Category Archives: Language learning

Everything related with how to learn or how to improve your language skills

A language pays off

It’s International Workers’ Day (or Labour Day) and many countries across the world are having a well deserved day off. At the turn of the 20th century, people fought for their right to an eight hour working day, leading to the May Day Riots in the US (1894). We can thank them for changing attitudes to work and for campaigning to create an official holiday to celebrate workers everywhere.

flash sale

Beat the Monday blues!

Do a job you love, earn more, travel, rise to the top. Learning a language can do wonders for you and your career. We’ve been taking a close look at why…

Bilingual is getting bigger

31% of executives speak two languages
An added 20% speak 3 languages
9% speak 4 languages
4% speak more than 4

US Source: Korn Ferry (world’s largest executive search firm) in a poll of 12,562 visitors to their website.

Language learning brings in the money

A second language can boost earning potential by up to 20%

US Source: Michael Thomas Language Centre

The Economist says that the benefits of compound interest on your earnings potential (2% more year-on-year) is why the gains are big. Take a look at their graph and you can compare some key languages. Read here.

Lots of awesome jobs for language learners

– Government and public administration… from diplomatic services to spies!
– Business services… Apple has been hiring technical translators who speak Korean, Mexican Spanish and Chinese.
– Museums and libraries… from tour guides to website content editors
– Hospitality, tourism and leisure… the easiest place to start
– Media and publishing… globalising clients means media agencies need multilingual teams
– Science, engineering and technology… if you have a technical skill and a language you’ll be in high demand, as both is hard to find
– Transport and logistics… language-driven by its very nature
– Charities and voluntary work… especially with international charities or with placements abroad
– Sales, marketing/ PR… from customer service to translation and transcreation
– Finance… global markets mean global clients

A little language goes a long way

“Employers value language skills… However this does not always mean you need to achieve native-speaker fluency. A little language goes a long way. Some 74% of employers are looking for people with conversational competence because it helps their business to be able to communicate, even at a basic level, with customers and clients”

UK source: CBI Education and Skills Survey 2009

Start by brushing up on interview phrases

Do you know what these mean?

FrenchDites-moi quelquechose à propos de vous
Be ready for open-ended questions…

GermanIch bin ein Teamplayer
Show them you’ve got the ‘Büro-sprech’ (office speak) and the Denglisch sorted.

EnglishHow do you see the company changing in the next 5 years?
Remember to ask your own, thoughtful questions.

SpanishCreo que es una magnífica oportunidad para progresar laboralmente.
See the positive.

The Best Way to Learn

Get that dream job with a Premium Membership. For 48 hours we’re giving 48% off – Happy Labour Day!

Why reading is a must for language learning

This is a week of celebration, for the lives of so many incredible authors, who strangely, were born and died on this day.

It was Shakespeare’s 450th anniversary this week. This week it’s also exactly 450 years since he died. It’s the day when Spain’s most famous author Cervantes died. Iceland’s Nobel Winning author Laxness and French writer Druon were born. And it’s the day when William Wordsworth died.

shakespeare, reading habits,

The best ever day for a book

So if you haven’t picked up a book for a while, today would be the perfect day. Another excellent reason is that reading a book in the language you’re learning in has been proven to boost your learning speed and vocabulary.

What would Shakespeare think about reading today?

We think he might be pleased that global literacy is at its highest, 84% (2010, UNESCO). And very surprised at HOW we’re reading.

With eBooks and eReaders, reading anywhere and everywhere is second nature to us now. So why has the simple act of reading the written word on a page endured all this technology? Well, all the writers who were born or died today would be able to tell you.

eBooks, eReaders, reading habits

It’s emotional

Reading a complete novel is about how you feel about the characters, about wanting to find out what happens, about finding something out about yourself or learning something new.

busuu’s top five tips for reading to learn language

So to keep you reading and learning faster, with a richer vocabulary, here are some quick tips.

1. Choose a book that’s not too hard, but not for children
You won’t identify with the stories or characters if the book is for young children, you’ll need to want to read it. We love Harry Potter! You don’t need to understand all the words, you’ll pick them up when you see them in context.

2. Make reading social
Start a book club, share good reads. If you know someone will love a particular character or story, tell them (it will make you look clever too!).

3. Find your favourite writers on social media
We loved reading ‘The Shock of the Fall.’ Then we found it’s author Nathan Filer on Twitter.

4. Read with sound effects and classical scores
Sherlock Holmes, Oscar Wilde, Rudyard Kipling are just a few amazing enhanced eBook experiences to keep you learning.

5. Make digital notes
You can make notes without ruining your books on eReaders. Pick phrases or thoughts that capture your attention. Language idioms or ideas that you want to remember.

Get learning with busuu and share your favourite books with our community!

A Big Thank You from Cameroon

As you can see from the images, there’s a brand new classroom at the CAPEC school in Cameroon. And we’re very proud to say it was the busuu community that made it possible. Last December, every busuu-berry earned increased the amount that we donated to the charity. And we did a great job in raising the maximum amount possible, allowing us to donate enough for a whole classroom at the school.

charity, Capec, children in Cameroon

Nkolfoulou Village School

The school is located in Central Cameroon, in a remote farming village called Nkolfoulou, and provides education to children from families who are unable to afford to send their kids to schools further away from the family home. The kids love the school and get a huge amount of benefit from the education that the teachers provide there. It’s fantastic that this extra classroom will provide space and materials for an extra 40 children to attend the school each day.

A message from the school

The teachers and organisers of CAPEC, the charity that run the school, wanted us to thank all the people who contributed to the project and say how pleased they were with the new classroom. They stressed again how important it is for these young people to have an education that will help keep them safe and happy during their childhood.

So thanks again to all busuu users for your effort. You can pat yourselves on the back!

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!

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!