The Babbel Blog

Online Language Learning

Full English Grammar Course Online

Posted on July 21, 2009 by

English Grammar - Practise the BasicsEconomies may grow or contract, travel may fluctuate or decline, but one thing seems to stay constant around the world: People want to learn English. Their motivation varies. It may be a matter of career, an aching to sing along with current music, or just the desire to engage in an international dialogue that, like it or not, is often going on in what has become a de facto lingua franca. But learning English is still tough, and let’s face it, can be kind of boring – especially when it comes to sorting out the finer points of speaking correctly.

But we at Babbel.com have perhaps done the impossible: we’ve made learning English grammar fun. Based on tried-and-true materials by the respected British publisher Collins, we’ve created a full, interactive online course that is not only modern and effective, but virtually pain-free. “English Grammar: Practise the Basics” uses our unique, intuitive and entertaining approach to help those still in the early stages to build their skills and confidence – at their own pace, without the expected hair-tearing or embarrassment.

We also understand that often a major discouragement for learners is the cost of quality teaching. That’s why we’re offering access to the course – currently made up of 20 tutorials and constantly growing. It’s available anywhere, anytime, and can be canceled whenever. There’s an introductory trial tutorial, “This or That,” for free, and then a 20-day money-back guarantee. Click here, register easily if you haven’t already – don’t forget to set your learning language to English – and try out the free preview. For our press release, click here.

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Of words, wudz, dialects and accents: The “man of a thousand voices” speaks in tongues

Posted on October 6, 2008 by

Actor/dialect coach Robert Easton as the Klingon Judge in Star Trek VI


Click here to hear the interview with the dialect coach Robert Easton (mp3 – right click to download)

Robert Easton has been working in Hollywood and all over the world for over 42 years “strengthening dialects” and “curing accents”. Ever wonder how Al Pacino got his Cuban on in “Scarface” or how Mel Gibson learned to “talk American”? He’s the man, and Babbel Blog caught up with him to talk to him about accents, regionalities, linguistic politics and … the Oscars. Listen here for just a smattering of the countless flawless accents and dialects Easton can reproduce, from Elizabethan to Punjabi to Sicilian to Philadelphian.

Babbel Blog: So they call you the “dialect doctor”. What’s the difference between an accent and a dialect?
Robert Easton: That’s a very interesting question. Some people use them almost interchangeably. If we’re going to be purists, which I tend to be, dialect tends to be a variety of a language which differs from the so-called standard language in three ways. One, obviously the pronunciation is different, but second of all, the vocabulary is different, and third of all the grammar is different.

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Save an endangered word, redefine the dictionary

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I’ve always found it curious that the Americans have no centralized institution which establishes the end-all be-all of language. I mean, something along the lines of the German Rechtschreibungen, grammars that all of which incorporated a rather catastrophic spelling reform mandated by an official agreement between German-speaking countries in 1996. Or the Real Academia Española (the Royal Spanish Academy) which purports to maintain propriety, elegance, and purity in the Spanish language, and consistently has conferences all over Spain and Latin America deliberating which words are worthy of inclusion. The North American language, however, is a bit federated, you could say… if not Balkanized.

For the Brits, one of the closest things to language royalty – along with Oxford’s, of course – would be Collins’ Dictionary, which has recently gotten positively ruthless in cutting words it deems obsolete. The Times along with other linguistic luminaries have taken up the case to save “endangered” words from institutional oblivion, by using them in public, and so reviving them.

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