The Babbel Blog

Online Language Learning

Mini-Vocab Packages for the Last Minute Language Learner

Posted on July 7, 2009 by

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There’s always a little bit of anxiety that comes along with traveling abroad, whether for business or for pleasure. Possible scenario, night before — for example — the flight to Berlin, a sudden pang:  “Oh right, they speak German in Germany, and I don’t even know how to say ‘how are you’.  How am I going to manage to order my morning coffee?!?”

We at Babbel have now developed a stress-reducing linguistic survival kit (and perhaps path to that caffeine fix in a foreign country) for the last-minute language learner: the Mini-Vocab Package. Compiled especially for the spontaneous traveler, it offers essential words and phrases – in German, French, Spanish, Italian and English – to get through that first encounter with the locals unscathed.

For those who’ve got a little more time before the big trip, besides the Mini-Vocab, there are twenty other in-depth  packages for all relevant situations while traveling, from leaving the airport to arriving at the car rental desk.  There is of course also the opportunity to hook up with someone from Babbel’s now more than 350,000-strong community to chat, trade travel tips or set up a language exchange.

To go directly to the newly compiled Mini-Vocab package, click here. If you are not already registered at Babbel, after a quick and easy registration you will be taken straight through to travel vocabulary.  For our press release, click here.

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Save an endangered word, redefine the dictionary

Posted on October 6, 2008 by

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I’ve always found it curious that the Americans have no centralized institution which establishes the end-all be-all of language. I mean, something along the lines of the German Rechtschreibungen, grammars that all of which incorporated a rather catastrophic spelling reform mandated by an official agreement between German-speaking countries in 1996. Or the Real Academia Española (the Royal Spanish Academy) which purports to maintain propriety, elegance, and purity in the Spanish language, and consistently has conferences all over Spain and Latin America deliberating which words are worthy of inclusion. The North American language, however, is a bit federated, you could say… if not Balkanized.

For the Brits, one of the closest things to language royalty – along with Oxford’s, of course – would be Collins’ Dictionary, which has recently gotten positively ruthless in cutting words it deems obsolete. The Times along with other linguistic luminaries have taken up the case to save “endangered” words from institutional oblivion, by using them in public, and so reviving them.

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