Did you know that there are approximately 400 million native English speakers in the world? That’s only second to Mandarin and Spanish speakers! English is also the most common second language, and hence, if you combine the number of native and non-native English speakers, English would be the most commonly spoken language in the world.
Despite not having an official lingua franca worldwide, English is undoubtedly the most commonly spoken language when communicating across nations. Recognised as the official language in 67 countries, it is no wonder that English holds an important position when it comes to communication. Moreover, it is also the language of aviation, a major business language, as well as the official language for some of the world’s most important institutions.
How amazing it is to think that we share the same language as 1.35 billion other people worldwide! So, the next time you are faced with a difficult Comprehension Cloze or Comprehension question, take a moment to appreciate the beauty of the English language.
Adapted from: https://www.statista.com
Let’s talk about the first whole number in our numerical system, zero. This single number has played a crucial role in the way we perceive Mathematics and Science. Without it, we would not even have the numbers we know today. Yet, have you ever given thought as to how this number came about? What seems like an obvious concept of any numerical system was not even introduced to Europe till the late 12th century.
The concept of zero was said to have originated in Mesopotamia approximately 5000 years ago where it was used as a placeholder to represent an empty place value of a number. For instance, think of the number 301. The zero in the tens place is there to let us know that there is nothing in the tens place. Without this useful placeholder, misunderstandings would occur as people would not know whether the number is 301 or 31.
From there, the usefulness of the number zero evolved to what we know of it today. Could you imagine learning about Whole Numbers or doing a math question without zero?
Adapted from: https://www.history.com
Did you know that Kangaroos have one of the most unique life cycles in nature? Firstly, the females have three vaginas and two uteri. One of the vaginas is used to give birth to its baby, also known as the joey. On the other hand, the two vaginas pass the sperm into the uteri. Additionally, the gestational period – or the period of time between conception and birth – of a kangaroo is exceptionally brief. The average is about 21 to 38 days. Due to this interesting life cycle, the joey is born underdeveloped – tiny, blind and hairless. It will then have to climb into its mother’s pouch where they feed and further develop for approximately 6 months.
Another interesting life cycle is the 17-year cicada, a species of periodical cicadas. What makes them so mysterious? As suggested by their name, periodical cicadas spend 17 years in the nymph stage, maturing very slowly. This also makes it the longest known insect life cycle! After the nymph hatches from its egg, it lives underground, where they spend the first 17 years of their life developing and feeding on tree root sap. What makes it even more baffling is the fact that when they finally emerge, they only live for a few weeks. Just enough time for mating, fertilising and laying eggs. Then, the cycle repeats.
Do you know of any other unique life cycles?
Adapted from: https://www.bbcearth.com
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