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What is the Phrase? February Version

One other month, one other probability to make amends for what’s been taking place on the planet of language and popular culture! In music, we noticed the return of Queen Rihanna and had an adrenaline rush attempting to bag tickets for Beyoncé’s Renaissance tour. In different information, we cherished listening to about France’s disgruntled cheesemongers, who had been left reeling when ZERO French fromages made the Style Atlas Prime 10 this yr. Quelle horreur ! With 9 out of the highest 10 cheeses being from Italy, one French cheesemaker remarked that the judges should have been Italian. There’s gouda brie a cheese turf conflict across the nook (sorry…)!

However, for those who thought France’s cheesemakers had been offended, wait until you hear about Spain’s new trains which brought on two high transport officers to resign this month. Ever ordered one thing within the incorrect dimension and needed to return it? Properly, think about spending 258 million on a fleet of fancy new trains, then realizing that they’re too huge to suit by means of the tunnels on their meant route. Yup. Que fiasco. This actually occurred.

Anyway, with out additional ado, let’s get caught into this month’s knockout language and culture-related tales which have caught our eye!

Take a Bow, Justina Miles! 👑


Rihanna followers the world over went wild this month as everybody’s favourite Pop Queen returned with a bang, performing, for the primary time in 4 lengthy years, on the 57th Tremendous Bowl in Arizona. The mini-concert of her biggest hits went down a storm, touchdown her a top-10 spot in Rolling Stone’s rating of each Tremendous Bowl halftime present. However one thing that actually bought folks speaking after the sport was the stellar efficiency given by Rihanna’s American Signal Language (ASL) Performer, Justina Miles!

Not solely did Justina interpret the lyrics of Rihanna’s hit songs, she utterly captured the essence and perspective of the entire efficiency, turning into the primary ever Deaf lady to carry out in ASL on the Tremendous Bowl. The digital period has seen many different massive music occasions throughout the globe introduce signal language interpreters and performers to their applications, in a constructive step in the direction of widening accessibility.

Strive your hand at some fundamental indicators in ASL and BSL!

Cryptologists make an thrilling discovery 🔍

Mary Queen of Scots@2x

Time to segue seamlessly from Queen Rihanna to Mary Queen of Scots… This one’s for the language and historical past geeks amongst us! A staff of three cryptologists (individuals who crack codes – we needed to look it up too) made an by chance groundbreaking discovery this month which has change into an important discovering associated to the well-known Scottish Queen up to now 100 years. Whereas analyzing some coded Italian letters saved by the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, the staff realized that the letters had been truly written in elaborately coded French! To chop a protracted story brief, this discovery led to them deciphering a set of over 50 letters which,  it transpired, had been written by Mary herself to the French Ambassador to England within the sixteenth Century! 

Speaking in regards to the findings, Dr John Man from Cambridge College stated “it is a gorgeous piece of analysis, and these discoveries might be a literary and historic sensation”. Try the fascinating ciphers (particular coded symbols) that Mary used – might you provide you with a coded language that might take folks over 400 years to crack?!

The Irish language steps into the highlight ☘️

Irish Language@2x

Leaping from one Celtic nation to a different, we’ve seen the Irish language effectively and really step into the highlight this awards season! There have been BAFTA and Oscar nominations for tragicomedy The Banshees of Inisherin and Irish-language movie An Cailín Ciúin (The Quiet Woman). We additionally noticed Irish (not British!) actor Paul Mescal impress movie followers on the BAFTAs by giving an interview utterly as Gaeilge – in Irish – on the crimson carpet to advertise his Oscar-nominated movie Aftersun. Seeing Mescal giving the interview in Irish, and apologizing for being rusty, was an incredible lesson for Memrise learners of any language: it’s at all times higher to only get talking than to attend till you’re feeling totally assured (as a result of, spoiler alert: that day could by no means come!). At this fee, possibly Irish ought to be our subsequent official Memrise course!

You already know that we’re huge advocates of immersive language studying, in addition to utilizing the belongings you already like to study a language! Films are an enormous a part of this, so for awards season this yr, we’ve created a sequence of movie-based classes for learners of various languages. Our Spanish learners may even construct their vocabulary by studying the translations of phrases from two of the movies talked about above: The Banshees of Inisherin and Aftersun.


And that’s all for this version of What’s the Phrase? Each month we spherical up a few of the coolest issues which can be taking place around the globe and share them with you within the hope they’ll quench your language and normal knowledge-seeking thirst just a bit bit. Catch you subsequent time!



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