Cat-memeOur feline friends can help us to learn a foreign language according to some new linguistic research. Language trainers noticed the popularity of the humorous cat-meme across the Internet. Providing hours of entertainment, cute and amusing photos and videos of cats have become an online trend. There are even ‘superstar’ cats, such as Grumpy Cat, who now has 2.5 million Facebook fans.

The language researchers noticed a link between people being able to recall phrases seen in funny photos. After conducting memory tests, they noticed that the photos containing cats seemed to rank higher than all of the others when it came to people’s abilities to recall information. Combined with research from Japan which confirms that ‘cuteness’ enhances memory recall, along with further research that shows learning rates are higher when students are having fun, an idea popped into the linguists’ heads.

An app has now been created that pairs cute photos of cats with Spanish phrases and their English translations. Sticking to the Internet theme, the masterminds of this app crowdsourced the photos, listing the 1,000 words they wanted to use and asking for uploads of people’s funniest cat photos. With entire websites dedicated to the cat-meme, they weren’t short of replies.

The more impact a photo has and the less words it displays, the greater the influence it will have for learning potential. Simple, cute and funny – if only we’d known! What’s your favourite cat-meme and why does it stick out from the others? Do you think this idea has good potential for learning languages?