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Online Language Learning

How learning a new language fulfils seven of your New Year’s Resolutions

Posted on December 31, 2012 by

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This post in: French (Français), German (Deutsch), Spanish (Español), Italienian (Italiano)

It’s that time of year again: 2013 is on the way and you’re looking back and contemplating the year passed. As you’re taking stock of what worked out and what didn’t quite, you decide to use the New Year as chance to change for the better. New Year’s resolutions last little longer than the euphoric effect of a glass of bubbly. Often you take on too many changes at once. But at babbel.com, we’ve figured out a way you can keep at least seven of your resolutions….

Easy as pie. Learn a new language!

 

Some of the more common New Year’s resolutions of the 21st century:

1. Less stress.

One of the most oft-mentioned resolutions is to reduce daily stress. Now you’re probably imagining, what’s a Babbel language course have to do with a visit to the spa?

Perhaps you’ve heard of the psychological term “flow.” Flow means a feeling of being immersed in and concentrating on an engaging mental activity. From the bodily point of view, flow can be observed in the synchronization of heart rate, breathing and blood pressure.

Studying is often associated with tedium and stress. At babbel.com, the developers knew this from the outset. Their aim when designing the Babbel language courses was to integrate the learning process seamlessly. In other words, the idea was to make it so easy and entertaining that you learn effortlessly, having fun through measurable progress and a sense of achievement.

2. Be healthier

Studying is not the most movement-intensive activity, but it exercises that most vital of muscles, your brain. In a study, Swedish researchers at Lund University reported that learning a foreign language has a direct influence on the growth of your brain. Consistently learning new grammatical structures, acquiring new vocabulary and practicing pronunciation all have a direct impact on our capacity for memory. Other studies show that people who speak two or more languages are affected by dementia only much later in life, if at all.

3. Drink/smoke less

Engaging in a new and exciting hobby distracts you from other habits. With the money you save by not buying two packs of cigarettes a month, you can already pay for a one month course with babbel.com (see item 4).

4. Save money

A language course need not be expensive. Compared to traditional courses, language courses offered online are quite affordable and offer high quality content. But not only that. A new language can be learned through the regular reading of articles and texts in foreign newspapers on the web, or by watching movies in their original version with subtitles. This lets you save money to take a trip, for example, which leads us right to the next resolution…

5. Take a trip

Lack of incentive and motivation can make it difficult to follow through on your resolutions. In many countries you might visit English can get you pretty far, but for others you should definitely have a command of the essential words and phrases in the local language. It’s a great way to get to know new and interesting people.

6. Find a better job

A survey by the German Federal Institute of Education shows that one in three working people needs at least basic skills in a foreign language, and one in every six needs more specialized knowledge. “Depending on the position, additional language skills can always be an advantage when it comes to standing out from other applicants, especially with a slightly unusual language,” says Anne Seeanner, Public Relations Manager at Monster Germany.

Several studies in multilingual regions or countries like Canada and some U.S. states also show that bilingual people earn up to 20% more than their monolingual counterparts.

7. Help others

You also don’t have to learn languages all alone. With language exchanges (“tandems”) people meet each other and share their native languages. It’s that easy with resolutions.

In honor of these many resolutions, babbel.com is offering a New Year’s special. Between the 3rd and 14th of January there is a special year-long subscription price for your preferred language for €48. Just to compare, a standard 3-month subscription costs €33.30.

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The new course on Spanish slang will whip you into shape!

Posted on December 20, 2012 by

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This post in: French (Français), German (Deutsch), Spanish (Español), Italienian (Italiano)

It comes easily, blatantly and directly: slang. It’s already fun in your own native language to put out all the stops, or to find further colloquial synonyms for cash, knackered or broke!

What’s even more exciting is to go on a sort of discovery tour in a language that you’re currently learning, especially when you knock a local’s socks off with your smashing foreign language knowledge.

What rolls off the tongue for you in your own language, may look suddenly silly in a foreign language. So, how do you actually express yourself with a small interjection like: “bloody hell!” when you can’t even find the words for it.

When I was learning Spanish and could say „Estoy tiesa“(I’m broke) instead of “No tengo dinero” (I don’t have any money) for the first time, I was tickled pink. My Spanish friends were also very happy. So, we “hicimos un fiestón” (had a big party) right on the spot, and I learned “¿Tienes un resacón?“ (Do you have a major hangover?) the very next morning. It’s even a little different if you tell your friends: “Anoche lo pasamos bomba y hoy estoy hecha polvo” (Last night we went on a bender, and today I’m knackered), rather than just saying: “Anoche hicimos una fiesta y hoy no estoy muy bien.” (Last night we had a party and today I’m not feeling very well).

Not so simple, is it? For Babbel users it will be a bed of roses with the Spanish colloquial course with topics, such as love, party, the beach and people. The French colloquial course offers categories like youth slang, Verlan or shortened word forms. Keeping this in mind, we have paid special attention to the fun aspect in these courses with authentic dialogues, as well.

Knock yourself out!

Since April 2012, Frauke has worked in the content division at Babbel. As a project manager, she has created, among others, the Spanish colloquial course. Since she first tried out her knowledge of Spanish vocabulary and phrases in Sevilla (Spain) at the age of 20, she knows very well the advantages of being proficient in the ‘true’ local language as fast as possible.

Apart from both of these courses, we have also published the following on 20 December:

German Dialects Course
German Beginner’s Course 6
Portuguese Refresher 1 (new release)
Italian Refresher 1 (new release)
Dutch Beginner’s Course 1

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