New from our series of Babbel Portraits: here, our users introduce themselves and their experiences learning a language. If you would like to share your experiences with us, then please leave a comment below.
“My wife died in 2009 after 35 years of marriage. She spoke fluent French and Italian, and I always felt stupid and speechless standing next to her when she was chatting away. On my many trips abroad, I had always been able to communicate very well in English. As I never managed to learn other languages in the time I shared with my wife, I thought that I could best confront feelings of sadness and injured vanity by beginning to learn French and Italian intensively with Babbel. Perhaps it is a little too late to start learning at the age of 67, but the old adage “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” has been proven wrong.”
“Ze-bra-strei-fen,” Ismael, Sadeq, Ahmed and Aynob say in chorus while sitting around a table in the language café, before they start animatedly discussing the correct pronunciation: is the “Z” pronounced like an “S?” In Arabic there is no “ts” sound, as pronounced in the German letter “Z.” It’s not an easy phrase to start with, but the four refugees from Syria and Iraq don’t let themselves get discouraged, and repeat it again. “Zebrastreifen.” To ease their introduction to the topic, “Specifics of road transport in Germany,” I wrack my brain for a simple synonym: “Fußgängerüberweg” (pedestrian crossing)! Sure, the word is longer and more complicated, but the students’ motivation energizes me — they’re following my every word to learn as much German as quickly as possible.
At Babbel, diversity is one of our core values, and also one of our biggest strengths. That’s why we feel a responsibility to do our part in improving the situation of the many refugees that have made the difficult journey to Europe in recent months.