The Babbel Blog

language learning in the digital age

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

Posted on December 20, 2012 by

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

New Italian idioms course spices up your Babbel lessons

Posted on November 29, 2012 by

This post in : German (Deutsch), Francais (French), Spanish (Español), Italian (Italiano)­­

"avere gli occhi foderati di prosciutto"There’s almost no one who’s been with Babbel as long as Barbara. Around five years ago, the Italian translator and Finnish studies specialist started in content and support (at that time still as a student). As of this year, she’s an integral and essential part of our content team. Barbara is always unpacking yet another new language and knows what it means to have eyes lined with ham.

 

 

We use language to convey our thoughts and describe what we see. But the fact that we employ metaphors and images to do so is something we don’t always realize. You could say, “I already know the ropes,” but what ropes are those?  Idioms are deeply embedded in our consciousness, and we often take them at face value. But idioms give spice to language. They express what we mean, short and sweet, and depending on the language, can bring some of the more absurd images to mind…

That we at Babbel in particular can warm to such a theme is obvious: We’ve already published special courses for French, Spanish, Portuguese, English and Spanish “idioms.”  So, fresh out of the oven, here comes the new course on Italian idioms. Now you can find out what the Italians mean when they say “to arrive at the bean” (“capitare a fagiolo“), “to pretend to have a trader’s ears” (“fare orecchie da mercanti“), or to get two birds with a broad bean (“prendere due piccioni con una fava“).

Fundamentally, Babbel thinks important for you to commit phrases you’ve learned to long-term memory, and the intelligent review manager and audio-visual presentation of idioms help with that. But it’s certainly not always easy for us to find the right images, especially for things like, “It’s not flour from your sack” (“non è farina del tuo sacco“, which in English would be “it’s not your own work”) or “to have eyes lined with ham” (“avere gli occhi foderati di prosciutto“, in English “to stick one’s head in the sand”).

That was the challenge that we on the Babbel content team were happy to take on, though not without a good dose of humor: Why not bring the idioms to life ourselves? And so we actually put ham on our eyes and held a sack of flour in our hands for the camera, under the amused and perhaps envious gaze of the rest of the Babbel crew, who nevertheless must’ve gotten a sense of how fun our jobs can be.

If you’re “just dying” (meaning, you can’t wait) to try out this course, follow this link: We hope you “in bocca al lupo!“—no, not get in the wolf’s mouth, but break a leg!

Further new courses also are available for:

French: Refresher course 2
Swedish: Numbers
Portuguese: Grammar