Monthly Archives: January 2011

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New Blog Series – Endangered Languages – This Month: Squamish

We from busuu.com have ambitious plans! We do not only want to develop the best language learning community in the world but we are also committed to raise awareness about nearly extinct languages.

We have done this already with our highly successful campaigns about the Silbo Gomero and the language Busuu (our funny YouTube video has been viewed by more than 300,000 people around the globe).

Our commitment does not end here, according to the UNESCO, more than the half of the existing 6,700 languages are on the verge of extinction. We will be taking this initiative a step further. We will go around the world, following the UNESCO Atlas of languages in danger. Our mission will be to raise awareness each month on an endangered language, learning more about the community and the culture behind it in an attempt to empower it. Every month you will therefore read on this busuu.com blog about a nearly extinct language (you can subscribe here to our blog to get the articles directly delivered in your inbox). Each month, you will have the chance to learn new words in languages which are about to die out.

With the support of our community, we hope to make our contribution to preserve of the immense variety of languages around the world.

Endangered language of the month: Squamish

For January, we have chosen a North American language that comes straight from under the snow blanketed plains of Canadian British Columbia. Squamish or Swú7mesh Sníchim, according to the UNESCO atlas of languages in danger, is critically endangered, meaning that “the youngest speakers are grandparents and older, and they speak the language partially and infrequently”.



Following the traces left by the imprinted words in the snow, we discovered a very interesting language. Squamish is spoken by only 15 people, according to a study done at the University of British Columbia. This language is spread among 6 communities in the Salish coasts of British Columbia. Squamish was overthrown by English at the beginning of the century, and the local community is making great efforts to revive it through language classes, online communities and active revitalization.

A language is only the doorway to hidden cultural wonders. On our pursuit following the Squamish traces, we discovered a world of wonderful architectural and artistic treasures that left us amazed. The longhouse, shown in the image below is a sacred gathering place where legends were whispered softly. Local colorful art work just transports you to another era, another time. Drums suddenly fill the air and magically command you in an aboriginal mystical dance.

 

This rich culture can only survive if the language is kept alive. Words should be spoken so that their sound echoes, and written so that younger generations remember them. Now it is up to you to help keeping the Squamish flame a live. Listen below to some words in this language! Chen kw’enmántumi! chen (I), kw’enmán (thank [someone]; greet [someone]; grateful), and -tumi [to you], basically thank you in Squamish.

How To Say Thank You by SquamishLanguage

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A look back at 2010 and a warm welcome to 2011!

Last year is already history as 2011 has started with a lot of positive energy! Nevertheless, we believe it’s still worth taking a closer look at all the stuff that happened with busuu.com in 2010.

January

February

  • busuu.com was a finalist in the BBVA Open Talent competition, being the 5th most voted project (with more than 6,000 votes) out of more than 400 participants.
  • We launched our fully interactive Brazilian Portuguese language course, the 6th language in our portfolio
  • We translated our interface into Portuguese to welcome our new Portuguese-speaking users (mainly from Brazil), who enriched our growing community with their positive Latin vibes!
  • We closed our first financing round with an Austrian business angel, enabling us to further strengthen our rapid international growth.

March

  • Our project received more awards as we won the Innovators Award at the CeBIT fair in Germany, one of the most important events for the digital industry in Europe.
  • We launched our new groups feature, letting our users create their own content around topics of their choice; this popular feature now has more than 5,000 groups.
  • We surprised our users with our fun Easter egg hunt – so watch out again this Easter for the golden egg to win some Premium Memberships! ;-)

May

  • busuu.com had its second birthday which we celebrated with more than 450,000 users registered users from over 200 different countries.
  • We were selected as the Red Herring 100 European Winner, a competition that recognises the most innovative companies in Europe.

June

  • We launched our Travel course for all the language basics you need when travelling abroad, available as a PDF for easy use on the go.

July

August

  • We launched our first language game, in which users can challenge each other on their language skills to win juicy busuu berries!
  • We implemented our interactive Russian course, bringing our total offering to 7 different languages and opening the gates to our active Russian community.

September

October

December

Phew…as you can see, 2010 was a very busy, successful year for our small start-up! Thank you again for all of your support and feedback – the above has only been possible with your help!

But watch out for 2011! We have ambitious plans and exciting new features in the pipeline already – so rest assured that we won’t stop until we create the best language learning solution on Earth! :-)

So, we wish our users all the best and are looking forward to a fantastic 2011!

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Happy New Year with 10% off promotion and our new MyBusuu Study Guide!

Dear members of busuu.com!

The whole busuu.com team wishes you a Happy New Year, Feliz año nuevo, Bonne année, С Новым Годом, Feliz ano novo, ein Frohes neues Jahr and Felice anno nuovo!

We are absolutely convinced that 2011 will be the year when you will boost your language skills!

In order to make your New Year start easier, we have two great pieces of news for you:

1) 10% off promotion until the end of January!

From today until the 31st of January 2011, you can benefit from our Happy New Year promotion! By entering the promotion code JAN2011 in our subscription page, you will receive 10% off on all our products! As a result you will have access to our highly useful premium features (such as grammar units, PDFs, podcasts and more) from only 5,40 EUR per month! Don’t miss out on this special promotion by upgrading to a premium membership now!

2) Set your study goals and create your individual study guide with MyBusuu!

We all know that one of the most important factors in successfully learning a new language is to Set a study goal and to track it over time! That’s why we have worked with the prestigious research institute to develop:

MyBusuu – your personal study guide!


With MyBusuu you can:

  • set your own study goal for each language and level
  • decide on your learning intensity and see immediately on which date you should achieve your learning goal
  • communicate your study goal to your friends on facebook and twitter
  • see in your language area whether you are on track with your pre-set goal
  • follow your progress as a percentage of your personal goal
  • check out the number of vocabularies you have already successfully studied
  • receive a detailed, individual report on your study progress every two weeks

Once you have successfully reached your study goal on time, you will be rewarded with the MyBusuu badge and get additional 200 juice busuu berries busuu-berrie

We have also improved how the tests within your course structure work! You will now be asked directly about each of your previous mistakes in the tests within each unit. By doing so, our intelligent learning system adapts completely to your individual study progress.

We have also added a final test, which will cover all the units at each level. You have to pass this test before you can receive your level badge and get your course certificate!

As you can see, these changes will be very useful in helping you to reach your study goals! MyBusuu is only available for Premium Users, so take advantage of our Happy New Year promotion and upgrade now to a Premium account!

We wish you all the best for your language learning in 2011!