Well, it’s been quite a month of news. The news of Queen Elizabeth’s passing obviously dominated the headlines and we found out what it was like to have an official 10-day mourning period here in the UK. We loved this sweet video of The Queen getting excited about some cows that resurfaced recently. In pop culture, Bad Bunny’s Spanish-language album Un verano sin ti broke records by becoming the longest-running number 1 album on the US Billboard charts in over 5 years. Side note: if you’re a Bad Bunny fan, did you know you can take a musical Spanish lesson with him and Memrise? Check it out here.
Anyway, let’s get back to business and take a look at what else has been happening in the world relating to language and culture over the last month!
A quick guide to the Queen’s English
On the topic of the Queen, and in her memory, let’s take a look at something that defined her over the years: her incredibly specific and hard-to-replicate accent. She was famous the world over for countless things - from her corgis and her sharp sense of humour to her colourful outfits - but her accent is also one of the most famous on Earth. Whenever people learn English, they aim to speak it as perfectly as The Queen, even though her variety of English is no longer widely-spoken. Also called Received Pronunciation English (or RP English), the accent relies on specific vowel sounds along with a slightly more nasal delivery than the average English accent. It really is pretty fascinating to learn about! Read all about it and have a go at speaking The Queen’s English yourself with this handy pronunciation guide with audio clips.
Celebrating Sign Language Day
September is a busy month in the language-learning calendar each year, with events such as European Day of Languages and World Tourism Day to look forward to. There’s also International Day of Sign Languages on the 23rd of September! Do you know any sign language? In the UK, the number of people learning sign language in recent years has skyrocketed, most recently since contestant Tasha Ghouri appeared on this summer’s series of the popular reality show Love Island wearing a cochlear implant. As Tasha says here, even a little sign language goes a really long way. Check out this super-cool online sign language dictionary to get started with some basic signs!
Do you speak cat? Now you can!
In this edition of What’s the Word, we’ve gone from talking about the Queen’s English, to Sign Language, and now we’re going to tell you about another form of communication (with a difference)… Have you ever wondered what your pet was thinking? Well, if you’re a cat lover, now you don’t need to! A newly-developed app called MeowTalk has been created with the aim of helping people to work out what their cat is saying. Now you won’t be left wondering whether your cat is hungry or angry! Click here to read more about the feline-friendly app.
September = time to hibernate with Netflix shows
As we say a very reluctant goodbye to summer and the nights start to draw in, it’s time to find some new films and box sets to curl up with while we hibernate ahead of the winter months. Scroll down on this article and take a look at the non-English-language Netflix originals that are released this month, including a German show that’ll appeal to fans of Bridgerton, and a Spanish coming-of-age movie based on the Wizard of Oz!
And that’s all for this edition of What’s the Word? Every month we round up some of the coolest things that are happening around the world and share them with you in the hope they’ll quench your language and general knowledge-seeking thirst just a little bit. Catch you next time!