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Duolingo chose 'I am mentally exhausted' as phrase of the year, and we couldn't agree more

TikTok and pop culture are among the top reasons people are learning a new language.

The 2021 Duolingo Language Report shows language-learning trends throughout the year.
Shelby Brown/CNET

Thinking back on 2021 -- the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, billionaires going to space, NFTs -- I can't help but feel tired. And Duolingo agrees.

Duolingo released its 2021 Language Report Monday, and "I am mentally exhausted" is its phrase of the year. The company said it chose the phrase, featured in its Japanese course, "to reflect the tone and overall feeling of the year in which we witnessed record-setting burnout and fatigue induced by the ongoing pandemic."

Read more: Best language learning apps of 2021

But the report isn't all doom and gloom. Duolingo said cultural events like the Tokyo Olympics, TikTok videos and television shows like Netflix's Squid Game helped drive language learning, especially Asian languages. 

Japanese -- the fastest-growing language to study in the US and UK -- passed Italian to become the fifth most popular language studied worldwide. Korean remained the seventh most popular language, and Chinese passed both Russian and Portuguese to become the eighth. And as more Asian-language movies, shows and music hit the airwaves, Duolingo expects this trend to continue.

Duolingo also said more diverse languages are being studied. English, Spanish and French are still the most studied languages worldwide, but Swahili and Swedish are in the top 10, too.

Like Apple and Spotify, Duolingo is offering users a look at their learning habits in 2021. If you've completed 10 Duolingo lessons in the mobile app, you can see your Year in Review, which shows what kind of language learner you are. It also shows how many courses you've taken and how much time you've spent learning.

For more, check out our Duolingo review. If you're interested in learning something new, Duolingo added a Yiddish course this year, or you can learn Star Trek's Klingon language.

Now playing: Watch this: Qapla'! Learn Klingon on Duolingo