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Has Online Learning Gone Too Far? More People Now Speak Elvish Than Irish

The adjustment towards a new normal introduced by COVID19 has incited a shift towards digital learning. For students, workloads are becoming heavier and screen time has increased drastically. Almost 73 per cent of 414 respondents surveyed mentioned that matching the requirements of academic work is a concern compared to 64 per cent recorded in 2019.

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Meanwhile, the Online language tutors, Preply, analysed the five most popular fictional languages. As increasing numbers of us had more free time and wanted to use lockdown as an opportunity to learn something new, learning a new language was one of the most popular lockdown activities.

How Online Learning Is Shaping a Generation

Educators were forced to shut down worldwide due to COVID19. Meanwhile, more than 1.2 billion children are outside of the traditional classroom worldwide.

In this regard, education has suffered dramatic changes which, however, incited an increase in the relevance and recognition of online language learning. 

Following a series of researches, digital learning tends to increase information retention. It also consumes less time, implying that coronavirus has exposed learners to a new reality that may not be departing any time soon.

Regardless of COVID19, many parts of the world had already adopted technology in learning. 

Following Business Insider, educational technology investments in 2019 hit US$18.66 (£13.35) billion, and the entire market for digital learning is estimated to hit $350 (£250.36) Billion by 2025.

Undoubtedly, virtual tutoring, online learning tools, video conferencing tools, and language apps have experienced a significant usage surge upon the advent of COVID19. Even teleworking professionals can afford the luxury of time currently to combine e-language learning while performing excellently in their jobs.

Alternative Languages: The New Norm?

However, it isn’t the traditional French, Spanish and Italian lessons that have been popular. As Preply delved into the world of fictional language for TV and film, it appears some of these made-up dialects are just reserved for actors.

Each of the analysed fictional languages was ranked comparatively, comprising speakers, learners, inspirations and word count, to uncover the fantasy world with the best made-up language.

The League of Languages revealed Elvish is the most popular fictional language, featuring 7,000 words, 19,100 average monthly searches, and 33,854 Twitter mentions with a 59,954 popularity score.

The number of Irish speakers indeed surpasses Irish speakers. Elvish had a sum of ten variations but Tolkien is not responsible for all Elvish variations.

Nonetheless, some variations employ elements of Tolkien’s grammar, including words and sounds, for fictional worlds like Dungeons & Dragons and World of Warcraft.

To form a basis for Elvish, the inspiration is drawn from Latin, Greek, Welsh, and Finnish. Sindarin tends to be the most commonly spoken Elvish, especially in Middle earth.

Although Tolkien developed many Elvish languages, only Sindarin and Quenya use sufficient vocabulary and grammar considered learnable, especially online.

Tolkien fans who are serious about their commitment to the Middle Earth fandom can find numerous websites, forums and language tutors teaching Elvish both online and in the classroom.

Some adult enthusiasts have learned Elvish and Klingon to a decent usability degree. But then, most merely learn it out of interest and fun, and not to engage in discourse with natural language users in society.

The ideological motivation or authentic need for fictional language factors in the success of an invented language. To a large extent, not too many online users pay particular attention to the significance of fictional languages even though they tend to challenge personal abilities through new language learning.

Digital Language Tutors See Surge In Popularity 

It may be too early to assess, but anecdotal evidence and early data suggest a decent surge in digital learning. In Italy, France, the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom, the average search for terms like ‘massive online open courses’, ‘e-learning’, ‘online learning’, and ‘digital learning’ surged by fourfold between late March and early April 2020. This change followed the strict lockdown laws in some OECD countries. The figures remained about twice higher in trend by the end of April 2020.

Digital learning tends to be the future and will replace classroom learning, at least to a sizable extent. 

Machine learning also offers personalised solutions to the content of courses using big data analytics. It wouldn’t be surprising that VR/AR and other advanced learning structure elements will democratise digital learning in the future.

Are You Wanting To Learn Elvish?

Tolkien developed Elvish variations, including Sindarin and Quenya, for Elves, securing his legacy as one of the world’s most impressive all-time worldbuilding authors. However, if you have attempted or have been attempting to instil Tolkien’s Elvish languages, like many followers, you may be a more determined mind than Tolkien.

Recently, BBC’s Archive Twitter account unearthed an old clip featuring Tolkien. Not only is he heard revealing that using Elvish is actually confusing in reality, but he also discourages fans from following the language.

“I wouldn’t mind other people knowing it, and enjoying it, but I didn’t really want to…” Tolkien in the footage.

But it seems contemporary people, especially aided by the lockdown, picked a deep interest in learning the Elvish online. It begs the question, how long will it be before these languages are so widely spoken that recognised qualifications and degree-level courses are on offer?