Most Common Phrase of 2020

A short while ago I wrote a post about the 2020 Word of the Year but I want to go a step further now and propose the most common phrase of 2020

I’m sure this phrase isn’t one that’s unique to 2020, but I’m pretty sure I never heard it uttered before the various knockdowns came into place this year.

You will no doubt have been on a video calls recently, whether it’s Zoom, MS Teams, Google Meet or one of the other numerous offerings. I’ve just come off one now and it struck me that there’s one particular phrase that the people on these calls say over and over again no matter how tech-savvy they are. Have you guessed what it is yet?

You’ll surely have been there yourself: someone starts speaking and the only clue we have is that their lips start moving. Got the phrase yet? Yep, that’s right, it’s “you need to unmute!”

Even in English there are many variations on this core phrase ranging from the terse “unmute” to the more verbose “we can’t hear you, dear – you have to unmute your microphone” with loads more inbetween. But think about how many people in the world don’t speak English and have no intention of starting.

It’s estimated that there are 6,500 languages spoken in the world today so it’s not hard to work out how many alternatives there are to “you need to unmute”. Of course I could Google it, but wouldn’t it be much more fun if you could post your own version in the comments here. Whether it’s an English version or one in another language I’d be fascinated to know what it is.

If I don’t hear anything back then I might have to wave to you from across the gulf of space between our web browsers and utter this most common phrase of 2020 myself; “you need to unmute yourself!!” πŸ˜€

24 thoughts on “Most Common Phrase of 2020

    • You amaze me yet again! I thought that I would get the equivalent in Malayalam from you, or perhaps Hindi, but for you to give me a language like German speaks volumes about the breadth of your intellect. Even I can’t fully translate it (without looking it up).
      I know that stumm means quiet (we have a phrase in English when we want someone to be silent: keep stumm) and I know that musst is almost the same in English (must) but the rest I would have to guess at. My best literal translation would be: You must the quiet-button off-take. The German people are genius at making up compound words (other, shorter words glued together to make longer ones). I had to laugh though when I came across the Hindi for big toe. It literally means foot-thumb. How amazing is that! πŸ™‚
      So, yeah – thanks for reading, D.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I don’t think unmute has a specific word in Malayalam or Hindi? I usually hear everyone using the English word ‘unmute’. It’s interesting to see how most Indian languages use so many English words in everyday conversation. It’s amazing you have heard of Malayalam! Have you ever been to India?
        I didn’t know the entire phrase either. I knew ‘you’, ‘to’ and ‘it’ but had to turn to Google Translate to get it put together sensibly.
        Sometimes, most translators give an extremely literal translation and they can be hilarious πŸ˜‚
        Of course!!

        Liked by 1 person

        • I have a friend in Sheffield (where I grew up) whose first language is Malayalam (he told me a fun fact: the word is a palindrome) and he is such a nice guy – you couldn’t imagine a more loving person. I’ve been to India but mostly in the North with very little time spend down towards the south.
          I’m watching a show called Four More Shots Please! (on Amazon Prime) which follows the fortunes of four ladies in Mumbai and it’s amazing how much English they speak and how they mix Hindi and English into a seamless whole that they all understand flawlessly. I started watching it to pick up more Hindi (as you know I’m learning) but it’s pretty useless for that. However it’s a good show anyway (but a bit rude/crude).
          So as for ‘unmute’ being said in English – I’m not at all surprised. πŸ™‚

          Liked by 1 person

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