Monthly Archives: November 2013

Count down to Christmas with busuu!

Are you getting ready for lots of Christmas fun? At busuu, we’ve created two special learning  activities to look forward to each day: our Language Advent Calendar and a Christmas Learning Unit!

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Language Advent Calendar

Do you have a traditional calendar with chocolates? For each day of the busuu Language Advent Calendar, we will add an equally delicious Christmas-related post to the busuu Facebook page.

You’ll learn new words or phrases related to the festive season, or find out fun facts about how different cultures around the world celebrate this winter holiday with their own unique traditions.

The busuu Language Advent Calendar runs 1-24 December. To take part and learn something every day (perhaps while eating your chocolate!), head over to busuu on Facebook.

Christmas Learning Unit

We also have a special Christmas Learning Unit with all the usual fun activities: new vocabulary, a dialogue, a writing exercise and a chance to chat with native speakers using busuutalk.

You’ll learn all the main words associated with this festive season, so that you can express your views about Christmas when writing or talking with friends. Try the Christmas Learning Unit now!

Language of the Month

Because we have so many exciting things planned for busuu in December and January, Language of the Month will be taking a short break to make space for our other news.

It will return in February with a recap of our language of the month for November (Japanese) and an introduction to the next one. So stay tuned and be sure to keep following busuu on Facebook!

Get involved! What do you think?

We’d love to find out if you celebrate Christmas – or a different winter festival – and what you, your friends and family do. Add your comments to this post or on Facebook to share your holiday with the busuu community!

World of Work: Teddy Nee

Knowing a second language can help you move on in your current job, find new career opportunities or further your studies. In our ‘World of Work’ series, we speak to people who use foreign languages every day.

Let’s meet Teddy Nee from Indonesia

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Hi Teddy! Thanks for talking to busuu. Could you tell us a bit about yourself?

Hi busuu! I was born and grew up in Medan, Indonesia’s third largest city. In 2008, I moved to Taiwan, where I live and attend university as a student on an International Master of Business Administration (IMBA) programme.

Why are languages necessary for your studies?

The IMBA is a programme taught in English for students from around the world, so it’s essential to know this language to be able to follow the lessons. In addition, we use English to socialise because we come from different countries and speak different languages. English is our lingua franca.

Could you tell us about the languages you speak and how you learnt them?

My native languages are Fujianese (a Chinese dialect) and Indonesian.

I also speak English and Mandarin, both of which I learned for many years at school. English was mandatory throughout, while Mandarin became mandatory in the third year of senior high school. Before that, I was taught Mandarin on a private course.

In addition, I have been learning Spanish since 2012 and Esperanto since May 2013.

Which language have you found most challenging to learn?

I would say Mandarin is the most difficult because it doesn’t use the Latin alphabet, unlike Indonesian, English and Esperanto. Fujianese doesn’t have a writing system; it’s a spoken language only. However, it is often written using Chinese characters in China and Taiwan.

And which language was the easiest for you?

Esperanto is the easiest language that I have learned. It is a constructed language that has been designed for people to quickly master it. Its grammar is very simple; for example, there are no irregular words. Esperanto shares some similarities with Romance languages, such as Spanish and Italian.

In your opinion, what’s the next important language for you to learn?

English is still widely used around the world, so I suppose it will still be the most important language in coming years. In addition, Mandarin is increasingly preferred as complementary to English in the job market, especially in Asia.

Fortunately, I have been learning both languages for a long time and use them every day. However, I still need to improve in some aspects, such as business writing and language.

Which learning materials or methods have helped you most?

The internet is my main source of materials for learning Spanish and Esperanto, and I regularly use both languages in reading, listening and writing.

I also use busuu all the time. I’ve even finished the Spanish course on busuu! Now, I spend most of my time correcting other users’ English and Mandarin exercises.

I love how busuu connects users with native speakers and other members, so that they can learn together, share their experience and motivate each other to achieve better results.

Do you have any tips for anyone who’s learning a language?

Language learning is a lifelong process. Our brain is forgetful, so you always need to use a language, whether for reading, speaking, writing or listening. Be disciplined with your schedule, aim high and commit yourself to learning.

Teddy, thank you very much for taking the time to talk to busuu! If you’re a busuu member, you can visit Teddy’s profile and add him as a friend.

Did you enjoy this post?

What did you think of this article? Let us know in the comments! Or take a look at previous posts in our World of Work series:

Are languages essential in your day-to-day work? Would you like to be considered for a World of Work interview? Then please send an email to pr@busuu.com (subject: ‘World of Work’) with just 2-3 short sentences telling us where you’re from, what you do and which languages you speak. Thanks!

Are women better language learners?

And the results are in!

At busuu we are always looking to find out what conditions lead to optimum language learning. This time, we looked at gender to see if the rumours are true – are women really better language learners? The results were certainly interesting!

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Commitment to learning

A key difficulty for language learners is staying committed. Female busuu users complete more language learning units and, consequently, are more likely to achieve their goals.

Testing and Reward

Women are more likely to test themselves on their knowledge retention but they also like to trade in the rewards for their efforts. Interestingly, they prefer to buy ladybirds for their language garden, whilst men prefer kites!

Community interaction

Women are often considered to be very sociable, but is that true on busuu? It turns out it is. Women correct more exercises than men and are more likely to use the busuutalk function to converse with native speakers.

So who wins the battle of the sexes?

Judging by our data, women on busuu tend to be very committed to their language-learning, whether it’s learning new vocabulary, revising known words or practising what they’ve learned. However, this doesn’t mean that women are better at language learning, just that their strategies are different. It seems that our male users in fact tend to be more focused on finishing one course rather than several, and prefer to build up points rather than spend them!

What do YOU think?

What’s your reaction to these statistics? Do you think this is reflective of language learning in classroom situations? Let us know your opinion in the comments below.

The 1000 words challenge with busuu

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How many words do you know in the language you’re learning?

Clearly, the more words you know, the better able you are to communicate and interact with others.

The Speak to the Future organisation have set up a challenge encouraging us all to meet the 1000 word mark in at least one foreign language.

The idea is that if all of us, whatever our age, ability or nationality, knew at least 1000 words in another language, then the world would be a better place. Business deals would run more smoothly, foreign travel would be more rewarding and new friendships would blossom more quickly.

So, how to go about learning these words?

Luckily, busuu is here to help. We have 1000s of words, arranged into units, each with a focus on a useful, everyday topic.

You can learn one of the 12 languages available with busuu and you can set yourself goals to help motivate you to continue with your learning.

There are around 25 words per busuu vocabulary unit, with some already organised into useful everyday phrases.

Most of these words and phrases also have an example sentence showing the words used in an everyday context, and all have recordings of the words to help you with listening, speaking and pronunciation. So if you get through the busuu levels A1 and A2, you will be well on your way to meeting the target of 1000 words.

And if you’re a Premium member you have access to interactive grammar units and recording exercises, plus you can print off a PDF of the words from the units you’ve completed, helping you to remember all the words you’re learning.

Reach 1000 words!

Do you know 1000 words in another language? Let us know how you’re getting on in the comments below.

New Android app: Kids learn English and Spanish!

With the brand new busuu Android app for kids, children will have fun while quickly and easily learning 150 English words. Educate, engage and entertain at the same time!

Our very first Android language-learning product for children teaches 150 words of English through a carefully structured course of 30 learning units, packed full of exciting educational games. And you can download the basic version for free!

A magical growing garden to reward learning

The busuu Kids app can be a shared experience: progress can be monitored at a glance in the child’s very own language-learning garden. Children will be delighted to watch their garden flourish as they learn, motivating them to continue.

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Every time the child completes an exercise, a watering can will water a flower in their language garden to make it grow. And each plant holds a secret to discover – their flowers are faces made out of fun vocabulary pictures, created to make the kids laugh!

Stimulating activities, at home or on the go

Colourful illustrations by leading artists and audio recordings by a professional voice actor all create a stimulating and engaging learning environment. There are also plenty of animations to make sure children stay interested. The use of text is limited and all the exercises are clear and self-explanatory, so that they can easily complete the activities without guidance. No need to help – they can amuse themselves and learn wherever they are, whether at home or in the car.

Download our free Android app for kids now! Designed by experts, made for children each lesson follows a specially developed 5-step methodology to help kids:

  • discover new words
  • learn vocabulary
  • test understanding
  • get training in spelling and phonetics
  • create fun works of art with new words.

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The basic busuu Android app for children is free and includes 3 learning units. Once you have downloaded it, you can choose to upgrade for the full course of 30 learning units. Hours of fun and education – all for less than the price of an equivalent children’s book. The learning units cover engaging topics such as farm animals, clothes, toys and the weather.

Download the free busuu Android app “Kids Learn English with busuu”!
Download the free busuu Android app “Kids Learn Spanish with busuu”!