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English, baby! in the WSJ

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

Today’s edition of The Wall Street Journal includes an article about American slang that features several quotes from English, baby! co-founder and CEO John Hayden. It’s an honor to be alongside so many exciting companies and fascinating individuals in this story in one of our country’s most well-respected and widely read publications.

We had fun looking at our most popular English lessons and terms gathering information for the story, too. We can’t really give too much thought to what slang people want to learn and why. The writer of the piece, Alina Dizik, did a great job of pressing us to think hard about these questions and including some great perspectives and anecdotes in the piece.

I especially like the story about Jie Teng, a business student in China who misused the term “hook up.” This is exactly the situation we had in mind while creating an upcoming lesson on the term “fool around.” We walked a fine line to make it clear that this term has plenty of innocent meanings–and a not-so-innocent one–without being over the top.

In fact, I think someone like Jie Teng is often who we have in mind when we create our lessons in general. She’s driven and studying English for a purpose. It’s crucial that we be honest with her and show her how Americans really speak so that she can pursue her goals. Our members trust us not to lead them into embarrassing mistakes, and we take that responsibility very seriously.

 

 

 

English, baby! on Reuters, PIE News, more

Friday, February 24th, 2012

Reuters-Logo1With “Linsanity” driving the conversation about the NBA in Asia, and the All-Star game this weekend, international news outlet Reuters took the opportunity to write a story about English, baby! focusing on our English lessons starring NBA players.

“The strategy seems to be a hit with teachers and students,” says the article. It was certainly a hit with media outlets that syndicate Reuters ‘ content. The story was picked up by the New York Times, Chicago Tribune, NBCYahoo! and many others.

This mainstream press follows some great attention from an outlet that is rapidly gaining attention in the education field, the PIE News (Professionals in International Education). They ran a profile of our company. We’re thrilled to be part of the conversation on their site.

Over at the Classical, a heady and fascinating culture and news site, a very well-respected basketball writer (formerly of Free Darko fame), put together a piece that goes behind the scenes of our English lesson with Dwight Howard. It’s definitely worth a read. And if there was any doubt that we are helping keep Portland weird, IFC’s Portlandia blog covered our unique way of teaching spoken English and slang as well.

We’re honored to have all these great words written about what we’re doing. Of course, we do love the camera here on English, baby! Fortunately, our local Fox station offered to produce a segment about our English lessons with athletes for a program called Oregon Sports Final.

Thanks so much Larry Fine,  Dan Thomas, Dan Sheldon, Bethlehem Shoals, Matt Singer and everyone else who contributed to these stories. We really appreciate it.

Ebaby! in the Media: Dime Magazine, Pitchfork and More

Tuesday, September 13th, 2011

English, baby! in Dime Magazine
Dime Magazine, a New York-based basketball magazine that publishes in the US and China, features a full-page story on our basketball English lessons starring NBA players in its September edition. They let me pick the best quotes from the videos for the story. Click on the image to read it and download the whole issue here.

Our mission to help the world learn English from athletes and entertainers has garnered a lot of media attention since the last press round-up on this blog. Our lessons with world-famous DJ Girl Talk were covered by the Vatican of indie music, Pitchfork, as well as Prefix Magazine, Melophobe, The Miami New Times and The Music-RX. Our lessons with hip-hop legends Bone Thugs-n-Harmony got us back on the pages of XXL Magazine and HipHop DX.

Atlanta Hawks center Zaza Pachulia let us go through his suitcase before a road game for a fashion English lesson, and our pal Sekou Smith of NBA.com’s Hang Time blog gave us some love (link disabled due to lockout) as did the always kind Ball In Europe, and even the Hawks official site, which also covered our lesson with All-Star Al Horford (again, lockout = 404).

With our Portland Timbers now in the MLS, we’ve been focusing a lot more on soccer this season. A lesson with fan-favorite Gambian defender Futty Danso won the heart of Timbers blog, Dropping Timber. Lessons with French star Aurelien Collin landed us on soccer blog No Short Corners and Sporting Kansas City’s official Twitter feed.

Finally, Lindsay Pulsipher, an actress from one of my favorite TV shows, True Blood, recently appeared on Ebaby! and the Truebies took notice on sites such as True-Blood.net and TrueBlood-Online.com. The interview even made the local “Stardar Report” of Byron Beck. It’s nice to be popular.

Celebrity English Lessons Get International Attention

Friday, February 11th, 2011

A major Lithuanian newspaper, lrytas.lt, recently created a news story out of our English lesson with Lithuanian NBA star, Žydrūnas Ilgauskas. In the Google translation, you can see how the author pulled quotes from our interview and put them together in the newspaper style. The story has been getting good traffic–it has more than 70 comments.

The Celebrity English Lessons we feature periodically on English, baby! have gotten lots of media attention since the last time we posted an update like this (though we have been posting some as we go, like the various places that picked up our Sheryl Crow lesson).

An Australia-based basketball site, A Stern Warning, also covered our Ilguaskas lesson, as well our English lessons with Carmelo Anthony and Rip Hamilton. Cleveland.com, the website for the daily newspaper there, The Plain Dealer, picked up that pair of NBA lessons too and thetruthsports.com really got a kick out of our discussion with Carmelo about his nickname in China. Denver Stiffs, a local Nuggets blog, gave it some love as well.

XXL, the leading hip-hop magazine, posted our English lesson with Tech N9ne, as did The Boom Box, who also included E-40’s Ebaby! lesson.

Finally, if you’re going to interview Weird Al, you’d better hope it gets a friendly post from yankovic.org. Fortunately, ours did.

I’m sure we’ve missed some coverage of our lessons, so if you notice any we haven’t posted here, please leave a comment. Feel free to direct us to sites you like to read that might interested in posting our English lesson videos as well!

Learning English with Sheryl Crow

Tuesday, August 10th, 2010

Sheryl Crow
Our latest celebrity English teacher is one of my favorite musicians: Sheryl Crow.

I went to Sheryl Crow’s concert to write about it for our local newspaper, The Oregonian. It was an incredible performance. She had so much energy that all 6,000 people there were standing and many were singing. Read my review if you’d like to hear more about it.

Backstage, Sheryl agreed to do an interview for English, baby! I tried to explain it to her beforehand as best I could, but she looked a little surprised when I mentioned her teaching English once we started recording! She was a great English teacher though. She’s very mellow and down to Earth. She seems like such a nice person.

The video was a hit with our members. Many of them are big fans of Sheryl Crow. When I teased them with one of her lyrics on our facebook page, a lot of them guessed correctly which artist I was talking about. But I was surprised to see some comments on the English lesson from members who hadn’t heard of Sheryl Crow before. I guess there are some corners of the world she hasn’t rocked yet!

I was happy to see that some Sheryl Crow’s longtime fans here in the US were into the video too, even though they’re high level or native English speakers and don’t need the English tip. My/be Angels, a Sheryl Crow fan site that has been around for more than 14 years, added us to their video page. Probably the most unexpected place to pick up the video so far was this Argentine Rolling Stones fan site. They picked it up because Sheryl talks about playing with Keith Richards in the interview.

We’ve got more famous English teachers lined up so stay tuned!

Sheryl Crow

Olympic English Lessons in the Media

Friday, March 5th, 2010


If English, baby! were a country and English lessons made at the Olympics were medals, with 14 different English lessons from this year’s winter Olympics in Vancouver, we would be in 7th place in the medal count, right between Korea and China.

Among our gold medal victories, you could count the two lessons we created with gold medalist figure skaters Zhao Hongbo and Shen Xue, who helped us teach “lift” and “head over heels.” The Willamette Week newspaper took note of these lessons. But China is completely head over heels for them. One of these got more than 60,000 views on 56.com in the first week, and the other was just posted on the learning homepage at china.org.cn!

Zhao Hongbo and Shen Xue are Olympic legends. But we also had the pleasure of meeting some young athletes at their first games. Half pipe snowboarder Liu Jiayu taught our members what it means to ride “goofy” and along with her teammates Sun Zhifeng and Cai Xuetong, what it means to “drop in.” I’d say these count as gold medals as well if only because CCTV (Chinese state television) was there for the lessons as well and did a story about the athletes testing their English skills upon arriving in Canada.

Without a doubt, our funniest lesson of the Games was “cold as ice” which we filmed at the men’s luge competition. “Pass the torch” was also a standout because we got to interview someone who carried the Olympic torch. These must be worth silver.

So in the bronze category are all the lessons we created without the help of a competition or athlete, but on our own with the people we met in Vancouver. These Olympics were such an incredible party–the streets were always packed with people from all over the world. We met a lot of them in our lesson on “break the ice,” when we went shopping for ice skates in “cheapskate,” and when we raced them on the ice at Robson Square to illustrate what it means to “fly by.”

Our local NBC affiliate even did a story about our Olympic victories. It’s a great clip, and it was so cool to see our logo in the center of the NBC Olympic Zone!

Of course, there were times when we took some spills, had to smooth over problems, and got distracted with our heads in the clouds. But in the end, I succeeded in saving my friends, which was the goal all along! It’s cool that everyone from NBC to CCTV and EducationNews.org to our local paper took note!

And we can’t forget, that like any good Olympic team, we had a great sponsor. Thanks ETS! TOEFL – go anywhere from here.

Ebaby! Gets Top Ten Reviews Silver Award

Wednesday, December 16th, 2009

2010 is still a few weeks away, but English, baby! has already got its first award of the year! Top Ten Reviews put together a list of the best ESL sites and we got the silver award. Yeah, I know, where was the gold? Well, you know what? Silver looks better with our orange and blue colors anyway. So there.

Seriously though, the review Wanda Richards wrote is the most in-depth analysis of the website put together by any journalist so far. She touched on every aspect of the site, from member submitted lessons to the chat room. It’s clear that she signed up for an account and spent some time–long enough to get our weekly newsletter which she wrote about too!

I especially love that Wanda came up with ways that English, baby! could be used by native speakers of English, such as finding pen pals overseas. But the best quote has to be this one:

English, baby! could be the poster child for social media integration for online English learning.

Thanks! That’s exactly what we strive to be. It’s nice to be understood.

The New English, baby!

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009

When’s the last time you changed your look? Doesn’t it feel great to get a new haircut or wear some new clothes?

It’s been a while since English, baby! had a makeover or changed its appearance. But on Monday we launched a brand new site! We’re really proud of the way it looks. Like everything else, the Internet has trends and you have to stay up to date if you want to look cool.

But the changes aren’t just on the surface. We’ve introduced some new features for Super Members and made the site easier for everyone to use so you can focus on learning English and having fun.

You may have noticed that when you’re logged in to your account, your MyEbaby page is now merged with the homepage. This way if you’re checking out the lesson of the day you can also see if you have any new messages or friend requests at the same time.

Super Members now see a special Super Tool Bar at the top of the home page where you can download the full audio of the lesson of the day in one click, go straight to the Ask Ebaby! forum and keep track of the lessons and vocab you’ve saved to learn.

Have you ever logged on to Ebaby! and not quite known where to start? Well, now Super Members also have a My Exercises section on their home page which reminds you of cool stuff you can do like guess the definition of the next slang lesson or take an audio quiz.

Audio quiz? Say what? You asked for it and you got it. In order to help you improve your spoken English, we now have listening exercises for each of the thousands of lessons on the site!

Of course, you have to be a Super Member to take audio quizzes, and it is free to try it out. But all members are now enjoying notifications that let you know when someone comments on or likes your profile, blog, photos or lessons. And last but not least, you can now edit your profile right on your profile page so that you can look at the changes you’ve made more easily. So why not give your profile a makeover to match the site?

Let us know if you have any comments about the new site or notice anything that isn’t working quite right. We’re so glad you choose English, baby! as your place to have fun and learn English on the Web and we’re thrilled to bring you a better, more stylish version of it.

English, baby! Launches School Pages

Wednesday, August 12th, 2009

ENGLISH, BABY! BRINGS SCHOOLS INTO ITS SOCIAL NETWORK

Largest online ESL network now connects its more than one million students with English programs

Portland, O.R. – August 12, 2009

For the more than a billion people learning English around the world, to study abroad is the ultimate fantasy. And for those who do complete an English program in a foreign country, the experience is one to be proud of and recall frequently.

This summer, English, baby! (englishbaby.com), the world’s largest social network for people learning English, is launching new interactive school pages to make it easier than ever for students around the world to find an English program in the US and to keep in touch with their school after they graduate.

Versation, the parent company of English, baby!, built and manages the websites for the English school consortiums, American Association of Intensive English Programs (AAIEP) and University and College Intensive English Programs (UCIEP), each of which includes hundreds of programs all across the states.

“Our new school pages combine these great resources with the social networking features that keep our members coming back and keep our site growing,” says John Hayden, CEO and co-founder of English, baby!.

Ebaby! members can currently find any AAIEP or UCIEP program on English, baby!, and schools that register and pay $75 per month can customize their ad-free pages with text and photos, and can have “fans” among Ebaby! members who have attended the school or would like to. The “fans” are shown on the school’s page, virtually representing its community.

“It’s a great way for our members to stay connected with English programs in the US and experience the communities around those schools from their home countries,” says Hayden, who plans to offer school pages for programs outside the US by the end of the year.

About English, baby!

Founded in 2000, English, baby!, set out to teach English to the world in an innovative MTV-style manner, virtually immersing students in American culture and conversational English. Social networking features were introduced in 2006 and growth surged. Englishbaby.com is now the largest social network for English learners.

CONTACT INFORMATION

Jason Daniel – English, baby! Public Relations
Email: jason@versation.com
Tel: (888) 418-8021 x5#

Ebaby! Talks Social Media in Iran on KVAL

Tuesday, July 7th, 2009

The CBS-affiliate from Eugene, Oregon, which is where English, baby! CEO and co-founder John Hayden grew up and went to school, recently met with John at one of our client schools, Chemeketa Community College in Salem, Oregon, to talk about how Iranians have been using English, baby! to express themselves following the disputed election in their country last month.

The segment included information about other sites that have been used to disseminate information in Iran recently, so John spoke as an expert in social media in Iran and around the world. It’s a story we’ve heard a lot these weeks, but this one had an unusual and particularly positive spin, spending some time on “the Iran we don’t see,” with its long and rich history.

Enjoy the video. As I understand it, Chemeketa closed off a large and stately room for John and the reporter, Elissa Harrington, to talk.

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