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What English Sounds Like to Non-English Speakers

by Jenny Morrill

Skwerl, a short film by Brian Fairbairn and Karl Eccleston, attempts to show the English language through the ears of non-English speakers. Throughout the film you can make out certain words you know, but the majority of the dialogue is incomprehensible.

Fairbairn and Eccleston added the transcript of the film to their website. It is mostly made up of real English words, but in a nonsensical order that is riddled with spelling and pronunciation errors. For anyone who has attempted to learn a foreign language, it's an incredibly realistic illustration of the frustration felt by language learners. As a native English speaker, all I can really say with any confidence in another language is "I am a trousers" in French.

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How to Say Merry Christmas in 26 Different Languages
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“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.

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How Often Is 'Once in a Blue Moon'? Let Neil deGrasse Tyson Explain
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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]

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