busuu partners with Pearson English

Here at busuu we are very happy to announce an exciting partnership with learning giant Pearson, allowing us to provide all our members with an even better learning experience. The deal means access to a new, affordable online test to measure English level at different stages of the learning journey.

Pearson partners with busuu

Available Summer 2014

The test will be free to all busuu Premium Members from the summer and will be available to all free members for a small fee. Initially busuu will be the only place that this test is available, providing a great opportunity for all busuu members to have exclusive access to this high quality product.

Accurate Scores

The test, known as the gSET, will be measured against Pearson English’s Global Scale of English (GSE), a detailed scale that tells learners exactly what their language level is in different areas. The tests will score busuu users against the GSE for Speaking, Listening, Reading and Writing, giving an accurate understanding of strengths and weaknesses in English.

Helping You Learn Better

Pearson has a great deal of experience in the world of English language teaching and we are really excited to give all busuu members access to this high quality test. We know how important it is to keep track of learning, and this test will allow our whole community to see their progress as they spend time with us.

A big thank you to all of the team for helping make this happen, we’re really looking forward to the launch this summer.

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!

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!

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!