Emmanuel Macron recently vowed to “emmerder” the unvaccinated, stirring not only political controversy, but also a linguistic debate. The verb, which is derived from the noun “merde”, was translated to “piss off”, “put them in the shit” and “annoy them”, conveying varying degrees of severity.

The complexities surrounding the rendering of the French president’s vulgar choice of expression got us thinking about untranslatable words. Here’s a much lighter one!

It’s becoming increasingly common to learn a new language. The slower pace of life permitted by the pandemic and recurring lockdowns inspired many to take to language-learning apps. Coupled with the recent international success of foreign-language content on streaming platforms, such as Money Heist and Lupin, the growing curiosity in language and culture comes as no surprise. But which languages are people learning?

According to Duolingo’s 2021 Global Language Report, the top languages studied globally last year were English, Spanish, French and German, respectively.

Just behind the European languages are Japanese and Korean, surpassing Chinese as the most studied Asian languages. This is no doubt influenced by the ever-increasing globalisation of anime and K-pop, not to mention the international explosion of Squid Game.

Despite the small fortune spent by MP Daniel Kawczynski, Polish didn’t make the cut.

Finally, a very Happy New Year to our connections around the world! Which language are you learning this year?

An interesting bit of information on how different countries in Europe prefer to view English language movies in their home territories.