This Blog is an learning platform that helps you learn almost any language through play. We want to make learning as easy and fun as it can be, using the best technology and science around. We want to take learning out of the classroom and turn it into play.
Ramadan is a special time of the year, but it also comes with a unique set of challenges (like containing your excitement for sunset). Here are four ways Memrise helps you focus less on your empty stomach and more on filling your mind and soul.
1. How to pasta the time
I think I just watched my clock go from 2:54 to 2:53 I'm not joking. #RamadanProblems
Something weird happens to clocks during Ramadan. They speed up for the feasting hours and slow down during the fasting hours. Forget time completely with Memrise. We made it our mission to create the most entertaining way to learn a new language. There are games to play, videos to watch and a gazillion points to score*.
(*not the actual number of points, but it’s close)
2. Films make the day go smoothie
You know it's Ramadan when you're watching a movie & focusing on the food than the actual plot.
You can’t binge on food yet but you can binge-watch movies. Foreign language films are even better if you’ve started learning the language (with our app, of course). You don’t have to know all the words but it’s great fun when the actors use a familiar phrase and you can shout “I know that one”! Just cover your eyes for the restaurant scenes.
3. Seafood everywhere
Stop using # during Ramadan—it looks like a waffle
Stop using @ during Ramadan—it looks like a cup of cappuccino
Food is always on the brain if there’s none in your stomach. When your Facebook friends look good enough to eat, close your social networks and satisfy your thirst for travel instead. Our video clips show you real locals speaking their language in the places they live. You get a culturally rich mini-tour of an exciting part of the world.
4. No more waffling
OK, we’ll stop making all these ridiculous food puns and move on. Concentrating is tough when you’re hungry. Luckily our bite-sized sessions make it a piece of cake for your noodle to remember new words.
Please don’t hate us.
Happy Ramadan from all of us at Memrise.
P.S. If you want to broaden your horizons this Ramadan, now’s a great time to get a membership.
Sign up for a free account, then click on this link where you’ll find a special 50% off limited time offer: http://memri.se/2ra
Hi! Salut ! Ciao! Today marks the start of a fresh new look for Memrise. Although our space theme and purple colour palette will always be close to our hearts, and yours as well, probably, we’re changing our logo, colours and well, basically, how the whole app looks.
Our new logo!
This wasn’t an out-of-the-blue (or should we say, purple) decision. We’re changing because we found that it wasn’t working for you at all and that, basically, it was time to make some space to grow.
Now, change isn’t easy. We all like feeling comfy with how things look and feel – but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re really working. If you’ve known Memrise for a while, you probably know that we used to have a “garden” theme before the “space” theme. Everyone that has been with us for this long has endured the curious amalgamation of these two concepts (space flowers, why not!?).
Moving from garden to space and from coloured-wheel logo to purple rocket icon was organic for sure, and we loved it, but it ended up looking and feeling like a confusing and cluttered experience for you, and a disjointed identity for us.
Just have a look:
Gardens and planets and rockets, oh my!
To figure out what a cohesive identity that makes sense would be, we did quite a bit of listening. We’ve gained a lot of insight into the kind of epic learning experiences you want to have. And we’ve thought a lot about what we need to do to, how we need to evolve, to allow for that to happen.
Over the past months, our in-house design team, together with the wonderful team at Moving Brands, have been working on developing and delivering a new look and feel for our apps and website. One that captures what’s at the very essence of Memrise and that will fundamentally enable us to move faster and build better, for you.
And here we are today! Launching a new look and feel for our brand. There’s more to come – having a cohesive design is just laying the foundations that will let the learning experiences we build truly shine, and allow you to form deeper, more meaningful connections to the language you are learning and the culture that breathes through it.
We’ll probably keep making puns wherever possible, though.
Ok, enough of the blog, go and update the app so you can check out how it all looks now!
On a day to day basis, to you balance might mean making sure that you have a token green salad alongside that cheeky takeaway. Or it might mean making sure you have some ‘you time’ by binge-watching Game of Thrones, hanging with some friends, or learning some new vocab on Memrise at the end of a long hard day’s work.
International Women’s Day 2019 is about making sure balance means more than that. It’s about ensuring that when you walk into a board meeting, fill in a polling card on election day, or watch TV you see an equal representation between genders. It’s about seeing just as many girls on the football field as boys. It’s about hearing the same amount of female artists on the radio as male artists. It’s about not being the only woman working on a team full of men (or vice versa). It’s about #balanceforbetter.
A balanced society makes the world a better place because it broadens our perspective, breaks down barriers, and creates an environment of equal opportunities. Balance opens our mind and allows us to connect better with other people. It makes it easier to understand the points of view of others and it makes it easier to learn. And learning is something we’re pretty hot on at Memrise.
So how do we strive for balance here? Beyond aspiring for gender balance in our team (we’re really proud that roughly 48% of our employees are female) we also know how important it is to equally represent men and women in our course material. For example, when we find local people to demonstrate pronunciations, we look for a balanced mix of men and women to feature so you’re experiencing equality while you learn.
Another way we ensure gender parity is by teaching phrases in a balanced way so they’re relevant to everyone, whether you’re cis, trans, or non-binary. If we’re teaching the sentence ‘today is my husband’s birthday’, both a man and a woman will show you how to say it in your chosen language.
And at Memrise we make sure that we always look for ways that we can be more balanced in the future, so this means being mindful of how languages are adapting to be more gender equal.
Take Romance languages, the collective noun for a group often defaults to the masculine term. In French, you say ‘l’avocat’ for a male lawyer, ‘l’avocate’ for a female lawyer, and ‘les avocats’ for a group of lawyers – the plural of the male noun – even if the group contains men and women. But it’s now becoming more common to use punctuation to append the feminine suffix as well, giving ‘les avocat.e.s’, ‘les avocat-e-s’, or even ‘les avocatEs’.
In Spanish, you can also use an alternative suffix to be more gender inclusive. If you don’t want to write ‘todos’ for ‘everyone’ because it only acknowledges the involvement of men, you can use ‘tod@s’ to truly include everyone. Similarly, the noun ‘Latino’ refers to a Latin man, ‘Latina’ refers to Latin woman, and now there is the option to use ‘Latinx’ or ‘Latin@’, which are gender neutral.
With the increasing understanding and appreciation of gender non-conforming individuals, there is also now growing support for the use of the third, gender-neutral pronoun. Accordingly, it’s respectful to ask what pronoun someone prefers, instead of assuming. For instance in English, some people prefer to use the pronoun ‘they’ instead of ‘he’ or ‘she’, and in Swedish, the gender-neutral ‘hen’ can be used to replace the gender-specific ‘hon’ (she) and ‘han’ (he).
And so this International Women’s Day, Memrise pledges to continue to make decisions towards #balanceforbetter.
UPDATE: Since publishing this announcement, we conducted further analysis on how community-created courses are learned in mobile. Upon careful consideration of this analysis, we have decided to develop a Decks app in the coming months, which will include an offline mode.
On Tuesday, we announced that we will shortly be launching Decks, a sister site to Memrise, to be the home for all of our community-created courses, which we will migrate from the main Memrise site and apps.
Memrise will afterwards feature just the courses we develop ourselves and the rich learning experiences associated with those.
Decks, meanwhile, will work just as the Memrise website does now, but exclusively for community-created courses, providing a dedicated site for course creators and learners that is separate from the main Memrise product.
After the announcement, we have been listening to your feedback. We know the news has been a source of frustration to many of you, and although we tried to be clear and transparent in our communication, we realise there are a few things we should clarify more. We hope to address many of your questions and worries below.
Why are we separating Memrise and Decks?
Since we focused Memrise on language learning in 2014, the vast majority of our growth and innovation has come from and within the language courses that we develop ourselves. These courses depend upon a tight integration of product design, learning-tech and rich multimedia learning content.
Since focusing on our own language courses, we’ve grown twenty times over, and a very small proportion of learning on our mobile apps now happens on community-made courses.
The learning experiences that have driven that growth and supported our team are and will continue to be very different from our community-created content. The differences will only accelerate in the future, as we enrich, improve and diversify the language learning experiences in the main Memrise app.
The product-design, infrastructure and technical systems needed for our own courses and our community-created courses are becoming ever more different, and maintaining both kinds of experiences on a single platform creates many difficulties. It slows and complicates our development of new experiences, it holds back our product design, and it can introduce bugs and confusion for learners on our community-created courses.
In a sense, we have been maintaining two quite different products in one to the disadvantage of both. And so we have decided to give each its rightful space.
We decided to create Decks to provide a long term home for our community-created content that can sit alongside the main Memrise product, allowing the latter to flourish and the former to be maintained indefinitely.
In creating Decks, we wanted first of all to honour our commitment to users who have been with us for a very long time and our respect and appreciation for the community-created genre of Memrise we created together. We wanted to ensure that this content is available forever.
We love the quality and spirit of our community-created courses, the fact that they are a bastion for less commonly learned languages, and the diversity of topics and use-cases to which they are able to add value. It is painful for us to remove these experiences from our main app, but we are proud to support this content in Decks.
Why no mobile app for Decks?
The decision to create Decks as a website only is down to resources (though the site will work smoothly on your mobile web-browser). As much as we are growing, we are nonetheless very resource-constrained, and we decided not to plan for a Decks app or offline mode. As some of you have commented, we did come to this decision after a careful analysis of how and where community-created content is being learned, which is overwhelmingly online.
Why no monetisation?
Focusing all our resources in developing the Memrise apps and website will also allow us to maintain Decks as a free website. We won’t actively invest in creating new learning features for it, but we also don’t have plans to make money from our learners on Decks.
The purpose of this split, again, is to allow us to move fast on developing the main Memrise product for the vast core of our learners, whilst honouring those people who do still learn community-made courses.
If we opt to try to monetise Decks in the future, we imagine that it would be in a way that still keeps the platform free to use, or so that it rewards content creators – but this is totally outside our current, focused plans.
Where is Memrise headed?
Since this move is to enable and empower our creation of the best possible version of the core Memrise experience, it is worth saying a few words about our exciting plans for that future.
At the heart of our intention since we founded Memrise in 2010 has been the desire to enrich human consciousness through learning, and to create the best and most emotionally engaging learning experiences that we can to enable that goal.
Though Memrise is more than 8 years old, and now counts more than 40 million learners, we believe the majority of our work lies before us, and that we can deliver over the coming years a dramatically better, more entertaining and more effective language learning experience than anything currently digitally available.
But for the coming years, the focus is language: for beginners, but extending in time through more advanced content. We’ve spent hundreds of hours talking with our community of learners, and we’ve heard how you want to rapidly gain real-world abilities and connect emotionally to learning experiences. To this end, we plan to radically diversify the learning experience on Memrise, inventing many new learning technologies and experiences, full of joy and the richness of the real world. We hope these bold moves will lead not only to many millions more people successfully speaking a foreign language but also to their enjoying the world more as a consequence.
So expect lots of bold innovation from us in the coming months and years. We won’t always get these moves right, of course, but we hope you’ll come to love how Memrise will evolve and we thank you for your partnership and custom as we get there.
Forget Valentine’s Day – how about a festival to celebrate singledom?
Singles’ Day is celebrated in China on the 11th of November. As the name suggests, it’s an occasion for singletons to celebrate (or commiserate) their lot. Find out more, pick up some fun Chinese Singles’ Day expressions, and learn how this unique event generated $25 billion in revenue on a single day in 2017….
Lonely hearts in the millions
Singles’ Day is known as 光棍节 (guangunjie) in Chinese, which literally translates to “two lone poles”. This refers to the solitary 1s lined up in the date 11/11, resembling a row of single people. The custom originally began in the 90’s amongst university students in the city of Nanjing. From there it spread and is now celebrated nationwide in China.
There could not be a more appropriate place than China for a singles’ celebration: 14% of the population is estimated to be single – that’s a whopping 200 million people. This would be a big marketplace to tap into, and that’s exactly what someone has done…
The world’s biggest shopping day
In 2009, savvy businessman Jack Ma, founder of the Chinese online shopping megalith Alibaba, turned Single’s Day into an online shopping event. Since then, Singles’ Day has exploded beyond singletons to become the biggest shopping day on the globe.
For 24 hours from midnight on 11 November, prices are slashed on millions of products across thousands of brands online. Shopping malls hold discounts too, but the majority of shoppers will be crouched over their keyboards and counting down till midnight, eager to snap up an online bargain.
To give you an idea of the volume of shopping that happens: last year on Singles’ Day, shoppers in China spent 25 BILLION dollars – in just one day! That’s bigger than Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined across the US, Canada and Europe.
Singles’ Day expressions in Chinese
In the spirit of Singles’ Day, here are some fun and humorous Chinese language expressions that are commonly used for this singular celebration:
买买买! (mái mái mǎi)
Buy buy buy!
Pretty self-explanatory. It’s what millions of people in China will be doing on the 11th of November.
To chop off one’s hand
A rather extreme, though no doubt effective, solution to going overboard on the shopping! This expression is commonly used by shoppers who have overindulged on the Singles’ Day discounts.
A common example sentence would be 再买就剁手 (zài mǎi jiù duò-shǒu): If I buy anymore, I will chop my hand off!
吃土 (chī tǔ)
To eat dirt
This is used to express the consequences of too much online shopping. You have spent so much that you’re now so poor you can only afford dirt for meals.
An example sentence: 我要吃土了(wǒ yào chī-tǔ le): I will have to eat dirt
The literal meaning is to fight a bloody battle, but the pronunciation is also a phonetic translation of the English word “shopping”. So now it has a second meaning, to shop madly – sometimes akin to warfare!
Example sentence: 我今天下午要去商场血拼 (wǒ jīntiān xiàwǔ yào qù shāngchǎng xuè pīn): I’m going to the shopping mall this afternoon.
双十一 (shuāng shíyī)
Double eleven. Another name for Single’s Day, and a reference to the two elevens in the date 11/11.
Example sentence: 我今年双十一要买很多东西 (wǒ jīnnián shuāng shíyī yāomǎi hěnduō dōngxī): This year on Singles’ Day, I will buy a lot of things.
Why not learn more useful and fun Chinese expressions with the Memrise Chinese course?