Monthly Archives: September 2008

Silbo Gomero

As we here at busuu.com are committed to the preservation of minority languages, we have decided to include a new section on the almost extinct language of Silbo Gomero on our website! Silbo Gomero, however, is not any ordinary language. There are no words and there is no written form! Silbo Gomero is an almost extinct, whistled language from the island of la Gomera in the Spanish Canary Islands. It translates Spanish into whistled tunes but, as it is phonetic, it could be used for any other language. This amazing form of communication has existed for centuries and was used to communicate across the steep mountains and deep valleys of the island. While spoken words can only be heard up to a distance of 200 metres, the Silbo Gomero whistle can be heard up to a distance of 8 kilometres!

We have produced a short video which explains the history of this charming language. Click on the video below to have a look:

busuu.com is dedicated to the diversity of languages so we are helping Silbo Gomero in its fight against extinction. Why you don’t help Silbo too and try to learn some of this amazing form of communication by having a look at the Silbo Learning Unit here.

Once you have progressed with your Silbo skills, send us your own Silbo YouTube videos to team@busuu.com and we will put the best ones up on our website!

So start whistling and help busuu.com keep Silbo Gomero alive!

The Linguists

You are probably aware that the name busuu derives from a little known Cameroonian language of the same name which is only spoken by 8 people based on an ethnological study conducted in the 1980´s. This name was chosen in the hope that one day busuu.com would not only be a platform for teaching and learning all the well-known languages of our world, but also for all those less well-known languages which deserve to be preserved – languages such as Busuu. The preservation of minority languages was also the theme of one of the huge successes at The Sundance Film festival in January of this year in the form of the film documentary “The Linguists“.

The documentary follows David Harrison and Gregory Anderson, university professors of linguistics, around the world to try and document languages on the verge of extinction. It is estimated that of approximately 7,000 languages in the world, half will have disappeared by the end of this century. On average, one language disappears every two weeks. This race against time takes David and Greg deep into the heart of the cultures of the communities at stake. They travel to Siberia to record the Chulym language, which hasn’t been heard by outsiders for more than thirty years. The linguists encounter, tribal children in India who attend boarding schools, where they learn Hindi and English and a trade, but are not allowed speak their native tongue. In Bolivia, the Kallawaya language has survived for centuries with fewer than one hundred speakers. The professors try to unlock its secret. We here at busuu.com hope that one day, in some way; we too can contribute to the preservation and the diversity of languages throughout the world.

Click here to see a trailer of the Linguists: www.thelinguists.com

New animated language garden online!

Sweating through the hot summer in Madrid has finally paid off….we are very happy to announce the launch of the new animated language garden!!

The new language garden contains the following functions:

  1. Let your trees grow!
The more learning units you have finished and the more active you are within the community, the bigger your language tree will be. Your performance will be thereby directly compared to the community.
  2. Get some gifts for your Language Garden!
Of course you will be rewarded for your efforts! For every five learning units you successfully complete, you will receive a gift for your language garden. Surprise yourself with what you can find in your garden.
 
  3. Fight the bugs!
Whenever you make mistakes within the review session, nasty bugs will attack your trees. If you don’t study your vocabulary properly, your trees will be slowly eaten up…

We are very convinced that with these innovations, learning languages at busuu.com will be even more fun and motivating.

Hopefully you will like it and as always we look forward to your comments!