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.
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.
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.