200
       33      !      89      Y      145           201
       34      "      90      Z      146           202
       35      #      91      [      147           203
       36      $      92      \      148           204
       37      %      93      ]      149           205
       38      &      94      ^      150           206
       39      '      95      _      151           207
       40      (      96      `      152           208
       41      )      97      a      153           209
       42      *      98      b      154           210
       43      +      99      c      155           211
       44      ,      100     d      156           212
       45      -      101     e      157           213
       46      .      102     f      158            214
       47      /      103     g      159           215
       48      0      104     h      160           216
       49      1      105     i      161           217
       50      2      106     j      162           218
       51      3      107     k      163           219
       52      4      108     l      164           220
       53      5      109     m      165           221
       54      6      110     n      166           222
       55      7      111     o      167           223
       56      8      112     p      168           224
       57      9      113     q      169            225     
       58      :      114     r      170           226
       59      ;      115     s      171           227
       60      <      116     t      172           228
       61      =      117     u      173           229
       62      >      118     v      174           230     
       63      ?      119     w      175           231
       64      @      120     x      176            232
       65      A      121     y      177            233
       66      B      122     z      178            234
       67      C      123     {      179            235
       68      D      124     |      180            236
       69      E      125     }      181            237
       70      F      126     ~      182            238
       71      G      127            183            239
       72      H      128           184            240
       73      I      129           185            241     
       74      J      130           186            242
       75      K      131           187            243
       76      L      132           188            244
       77      M      133           189            245
       78      N      134           190            246     
       79      O      135           191            247
       80      P      136           192            248
       81      Q      137           193            249
       82      R      138           194            250     
       83      S      139           195            251
       84      T      140           196            252
       85      U      141           197            253     
       86      V      142           198            254
This obviously can not work!  I had to make it a graphic image as a table:


From this, we can select those characters that are special, check them via e-mail, and tabulate them here:

128 -  - C w/cedille
129 -  - u w/umlaut
130 -  - e w/aigue
131 -  - a w/circonflex
132 -  - a w/umlaut
133 -  - a w/grave
134 -  - a w/ring
135 -  - c w/cedille
136 -  - e w/circonflex
137 -  - e w/umlaut
138 -  - e w/grave
139 -  - i w/umlaut
140 -  - i w/circonflex
141 -  - I w/grave
142 -  - A w/umlaut
143 -  - A w/ring
144 -  - E w/aigue
145 -  - ae digraph
146 -  - AE digraph
147 -  - o w/circonflex
148 -  - o w/umlaut
149 -  - o w/grave
150 -  - u w/circonflex
151 -  - u w/grave
152 -  - y w/umlaut
153 -  - O w/umlaut
154 -  - U w/umlaut
155 -  - cent
156 -  - pound/sterling
157 -  - yen
159 -  - florin/guilder
160 -  - a w/aigue
161 -  - i w/aigue
162 -  - o w/aigue
163 -  - u w/aigue
164 -  - n w/tilde (nuez)
165 -  - N w/tilde (Nuez)
166 -  - fem. ordinal
167 -  - masc. ordinal
168 -  - inv. question
170 -  - {what is this?}
171 -  - 1/2 - half
172 -  - 1/4 - quarter
173 -  - inv.exclamat'n
174 -  - 2xl. guillemet
175 -  - 2xr. guillemet
225 -  - ss "s-zed"
227 -  - paragraph
230 -  - mu, micron
241 -  - plus/minus
246 -  - division
248 -  - degree
249 -  - bullet
250 -  - small bullet
252 - n - power of "n"
253 -  - power of "2"

{Well, I can't seem to get the table to print nor the selected list to align in two columns!}

For an equivalency chart of ISO 8859 equivalents, see my Computer U.S. ASCII section.

I have also made a stab (fairly unsuccessful) at tabulating all these plus the Alt 0*** characters on my Character Sets Page.


It occurred to me that our foreign friends may not even know how the standard American English keyboard looks; here it is:



It has been quite a pleasure and an hono(u)r for me to have had addenda and corrigenda accepted for inclusion in Webster's, Roget's, and Langenscheidt's.

OK, guys and gals, what's a PROPROPROFILEFILEPHILE?
    A person who is in favor of being in favor of filing profiles, of course!

Oh, better -FAR BETTER!  The Luftwaffe had one of the best planes of WWII, the Dornier Do-335 Pfeil (Arrow), with props fore AND aft!  Several aviation sites feature photos of this unusual bird, including profile shots; the site webmasters are thus PROPROPROPFEILFILEFILEPHILEs, persons in favor of being in favor of filing Pfeil profiles, of course!

PALINDROMES - Odd, I could have sworn I had some palindromes up, like the most famous (about Napoleon) in English,

    ABLE WAS I ERE I SAW ELBA, or, biblically,


How about another very short one:


This isn't a palindrome, but are you aware that "desserts" backwards is "stressed"?  I could fake it as:


May I recommend for your amusement Paul Jarvis and Garrett Thomson's pseudodictionary?

And there's always my own Zictionary, a glossary of wordZ in Z-scale (1:220).

This page is concerned with language only; please visit my DENGLISH - Neutered or Degenderized English page, my CULTURE page (so-called) for literature and such and my fun page for humor (again, so-called).


  What happens to all this when I DIE or (heaven forfend!) lose interest?  See LEGACY.


See Copyright Notice on primary home page.

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