Page 47 - Language Facts

The ampersand (&) was made by combining the letters ‘e’ and ‘t.’

This is because the word ‘et’ is Latin for “and.” The word ampersand comes from the phrase “and per se and,” which literally meant “(the character) and by itself (is the word) and.” This symbol has been in use since the time of the Romans, with the earliest example having been found on a piece of papyrus from around 45 A.D.!

If you search the word ‘recursion’ on Google, it will ask if you meant ‘recursion.’

No, you’re not crazy. Those two words are identical, and there are no spelling errors. It’s actually someone at Google’s idea of a funny private joke. You see, the word ‘recursion’ is a mathematical term that means “the application of a function to its own values to generate an infinite sequence of values.” If you were to click on Google’s suggested word each time, you would be creating an infinite loop of searches. Recursion (which is related to the word ‘recur’) is kind of like when you hold two mirrors side-by-side facing each other - they form an infinite visual field of reflections!

Mexico has 60 languages.

However, only 6% of the population can speak any of these indigenous languages. The Spanish colonizers forced the Spanish language to be the official language of Mexico. It wasn’t until the 1990s that Mexico accept the indigenous languages as official languages for the country. Mexican legal documents can now be written in any of the 60 languages!

Read more about Mexican languages here.

Some awesome lists!

The opposite of deja vu is called 'jamais vu.'

As you probably know, deja vu (French for "already seen") is a strange feeling of familiarity with an unfamiliar experience. The opposite is also true, though we doubt you knew that there was a phrase for it. 'Jamais vu' (French for "never seen") is when a person temporarily cannot remember something they are well acquainted with. An example of this phenomenon is when an individual momentarily cannot recall a common word.

There is also a phrase to describe the feeling that something is on the 'tip of your tongue'! 'Presque vu' (French for "almost seen") describes the experience where a person can almost, but not quite, remember something!

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