The Babbel Blog

language learning in the digital age

Learn at your own risk!

Posted on October 15, 2013 by

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

Don’t take this course if you’re hungry!!!!!

Or as a customer of babbel commented on completion of our recently released Spanish course:

“Congratulations!!!!! Your section on Food in Spain and Latin America is outstanding. Very well constructed, interesting and helpful in understanding food & culture. Only negative…as I study I become hungry.”

So before you set off on this culinary journey through Andalusia, Valencia or Mexico, it would be advisable to fill your refrigerator with a good selection of savoury and sweet dishes. With each new vocabulary question you will get cravings for a different culinary delight. Before you head off to Galicia, buy yourself some fish or sea food. Stock up on juicy steaks for the lesson on Argentina. Check your supplies of blackberries, custard apples, and papayas, to get a bit of a feel for how incredibly delicious Chile’s freshly squeezed juices are.

Scallops in a special white wine sauce: a Galician starter

 

Please note, you’d do best to get hold of a cookbook! This course contains no recipes, rather it is a culinary journey through some of the regions of Spain and Latin America. Among other things, you get an idea of what varieties of coffee there are and what dishes to cook for starter, main course or dessert. So along your journey you won’t just be learning gastronomic vocabulary, but you will gain a cultural insight into the diverse cuisine of the Spanish-speaking world.

Hot chocolate with fried pastries is a popular hangover-cure throughout Spain.

 

So, if you want to know how tortilla in Spain differs from tortilla in Mexico, or you want to get to know the shellfish a bit better, which in Chile is called jaiba but in Spain is known as cangrejo then eat your fill and click here: “Food in Spain and Latin America

About the blogger: Frauke is, among other things, content project manager for Spanish and has tried the varied menus on her travels through the Spanish-speaking world. Her mouth always starts watering when she thinks back to the Chilean hot dogs, Andalusian tapas or Castilian chickpea stews.

Click here to go to the course

 

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

¡Buenos días, vacaciones! What makes learning with our interactive eBook different?

Posted on August 15, 2012 by

Following on the tails of “Learn German: Beginner’s Course 1″ there’s now “Learn Spanish: Beginner’s Course 1,” the Spanish iBook for iPad. If you’re curious, we roughly described what an eBook actually is and its (interactive) possibilities here.

Dedicated Babbel users who already study with the online courses and have the iPhone/iPad or Android app might wonder: Why yet another way to learn (that’ll cost extra)?

Fact is, with this electronic text book, the Babbel editorial team has cooked up yet another, uniquely entertaining and effective way to learn. In the introduction of the book “complementary learning” is mentioned, and it’s true: The Babbel eBook brings the online courses’ rigorousness of content together with the convenient on-the-go nature of the apps. It uses known Babbel content—which from a didactic point of view is of course totally “Babbel”—but it’s not quite the same. Like a classic, bound textbook (that many of our users secretly or openly are jonesing for) the comprehensive 77-page eBook is put together in a linear fashion, divided into five lessons with subchapters.

The Babbel eBook is more closely packed in with material than the online courses. New vocabulary and phrases are introduced with audio dialogues and so-called “Keywords” are linked to the glossary and quizzed with “study cards” – good old-fashioned flashcards on digital index cards – right at the end. Users can even create their own flashcards with the “highlight” feature.

Grammar directly follows the beginning dialogue and – thanks to the practical explanations – never comes off as dry. But whether it’s about grammar or vocabulary, the spirited commentaries on language application, meaning and local use (in Spain or Latin America, accordingly) and the immediate quizzing of what’s just been learned that make for a positive learning experience. Charts visualize language structure while “slide shows” at the end of the lesson showcase local cultures.

How do I greet people in Spain? What kind of public transportation possibilities await me in Chile? What’s up in Bolivia? How do they celebrate birthdays in Mexico? And what’s the Day of the Dead all about? The Babbel eBook answers all these and many more questions in an appealing way.

All in all we’re feeling pretty good about our product. We think that anyone picking up the book in the iBookstore for the introductory price of 6.99 Euros is making a very sensible investment.

Native English speakers who live in or are planning to travel to the Spanish-speaking world and would like to immerse themselves in these regions, this textbook is highly recommended as the key to opening the door to their language and culture! We wish you all muchísima suerte with Spanish!

Get Started with Spanish

Posted on August 18, 2009 by

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Beginners in Spanish can finally say gracias. There is now a full, Online Course on Babbel.com that will teach you all the basics you need to get by anywhere in the Spanish-speaking world,  from Barcelona to Santiago to downtown Los Angeles. Developed from proven print materials and adapted for the internet with Babbel.com’s consistent focus on fun and accessibility, “Spanish – Get Started” makes for one of the more effective ways to learn Spanish around — online or off.

The course is a one-time price of 19 Euros / 24 US Dollars, but try out an entire introductory Tutorial for free to get a taste here.

“Spanish – Get Started” is the first full Online Course available on Babbel for speakers of English. There is also a full Spanish course available for German speakers.

First Premium Course On Babbel

Posted on April 7, 2009 by

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We’re excited to announce that we’ve just released a full introductory Spanish course for native speakers of German. The German title of the course is “Spanisch – Der leichte Einstieg” (Spanish – the easy start). Made up of twenty “Tutorials,” it offers a compact and entertaining introduction to the language in the Babbel-style, meaning a unique combination of multi-media fill-in-the-blanks, writing exercises and overall intuitive language learning. This is our first foray into Premium content: for a one-time fee of 19 euros, users can get a 20-part course that packs in a good deal of the linguistic equipment one would need for the next trip without taking up a centimeter of suitcase! A trial of the first Tutorial to get a taste of the entire course is free and non-binding.

For this premium course, we’ve teamed up with renowned German publisher Hueber. Based on Hueber’s book “Spanisch Ganz Leicht in 20 Tagen” (Spanish Made Easy in 20 Days) by Christoph Kehr, “Spanisch – Der leichte Einstieg” is just the beginning of a series of cooperations with different publishers. The rest of Babbel’s content, meanwhile, the vocabulary and writing exercises, as well as access to the website’s 250,000-strong online community, will remain free as always.

Martes trece, bad luck in Spanish

Posted on January 13, 2009 by

Babbel.com is closing in on its first anniversary on Thursday, the 15th, when we will be launching an ‘Inside Babbel’ series chronicling a bit of the goings-on behind the scenes at the language-learning website. But we thought in the meanwhile we’d give you the heads-up on a slightly older anniversary today, which would be the biblical confusion of languages at the Tower of Babel, which ostensibly happened on a Tuesday, the 13th.

While Anglo-Saxon cultures tend to avoid unnecessary travel and watch their backs on Friday the 13th, in Spain, Latin America and Greece Tuesday is the day to look out for. As Martes (Tuesday) in Spanish is linguistically linked with Mars, the god of war and violence, its combination with number 13, long a bad luck número, is almost too much for some to take. According to wikipedia, there’s actually a condition called Trezidavomartifobia, a paralyzing phobia of Tuesday the 13th.

Language is a human right: A printable English primer for US Spanish-speakers

Posted on November 18, 2008 by

In all the hullaballoo lately about the democratization of foreign language education through the internet, one issue that tends to get left by the wayside is: What happens if you want – or really need – to learn a language but don’t have access to a computer?

Under the banner of “Language is a Human Right”, the non-profit Fluenz.org, based in Hollywood, CA, has developed “El Book”, a free primer for US Spanish-speaking immigrants with absolutely no prior knowledge of the language on the bare rudiments of English. A friendly, straight-forwardly designed lesson in black-and-white printable PDF with an accompanying (though not essential) set of audio files – easily burned onto a CD – is aimed not directly at the presumed student, but rather at NGOs, churches, local and state governments who could do the duty of transferring the material to analogue and distributing it to those who would use it.

How do you say “body language” in Spanish? Debate does not provide the answer

Posted on October 8, 2008 by


Maybe too cowed to weed out the actual message(s) from last night’s American presidential debate, the media’s now wringing their hands over “body language“. Once again, more than what Senators Barack Obama and John McCain said, it’s how they said it. A nice bear hug at the end deflected the damage of McCain pointing and referring to Obama as “that one,” or Obama audibly sighing and shaking his head.

Paralanguage — tone and vocal nuance — was just as crucial. Obama apparently made a big boo-boo and came off as a bit alienating by eschewing a middle American twang and saying ‘Pahk-istan’ and ‘Tahl-iban’. The winner? More or less consensus is: if we’re speaking in body language, it was Obama. But if we’re speaking in paralanguage, McCain is ooooo-one for ZEEE-ro.

One language they did NOT speak in — or about — in last night’s debate, however, was Spanish. (more…)