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Posts tagged ‘Roger Federer’


Language of the Week: Emoji

You may have seen on the uTalk app that you can now search for words in any of our languages by using emoji. With emoji becoming the fastest growing language in Britain, we have decided to make it our language of the week!

uTalk now has emoji searchIf you’re anything like me, the most frequent way you choose to stay in touch with friends and family is by text messaging. If I think about it, I don’t even know what my ringtone sounds like, and I only answer my phone if I’m expecting an important call, otherwise, everyone that knows me just sends a text.

Furthermore, I overheard this conversation the other day:

‘So he called me in the middle of the day and I thought, omg, what a freak, why can’t he just text me?

Okay, I was part of the conversation, but anyway you get the idea.

Nevertheless, sometimes it can be quite challenging to express your exact feelings or tone in a text, and so you risk being misunderstood by the recipient or worse – come off as too serious when you’re actually joking. So at some point in the past, the techies have come up with this brilliant way to make our text conversations more fun and emotive: emojis!

Now, some of you may not know what they are and that’s okay – my boss didn’t know either, until a couple of days ago when our app was updated with this brilliant way of searching for words by using emoji. I admit – I love emoji! They’re cute and funny and a great way to interact with your friends without using actual words.

emoji cupcakes

Did you know?

  • The word emoji comes from Japan, with the ‘e’ meaning picture and ‘moji’ meaning character or letter.
  • There are more than 6 billion emoji sent worldwide everyday, with more than half of these being smiley faces.
  • Some emoji are confusing…

  • Herman Melville’s 1851 novel Moby Dick has been translated into emoji; the book was released with the title Emoji Dick.
  • Many celebrities love emoji, with Roger Federer recently tweeting his whole day in emoji during Wimbledon. And in April, Andy Murray tweeted his wedding day in emoji:

So go ahead and see which ones have been matched with which uTalk words by our brilliant developers! Which is your favourite emoji? We love to hear from you, so please do join in the conversation here on the blog, or on Facebook or Twitter.

Ioana and Alex



10 sport stars who speak other languages

Sports stars who speak other languagesIt can often feel like life is all about sport, whether we like it or not. But have you ever wondered how good sports stars are at languages?

It turns out, pretty good. Like anyone who has to travel a lot for their work, athletes often find knowing only their native language isn’t enough. Here are 10 great examples of sports stars who speak more than one language.

Gary Lineker

Besides English, the former footballer learnt Spanish while he was playing for Barcelona, and picked up some Japanese when he later moved to Nagoya Grampus Eight. He’s now a passionate ambassador for languages in schools, saying in an interview with TES last year, ‘the learning of languages, for me, will always be helpful for the vast majority at some stage in their life’.

Roger Federer

Not content with winning a frankly quite ridiculous 17 Grand Slam titles, the Swiss tennis player also speaks four languages fluently – his native Swiss German along with French, English and German. He’s known for his ability to switch effortlessly between languages in interviews and press conferences and can quite comfortably answer journalists’ questions in their own language, a feat some of his fellow tennis players can’t keep up with. Wouldn’t be the first time.

Tom Daley

The British diver recently got an A in his Spanish A-level (congrats, Tom!), and makes good use of his language skills when in Mexico, where he spends a lot of his time. Here’s a video of him showing off his Spanish.

Jonny Wilkinson

Here in England, Jonny Wilkinson is known (at least by me) as that guy who’s pretty good at drop goals. But he’s also a bit of a superstar in France, where he’s been playing for Toulon since 2009. He’s now fluent in French and was awarded honorary citizenship of Toulon earlier this week – giving his acceptance speech in the local language, of course.

Fernando Alonso

The Spanish Formula One racing driver speaks an impressive four languages – Spanish, Italian, English and French. And in case that’s not enough, he’s apparently working on Russian too.

Arsene Wenger

The Arsenal manager is well known for his interest in languages, speaking French, English, German, Spanish, Italian and Japanese. Like Gary Lineker, Wenger’s also known as an ambassador for languages, and last year he was voted Britain’s first Public Language Champion by readers of The Guardian. In this video he explains why languages are so important.

Novak Djokovic

Never one to let Roger take all the glory, fellow tennis champion Novak Djokovic speaks five languages – Serbian, English, German, Italian and French. He studied English and German at primary school, and learned Italian when he worked with coach Riccardo Piati. In an interview with Tennis Talk in 2013, he said, ‘We have a saying in our country: The more languages you know, the more is your worth as a person. I like to understand what people are saying wherever I am, at least to pick up a few phrases of those languages.’

Paula Radcliffe

Long-distance runner Paula Radcliffe has a first-class degree from Loughborough University in European Studies, and speaks French and German fluently. She now lives in Monaco with her husband and two children, who are both bilingual, attending a French school but also fluent in English.

Cesc Fabregas

Another Barcelona footballer, Fabregas speaks four languages – Spanish, Catalan, English and French, and his Twitter feed is multilingual. When asked about his language skills in 2005, he replied, ‘These days you have to keep studying, not least because my mum tells me so.’ Words to live by.

Daniela Hantuchova

And finally, another tennis player, because tennis is my favourite. Daniela Hantuchova, from Slovakia, is by all accounts a very talented lady. Besides her tennis career, she’s also a trained classical pianist, and speaks – wait for it – six languages: Slovak, Czech, English and German fluently, and some Croatian and Italian.

Does anyone else feel like a bit of an underachiever now, or is it just me?

If you know any other examples of sports stars who speak other languages, please tell us about them in the comments.