Category Archives: Language-learning tips

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What’s our next Language of the Month?

Did you get involved with our Language of the Month in August? If so, you will have learned lots of fun facts about German on Facebook, Twitter and Google+. Read the highlights here and then find out which language we’ll be exploring in September!

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Ask a native speaker

This month, native speaker Thomas was available on Facebook for one hour to answer any questions you had about the German language. Here are some of the best ones.

  • Madhu Bala asked: “Where can I find German books for beginners online?”
  • Lorena Gutierrez had an excellent grammar question about the German cases and how they affect der, die and das.
  • Julian MejiaI asked: “How can I make sure that, over time, I don’t forget all the languages I know?”

How did Thomas answer? Discover what he said on our special Facebook post!

Food word fun

Do you know what Sahne, Obers and Rahm have in common? They all mean ‘cream’ in different German-speaking countries, including Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

We also posted a picture of a mystery food item and our Facebook followers correctly identified it as a Lebkuchenherz (gingerbread heart). Fan Renate Buescher even told us their significance:

“The Lebkuchenherz can be found at any fair. The bigger the heart, the greater the affection of the giver. As children, we would beg to receive a Lebkuchenherz.” Thank you, Renate!

Famous buildings

Our photo of two well-known German landmarks was no match for busuu’s fans! They quickly recognised Cologne Cathedral (Kölner Dom) and the city’s elegant railway bridge over the Rhine River.

Facebook follower Amandine Adelaïde shared some great facts about the cathedral – such as when it was built and its architecture style – and the Hohenzollern Bridge. Read what she said in French. Thanks, Amandine!

Language of the Month in September

Next month, we will be exploring a language from a country that’s known for its caviare, wooden dolls and a very special dance. Yes, we’ll be travelling through Russian and learning a new alphabet!

This Slavic language is widely spoken in 9 countries. With 144 million native speakers, it’s also Europe’s largest native language. Learn about Russian with busuu on Facebook, Twitter or Google+. До ск орой встречи!

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Develop good language-learning habits

The trick for successfully learning any language is to develop good habits from the start. At busuu, we want you to stay motivated and have fun while achieving your personal goals. Here are our top tips to help you reach them!

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Top language-learning habits

1. Listen as often as you can

Listening to native speakers is crucial for learning a language. You can easily do this even if you don’t live in the country of your target language, thanks to lots of useful online resources.

Try listening to TV shows, podcasts or videos like busuu’s ‘London Central’. Or go to our busuu Live Units for more fun videos to watch.

2. Practise with native speakers

The best tutors are native speakers themselves, so try to talk or interact with them as often as possible. With the busuu chat tool, you can do this from the comfort of your own home!

Speaking will help you to improve your pronunciation, but you can also better your fluency through writing. Complete a Writing exercise on busuu and our community’s native speakers will give you helpful, positive feedback.

3. Track your progress

Learning a new language is a challenge, so be persistent and you’ll reap the rewards. Study and practise regularly, and track your progress using My Goal on busuu.

By setting and achieving your own aims, you’ll feel motivated to carry on learning. It also means that you’ll be more likely to study a language consistently, for even faster results!

 

What good habits do you have?

It’s helpful to hear about other people’s good habits. What are your tips for staying motivated or learning faster? Do you have any funny stories about your experiences? Tell us in the comments!

 

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Discover our next Language of the Month!

What did you learn from our first Language of the Month?

Throughout July, we posted fun facts about Spanish on Facebook, Twitter and Google+. Here are some of the highlights, as well as which language we’ll be focusing on in August!

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Words and phrases

‘Eres la leche’ is an expression used in Spain that sounds funny if translated literally (‘You are the milk’). What it actually means is ‘You’re amazing’, as lots of people correctly said.

False friends are words that sound similar to ones in your native language, but have a different meaning. ‘Estoy embarazado/a’ sounds just like ‘I’m embarrassed’, but it means ‘I’m pregnant’!

What do ‘autobús’, ‘camión’ and ‘guaguas’ have in common? They all mean ‘bus’ in different parts of the Spanish-speaking worldFind out which words our members suggested.

 

Cultural aspects

Many of you identified our mystery landmark as Peru’s Machu Picchu, a 15th-century Inca site. Claudia Elgueta Beltrán Mayssa, a busuu.com fan, even shared a music video featuring Machu Picchu. Great link, Claudia!

Our post about the Mexican sauce called ‘mole (from Nahuatl ‘molli’) was also popular. Lots of busuu.com members took part in naming different types of mole. Fan Anke Baurott offered to help anyone looking for Mexican recipes. Thanks, Anke!

Language of the Month in August

Following the success of our Spanish month, we will be taking a closer look at German in August. It’s an official or dominant language in 7 countries (can you name them all?) and has around 90 million native speakers.

So if you’d like to tell everyone how great Oktoberfest is, discover some tasty delicacies or see beautiful sights in German-speaking countries, follow busuu.com on FacebookTwitter and Google+. Bis bald!

 

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Tips to beat the fear of using languages

Does the thought of using a second language make you feel nervous or bring you out in a cold sweat? Don’t worry, you’re not alone! We’re here to help you overcome your anxiety, so we’ve compiled some handy tips just for you.

Tips

Boost your confidence, learn better

Are you apprehensive about talking to or understanding others? Maybe you’re worried that they will think negatively of you? Or are you concerned that you’ll do badly in a test? There’s a name for how you feel: foreign language anxiety (FLA).

Speaking, listening, reading or writing can all provoke FLA. At busuu.com, we’ll help you build your language confidence. As a result, you’ll get more out of your learning experience, whether taking part in activities or better remembering new words.

Tips for overcoming your fear

Stay focused – think about why you’re learning a language and how it will help you to reach your aims. This will motivate you to keep studying. Why not set yourself some goals to track your achievements?

Give yourself a break – communicating in any language is about getting your ideas across, not about being ‘perfect’. Everyone makes errors, even in their native tongue! No-one will judge you; in fact, they will appreciate your efforts to speak to them.

Be prepared – if you need to make a call or see someone, think about what you want to say. Practise sentences in your head and even note down some key words on a piece of paper, so you have them in front of you if you forget.

Get helpful feedback – we learn from our mistakes. Find people who will give you genuine, constructive tips. At busuu.com, our native speakers are there to do just that; you can return the favour too, by helping them with their writing and speaking.

Feel in control – if you can learn at your own pace, in a comfy location of your choice, you’ll be more at ease. Repeat exercises as often as you like, work as quickly or as slowly as you need to and talk to native speakers using a chat tool (only when you’re ready).

How did you tackle anxiety?

Did you suffer from sweaty palms or a rising feeling of panic whenever you had to use a foreign language? If so, let us know in the comments how you got over your fear. Maybe you’ll help someone else to beat their anxiety!