Tag Archives: busuu

Patuá, The Sweet Language of Macau

Our blog entries dedicated to endangered languages will continue as promised. This month, our blog will present the “Sweet Language of Macau” or in Macanese (Patuà) the Dóci Língu di Macau. Macau is one of the two special administrative regions of the People’s Republic of China.

Macanese is classified by the Atlas of Endangered Languages as being critically endangered. In fact, The Atlas puts the number of Patuà speakers at 50 as of the year 2000.

What attracted us to this language is not only the danger of it disappearing, but also its history and diversity. Macanese dates back to the 16th century when the Portuguese established their commercial naval base to Asia in the Island of Macau. The new settlers married women from Malacca and Sri Lanka, so the language took on strong Malay and Sinhalese influence. As a proof that languages evolve, develop and are never static, Macanese took on influences as demographic and political changes happened year by year. These influences made this language a unique mix of European and Asian languages. Furthermore, this language that has no known orthography and is a cocktail of grammatical influences, played an important role in the life of Macanese people. In addition to becoming their proudly claimed mother tongue, it was for centuries the reason the community developed socially and commercially. It was as well the only communication mean of the Macau’s Eurasian residents.

Nowadays, the geographical distribution of the Macanese population is at the image of the language itself. It is quite diverse and starts in Macau the origin point of the language, and migrates to reach Hong Kong, California, Canada, Peru, Brazil, Costa Rica, Australia, Portugal, the United Kingdom and Paria peninsula of Venezuela. Even within that community, Macanese is actively spoken by just several dozen old people, mostly women in their eighties or nineties, in Macau and Hong Kong.

We said at the beginning that Patuà is also named the sweet language, and there is a reason for that. The poem below written in Patuà is a reminder of that. We will leave you to ponder on these sweet words. Until we meet again enjoy the sound of the sea and the romantic settings of Macau’s Patuà.

Patuà Portuguese Translation English Translation
Nhonha na jinela A moça na janela Young lady in the window
Co fula mogarim Com uma flor de jasmim With a jasmine flower
Sua mae tancarera Sua mãe é uma Chinesa pescadora Her mother is a Chinese fisherwoman
Seu pai canarim Seu pai é um Indiano Português Her father is a Portuguese Indian

Record your voice and get your pronuncation corrected by a native speaker!

Today we are launching an exciting feature that you, our users, have been demanding for a while, and which has kept us busy for the last few months: voice recording!

Pronunciation is an essential part of language learning and we are thrilled that we can offer this new feature to you.

From now on, you can record your own voice on busuu.com and get it corrected by a native speaker from our worldwide community! There are 150 fun new dialogues in seven languages, recorded by professional voice artists, for you to practice on and improve your pronunciation skills. The recording exercise is a dialogue that consists of a conversation between two people.

There is one new exercise within our existing learning units. You choose the character you want to practice (e.g. receptionist or hotel guest) and record your own voice. Our system will automatically mix your recording with the voice of the professional voice artist, who plays the second person in the role play. You can then send the new dialogue with your own voice to a native speaker for correction.

How does voice recording work?
You can access the new dialogues by clicking on the voice recording icon in the learning unit overview:

Learning unit overview

You are only able to do the pronunciation exercise if you have a microphone. You can either use the microphone that is built in your computer or an external one. First of all, you will need to enable your microphone. If it is disabled, the window below will appear.


It is important that you make sure that the allow button is clicked on the right hand side and the remember box ticked. You are now ready to record!

Once your microphone is enabled, you will choose your character by clicking on one of the two characters you would like to be. A green frame will indicate your choice of character. If you don’t choose one, the system will automatically choose the second one for you.

The image below shows the first screen you see when entering the voice recording exercise. You can now listen to your character’s part as well as the other character’s part by clicking on the play button next to the text box.

As shown above, your character’s part that you have to record will be shown in green. To record it, click on the red record button and wait until the 30 second countdown appears. Record the sentence by speaking clearly, slowly and matching the volume of the voice artist.

You will listen to what you recorded by clicking on the play button and you can record as many times as you want.

Before submitting it at the end, you will be able to hear the full dialogue matched with the voice artist’s voice. If you are not satisfied with the recording, you can record it again by clicking on .

Once you are happy with the results, you can then submit the voice recording for corrections to the community or to friends that you select by notifying them. You will also receive five juicy busuu-berries for completing this pronunciation exercise.

All voice recordings done by the community will be in the section review posts of others, followed by this icon .

Normally, this feature is only available to our Premium Users, but as this is a new tool we want you to try it for free! So, you have until Sunday 27th of March 2011 to use our new voice recording absolutely free. Try it out now!

Hurry and take advantage of our new feature! We wish you a great and entertaining pronunciation practice! Try it out now!

Update: We have issued a special 10% off discount during the trial period of the new recording functionality. Use the code: ADFG2011 when upgrading to a Premium Membership. Only valid until the 27th of March!

New strategic cooperation between busuu.com, The Guardian and Macmillan!

busuu.com is proud to announce our new partnership with the Guardian, and with Macmillan Education.


The Guardian is one of the UK’s leading daily titles, founded in 1821 and delivers liberal journalism to a global audience via its website. guardian.co.uk  is one of the highest-traffic English-language news websites in the world. The award-winning Macmillan English Dictionary was first published in 2002 and  is a one-stop reference for English speakers around the world.

As a first step within this agreement, we will now offer on busuu.com a new powerful learning tool for helping you to improve your English skills.

If you are a Premium users you can now practice and improve your English skills through reading the Guardian news articles (updated daily) and search for the definition of unknown words using the integrated dictionary provided by Macmillan.  Then you can post your opinion about the articles and send it for correction to our English native speakers from our community.

Of course you will be also rewarded with juicy busuu-berries for this writing exercise! :-)

This means that on busuu.com you can now improve your English skills by reading the daily news!

These new features are completely online and fully integrated into our existing learning material. You can access the Guardian News Articles via your language area through the “live units” tab.

The Guardian News Articles and Macmillan dictionary are only available for our Premium users so don’t wait and subscribe to our Premium Membership now to improve your language skills much faster!

We are very excited to join forces with such renowned references as The Guardian and Macmillan!  For now, News Articles are only available for our English-learners but we are working on establishing new partnerships for all our languages. So stay tuned, new exciting functions are coming soon!

A look back at 2010 and a warm welcome to 2011!

Last year is already history as 2011 has started with a lot of positive energy! Nevertheless, we believe it’s still worth taking a closer look at all the stuff that happened with busuu.com in 2010.

January

February

  • busuu.com was a finalist in the BBVA Open Talent competition, being the 5th most voted project (with more than 6,000 votes) out of more than 400 participants.
  • We launched our fully interactive Brazilian Portuguese language course, the 6th language in our portfolio
  • We translated our interface into Portuguese to welcome our new Portuguese-speaking users (mainly from Brazil), who enriched our growing community with their positive Latin vibes!
  • We closed our first financing round with an Austrian business angel, enabling us to further strengthen our rapid international growth.

March

  • Our project received more awards as we won the Innovators Award at the CeBIT fair in Germany, one of the most important events for the digital industry in Europe.
  • We launched our new groups feature, letting our users create their own content around topics of their choice; this popular feature now has more than 5,000 groups.
  • We surprised our users with our fun Easter egg hunt – so watch out again this Easter for the golden egg to win some Premium Memberships! ;-)

May

  • busuu.com had its second birthday which we celebrated with more than 450,000 users registered users from over 200 different countries.
  • We were selected as the Red Herring 100 European Winner, a competition that recognises the most innovative companies in Europe.

June

  • We launched our Travel course for all the language basics you need when travelling abroad, available as a PDF for easy use on the go.

July

August

  • We launched our first language game, in which users can challenge each other on their language skills to win juicy busuu berries!
  • We implemented our interactive Russian course, bringing our total offering to 7 different languages and opening the gates to our active Russian community.

September

October

December

Phew…as you can see, 2010 was a very busy, successful year for our small start-up! Thank you again for all of your support and feedback – the above has only been possible with your help!

But watch out for 2011! We have ambitious plans and exciting new features in the pipeline already – so rest assured that we won’t stop until we create the best language learning solution on Earth! :-)

So, we wish our users all the best and are looking forward to a fantastic 2011!

The language Busuu

Did you know where the name of our website busuu.com comes from?

Busuu is actually a language from Cameroon in Africa, spoken by only 8 people!

It was first “discovered” by the French professor of linguistics Roland Breton in the year 1986. According to his and more recent research, the language, with the ISO 639 identifier “bju“, belongs to the Niger-Congo language family or in detail, the so called unclassified Southern Bantoid language family.

The UNESCO included the language Busuu within their highly interesting Interactive Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger. There, the language is classified as “critically endangered“. Below you can see exactly the area, where the language is supposed to be spoken by those 8 people. Just click on the picture and you can find out more about the region which is close to the border between Nigeria and Cameroon.

Who are those 8 people that still speak Busuu? How do they look like? Do they know about busuu.com? ;-) Maybe one day, we will find out…

The UNESCO estimates that there are around 3,000 endangered languages world-wide. This is nearly half of the 6,500 languages spoken around the globe. Since 1950, already 230 languages extinct!

We from busuu.com hope that we can also contribute to preserve some of those endangered languages. Do you remember our campaign to rescue the Silbo Gomero, the nearly extinct whistled language from the Gomera Islands in Spain?

Shortly after the launch of our video, for which we received a Silver Lion in the International Marketing Festival in Cannes, the Silbo Gomero was declared Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity!

We are absolutely convinced that if busuu.com can be used to learn “large languages” such as English or Spanish, our platform could also serve to preserve endangered languages.

So maybe one day, we will make our contribution that you can learn Busuu on busuu.com! :-)