2021: A year of learning on Memrise

2021: A year of learning on Memrise

Squid Game and the K-wave’s effect on language learning, Japanese, Yoruba and Finnish surge in popularity and…people are studying later at night. Read more in this annual review of learning on Memrise.
December 22 2021 Language learning

2021 is almost over, so we wanted to take a moment to pause and look back at what our 60 million learners have been getting up to with us. 

TL:DR, major media events have an impact on language learning with Korean and Japanese leading that trend, Yoruba and Finnish are a growing choice for learners and…people seem to be up for a learning sesh later at night! 

Media trends and the rising interest in Asian languages

This year, the surge of interest in everything Korean continued rising and we could also see its impact in language learning, with the Korean language in the UK Top 10 and US Top 5 learned languages. What’s more - the week after Squid Game premiered we saw an increase of 22% of signups in the US and a staggering 94% of UK signups heading straight in to learn Korean!

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But not only that. This year, Google’s search report showed that the top trending search in how long does it take to learn was in fact how long does it take to learn Japanese - and we relate! Out of our community of 60 million learners, Japanese is in the Top 5 learned languages both in the UK and the US for another year in a row. Not that it takes that long to learn. Or does it? 

 

Cultural shifts have an impact in language learning

 

In the US, we saw a growing number of people taking an interest in Yoruba, with a 26% growth in those of you starting to learn this West African language; and European Portuguese, which grew by 20% against the previous year.  On the other side (literally, the other side of the pond), people in the UK showed a growing interest in Finnish (22%), Mandarin Chinese (21%) and Mexican Spanish (20%). 

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Learning insights habits

 

We also saw a number of rather interesting things happening on Memrise this year. In no particular order, here are our favourites:

The struggle is real

 

  • Mandarin Chinese seems to be the ‘hardest’ language to learn. Out of 83,000 tests taken overall, the 16 phrases that people get wrong are in this language.
  • Other languages that people struggle with are Russian, Turkish and Yoruba, with more tests being failed there than other languages.

 

Later learners

 

  • This year, we saw more people starting to learn on Memrise later and later in the day, with 9-10 pm being the most popular time to sign up. Which then means you all have been getting stuck into learning sessions later at night.
  • And talking about starting later, here’s a new year resolution nugget: January 1 wasn’t the most popular day to pick up language learning. It was January 14 that picked up that crown! Goes to show it’s never late to get going - and we are open 24/7 for you to do some learning.


It’s always really insightful to look back at a year of learning. How as the world changes we also change what and how we learn. The most important bit is this: our curiosity and thirst for knowledge haven’t dwindled. Despite the past few years throwing so much at us, we continue to seek connection to others and to the world around us, through languages. And for that, friends, we are so grateful. Here’s to another epic year of learning in 2022!

 

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