Hooked on Phonics | Antidisestablishmentarianism
In Wisconsin, United States
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The English language is one of the most difficult languages to master, not because of it's rules which have many exceptions or its odd tenses which seem to follow no rules. But because of its many nuances where a single word can have three meanings or a single pronunciation of a word can be spelled three different ways. But it is precisely because of it's limitless versatility and boundless possibilities that it is the only dialect where you can express yourself so articulately. This series will delve into the many oddities of the English language for your enjoyment and tongue-twisting pleasure.
The word "antidisestablishmentarianism" itself is often referenced in English-speaking popular culture due to its unusual length of 28 letters and 12 syllables. It is commonly believed to be the longest word in the English language, excluding coined and technical terms not found in major dictionaries.
Longer words typically have been coined by specific authors in relatively modern times, or are obscure technical names. For example, floccinaucinihilipilification, first used in prose by William Shenstone in 1741, is 29 letters long, but was thought to have been coined as a nonsense word by a single person or small group of students at Eton. It is rumoured that this was intended to mean "to value something at nothing" or to describe a lack of value. Another word specifically coined to be the 'longest word in the English language' is Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious from the song of the same name in the film Mary Poppins. Chlorofluorocarbonation is also a word that is almost as long as antidisestablishmentarianism, meaning, "the act of putting chlorofluorocarbons into the air."
Recently, the 2007 edition of Guinness Book of World Records listed "pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis" as the longest word in the English language. The medical term is a lung disease, caused by the "inhalation of very fine silica dust from volcanoes." The disease may make it harder to breathe, and people with it need to be hooked up to a lung machine (an artificial lung). This too was a purposely coined word, with the explicit intent of being a long word.
The English language contains many oddities and below are clues about to some of the other strange and unique words in our language. As with all of my crosswords, once you solve the puzzle, substitute the numeric position of the solved word letter in the alphabet to get your corresponding number to substitute in the cords, using last digits for double digit positions.
UPDATE 3.23.09: Corrected misalignment of #7.
UPDATE 4.3.09: Clarified clue for #10 to rule out secondary option.
(No hints available.)
Last Updated: on 06/25/2016 10:09:44 Pacific Daylight Time (17:09 GMT)
Coordinates are in the WGS84 datum