Tag Archives: english

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The busuu.com Language Barometer 2012

Key trends of language learning point towards online language learning

busuu.com is on a quest to define the future key trends of language learning. In collaboration with IE Business School, a leading postgraduate education institution, we present: The busuu.com Language Barometer 2012! 

The busuu.com Language Barometer 2012

More than 45,000 busuu.com users from 230 different countries responded to our survey, held at the beginning of March 2012. Let’s have a look at our users’ preferred methods for improving their language skills, what encourages or hampers their learning process and many more exciting outcomes!

The future of language learning relies on online methods!

With 23% of the vote, our community defines language courses abroad as the most efficient learning method. No wonder, who wouldn’t prefer to have a nice holiday abroad whilst simultaneously improving language skills? ;-)

Web 2.0 platforms such as busuu.com are a close second, with 20% preferring to study languages through these interactive online communities. Our users even found this method more efficient than learning with a personal teacher (15%)!

The survey clearly shows that language learners regard grammar books and language classes as less attractive forms of learning. Only 8% of our users like to learn languages in a classroom, and books and CD-ROMS are considered the most efficient method by a mere 6% and 3% respectively.

Interestingly, mobile learning is not yet a popular option for learning languages. Only 2% identified this method as most efficient for them. We are curious as to how this perception of mobile applications will change in the future.

 The busuu.com Language Barometer 2012

63% of our users believe that combining different learning methods will be most important in the future. Those who opted for a single method clearly preferred online learning (27%). Only 6% rely on traditional methods and 4% believe that mobile learning will be important for future language learning.

The busuu.com Language Barometer 2012

Flexibility and direct contact with native speakers are the key advantages of online learning

35% of our users who preferred online learning value this method for its flexibility which allows them to learn whenever and wherever they want. Almost a quarter of the respondents learn languages online in order to learn with native speakers. 16% believe that this method is efficient and 15% learn online because it’s an economical way to learn languages.

The busuu.com Language Barometer 2012

How much money do people spend over their lifetime on language learning?

To keep it short and simple: a lot! The lifetime average spending of our users on language learning is approximately 740 Euros (975 USD). More than 17% of our users have spent more than 1,000 EUR (1,300 USD) in language learning over time.

Those who decide to invest in language learning have a good reason to do so: 78% of our users believe that foreign language skills will improve their career prospects and 72% are confident that the ability to speak a foreign language will directly improve their financial situation.

Why do people learn languages?

The reasons that motivate people to learn a new language have certainly changed in recent years. The main reasons for our users to take up language learning are travelling (46.5%), fun (37.6%) and business (37.1%). What is also interesting is the fact that 30% of our users learn languages for mental training.

 busuu.com Language Barometer 2012

What makes learning a language difficult?

Let’s see what our users have to say about the challenges of language learning: 23% think they don’t have enough time to learn languages. 19% believe that not having access to native speakers slows down their learning process and 14% have trouble staying motivated. No wonder over 15 million users learn languages with busuu.com, where these main challenges are tackled right away!

busuu.com Language Barometer 2012

What is the language of the future?

An impressive 51% of our users agree that English will be the language of the future! The second most voted language is Chinese with 22% and Spanish comes in third place with 7%. The rest of our users are split between languages such as Russian, Arabic, German, Japanese and others.

Concerning the topic of which language children should learn, English and Chinese are still the top choice with 40% and 11% respectively. However, the other main Western languages follow closely behind: 11% vote for Spanish, 10% for French and 8% for German.

Who learns languages on busuu.com?

Users on busuu.com cover all age ranges: Almost two thirds of our users are between 14 and 35 years old. 32% are between 36 and 60 years and a notable 6% of our users are older than 60! Congratulations to the so-called “silver surfers” for taking up the trend of online language learning!

Interestingly, an impressive 58% have a university degree and 23% have an MBA or a PhD.

The busuu.com Language Barometer 2012

This educational background is also represented in the current activity of our language students. 30% are studying and 41% are working either for a company or as entrepreneurs or freelancers. As already indicated by the age ranges, 6% of our users are retired.

The busuu.com Language Barometer 2012 

What does this mean for the future of language learning?

To sum up, people mainly learn languages for travelling, entertainment and business. However, the ability to speak different languages is also seen as very beneficial for opening opportunities for career progression and financial stability.

The numbers certainly show that, whether used in combination with other learning methods, or as an interesting alternative, online learning is the tool of the future. People look for a flexible and interactive tool that offers them direct access to native speakers. We’re glad to be on the right track with our language learning solution!

Many thanks to all of you who took part in this survey! We look forward to further discussing our results about the future trends of language learning with you in the comment section below!

125

Watch out for false friends when learning foreign languages!

Everybody knows them and everybody has been tricked by them when speaking a foreign language: false friends. These sneaky little expressions come in disguise, appearing to be an obvious translation from our mother tongue when really their meaning is completely different.

So, get your imagination going and try to work out which false friend caused confusion in this situation:

 False Friends

Our guess is that the customer is a German lady in an English restaurant who didn’t get her order right. Even though English and German have a lot in common, often the similarity of words can be misleading. For example the German word “bekommen” resembles strongly the English word “become” but actually means something slightly different…

So let’s assume this German lady said: “I would like to become a steak, please” – would you not look as bewildered as the waiter? This is a classic example of a German false friend in English.

But what exactly are false friends and why do they occur?

False friends, or faux amis in French, are words that sound similar but have different meanings. Sticking to our example, you will have guessed already that the German word “bekommen” doesn’t actually translate as “to become” but as “to get”. Since German and English are both Germanic languages, both verbs derive from the Proto-Germanic word “bikweman” which means “to get something”. In Old English it changed its meaning, while in German it stayed the same. So even though these two words have the same linguistic historical origin, “become” and “bekommen” are no longer interchangeable.

Let’s have a look at another example: Imagine an English woman is going out with a Spanish man. One day the English woman spills her coffee all over her Spanish boyfriend. When she tells her boyfriend “Estoy embarazada”, she might think she is telling him that she is embarrassed, but on seeing the look of shock on his face she realises she has said something completely different! No, she has not told him that she feels ashamed of what she has done, she has actually told him that she is pregnant!

To help you avoid this kind of problem we have selected a few typical false friends that could cause you trouble:

English –> German

English word German Translation False friend False friend translation
concurrence
ankle
café
happen
Einverständnis
Fußknöchel
small restaurant
geschehen
Konkurrenz
Enkel
Kaffee
Happen
competition
grandchild
coffee
snack

 

Spanish –> English

Spanish word English Translation False friend False friend translation
asilo
raro/rara
boda
home for senior citizens
strange
wedding
asylum
rare
body
manicomio
especial
cuerpo

 

Portuguese –> English

Portuguese word English Translation False friend False friend translation
palazzo
compromisso
costume
building
commitment
habit
palace
compromise
costume
reggia
chegar a um termo comum
traje típico

In the end, being tricked by a false friend might turn into a funny anecdote you end up laughing about. Tell us your own anecdote about “making false friends” and help us extend our list!

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New Grammar Guides on busuu.com

We are proud to announce that we are strengthening our partnership with PONS. In addition to our existing Grammar Guides, we are offering new Spanish and English Grammar Guides on busuu.com!

busuu.comPONS

The PONS Grammar Guides for English are now available for Portuguese and Russian native speakers, and we are also now offering PONS Grammar Guides for Spanish for Italian and French native speakers. With these guides you have access to detailed grammar explanations that are directly linked to our existing grammar units.

You should also know that your grammar learning is in the hands of professionals: PONS has been developing language learning material and dictionaries for over 30 years and forms part of the publishing house Klett Group, one of Europe’s largest providers of educational services and supplies. We are very proud to be able to offer you the expertise of PONS and thus further enhance your language learning experience on busuu.com.

From now on, by clicking on the new PONS button within the grammar units you will receive detailed explanations about a specific grammar topic.

Grammar Guide

You can also access your Grammar Guide directly by clicking on the PONS symbol on your homepage or in your course area. This way you can choose which topic you would like to learn, or simply revise earlier lessons. The Grammar Guide covers important topics such as tenses, sentence structure, phrasal verbs, etc.

Grammar Guide

And we saved the best part for last! With our back-to-school promotion, you will automatically get a 15% discount on your Grammar Guide by using the promotion code SEP2011 when upgrading your account – only valid until the end of this month.

So Premium Members Premium Crown can access the Grammar Guide for only 6.79 EUR and free members will only pay 8.49 EUR until the end of September 2011.

Have a look at the grammar guides that are available in your language and brush up on your grammar skills now!

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Are you still looking for the perfect Christmas present?

Christmas is coming soon and you are still searching for the perfect Christmas present?

For sure some of your friends are currently learning a new language and would also love to improve their skills with busuu.com!

Why don´t you surprise them with a 3 months premium language course as a Christmas present?

Christmas garden

You just have to go to our Christmas voucher page and purchase the gift online. Then your friends will receive an email (on the day you decide) and you can even print out a Christmas Gift Card to put it under the Christmas tree! As soon as they log on to busuu.com, they will automatically become a Premium Member for 3 months!

We are sure that your friends will love this very special Christmas presentso get your Christmas gift here!

We wish you all a Merry Christmas in advance, and enjoy language learning with busuu.com!

PS: Of course, you can also give this Christmas present to yourself! ;-)

 

50

Connect busuu.com with facebook!

We are glad to announce that you can now connect your busuu.com account with your facebook account!

Facebook

You probably all know facebook – with more than 300 million users, this website is the largest social network worldwide. Once you register for free you can upload photos, add friends and thereby stay connected with people from all over the world.

Now you can connect your busuu-account with your facebook-account:

1. Log into your busuu.com account with your facebook account

All you need to do is to connect your busuu.com and facebook account. The process is very easy – next time you log on to busuu.com simply click on the new button on our homepage: F_connect

2. Share your learning progress with your facebook friends.

Additionally, you have the option to share your learning progress with all your friends on facebook! Every time you earn new busuu-berries, receive stars or badges, you can share this directly on your facebook wall with your facebook friends. Just click on the new button F_share next to your busuu-berry counter.

We hope that you like this new feature and enjoy sharing your language progress with your friends on facebook.

PS: You can also become a fan of busuu.com on facebook!