Monthly Archives: October 2012

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Get ready for Halloween 2012!

While Halloween, or All Saint’s Eve, is most popular in America, countries around the world are now beginning to adopt this holiday too.

Halloween

If you are planning to attend, or even host a Halloween party, you should make sure you know the most common words related to this holiday. Halloween words borrow from many different languages. Today, these words are used in countries all around the world.

Do you know where some of these words come from?

Let’s take a look at the most common ones:

HALLOWEEN

Halloween is a condensed form of the phrase All Hallow Even, i.e. All Saints’ Eve. Hallow means “holy”, so Halloween is the Eve of All Hallows, i.e. all saints. Hallow and Halloween derive from the Old English adjective halig (holy).

PUMPKIN

Pumpkin derives from the Greek pepon, a kind of melon eaten only when very ripe. The word root is very interesting: Latin took over pepon as pepo, then French produced popon/pompon, then pumpion, and finally pumpkin.

BROOM

There is no witch in town that would make a Halloween appearance without a broom. The word derives from a Germanic plant name that appears as bramo, bramma and bramio in various Germanic languages. So a broom essentially bears the Germanic name of the twig plant.

COFFIN

This word appears in various languages. In Greek it’s kophinus (a basket), in Latin cophinus and French cofin. Initially, the word meant ‘box’ but in the 16th century it took on two meanings, one of which is the dreaded coffin.

GHOST

In traditional belief and fiction, a ghost is the soul or spirit of a deceased person or animal that appears to the living. However, Halloween ghosts will be disappointed to know that their linguistic ancestors where neither scary nor vengeful. In Old English, ghost simply meant “spirit”, a meaning preserved when we refer to the Holy Ghost.

To get you in the right mood for Halloween, here are the top 10 Halloween songs of all time.

To learn more words related to this fantastic holiday, complete our fun Halloween exercise on busuu.com

 

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busuu announces €3.5 million investment and moves to London

We are very happy to announce a €3.5 million investment in busuu.com by PROFounders Capital and private investors as well as our headquarters relocation from Madrid to London.

Apart from improving our online and mobile language learning courses and developing brand new products to improve our service, we will use the investment to grow our team and give you the best language learning experience out there.

With the investment, we are also happy to add Brent Hoberman, co-founder of lastminute.com, to our board of advisers.

“We are thrilled to welcome on board Brent Hoberman and the PROfounders Capital team,” said Bernhard Niesner, busuu.com CEO and co-founder. “Brent’s valuable experience in building leading global internet companies will help us achieve our aim of becoming the world leader in language education.”

“We were really impressed by what busuu.com has achieved so far with very few resources,” added PROfounders Capital investment partner Brent Hoberman. “We are looking forward to supporting the company in its future growth plans and shaking up the global language learning market.”

At busuu.com, we have more than 25 million users in over 200 countries and we are growing at a rate of 40,000 new members per day – enough people to fill the seats of London’s Olympic stadium in just two days.

Join them now, register for free and start learning a language today!

Read more on TechCrunch and The Telegraph!

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Learn vocabulary even faster!

To become comfortable with new words, practise by using the word in your writing, speaking and everyday thoughts.

The more you use and think about new words, the better you can remember them. In order for a word to become a part of your vocabulary, you have to use and hear it in several ways.

The key to building up a good vocabulary is to be curious and to keep practising what you have learned.

This is why we have introduced CheckpointsCheckpointsa simple new feature that will help you to learn new words and phrases and remember them!

 Checkpoints

 

In addition, here are our top tips for you to remember new words:

  1. Practise saying the word and listen to others to get the pronunciation right.
  2. Try to learn the word and its meaning the first time you see it.
  3. Practise writing the word and its definition often.
  4. Take advantage of Checkpoints, our new tool to help you to remember new words.
  5. Vary the words: Try to make them plural and use them in different sentences.
  6. Repeat the word many times in your mind!
  7. And ALWAYS have fun learning new words!

CheckpointsCheckpoints is only available for Premium membersPremium! Upgrade to Premium today to take advantage of this great new feature!