CLOSE

Accent archive fun

One of the best things about calling LA home is the opportunity to live unabashedly through your actor friends. If I think I've had a bad day, say, maybe received a couple rejection slips in the mail or some line producer isn't calling me back, my actor friends will come back with something like: "well try standing in a hatefully long line in a bikini top with 300 other girls, waiting to screen test a kiss with a man you've never seen before, and after that being told you should consider having yours ears pinned." Well! The travails of actors are like healing stems of aloe vera to me; everybody knows it's a brutal business, but I'm always shocked by how much I'd never be able to withstand that kind of scrutiny, the kind you're pretty much going to have to take personally. But if they can do all these things and still be operational and still forge on, well then that'll suffice as a proper tableau of hope for me.

Part of this vicarious lifestyle includes helping people get off-book, or support their pledges to speak exclusively in Russian accents until the call-back. Both of which I love to do, and which also brings me to the wonderful George Mason University Accent Archive website, as championed by Zooey Deschanel. It features men and women around the globe all reciting the same passage that begins: "Please call Stella." (And no, it's not ripped from a Tennessee Williams play.) Even if you're not an actor or a proxy, it's a cunning little archive, with interesting biographical data about each of the participants, including age of English onset and other languages spoken. But is it possible that there are those among us who don't need the assistance of such a site? If you can slip into a French or German accent easier than backing out of a parking spot, please do share...

nextArticle.image_alt|e
iStock
arrow
language
How to Say Merry Christmas in 26 Different Languages
iStock
iStock

“Merry Christmas” is a special greeting in English, since it’s the only occasion we say “merry” instead of “happy.” How do other languages spread yuletide cheer? Ampersand Travel asked people all over the world to send in videos of themselves wishing people a “Merry Christmas” in their own language, and while the audio quality is not first-rate, it’s a fun holiday-themed language lesson.

Feel free to surprise your friends and family this year with your new repertoire of foreign-language greetings.

nextArticle.image_alt|e
iStock
arrow
language
How Often Is 'Once in a Blue Moon'? Let Neil deGrasse Tyson Explain
iStock
iStock

From “lit” to “I can’t even,” lots of colloquialisms make no sense. But not all confusing phrases stem from Millennial mouths. Take, for example, “once in a blue moon”—an expression you’ve likely heard uttered by teachers, parents, newscasters, and even scientists. This term is often used to describe a rare phenomenon—but why?

Even StarTalk Radio host Neil deGrasse Tyson doesn’t know for sure. “I have no idea why a blue moon is called a blue moon,” he tells Mashable. “There is nothing blue about it at all.”

A blue moon is the second full moon to appear in a single calendar month. Astronomy dictates that two full moons can technically occur in one month, so long as the first moon rises early in the month and the second appears around the 30th or 31st. This type of phenomenon occurs every couple years or so. So taken literally, “Once in a blue moon” must mean "every few years"—even if the term itself is often used to describe something that’s even more rare.

[h/t Mashable]

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios