In between banana bread baking, Zoom fitness classes, and penpal revival, it seems a lot of people decided to brush up on their foreign language skills in 2020. Language-learning app Duolingo released its Year in Language report, revealing surprising trends, including the huge rise in the number of people joining the app after lockdown, and most popular phrase of 2020. Can you guess what it is?

Duolingo tried to assess the general mood of 2020 by asking their learners to vote on the ‘Most 2020 Duolingo Phrase’ of the year, based on the courses taught on the platform. The one that received the most votes? "I am eating bread and crying on the floor" from its Norwegian course, coming in at number one. You probably didn't see it coming but we feel seen.

Duolingo map charting the most popular languages studied around the world
The report looked at language trends around the world ©Duolingo

According to the report, around 30 million new people took up language learning in the weeks after lockdown; the global COVID-19 spike was more than twice as large as their 2020 New Year's spike. "During lockdown, learners around the globe looked for ways to feel connected, and so millions of people began learning a new language," said Duolingo's language expert, Dr. Cindy Blanco.

"Duolingo's data reveals where and when people began learning their community’s own language, studying to keep up with schoolwork, and trying out the languages behind some of our other favorite quarantine activities, like binging on Netflix and streaming music from around the world."

Duolingo map charting the second most popular languages studied around the world
English is the second most popular language studied in the US ©Duolingo

The report looked at trends worldwide and found that the fastest growing language in the US this year was Turkish. It saw a 39% growth since 2019 with celebrities including Halsey taking courses in Turkish and tweeting about her progress. Spanish was the most popular language studied in the US overall, followed by English, French, Japanese and German.

Duolingo motivation pie charts
School was the number one motivator for language learning ©Duolingo

English remains the most popular language to study worldwide, but this year Spanish overtook French as the second most popular language. Pop culture, global events and cultural trends all have had a big impact on languages too. The success of Parasite at this year's Oscars and the rise of K-pop and Korean dramas have seen Korean becoming the second-fastest growing language in the world, coming right up behind Hindi. Japanese came in third place.

For more language trends, see the full report here.

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