Author Archives: Fabia Alves

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Weather idioms

weather, idioms, language learning

What’s the weather like where you are?

Us humans seem to be obsessed with the weather! It’s a common way to start a conversation, a familiar thing to complain about when it’s bad and one of our favourite things to celebrate when it’s going our way. In this post, as we move into a new season, we’ll look at our obsession with weather and discuss some common weather Idioms in English.

Weather as an icebreaker

We’ve all been there, we arrive at the office or a cafe and don’t know exactly what to say to a colleague or family friend. We don’t want to sit there in silence…  so what do we talk about? The weather of course: ‘Nice day, isn’t it?’, ‘So cold out there today.’ or ‘Gosh, the rain today!’. It helps to break the ice and move us onto other topics of conversation.

Changing weather

But sometimes weather is a lot more serious than this. There is a lot of strong evidence to suggest that carbon emissions from human activity are having a serious effect on the weather and may be leading to more severe storms, droughts and flooding in some parts of the world. This is having a devastating effect for many people living in the areas worst affected, causing widespread damage to land and infrastructure and in some cases, tragic loss of life.

A ray of sunshine

Despite all the terrible things that bad weather can do, good weather is also an obsession for many. One of the first things that we talk about after a holiday is what the weather was like, whether it was sunny, how hot it was, whether there was enough snow for skiing. And nothing seems to brighten the mood in the busuu office like a warm sunny day here in London.

Weather influencing language

With all of this focus on weather, both positive and negative, and the massive impact that it can have on our lives, it’s no surprise that weather influences language. In English there are a lot of idioms that use weather related phrases, take a look at these five:
1. Every cloud has a silver lining.
2. Make hay while the sun shines.
3. A storm in a teacup.
4. It’s raining cats and dogs.
5. To be on cloud nine.

Do you know what these phrases mean? Do you know any similar expressions in other languages that you speak?

Learn more with busuu!

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Crazy carnival winning photos

Carnival photo competition, photo competition, carnival

Drum roll please…the five carnival competition winners

Thank you to everyone around the world who entered the carnival competition. We were overwhelmed by so many entries from so many countries Spain, Italy, France, Germany, Turkey, England and more.

After seeing your weird, wild and wonderful photos, we picked ourselves up off the floor (sometimes from laughing, sometimes just from surprise) and chose these five brilliant winners plus an honourable mention.

And here they are…

Lu Pereira

Carnival photo competition

黒い ハート

Carnival photo competition

Tarik Elamari

Carnival photo competition

Mateus Sousa

Carnival photo competition

Guy Simões

Carnival photo competition

Each of you crazy carnivallers win a 12-month Premium Membership to learn any or all (if you’re feeling ambitious) of our 12 languages. And you get also free access to all this on the go, via our mobile app.

Honourable mention to Ludovico Luca Santucci

Carnival photo competition

The busuu team rewards your effort and creativity with a 1-month Premium Membership.

Happy language learning!

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Children learning languages

Here at the busuu office we recently celebrated the arrival of another busuu baby; with another member of our team becoming a proud parent! So naturally there has been a lot of discussion about how children learn languages and how we can help them become fluent language speakers.

children learning languages, bilingual children, learn a language

Make it fun

Adults tend to think that learning a language is a huge challenge, and while it’s true that it does take a lot of effort, this is something that young people are not aware of. Getting children to learn through fun games and activities from an early age can mean that they grow up with a more positive attitude to other languages and the process of learning.

Keep things moving

Children have much shorter attention spans than adults and it’s important to make sure there is a lot of variety for them. The language games they play should be short enough so that they don’t get bored. Children don’t understand the logic of hard work paying off in the future, so it has to be engaging in the present!

Songs and chants

Children love to sing, and songs can be one of the best ways of helping young people become familiar with the rhythm and tone of a new language. This can have a big impact on both listening skills and on their pronunciation. It also helps children remember ‘chunks’ of language; phrases and sentences that help them to become aware of the structures of language without having to focus on grammar.

Download the busuu kids app

If you want to help your child learn English or Spanish, we have a great app to help. The app, (available for iPad and Android) is made up of 30 fun and engaging learning units, each helping your child learn 5 useful words. And because learning is most fun when it’s interactive, why not use the words from each unit to make a song or a game to play with your child at home.

The most important thing, whatever your age, is to love learning. Here at busuu we aim to make learning fun and engaging for all; whether you’re four or one hundred and four!

 

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Get your carnival photos in & win!

Carnival, photo competition, party, celebration

Last chance to get carnival crazy and win!

You’ve really shown us how your country and culture carnivals.

You’ve made us laugh, choke on our tea, even hide behind our desks with all your crazy carnival photos!

If you haven’t shown us what you’ve got yet, there’s still one week left to share your photos and win one of five 12-month Premium Memberships.

Carnival competition final entries…

Were you splattering your face with paints, making headdresses, wearing mad wigs or funny masks? Wherever you do carnival, we’d love to see your top carnival moments!

Just upload your carnival photos and show us what it means to you. You have until 21st March and we’ll be announcing winners on 25th March.

Lots of ways to enter and win

It’s easy to share your carnival photos right here and be on your way towards learning a new language with one of our Premium Memberships.

Tweet or Instagram your picture with #busuucarnival.*

*Our competition opens 21st February and closes 21st March. For full terms and conditions, click here.

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Meet the team: Jonathan

We are back!

In our last ‘Meet the team’ blog post we introduced you to the smiley Maria.

This time we introduce you to Jonathan, most commonly called Jo by all of us here at the busuu office. Jo is a Product Manager for English and is extremely interested in how people learn languages, and even writes a blog about it. This weekend he will be in Istanbul talking about online language learning at the TELT conference.

Jo also likes his sport; he cycles to the office every day and he can’t say no to a ping-pong challenge! Find out more about Jo in the interview below:

meet the team, busuu team, working with languages, learn a language

How long have you been with busuu?
Around 9 months.

Where are you from?
Bath, England.

How many languages do you speak and what are they?
English and Turkish, although I don’t practise my Turkish enough these days.

Have you experienced any funny misunderstandings when learning a new language or visiting a foreign country?
When I lived in Istanbul I learned how to say ‘How much does it cost?’ before being able to understand the answers, so after asking I would just hold out my hand and let them take out the correct money!

How would you describe working at busuu?
It’s a great place to work. All the people here are friendly and really do their jobs well. It’s good to think that people will learn more and more as we continue to improve the busuu experience.

For me, language learning means …
…creating a slightly different version of yourself! You can be a different person when you communicate in another language.

Did you like meeting Jo, our Product Manager for English? Tell us in the comments!