The Babbel Blog

language learning in the digital age

Spoiled for choice? Babbel for Android, iOS – and Kindle

Posted on September 10, 2012 by

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Aishah El Muntasser does not only write blog posts for Babbel. For over a year she has been answering our customers’ questions quite tirelessly. In order to be able to really help she insists on trying all the new stuff herself. Which sometimes means jumping in at the deep end. Read her latest report here:

I’m in my mid-thirties and hopelessly old-fashioned. I recently had an iPad in my hand for the first time in my life—and the Babbel iBook “Learn Spanish: Beginner’s Course 1” was to blame for that. I was impressed. I hadn’t completely taken in this new experience when yet another device was plopped down in front of me: a Kindle, with the new eBook “Learn German: Beginner’s Course 1”. I was again impressed but confused: which one was better? So-called multiple device users would never ask themselves that question. For them it’s the most normal thing in the world to own multiple mobile devices.

Fortunately there are several people on the Babbel team whose life is instinctively tech-inclined. Anne, for example, has an iPad and a Kindle and takes both (!) along with her on vacation. So I asked her, “what exactly is the difference?”

I personally don’t see any big difference, except that the Kindle (Touch) is smaller, not so colorful and “interactive”, which means that there isn’t happening that much. Both have highlighting and note-taking features, and both books introduce essential vocabulary words in conversational situations. Both also have explanations and examples of grammar, as well as review sessions with answer keys.

Anne clues me in that the Kindle doesn’t light up as much, so eats much less energy and rarely needs to be charged. Also the display doesn’t reflect in the sun. Both of these aspects make Kindle the winner for a trip to sunny places. She takes the Kindle Touch from my hand and in the first moment awkwardly swipes around the screen, murmuring that hers is the kind with a keyboard. And then she makes the thing seem so appealing to me that I want to have one too. But just the simple Kindle, I’ll stay old-fashioned.

It’s not a matter of either-or, but rather play-it-by-ear: what does the situation call for, format and handling-wise? Learning vocabulary with an Android telephone on the bus, doing interactive grammar exercises on the couch with an iPad, or flipping through a Kindle book on the beach? After iPhone/iPod, iPad and Android, Kindle is now the fourth possibility to learn with Babbel on-the-go. The Babbel eBook for Kindle is the closest among them to a classic text book.

And for those of you who don’t want to have anything to do with any of it, you can just do the online courses. You can… but don’t have to choose.

Read this post in German (Deutsch), Spanish (Español), French (Français), Italian (Italiano)

 

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Liebe Deutsche, liebes Denglish: Germany named love destination for “expats”

Posted on December 18, 2008 by

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Reuters Africa picked up on a little tidbit from a dubiously scientific survey by HSBC International Bank on the “expatriate experience abroad”: Apparently Germany is the number one country in the world for expats to find “love”, with a quarter (24%) of expats located in Germany marrying a local. Germany also came out as the spot where most expatriates (75%, according to the survey) “learned” the language of the host country.

Now, I say dubiously scientific here because I’ve always been suspicious of this whole “expatriate” idea. Not to mention its cutesy shortened form, “expat”. What makes an expat an expat, rather than an immigrant (or shall we say, to make it equallly cute, an “immy”)? HSBC did not set out to define, among the 2,155 persons they surveyed, what an “expatriate” was other than “an individual who relocates to another country”.
(more…)

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Opening up your ears and letting it make sense: Interview with Berlin novelist Anna Winger

Posted on November 9, 2008 by

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Anna Winger, novelist, photographer, mother and all-around Berlin renaissance woman, talked to Babbel Blog about her recent novel “This Must be the Place”, writing between languages, multi-lingual motherhood, and her new US National Public Radio series “Berlin Stories”. She will be doing a live reading at 9:30 pm on November 26th at Kaffee Burger in Berlin.

Click here to hear the interview with Anna Winger – (Right click to download mp3).

Babbel Blog: You wrote a novel called “This Must be the Place” which came out in August of 2008. The book takes place in Berlin, and has two main characters: Hope, an American, and Walter, a German. Could you briefly describe their relationship with each other and what part the German and English languages played?

Hope and Walter are neighbors in the same building in Charlottenburg, they have no prior knowledge of each other before they meet in the elevator of their building. I guess I chose specifically these two characters, one who is a German, who kind of lives a fantasy of the United States in his mind, so he has this idea of America, he fantasizes about going back to live in America –he lived there once when he was young and actually had an American mother who died – so he has this fantasy idea of America in his imagination, and then an American character who has never really been outside of the United States so she has never seen the US from the outside before. She doesn’t speak any other language and it’s really her first time being alone in a foreign country, so the German language is very opaque for her, it sort of increases her sense of isolation that she can’t understand even basic information. (more…)

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