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Busuu Online S.L.
File:Busuu com logo.svg
URL www.busuu.com
Slogan The language learning community
Type of site Social network service
Registration Required (free)
Available language(s) English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, others
Owner Busuu Online S.L.
Created by Bernhard Niesner, Co-Founder & Adrian Hilti, Co-Founder[1]
Launched 16 May 2008

busuu.com is an online social network service that serves as a community language learning platform, where users can help each other to improve their language skills[2]. The website provides learning units for five different languages (English, Spanish, French, German and Italian) that can be added to the users' learning portfolios whilst keeping track of their progress.


Name origin

Busuu is a language spoken in Cameroon. According to an ethnological study conducted in the eighties, only eight people at that time were still able to speak this language. The ISO 639-3 code for Busuu is bju.


busuu.com is a Madrid based startup web 2.0 company for people interested in learning or improving their language skills. The site boasts a large online community of native speakers taking a step beyond traditional means of language learning through use of busuu's multimedia software material and language exchange.

The courses are based on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) covering the levels A1, A2, B1 and B2. Each course is divided into learning units covering more than 150 day-to-day topics. For each unit, users benefit from several types of material, such as vocabulary and key phrases, dialogues, audio, podcasts and PDFs. Throughout their studies, users can test their progress thanks to short interactive reviews.

Besides the individual courses, users can improve their conversational skills by connecting via busuu's integrated video-chat directly with native speakers from around the world.

Each user is not only “student” of a foreign language but also a “tutor” of his or her own mother tongue.

busuu.com welcomes users speaking any languages. This means that everyone in the community has the potential to learn any number of languages.[3]

Recognitions and awards

busuu was considered one of the top 10 startups in June 2008[4].

In September 2008, as part of its commitment for having been selected as an official UNESCO project [5] during the international year of languages, busuu launched a campaign to rescue Silbo Gomero (a nearly obsolete whistled language from the Spanish Canary Islands). [6] This campaign won a Silver Lion in the International Advertising Festival in Cannes [7], the most important award in the advertising industry. In September 2009, UNESCO declared Silbo Gomero as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity[8].

In 2009, busuu.com has been nominated for a number of prestigious Internet awards, such as the European Tech Crunch Awards [9], the AlwaysOn Global 250 Winner in the category of emerging innovators for technology [10], and has been ranked among the Top 3 Best Website of the Year for the Spanish award, “Premios de Internet”[11].

The latest award won by busuu.com, in September 2009, is the European Language Label, which praises innovative projects in language learning. This prestigious award is coordinated by the European Commission and awarded every year by individual Member States of the EU[12].


busuu's site left its beta-stage in February 2009. Since then, a premium membership with access to advances features has been added. This premium offer starts at 7.99€ a month and includes podcasts and PDFs of the lessons as well as detailed grammar units. However, a majority of busuu's website and its features remain free of cost. [13]

The site's design is based on the Drupal framework and has been praised for its clean and crisp colorful graphics and fast-loading attributes. busuu.com also features an easy-to-use interface with an interactive dashboard that changes as your language skills improve and grow, which is coined as the busuu Language Garden.[14]

Currently, learning units for five languages are available at busuu.com with interface support: English, Spanish, French, German and Italian. New languages are to be added in a near future.


  1. "About the founders". www.busuu.com. http://www.busuu.com/enc/about. Retrieved 2008-08-08. 
  2. "Learn a new language with busuu". www.lifehacker.com. http://lifehacker.com/5051386/learn-a-new-language-with-busuu. Retrieved 2008-09-19. 
  3. "busuu makes language learning almost simple". www.downloadsquad.com. http://www.downloadsquad.com/2008/09/11/busuu-makes-language-learning-almost-simple/#comments. Retrieved 2008-09-11. 
  4. "This month - Top 10 KillerStartups". www.killerstartups.com. http://www.killerstartups.com/top/this-month. Retrieved 2008-08-08. 
  5. busuu.com is officially accepted as project for the UNESCO
  6. View the Silbo Gomero video
  7. busuu.com wins a silver lion in Cannes
  8. Silbo Gomero is declared as cultural heritage by the UNESCO
  9. busuu.com nominated for the european techcrunch awards
  10. busuu.com named as AlwaysOn Global 250 Winner
  11. busuu.com in top 3 of best website of the year award
  12. busuu.com wins the European Language Label for innovative projects
  13. "Busuu blog on website changes". www.busuu.com. http://blog.busuu.com/archives/85. Retrieved 2009-02-14. 
  14. "Busuu wants to be your language gardener". www.mashable.com. http://mashable.com/2008/09/16/busuu-wants-to-be-your-language-gardner/. Retrieved 2008-09-16. 

See also

External links


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