Monthly Archives: January 2012

New: learn Japanese with busuu.com!

To celebrate the New Year, you can now learn Japanese for free on busuu.com!

Japanese is the mother tongue of over 130 million people and the 10th most spoken language in the world.

Japanese Course

It’s easy to learn too (it doesn’t use genders, articles or plurals)! To make it even easier, we offer our content in the Latin alphabet in addition to the Japanese script. As usual, you can listen to the pronunciation of the vocabulary words. Premium MembersPremium Member also have access to the audio of our key phrases and dialogues. This, in combination with the Latin transcription, will sharpen your understanding of the Japanese pronunciation.

When starting to learn Japanese, it’s best to start with Hiragana, which is a basic Japanese alphabet that represents a specific sound. Each sound does not have any meaning by itself. On busuu.com we teach Hiragana to introduce you to the Japanese language. Learning Hiragana alongside with the Latin transcription, you will be able to have a perfect conversation in Japanese.

Learn Japanese

So learn over 3,000 Japanese words and key phrases on busuu.com and try out what you’ve learnt with our growing community of native speakers.
Start learning Japanese now!

It’s really easy to start learning Japanese:
1. Go to ‘Add a new language‘ in your course menu.
2. Add ‘Japanese‘ to the languages you learn.
3. Click on the new Japanese tree in your garden to start learning.

Premium MembersPremium Member have all the usual benefits, such as PDFs, podcasts, voice recording exercises and much more. Not a Premium MemberPremium Member yet? Use our 15% new year discount to upgrade to Premium now!

Learn Japanese

And if you’re a native Japanese speaker, you can now use busuu.com in Kanji! Just go to your settings page to change the interface language to Japanese.

Short explanation for non-natives:
The modern Japanese script is called Kanji, it’s a logographic form of writing, meaning that it does not use letters but symbols that represent ideas and concepts. Each Kanji has a specific meaning.

We’re excited to start 2012 with the launch of Japanese. That means we now offer 11 languages in total! Are you as excited as us? Start learning now and upgrade to PremiumPremium Member with our 15% new year discount to learn even faster!

More variety in our Live Units!

Your learning experience is very important to us. That is why we have extended our list of Live Unit sources and now offer even more diversity than before. If you are a Premium MemberPremium Member, you can now watch interesting videos about nature, travel, science and news. As usual, you’ll be able to write a comment about what you’ve watched and have this comment corrected by the community.

There are two ways to access the videos:

1. The Live Units are included in your Intermediate level courses, usually appearing every 4 or 5 units, and you will recognise them by the TV icon . This can be found in your home area, but also in your language area, where you see the unit you are currently working on. To navigate through the level, just click on the arrows on the left and right. Click on the “Start” button to begin the unit.

Live Units

Live Units2. If after this you are eager to do more Live Units, you can access them any time via your Resources menu, both in your home area and your language area. This way, you can access the video overview directly and choose the one you find most interesting:

Live Units

Write a short comment about the video and send it to our community’s native speakers who will then correct your comment. Of course, you will be rewarded with busuu-berriesbusuu-berry for your efforts!

The video-based learning tool is designed to strengthen your listening comprehension and to provide you with interesting material on a wide range of topics like nature, animals, travelling, etc. With our improved list of themes, you can be sure to find a video that will catch your eye. They are updated automatically, so you can enjoy topical learning material every day!

 Live Units

Not a Premium MemberPremium Member yet? Take advantage of our New Year 15% discount and upgrade your account now! Enjoy our Premium FunctionsPremium Member and improve your listening, reading and writing comprehension with our improved Live Units.

We have some more exciting news on the way so stay tuned!

Istriot, a language as beautiful as the Adriatic coast

Welcome back to our blog for endangered languages!

As promised, we are continuing our blog series on endangered languages, and this week we’re presenting Istriot!

When we refer to Istriot we don’t just mean the beautiful region that extends from Venice over to Croatia, we also refer to the Istriotic language, that for a long time was considered as a Venetian dialect. Today we know that Istriot is an indigenous Romance language, dating from as far back as pre-Venetian time, and that it was spoken on the Istrian peninsula.

It is ranked by the UNESCO as ‘severely endangered’. According to the 2002 census, only 400 people speak the language today.

Istriot

Istriot is suffering from a big crisis. Once spoken in the whole northern region of the Adriatic coast, now there remain only a few villages in which this language is spoken or understood: in Rovinj (it. Rovigno), Vodnjan (Vodnjan), Bale (Valle), Fažana (Fasana), Galižana (Gallesano) and Šišan (Sissano). It has gone from being an actively used language to one which is struggling to survive. The problem is that young people whose mother tongue is Istriot are choosing to use Croatian in conversation, even when they talk to their relatives. This is happening despite the fact that many of them were born and raised bilingual and it is the reason why the language is not being passed on to future generations.

Surrounded by two strong languages, Italian and Croatian, Istriot doesn’t have a leg to stand on and is at risk of vanishing in just a few generations. Influences from the two neighbour languages, Croatian and Italian, are very strong on all linguistic levels from pronunciation to the use of words.

To give you a feel for Istriot and its similarity to Italian, we have selected this abstract of a poem by an anonymous writer from Rovinnj, who signed it with his pen name Andria Uòrgani (1843). The name of the poem is “Il mendicante d’amore” – the beggar for love.

Istriot Italian English Translation
Se biella ti me pari
cù ti rèidi
Biella ti son
quando ti pjuri

ancuura,

Cù ti trùvi baròufa,
cù ti crèidi,
Chi ca te vjdo dòuti
se ‘namura.
Se bella tu mi appari
quando ridi
Bella tu sei anche
quando piangi,
Quando cerchi baruffa,
quando gridi,
Chiunque ti vede
di te s’innamora.
Every time you laugh
you are beautiful
You are pretty
even when you cry,
When you want to have a row,
when you scream
Whoever sees you,
falls in love with you.

Many Istriot speakers consider themselves to be Italian and don’t know that what they speak is an indigenous Romance language, not a Venetian dialect. Linguists fear that Istriot is going to become extinct in the near future. Nowadays it is very hard to find Istriot speakers in the villages mentioned above but the place were it is best conserved is Bale.

In hope of avoiding the disappearance of their mother tongue, some artists have begun to create works in their language, for example Istrian songs and literature. We recommend you the Croatian musician Tamara Obrovac, who has launched a project for the revitalisation of the Istriot language. Here is a video of her song ‘Se me ra morta privari’, enjoy:

Apps now included in Premium Membership!

Great news for all our mobile users! We just launched an update for our iPhone/iPad app. From now on, all units in our popular apps for iPhone/iPad are automatically activated if you are a  Premium memberPremium Member. Of course the same is true of our app for Android devices, such as HTC, Samsung, Google Phone, LG and Motorola.

busuu.com App

Synchronise the app with your online profile to earn busuu-berriesbusuu-berry and reach your Mybusuu goal, wherever you might be. The app includes over 3,000 words and key phrases with pictures and recordings to help you pronounce and memorise them. Learn languages easily with our vocabulary and dialogue exercises and test yourself with our interactive review at the end of each unit.

In addition to this, the iOS update automatically activates our Travel Course on your app! This course will help you learn essential words and expressions you need to know when travelling abroad. Download your app now!

busuu.com App

Our apps have already been downloaded a total of over 6 million times. Don’t miss out on this perfect add-on for language learning and get your own app to learn languages on the go!

Not yet a Premium MemberPremium Member? Use our New Year’s 15% discount to upgrade your account and access all our Premium FunctionsPremium Member, including the premium content of our apps. Until 31 January 2011, you can become a Premium MemberPremium Member from only 4,24€ per month!

This free app is available in the following languages:

busuu.com Appbusuu.com Appbusuu.com Appbusuu.com Appbusuu.com Appbusuu.com Appbusuu.com Appbusuu.com Appbusuu.com App

Reflections on 2011 and Best Wishes for 2012

Another successful year has passed and we’re all ready to begin 2012 with lots of energy and motivation!

Happy 2012!

But before rushing into this new year, let’s have a quick look back at an eventful and successful 2011 with busuu.com:

January

  • We started our Blog series on endangered languages to raise awareness about nearly extinct languages. Every couple of months we introduce you to another endangered language.

February

March

April

  • We included new features in our popular iPhone app and made it also available for iPad to enhance your mobile learning experience!
  • Having been a huge success in 2010, we repeated our big Easter Egg Hunt to find the golden egg! Among the successful hunters we did a raffle for 10 Premium MembershipsPremium Crown!
  • Martin Varsavsky, a great fan of busuu.com and well respected entrepreneur, supported us with his investment to continue our successful journey in the online world of language learning.

May

  • We added Polish and Turkish to our existing language courses and thus made our community available to Polish and Turikish users. Once again: Witam and Hoşgeldiniz!
  • We celebrated our 3rd Birthday! Thanks to all of you for the many good wishes :)

June

July

August

September

  • We took our courses to the next level, creating further content, including a new course for Business English.
  • We released new Grammar Guides and strengthened our partnership with PONS to provide you with detailed explanations directly linked to our grammar units.

October

November

  • We launched a new design to make your language learning experience even more intuitive and fun.
  • We reached over 5 million users online and 5 million users via our mobile apps! That’s 10 million in total and we are still growing!
  • busuu.com won the category ‘Best Education, Recruitment, Media StartUp’ at The Europas, the annual European Tech Startup Awards.

December

As you can see 2011 was a very successful and exciting year for us and hopefully also for you! Thank you again for all of the support and feedback you gave us during the year. What makes busuu.com special is our interactive community. Without you, we would not have reached all these milestones in 2011!

Stay tuned in 2012! We will surprise you with new exciting features pretty soon!

Remember that during the month of January we are offering you a 15% discount on our Premium MembershipPremium Crown!