The Babbel Blog

language learning in the digital age

Portrait : Pierre, 62 years of learning languages

Posted on September 2, 2015 by

Portrait

Today we bring you another installment in our series portraying Babbel users – a snapshot of their lives and their reasons for learning a new language. If you would like to share your story with us, please leave us a comment in the comments section. Meet Pierre, hailing from Bengy-sur-Craon, a farming region in central France close to Bourges. At the age of 73, this military veteran has already amassed a great deal of experience in learning languages and has now decided to take a stab at learning Spanish with Babbel.

 

“In my 62 years of learning languages, I’ve used many methods. However, Babbel is the only one that I happily and effectively continue to use.”

It was through this kind message that Pierre got in touch with us. Intrigued by his comment about 62 years of learning languages, we wanted to know more about his experience and his long-standing history of learning, which he was kind enough to share with us:

“Like many others, I started to learn languages at school. At the age of 10, I discovered Latin and German; at the age of 12 I started with Ancient Greek. While in higher education, at military school, I took up German again from the age of 23 to 25, and at 25 I started to learn Russian. My military career provided me with the opportunity to learn languages while deployed. Between the ages of 28 to 31, I was sent to Chad which is where I learned the local Chadian-Sudanese variety of Arabic. In 1990, I learned Polish and Czech. Besides serving in the military, I also volunteered in several missions in Ghana and Madagascar where I taught French and horseback riding – my lifelong passion. While on the island, I initially started to learn the native language, Malagasy, with the help of a book. Later I was able to practice it by speaking with the locals. Even without ever becoming a proper polyglot, I’ve always made a determined effort to learn the basics of the language of the countries I’ve visited. For me, it’s simply the polite thing to do. It’s important to have a curious mind and to at least know how to say “good morning” and “good evening” in the local language. Learning the basics and knowing how to buy groceries and order in a restaurant is the least you can do.

I’m now able to take advantage of my retirement by going horseback riding every morning and also by traveling. And, of course, I still learn the languages of the places I visit. Recently I was able to improve my level of Arabic while discovering Morocco. Traveling has given me this passion for learning languages. My latest “crush” is Spanish. On one of my last trips to Salamanca, in northwestern Spain, I fell in love with the city and the language. I decided to sign up with Babbel, and now I’m learning Spanish several times a day on my smartphone. I even learn at night before I go to sleep. My next proposed trip will take me to the Canary Islands for the winter, to put my Spanish into practice. This is what motivates me to learn a little bit more every day.

Of all the languages I’ve ever learned, English is still the thorn in my side. I’ve started to learn it several times but never managed to keep it up. However, I haven’t lost hope yet and once I’ve finished learning Spanish, I will learn English! Everything in its own time.”

How I raise my child bilingual

Posted on August 26, 2015 by

bilingual

My name is Mara. I’m from Italy and, like many people that work at Babbel (and live in Berlin), I have a child with someone from another country. In this case, with a German. What can I do to make sure my child learns Italian well? What resources are available to me? Here you’ll find out what I’ve discovered.

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Portrait: Martin – traveling the world by motorcycle

Posted on August 19, 2015 by

Portrait

This is the latest in our ongoing series of Babbel user portraits – snippets from the lives of our users and insights into their reasons for learning a language. If you’ve got a story you’d like to share, leave us a comment!

This time we’re catching up with Martin Leonhardt, who is in the middle of an epic motorcycle journey across the Brazilian Amazon. Originally from Franken, Germany, the 36-year-old photographer and adventurer has been traveling the world for over two years now. You can follow his progress at freiheitenwelt.de.

 

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Learn language like a child?

Posted on August 12, 2015 by

Learn like a child

Learning a new language takes time, a good amount of effort, usually some money, and sometimes a bit of nerve. It’d be much better and faster to learn like a child – somewhat passively and without having to really do a thing. “Intuitive” is the magic word here. But can foreign language acquisition from a certain age really go as well as it would for someone who’s learning their first language? And do we even want that? Let’s take a look at how children learn their native language (applied linguistics fittingly calls this the “first language”) and how it compares to how we learn further languages in later years (applied linguistics often speaks here of “second language” or “foreign language” depending on the role the language plays in our daily lives).


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Portrait: James & Anna-Louisa – an Anglo-Swedish love story

Posted on July 22, 2015 by

user portrait

 

This Babbel user portrait is courtesy of 20 year-old James Nash, from Portsmouth. In it, he tells us all about his Anglo-Swedish romance with fellow Erasmus student Anna-Louisa.

 

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Ciao instead of hello – how to stop people from answering you in English

Posted on July 9, 2015 by

answering

Christine Konstantinidis is a language teacher, blogger and author of the recently released Sprachen Lernen – Tolle Tipps und Tricks (Learning Languages – Terrific Tips and Tricks). She bases her approach to teaching and learning on an excitement and passion for language itself. This keeps learners motivated over the long term, and helps them to enjoy the process of reaching their goals. Her German-language blog, Sprachlernen leicht gemacht (Language Learning Made Easy), is also written with this in mind. Find it (and practice your German) at www.chkonstantinidis.wordpress.com.

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Portrait: Eckart & Vincenzo – A German-Italian Love Story

Posted on June 30, 2015 by

Portrait

New from the Babbel User Portraits Series – snapshots of their lives and their reasons for learning a new language. If you’d like to share your story with us, leave a comment. This time, we’re learning about Eckart and Vincenzo’s German-Italian love story.

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New York, Rio, Rome…? The language learner’s dream destination revealed

Posted on June 23, 2015 by

vacation

Summer is upon us, and there’s no better way to spend a hot afternoon in the office than daydreaming about where we’d rather be. There’s no time for that here at Babbel HQ of course, so we decided to ask our users which city destinations have got them staring into space this year. More than 3,000 of you responded, and we’re pleased to announce that we’ve counted the votes, crunched the numbers, and determined your number one…

 

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Socks, sandals and sombreros: Seven deadly Spanish vacation sins

Posted on June 18, 2015 by

spain

 

Spain’s appeal is obvious – the sun, the sea and the sangria spring instantly to mind. Less clear, perhaps, is how to go about making the best of it all while staying on the good side of the locals. We can’t promise to keep you out of trouble on la playa this summer, but we do have a few pointers.

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Portrait: Gianni Guaita – Almost 100 Years Old, Reveling in Memories and Talking About His Experiences with Babbel

Posted on June 4, 2015 by

Portrait

Today we’re presenting another installment of our Babbel User Portraits – snapshots of their lives and their reasons for learning a new language. If you’d like to share your story with us, leave a comment. This time, we’re introducing you to a very special user: Gianni from Florence is a writer with an extraordinary family history who, at almost 100 years old, complains only about one thing: some Babbel lessons are too long for him!

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