Tag Archives: Language of the month

2013: A great year for busuu and you!

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At busuu, we’re a bit like Santa’s elves: we work hard all year round to bring you new language-learning tools and features that help you learn faster and enjoy a better learning experience. In fact, it’s like Christmas every day!

This year, we’ve been especially busy coming up with exciting, fun ideas for the global busuu community. Here’s a round-up of some of the great new products and ways to learn that we introduced just for you in 2013.

New busuu products

We’re always up to date with new trends in language learning. We also find out what you need to help you learn languages anytime, anywhere. The result? Lots of innovative, useful products!

Extra ways to help you learn

As well as our award-winning website and apps for mobiles and tablets on iOS and Android, we want to help you learn in other ways, understand new cultures and stay motivated.

  • We used our blog and social media like Facebook, Twitter and Google+ to share fun facts and learning tips, as well as asking you to get involved!
  • In Language of the Month, we post questions and interesting snippets on one language each month on busuu’s profile on Facebook.
  • Our World of Work series introduces real busuu members who use languages in their jobs.
  • The Language Advent Calendar ran 1-24 December on Facebook, with a new post every day related to Christmas and other winter traditions around the world.
  • We started ‘busuu Go’ on 25 December to help you keep learning and to stick to your New Year’s resolutions going into 2014!

Fun competitions with great prizes

Sometimes, it’s nice to relax and play games — especially if there’s the chance to win a brilliant prize that will help your language learning!

  • In the busuu Easter Egg Hunt (March), we hid 80 Easter eggs throughout our courses. Ten lucky people won 5,000 busuu-berries to spend in our gift shop or to get great discounts.
  • Three talented winners each won a year’s busuu Premium Membership after they entered our Facebook photo competition (April).
  • We gave away a brand new iPhone 5s — complete with full access to all busuu’s mobile apps — in our sweepstake competition on Facebook (October).

busuu milestones in numbers

Since we began in 2008, we have gone from strength to strength to become the world’s biggest online language-learning community. And it’s all down to you — so a huge thank you for being part of busuu!

Helping us to help others

Did you know that our name comes from Busuu, an endangered language in Cameroon, Africa? That’s why, every year, we run a charity campaign in December to raise funds to help provide education for children in that region.

2013 was no different, as you continued learning to earn millions of busuu-berries that we converted into much-needed supplies to send to schools in Cameroon. Our Learn2Help campaign ran 1-20 December and you raised an astonishing 50 million busuu-berries!

What’s next in 2014?

Phew! Can you believe we managed all that in just one year? What was your favourite busuu experience or product in 2013? Which helped you most in learning a new language (or two)? Let us know in the comments and stay tuned for more exciting news in 2014!

 

It’s Language of the Month time again!

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What did you think of our facts and fun questions about English on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ for our Language of the Month in October? Here’s a taste of what we talked about, as well as news of a challenging language for November!

Ask a native speaker

Heather, the busuu team’s native English speaker, was available for a live chat on Facebook to answer any questions you had. Here’s a selection of the best queries:

  • There’s a verse in Bob Dylan’s song, ‘Like a rolling stone’, that says: “You shouldn’t let other people get your kicks for you.” What does “kicks for you” mean in this case? (Alberto C Alberto)
  • What’s the most important tip you can offer adult learners? (Hiba Howard Lafoui)
  • Is there a specific word for riding the train and not paying for a ticket, like in Arabic and German (schwarzfahren)? (Simo Benziane)

Thank you to everyone who got involved! To read more questions and find out Heather’s answers, visit Facebook.

Proverbs that keep you healthy

We asked you to tell us what keeps the doctor away according to a well-known English saying. Reader Céré Lalounette replied with the correct answer in a funny rhyme: “An apple a day keeps the doctor away, but if the doctor is cute, forget the fruit!”

Differences within English

A big challenge for language learners is the difference between British and American English. In the USA, they say ‘candy’, whereas ‘sweets’ is used in the UK. We asked you what word you use and fan Yannick Bédouret sent us a video (in French) about ‘bonbons’.

Real tongue twisters

We gave you an example of a long one-syllable word in English – ‘screeched’ – and reader Gonzalez Sanchez Nicolas replied with lots of other examples like ‘scratched’, ‘scrounged’, ‘scrunched’ and ‘stretched’.

He also sent us some very long English words, which are extremely hard to say! They include:

  • antidisestablishmentarianism – opposition to the disestablishment of the Church of England (28 letters)
  • floccinaucinihilipilification – the estimation of something as worthless (29 letters)
  • pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis – a supposed lung disease (45 letters)

Don’t worry, these don’t appear in busuu’s Learning Units!

Language of the Month in November

The next language that we’ll explore will be a real challenge because it uses a different writing system to English. About 125 million people speak this East Asian language, which became more popular to learn from the 1980s onwards.

Have you guessed? Yes, it’s Japanese! We will take a look at Japanese culture, essential words and phrases, and provide tips on how to write Japanese characters. Learn about Japanese with busuu on Facebook, Twitter or Google+. 次回もお楽しみに!


 

What’s October’s Language of the Month?

Did you take part in our Language of the Month in September, when we posted lots of fun, interesting facts about Russian on Facebook, Twitter and Google+? Find out what we talked about and read on to discover October’s language!

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Russian-language culture

There were lots of interesting discussions about Russian life. We asked about the shapka-ushanka hat and Alsu Zaynutdinova told us that she only used to see it when she was a child, so it’s not very popular nowadays.

Have you heard of the brilliant Russian cartoon, ‘Cheburashka and Crocodile Gena’? Reader Santos Andrade Evandro said that he would like it to be transmitted on TV in Brazil. Maybe it will happen, Santos!

Ask a native speaker

Did you have a question about Russian? Language expert Maria was available on Facebook for one hour to help fans with their queries. Here are a few of the highlights.

  • Oula Akiki asked: “What is the best way to start learning Russian? What should we learn first?”
  • Maria told Michael Webb that reading, talking and writing every day are very important.
  • Lindsey Sampson wants to improve her listening skills. Maria recommended a useful book with short recorded dialogues.

How did Maria answer and what tips did she provide? Discover what she said on our special Facebook post!

Words and proverbs

Do you know what ‘Na vkus i cvet – tovarisha net‘ means? Vadim Davydov told us it’s a proverb that says everyone has different tastes and no two people are the same. Anush Nakhshikyan and Tanya Ivanchenko agreed – thanks everyone!

In our post on Facebook, did you spot the mistake the speaker makes? Mikael Marcondes de Oliveira told us about another common error when he explained that the English word ‘magazine’ sounds very similar to the Russian word for ‘shop’, which is ‘магазин’.

We also posted an interesting fact about ‘спасибо’, the Russian word for ‘thank you’. Fan Arsen Hayrapetya told us that, in the Armenian language, ‘thank you’ is very hard to pronounce and literally means ‘to wish that a person receives grace’.

Language of the Month in October

The next tongue that we will delve into is an official language in many countries, including the UK, USA and Australia. It’s possibly the most widely spoken language in the world, if you combine native and non-native speakers.

Have you guessed? That’s right, it’s English! This language has several variations, so we’ll explore some of the differences and talk about a few tricky grammar rules. Learn about English with busuu on Facebook, Twitter or Google+. See you soon!

What’s our next Language of the Month?

Did you get involved with our Language of the Month in August? If so, you will have learned lots of fun facts about German on Facebook, Twitter and Google+. Read the highlights here and then find out which language we’ll be exploring in September!

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Ask a native speaker

This month, native speaker Thomas was available on Facebook for one hour to answer any questions you had about the German language. Here are some of the best ones.

  • Madhu Bala asked: “Where can I find German books for beginners online?”
  • Lorena Gutierrez had an excellent grammar question about the German cases and how they affect der, die and das.
  • Julian MejiaI asked: “How can I make sure that, over time, I don’t forget all the languages I know?”

How did Thomas answer? Discover what he said on our special Facebook post!

Food word fun

Do you know what Sahne, Obers and Rahm have in common? They all mean ‘cream’ in different German-speaking countries, including Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

We also posted a picture of a mystery food item and our Facebook followers correctly identified it as a Lebkuchenherz (gingerbread heart). Fan Renate Buescher even told us their significance:

“The Lebkuchenherz can be found at any fair. The bigger the heart, the greater the affection of the giver. As children, we would beg to receive a Lebkuchenherz.” Thank you, Renate!

Famous buildings

Our photo of two well-known German landmarks was no match for busuu’s fans! They quickly recognised Cologne Cathedral (Kölner Dom) and the city’s elegant railway bridge over the Rhine River.

Facebook follower Amandine Adelaïde shared some great facts about the cathedral – such as when it was built and its architecture style – and the Hohenzollern Bridge. Read what she said in French. Thanks, Amandine!

Language of the Month in September

Next month, we will be exploring a language from a country that’s known for its caviare, wooden dolls and a very special dance. Yes, we’ll be travelling through Russian and learning a new alphabet!

This Slavic language is widely spoken in 9 countries. With 144 million native speakers, it’s also Europe’s largest native language. Learn about Russian with busuu on Facebook, Twitter or Google+. До ск орой встречи!

Discover our next Language of the Month!

What did you learn from our first Language of the Month?

Throughout July, we posted fun facts about Spanish on Facebook, Twitter and Google+. Here are some of the highlights, as well as which language we’ll be focusing on in August!

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Words and phrases

‘Eres la leche’ is an expression used in Spain that sounds funny if translated literally (‘You are the milk’). What it actually means is ‘You’re amazing’, as lots of people correctly said.

False friends are words that sound similar to ones in your native language, but have a different meaning. ‘Estoy embarazado/a’ sounds just like ‘I’m embarrassed’, but it means ‘I’m pregnant’!

What do ‘autobús’, ‘camión’ and ‘guaguas’ have in common? They all mean ‘bus’ in different parts of the Spanish-speaking worldFind out which words our members suggested.

 

Cultural aspects

Many of you identified our mystery landmark as Peru’s Machu Picchu, a 15th-century Inca site. Claudia Elgueta Beltrán Mayssa, a busuu.com fan, even shared a music video featuring Machu Picchu. Great link, Claudia!

Our post about the Mexican sauce called ‘mole (from Nahuatl ‘molli’) was also popular. Lots of busuu.com members took part in naming different types of mole. Fan Anke Baurott offered to help anyone looking for Mexican recipes. Thanks, Anke!

Language of the Month in August

Following the success of our Spanish month, we will be taking a closer look at German in August. It’s an official or dominant language in 7 countries (can you name them all?) and has around 90 million native speakers.

So if you’d like to tell everyone how great Oktoberfest is, discover some tasty delicacies or see beautiful sights in German-speaking countries, follow busuu.com on FacebookTwitter and Google+. Bis bald!