Tag Archives: busuu

Get ready for Halloween 2012!

While Halloween, or All Saint’s Eve, is most popular in America, countries around the world are now beginning to adopt this holiday too.

Halloween

If you are planning to attend, or even host a Halloween party, you should make sure you know the most common words related to this holiday. Halloween words borrow from many different languages. Today, these words are used in countries all around the world.

Do you know where some of these words come from?

Let’s take a look at the most common ones:

HALLOWEEN

Halloween is a condensed form of the phrase All Hallow Even, i.e. All Saints’ Eve. Hallow means “holy”, so Halloween is the Eve of All Hallows, i.e. all saints. Hallow and Halloween derive from the Old English adjective halig (holy).

PUMPKIN

Pumpkin derives from the Greek pepon, a kind of melon eaten only when very ripe. The word root is very interesting: Latin took over pepon as pepo, then French produced popon/pompon, then pumpion, and finally pumpkin.

BROOM

There is no witch in town that would make a Halloween appearance without a broom. The word derives from a Germanic plant name that appears as bramo, bramma and bramio in various Germanic languages. So a broom essentially bears the Germanic name of the twig plant.

COFFIN

This word appears in various languages. In Greek it’s kophinus (a basket), in Latin cophinus and French cofin. Initially, the word meant ‘box’ but in the 16th century it took on two meanings, one of which is the dreaded coffin.

GHOST

In traditional belief and fiction, a ghost is the soul or spirit of a deceased person or animal that appears to the living. However, Halloween ghosts will be disappointed to know that their linguistic ancestors where neither scary nor vengeful. In Old English, ghost simply meant “spirit”, a meaning preserved when we refer to the Holy Ghost.

To get you in the right mood for Halloween, here are the top 10 Halloween songs of all time.

To learn more words related to this fantastic holiday, complete our fun Halloween exercise on busuu.com

 

Learn vocabulary even faster!

To become comfortable with new words, practise by using the word in your writing, speaking and everyday thoughts.

The more you use and think about new words, the better you can remember them. In order for a word to become a part of your vocabulary, you have to use and hear it in several ways.

The key to building up a good vocabulary is to be curious and to keep practising what you have learned.

This is why we have introduced CheckpointsCheckpointsa simple new feature that will help you to learn new words and phrases and remember them!

 Checkpoints

 

In addition, here are our top tips for you to remember new words:

  1. Practise saying the word and listen to others to get the pronunciation right.
  2. Try to learn the word and its meaning the first time you see it.
  3. Practise writing the word and its definition often.
  4. Take advantage of Checkpoints, our new tool to help you to remember new words.
  5. Vary the words: Try to make them plural and use them in different sentences.
  6. Repeat the word many times in your mind!
  7. And ALWAYS have fun learning new words!

CheckpointsCheckpoints is only available for Premium membersPremium! Upgrade to Premium today to take advantage of this great new feature!

15% discount and motivational tips for language learning

The holidays are almost over and this is the perfect time for brushing up on your language skills to get ahead with schoolwork or make your CV stand out!

To motivate you, we are offering a back-to-school promotion – enjoy a 15% discount on all our products until 15 September 2012!

discount motivation

 

To get you in the mood, here are our busuu.com top 10 motivational tips!

  1. Set a goal – With My Goal your progress is monitored and you will receive personalised messages to give you a motivational boost when you need it most!
  2. Do a busuu Challenge – Motivate yourself and your friends to continue learning and challenge each other to finish 3 learning units within 24 hours.
  3. Be creative – Describe our daily updated pictures from National Geographic and discuss them with native speakers.
  4. Learn by playing – Check out the memory game on busuu.com and play by yourself or with others!
  5. Talk to native speakers – In the busuu-talk you’ll find lots of people who will help you achieve fluency in the language you are learning!
  6. Watch a video unit - Pick out an interesting topic and write a review about it. Your desire to express your opinion will give you extra motivation!
  7. Have a ‘foreign language’ day – Immerse yourself in the culture of the language you are learning: watch a foreign movie in the original language, listen to songs, or cook a typical foreign meal.
  8. Share your progress – Have you just set a goal or finished a learning unit? Be proud of your achievement and share it with your friends on Facebook or Twitter.
  9. Be brave – Everybody makes mistakes when learning a foreign language, so help out others by correcting their posts. They will do the same for you!

…and the best motivation to kick-start your language learning again:

  1. Our 15%-back-to-school discount! Take advantage of the 15% discount and become Premium Premium crown now!

It’s easy to apply the discount:

  1. Go to the order page.
  2. Choose the product you would like to buy.
  3. Copy and paste the code SEP2012 into the relevant box.

With our Premium MembershipPremium Member and our motivational tips you will get the most out of your busuu.com learning experience! Only until 15 September 2012!

Did we miss a motivational tip? Just add your own tips to our list!

 

Check out our improved dialogues!

Practise your listening comprehension with our improved dialogues! We’ve added new functions that will help you understand the dialogues even better! If you’re a Premium MemberPremium Member you can now:

  1. See the part that is being spoken in yellow
  2. Pause the dialogue wherever you want
  3. Repeat any sentence that you want to hear again
busuu.com dialogue

Whenever you open a dialogue, the audio will start automatically and the part that is being spoken will be highlighted in yellow, so you can follow the dialogue easily. We recommend you listen to the dialogue as a whole at first. If you then want to hear a specific sentence again, or listen to one sentence at a time, just use the forward and backward buttons to navigate through the dialogue. Try it out now!

dialogue toolbar

Learn at your own pace by listening to each sentence as often as you wish or pausing the dialogue at any time. This way you can develop an ear for the language you are learning and you can also practise your pronunciation by listening to the sentences repeatedly and saying them out loud.

As usual, after listening to the dialogue, you will have to answer three short questions to show that you have understood the conversation. Test your listening comprehension now!

These new functions are part of the busuu.com Premium MembershipPremium Member.

Not a Premium MemberPremium Member yet? Upgrade now to learn languages more efficiently or have a look at the complete list of our Premium functions here!

Have fun with our improved dialogues!

The Language Archive opens in Berlin

Great news for all language fans out there: This month, the Max Planck Institute has opened The Language Archive in Berlin, one of the largest linguistic archives in the world! We wish all the best to The Archive on its inauguration and we are looking forward to seeing the development of this new space for language research.

Storing information about endangered languages online is an excellent way to keep a record of their pronunciation. The special units Busuu and Silbo Gomero on busuu.com are further examples of how you can get a taste of exotic and endangered languages that you are unlikely to experience when travelling abroad. With the audio files you can try out the language for yourself, and perfect your pronunciation! You may not be likely to use it in real life, but it is certainly great fun!

      

The Language ArchiveBy creating a space for research and the conservation of languages, The Language Archive also provides an account of the cultures, people and history that the language embraces. This valuable cultural heritage is now preserved for current and future generations of researchers who log in to the database.

Storing already 80 Terabytes (written out that’s 80,000,000,000,000 bytes!!!) worth of data from over 200 languages, The Language Archive plans to further extend its collection in the future.

Languages constantly change, cease and disappear. As stated in our blog entry on the European Day of Languages, 50% of the 6,000 to 7,000 existing ones are likely to become extinct by the end of this century. However, as we have seen in this blog entry, this does not mean that they will be forgotten!

Are you ready to get out there and discover some extraordinary languages for yourself? Try out our special learning units for Busuu and Silbo Gomero – a whole new way to test your foreign language skills!