The Babbel Blog

language learning in the digital age

An Interview with Babbel’s VP of Product Design, Scott Weiss

Posted on August 15, 2018 by

Scott WeissBabbel’s VP of Product Design Scott Weiss is an industry leader in user experience. From learning machine code as a teen to writing the world’s first textbook on mobile user experience, Scott was at the forefront of product design years before the term was coined. Since joining Babbel two years ago, Scott leads two cross-functional teams of designers and engineers. As a mentor and champion of Babbel’s flat hierarchy, Scott’s accomplishments are best evidenced by the time and care he devotes to his quickly expanding teams.

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How and Why: Gender-Neutral Language

Posted on July 25, 2018 by

Nicki Hinz works in the Didactics Team here at Babbel, designing our courses and optimizing lessons to bring users the most intuitive and effective learning experience. As part of our in-house presentation series, Strangers, she recently delivered a breakdown of what gender-neutral language offers us, as language-learners and as a community. A deeper dive seemed in order, and she graciously sat down for a chat about it.

 

I suppose it should be obvious, given we work with language-learning, but what made you want to tackle this topic as part of the Strangers series?

In the Strangers series we want to really consider the different aspects of diversity from all angles, even from angles that might not be as high-profile or obvious at first glance. But as we’re working with lots of different languages every day, it becomes evident that there are problems inherent to some languages when it comes to how we talk about people. German is an excellent example, as we have the suffix -in to denote that a certain profession is female, e.g. der Lehrer (male), die Lehrerin (female). So what about people that do not identify with the traditional binary gender framework? If you’re genderfluid, for example, you might feel left out. You can see phenomena like this in other languages as well: Is a “gunman” necessarily always male? Other languages like French or Portuguese also denote gender in adjective endings, but it’s still a matter of one of two possible genders. The reality we live in looks quite different: we are transgender, genderqueer, intersex, non-binary, genderfluid, female, male…

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British sitcom course gets you speaking like a real native… with a rural twist!

Posted on March 5, 2018 by

Sam Samuel is the fresh-faced Editor and British-English ‘Besserwisser’ (know-it-all) on Babbel’s Didactics Team. In 20 years of continent hopping he has picked up an unhealthy smattering of French, German, Portuguese, Finnish, Czech, Croatian, Spanish, Arabic, Italian, Scottish, Kiwi and American English (lol). Here he writes about his latest project, which combines metaphor, idiom and colloquial language with (crackpot) British humour. The first of Babbel’s gripping new English narrative courses keeps learners on the edge of their seats while they discover how to converse like an English-language native. Tune in to the situational comedy series “Fowlmouth Farm” – an immersive course for advanced learners, taught almost entirely in English.

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How To Do Just About Anything… In English!

Posted on January 18, 2018 by


 
 
 
Babbel’s newest English course teaches in-demand skills like rapping and surfer slang… entirely in English! The monolingual “How To” course for advanced learners is available now!
Chad has been an editor on the Didactics team at Babbel for over three years and is the resident expert for all things American English. Having lived abroad for nearly 20 years, he speaks a bit of Spanish, Thai, Khmer, and, most recently, German. Here he writes about his latest project, and the maxim “give the people what they want.”
 
 
 
 

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How Babbel Built an Online English Test

Posted on December 21, 2017 by

Babbel’s partnership with Cambridge English brings language assessment into the digital age

Ben, originally from the UK, is project manager for English in Babbel’s Didactics team, the language experts who create and optimise our courses. In the past, he’s trained and worked as an English teacher and assessor in both Germany and Spain, and he delights in learning more unusual languages as far afield from English as possible, including Swahili and Tongan. Here, he writes about how Babbel and Cambridge English, experts in language assessment, partnered to release the Babbel English Test…

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“Fillers and Interjections” – Stepping Stones to Fluency

Posted on November 16, 2017 by

Megan works in Babbel’s Public Relations team. Here, she looks at some of the complexities of filler and interjection words in a foreign language, and why immersion in real dialogue is essential to the language learning journey.

 

Some of English’s smallest words are currently making the largest headlines on both sides of the Atlantic. While Radio 4 listeners are up in arms over the overuse of ‘so’ on UK live radio and America waits in anticipation for the book release of the proclaimed University of Sydney linguist, Nick Enfield, “How We Talk: The Inner Workings of Conservation”, Babbel takes a closer look at the little words that are captivating our attention.
Filler and interjection words are almost always absent from traditional language curriculums, and yet they’re crucial in every language. Knowing when to use ‘umm’, ‘er’, and ‘yippee’ – each carrying different shades of meaning – bridges the gap between bumbling tourist and cunning linguist.
 
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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: 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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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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Il ministro o La ministra? The Feminine Form in Professional Job Titles

Posted on March 5, 2015 by

the feminine form of professional job titles
Little by little, women have secured professional roles that were previously unachievable. As important positions in government and society were once reserved for men, many languages never established a feminine form for certain job titles. How do languages adapt to this new reality? In the spirit  of International Women’s Day, we at Babbel – the app for easy language learning – have taken a close look at the feminine form of  professional job titles in several languages.
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