Yearly Archives: 2011

109

The Language Archive opens in Berlin

Great news for all language fans out there: This month, the Max Planck Institute has opened The Language Archive in Berlin, one of the largest linguistic archives in the world! We wish all the best to The Archive on its inauguration and we are looking forward to seeing the development of this new space for language research.

Storing information about endangered languages online is an excellent way to keep a record of their pronunciation. The special units Busuu and Silbo Gomero on busuu.com are further examples of how you can get a taste of exotic and endangered languages that you are unlikely to experience when travelling abroad. With the audio files you can try out the language for yourself, and perfect your pronunciation! You may not be likely to use it in real life, but it is certainly great fun!

      

The Language ArchiveBy creating a space for research and the conservation of languages, The Language Archive also provides an account of the cultures, people and history that the language embraces. This valuable cultural heritage is now preserved for current and future generations of researchers who log in to the database.

Storing already 80 Terabytes (written out that’s 80,000,000,000,000 bytes!!!) worth of data from over 200 languages, The Language Archive plans to further extend its collection in the future.

Languages constantly change, cease and disappear. As stated in our blog entry on the European Day of Languages, 50% of the 6,000 to 7,000 existing ones are likely to become extinct by the end of this century. However, as we have seen in this blog entry, this does not mean that they will be forgotten!

Are you ready to get out there and discover some extraordinary languages for yourself? Try out our special learning units for Busuu and Silbo Gomero – a whole new way to test your foreign language skills!

108

Improve your CV with our new Business Spanish Course!

We know that foreign language skills are a plus on everybody’s CV. That is why our Business Course is now available for you in Spanish! This intensive course has over 600 words and key phrases to help you master challenging business situations – such as presentations or interviews – in professional Spanish.

Just like our Business English Course, our Business Spanish Course provides you with vocabulary from typical business contexts:

  • Empleo – make a good impression with your CV, cover letter and at your interview
  • Al teléfono – manage phone calls, messages and complaints
  • Correos electrónico – learn how to write professional business emails
  • Reuniones – handle formal meetings and discussions
  • Presentaciones – tips and useful phrases for presentations
  • Marketing I – discuss products, pricing, distribution channels and promotions

Business Spanish Course

To access our new Business Spanish Course, simply go to the ‘Courses’ menu and choose ‘Business Spanish Course‘ or click on the Business Course iconon the left hand side of your home area.

The Business Course is designed for intermediate to advanced learners. The course material is only available in Spanish and includes exercises which will help you identify and masterfully handle typical business situations. You will complete formal texts, like emails or cover letters, and will learn how to apply the new vocabulary to your own everyday professional life. You will also be able to record your voice and have your pronunciation corrected by native Spanish speakers of our busuu.com community.

Our Business Courses include:

More than 600 vocabulary and key phrases with pictures and sounds
Real situation dialogues pronounced by native speakers
Sample texts such as business emails, cover letters or CVs
Recording exercises to test your pronunciation skills
Video-chat with role plays to test your business skills with our community
New exercise types which help you to handle typical business situations.

 

When you successfully complete the Business Spanish Course, you can download a busuu.com certificate. This new feature is also available for our Business English Course.  After completing all exercises and tests of the Business course, all the symbols in your course overview will appear green.

In order to generate your certificate, just click on the graduation hat .  A window will open, where you can enter the name that you want to appear on the certificate. You can then save the certificate as a PDF document on your computer. The certificate states details such as the course topics, the duration and your finishing date.

In addition, all your efforts will be rewarded with busuu-berriesand you will receive a special ‘Manager’ badge when you finish the course.

Start improving your Business Spanish skills now – get access for one year with a one-time payment of only 29.99 EUR!

107

European Day of Languages

We at busuu.com love languages and as it’s the 10th anniversary of the European Day of Languages we would like to present you with one curious language fact for each year.

Before we get going, we have great news for you! Our back-to-school promotion was such a success that we decided to extend the offer and grant you a 15% discount on all our products until Sunday, the 2nd of October 2011.

Just like the Council of Europe, which created the European Day of Languages as part of the European year of languages in 2001, busuu.com wants to encourage language learning, not only in Europe but across the whole world. In case you didn’t already know, our online community connects people from over 200 different countries, with each person teaching their native language whilst also learning new ones.

Today’s blog entry is not so much about learning languages (for study advice, check our motivational tips), but about language curiosities. Did you know that:

1. There are between 6,000 and 7,000 languages in the world – spoken by six billion people.

2. Experts warn that by the end of this century half of these languages will disappear if nothing is done.

3. It is estimated that in the United States alone, 115 out of 280 languages disappeared in the last five centuries.

4. The majority of the world’s languages are spoken in Asia and Africa.

5. At least half of the world’s population are bilingual or multilingual.

6. Bilingualism not only makes the learning of additional languages easier, it enriches the thinking process, as well.

7. Many languages have over 50,000 words, but in everyday conversation people use the same few hundred words.

8. Languages are constantly changing: In the past, English borrowed words from other languages, now many languages borrow English words.

9. At the age of five, a child already has a vocabulary of several thousand words.

10. Back to Europe: There are about 225 indigenous languages in Europe. That’s 3% of the world’s total.

If these facts make you thirstier for more language learning, don’t forget that until the 2nd of October 2011, you get discounted access to our premium memberships and additional products!

PS: Let’s be honest. We didn’t come up with all these facts ourselves. Further information can be found on the website of the European Day of Languages and in the UNESCO‘s data on endangered languages.

 

 

106

New Grammar Guides on busuu.com

We are proud to announce that we are strengthening our partnership with PONS. In addition to our existing Grammar Guides, we are offering new Spanish and English Grammar Guides on busuu.com!

busuu.comPONS

The PONS Grammar Guides for English are now available for Portuguese and Russian native speakers, and we are also now offering PONS Grammar Guides for Spanish for Italian and French native speakers. With these guides you have access to detailed grammar explanations that are directly linked to our existing grammar units.

You should also know that your grammar learning is in the hands of professionals: PONS has been developing language learning material and dictionaries for over 30 years and forms part of the publishing house Klett Group, one of Europe’s largest providers of educational services and supplies. We are very proud to be able to offer you the expertise of PONS and thus further enhance your language learning experience on busuu.com.

From now on, by clicking on the new PONS button within the grammar units you will receive detailed explanations about a specific grammar topic.

Grammar Guide

You can also access your Grammar Guide directly by clicking on the PONS symbol on your homepage or in your course area. This way you can choose which topic you would like to learn, or simply revise earlier lessons. The Grammar Guide covers important topics such as tenses, sentence structure, phrasal verbs, etc.

Grammar Guide

And we saved the best part for last! With our back-to-school promotion, you will automatically get a 15% discount on your Grammar Guide by using the promotion code SEP2011 when upgrading your account – only valid until the end of this month.

So Premium Members Premium Crown can access the Grammar Guide for only 6.79 EUR and free members will only pay 8.49 EUR until the end of September 2011.

Have a look at the grammar guides that are available in your language and brush up on your grammar skills now!

105

Boost your language learning with our motivational tips

The holidays are over, so it’s the perfect time to take up your language learning again.

But we know that it can be hard to find the right motivation, so we are offering a back-to-school promotion – enjoy a 15% discount on all our products until the end of September!

And that’s not all. We also created a top ten list of busuu.com tips to help you find fresh enthusiasm:

1. Set a goal – Easily track your learning progress with mybusuu to see how much time you should study each week to reach your aim.

2. Have a ‘foreign language’ day – Immerse yourself in the culture of the language you are learning: watch a foreign movie in the original language, listen to songs, or cook a typical foreign meal.

3. Read the newspaper or watch our Live Units – Pick out an interesting topic and write a review about it. Your desire to express your opinion will give you extra motivation!

4. Make a list of your favourites – Whenever you come across a word or expression you find particularly interesting, write it down and create a list of your favourite words from the language you are learning.

5. Talk to native speakers – It’s an essential part of learning. Not sure who to talk to? Try out busuu-talk and have a conversation with a native speaker!

6. Take a walk with a notebook – Try to translate everything you see in your head. If there’s something you can’t remember, look it up when you get home!

7. Fill your home with post-its – Every time you want to remember a phrase or word pop it on a post-it and stick it to the doors of your home! Make sure you get
into the habit of seeing if you remember the words on leaving each room.

8. Be brave – Everybody makes mistakes when learning a foreign language, so help out others by correcting their posts. They will do the same for you!

9. Share your progress – Have you just finished a learning unit? Be proud of your achievement and share it with your friends on Facebook or Twitter.

10. Don’t stress, have fun! – Remember that it is all about your learning experience. Here’s the key: the fun you have during the learning process itself is more important than reaching your goal in time!

Don’t forget about our back-to-school promotion which gives you a very motivational 15% discount until the end of September! Make use of our premium functions to boost your language learning!

What about you? Do you have a special motivational tip we didn’t mention? Feel free to add your own ideas to our list!