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A European bus tour to create a video dictionary of 100,000 native speakers, to change the way people learn languages.
A European bus tour to create a video dictionary of 100,000 native speakers, to change the way people learn languages.
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1,300 backers pledged £72,408 to help bring this project to life.

About

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Membus Tour: creating the world's first video dictionary

£72,408

1,300

Stretch Goals: The more backing we get, the more countries we can visit and the more languages we can record.

We've reached our 50K goal to initially record English, French, German, Spanish, Italian and Portuguese. Do we want to stop there? Oh hell no!

Each additional 5K will allow us to record one more video dictionary and here is our stretched itinerary. You unlocked Dutch, Danish, Norwegian and Swedish. Next one on the menu: Finnish!

Help us spread the word to record as many European languages as possible.

The Project

Click to see the project description in French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese or German.

Help us re-invent language learning by creating the world’s first video dictionary, beginning with all the European languages.

We'll travel across Europe in a double decker bus with a team of linguists, film-makers, coders and designers, and collect more than a hundred thousand micro-videos of native speakers using their language in context. 

These videos will feed into our award-winning language-learning app, Memrise, so anyone can learn languages through native speakers, for free.

Some of the wonderful faces from the videos we've collected
Some of the wonderful faces from the videos we've collected

About Memrise

Memrise is a language-learning app and website used by more than 6 million people to learn over 200 different languages. We use cognitive science and plenty of humour to make learning fun, and our team of 14 nationalities works passionately to improve it every day.

About video-learning

Everyone knows the best way to learn a language is by living abroad surrounded by native speakers, immersed in the culture of that language.

Our mobile video learning bottles this experience for you: every word or phrase you learn in a new language, you learn from a native speaker who actually says it. You're constantly translating and responding to real native speakers. See how it works:

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Familiarity with 10k words and phrases is more than enough for fluent speech, and that's the number of videos we want to create for each language.

Unlike any other language learning app, you'll experience the personality of native speakers, how they actually speak, their many accents... and also their clothes, their culture, their landscapes, their humour, their quirks... basically all of the stuff that makes language learning fun in the first place.

Our itinerary around Europe

The target goal of £50k will allow us first of all to visit six countries: the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Portugal. These have the most widely studied European languages. It will take us around three months for this part of the journey.

The route we'll take across Europe in part one of our trip
The route we'll take across Europe in part one of our trip

If we beat our goal then we will be able to visit more and more countries and record more and more languages. Our dream is to go round 18 European countries, so you can learn any of their amazing languages directly from native speakers.

We believe we can say without exaggeration that this will be the greatest multilingual road trip ever attempted!

The glorious Membus, art-work by our designer Mathieu
The glorious Membus, art-work by our designer Mathieu

Why a roadtrip?

The Membus tour is the most effective way for us to create our vibrant, beautiful and gigantic video dictionary:

  • We can take a large crew of talented film-makers across Europe on the cheap
  • We can swiftly visit every variety of city, town, village and landmark for the greatest possible variety of people and locations 
  •  We can carry with us all of the energy and fun that any road-trip entails, which will help ensure the vids are hilarious and awesome
Filming native speakers in the wild
Filming native speakers in the wild

Why a Kickstarter?

This is a passion project, and a huge one at that ! To collect this many videos, to this quality, from this many people... we simply can't afford to attempt it without the help of this Kickstarter. 

One of the things we're most excited about is building a community around this project, and connecting with local volunteers in all of the European countries we'll visit who'll be excited to help build the video dictionary of their own language. 

So if you think this is a good idea and want to help people learn in a different way, check the rewards that we have with love prepared for you (every contribution makes a big difference!). And don't hesitate to get in touch if you think you can help.

The rewards

Swag pack designs

About the Membus

The vehicle in which we'll undertake this grand voyage is a vintage Bristol 1978 double decker bus minimally tweaked on the inside to accommodate a crew of 8 lucky souls (Our CEO went without pay for three months to finance its purchase).

Painting the bus with wet towels (CEO in the chair)
Painting the bus with wet towels (CEO in the chair)

How will the funds be used?

- To cover the basic expenses of the road trip for a crew of eight (fuel, food, paying our Hungarian bus driver Zoltan...)

- To get three sets of high quality cameras and microphones, to make sure those videos are both pleasing to the eyes and clear to the ears.

- Do some refurbishments to the bus (such as water-proofing, fixing the windscreen wipers, a seat for the driver, a cap for the petrol tank, curtains for privacy, a small electric heater).

Memrise Links

Memrise Facebook / Twitter

Membus Instragram / Twitter

Photo Gallery

Panoramic view from the upper deck
Panoramic view from the upper deck
The upper deck (perfect for talks or parties)
The upper deck (perfect for talks or parties)
The bus ground floor, suited for deep conversations
The bus ground floor, suited for deep conversations
The driver's seat (not the driver)
The driver's seat (not the driver)
The Membus at Latitude Festival last summer, performance by comedian Yve
The Membus at Latitude Festival last summer, performance by comedian Yve
Kids love the Membus!
Kids love the Membus!
if this doesn't work out, we can still become wedding planners
if this doesn't work out, we can still become wedding planners

Risks and challenges

The bus might break down. Though it's got a pretty reliable engine which Zoltan claims to know how to fix.

Finding a parking space everywhere we stop will be a challenge.

We might occasionally get stuck under the odd low bridge.

There might be some delays and readjustments to the tour depending on how long we will have to stay in each country to collect all the videos that we need.

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Questions about this project? Check out the FAQ

Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge £1 or more About US$ 1.26

    THANK YOU!

    Every bit counts - to say thanks we’ll make sure you're the first to get Membus updates during the grand tour, and throughout our preparations.

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    Pledge £5 or more About US$ 6

    Travel in spirit with the Membus:

    Your name will be hand-inscribed on the Membus itself. Historians of the future will gape in awe as they read your name and contemplate the incredible leap forward in language learning that you made possible.

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    Pledge £9 or more About $11

    *NEW!* From the Membus with love:

    Choose a country and receive a postcard from the tour, written by a member of the crew or a sweet stranger. One thing is sure, it will inspire you to learn the language!

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    46 backers
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    Pledge £10 or more About US$ 13

    Teach your favourite swear-word to the world:

    We will provide guidelines for you to film yourself saying your favourite swear-word in any language. Be creative, more originality means more chance to be the only one teaching the word.

    + one month subscription to Memrise Pro in January 2016

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    Pledge £12 or more About US$ 15

    *NEW!* Teach your favourite joke to the world:

    Film yourself telling your favourite joke in your native language, and we'll feature it in a special collection in the app. A unique opportunity to showcase the unique humour of your country.

    + one month subscription to Memrise Pro in January 2016

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    Pledge £15 or more About $19

    Membus Swag Pack #1 - The Notebook

    - The ultimate status symbols of the accomplished language learner will be yours: a Memrise notebook and a sticker pack delivered to your door!

    + get your new year's learning off to a flying start with a one month subscription to Memrise Pro in January 2016

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  7. Reward no longer available

    Pledge £20 or more About US$ 25

    Lifetime subscription to Memrise Pro

    All the content on Memrise is of course free to learn, and videos will be free for everyone to learn from. But there are extra learn modes, stats and other brain boosting add-ons that only the Memrise Pro learner can access.

    With this truly astonishing kickstarter-exclusive lifetime deal, you could become a Pro learner - for just *half* the price of an annual subscription (£40).

    Snap this one up because it won't hang around long!

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    Pledge £20 or more About $25

    Membus Swag Pack #2 - The Tote Bag

    - A beautiful Memrise cotton 'tote' bag and a sticker set delivered to your door. Its stylish, practical, environmentally friendly, and clearly demonstrates your support for the greatest language learning adventure in history. What more could you ask of a humble bag?

    + one month subscription to Memrise Pro in January 2016

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  9. Select this reward

    Pledge £25 or more About US$ 32

    Contribute to the video dictionary:

    - Give us a phrase or word that will be filmed in all languages during the tour. Would it be "I'm flabbergasted"? "Spoons are awesome"? or "Are you having a laugh?"? Nothing is too absurd to film, so let your creative juices flow!

    + a one month subscription to Memrise Pro in January 2016

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  10. Select this reward

    Pledge £30 or more About $38

    Membus Swag Pack #3 - The T-Shirt

    - A Limited edition Memrise T-shirt and a sought-after sticker pack, delivered to your door. You should know: this will be quite the hottest fashion item of 2016.

    + one month subscription to Memrise Pro in January 2016

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    Pledge £35 or more About $44

    BLACK FRIDAY DEAL!

    Today and today only, we have a special deal for Memrise lovers. Get a yearly subscription to Memrise Pro for the year of 2016 at half price, and a Memrise notebook and stickers delivered to your door. The perfect bundle for the language nerd. And cheap on top of that!

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    Reward no longer available 11 backers
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  12. Reward no longer available

    Pledge £40 or more About US$ 50

    Lifetime Subscription to Memrise Pro

    If you missed the £20 ones (where they were practically given away), you have now the opportunity to get a lifetime Pro Membership for our regular yearly price!

    Jump in quick before these are all snapped up too!

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  13. Select this reward

    Pledge £50 or more About US$ 63

    Membus Swag Pack #4 - The Membus mega pack

    - The Memrise T-shirt, Memrise notebook and Memrise sticker pack, all impeccably wrapped up in the Memrise tote bag.

    + one month subscription to Memrise Pro in January 2016

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  14. Reward no longer available

    Pledge £60 or more About US$ 76

    Lifetime Subscription to Memrise Pro

    Due to the success of lifetime subscriptions, we're releasing another batch of 100.
    If you want to enjoy a "video only mode" in all tranquility for the many years to come, grab it while it's hot!

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  15. Select this reward

    Pledge £70 or more About $89

    Membus Swag Pack #5 - The Dressing Gown

    It is widely agreed that one of the most effective ways to learn a language is to find yourself a lover who speaks that language. With this garment of incomparable style and beauty you will find yourself drawing in lovers like moths to a flame. For those who don't know, a dressing gown is a "long, loose robe, typically worn after getting out of bed or bathing".

    + Memrise Pro membership for the full year of 2016

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    10 backers
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    Pledge £75 or more About US$ 95

    *CHRISTMAS SPECIAL*

    We have a special group deal for three days only: Four Yearly Memrise Pro Memberships for the price of two!

    Treat your family, friends, chess club or water polo team this Christmas with this brainy gift which you will enjoy all year long.

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  17. Reward no longer available

    Pledge £80 or more About US$ 101

    Lifetime Subscription to Memrise Pro

    If you want to help us achieve our goal and get this Kickstarter exclusive deal at the same time, grab the opportunity before it vanishes, very possibly forever!

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    Reward no longer available 100 backers
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    Pledge £100 or more About US$ 126

    Become the phrase... "I love you" in your native language.

    - Earn for yourself the immense privilege of being one of the people to teach the phrase "I love you" to millions of learners of your languages all over the world. You will become one of the faces of this phrase which will bring you untold fame and glory. (We'll provide you guidelines to film yourself, allowing you to master the art of video selfie. A versatile life skill)

    + Memrise Pro membership for the full year of 2016

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  19. Select this reward

    Pledge £100 or more About US$ 126

    Become the phrase... "Welcome!" in your native language!

    - You'll become one of the friendliest and fondest memories of millions of language-learners when you bid them welcome into the official Memrise course for your language.

    + A Memrise Pro membership for the full year of 2016

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    Pledge £100 or more About US$ 126

    Become the phrase... "I'm awesome" in your native language.

    - If that is true or not doesn't really matter. What matters is that you will be the person teaching this phrase to millions of learners of your native language! When they will think of someone awesome, your face will definitely be the one that pops to their mind.

    + A Memrise Pro membership for the full year of 2016

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    Pledge £100 or more About US$ 126

    Lifetime Subscription to Memrise Pro

    These lifetime subscriptions are in demand, so we're releasing another batch of one hundred. This reward is a Kickstarter exclusive so grab this deal now!

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    Pledge £100 or more About US$ 126

    *NEW!* Become the phrase... "Hello" in your native language.

    - Simple but impactful, you'll be the first person anyone sees when they start learning the language. They will remember your face with great nostalgia and gratitude when attaining fluency (We’ll provide guidelines for filming yourself)

    + Memrise Pro membership for the full year of 2016

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    Pledge £100 or more About US$ 126

    *NEW!* Become the phrase... "Cheers!" in your native language.

    - In true moments of conviviality, you must know how to toast (people, not bread). From "Prost!" to "Skål!" to "Salud", say it like you mean it and teach it to thousands of language learners (We’ll provide guidelines for filming yourself)

    + Memrise Pro membership for the full year of 2016

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  24. Select this reward

    Pledge £300 or more About US$ 379

    Your face on the bus!

    Our portrait-artist-in-residence will skilfully render 30 lucky faces on the Membus. Just send us a photo of yourself for the artist to work from, and you'll travel around Europe with the bus, surveying her beautiful landmarks.

    + A Memrise Pro membership for the full year of 2016

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    Pledge £900 or more About US$ 1,136

    *NEW!* Name one of our bed:

    Help us refurbish our bus! You will be the proud owner of one of our seven beds and have a golden plaque with your name on it. You can also add a message or bio if you wish to fully express yourself.

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    Pledge £1,000 or more About US$ 1,262

    The summer road-trip of a lifetime - a week on the Membus!

    Spots available for France, Germany, Spain, Portugal and Italy.
    Come join us on the Membus! One of the 8 generous beds on the top floor of the Membus will be yours for a memorable week's journey through the European country of your choice. A unique opportunity to learn a language and have an almost indecent amount of fun.

    *The travel to and from the Membus won't be paid for but everything else will.

    Sometime between May and July 2016, depending on the country you want to road-trip through.

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    Pledge £1,500 or more About US$ 1,894

    Party in the Membus !

    We'll host you and your friends one private party in each of France, Germany, Spain, Italy and Portugal.

    The Membus will descend on the town, village, hamlet, school or retirement home of your choice. We'll film you, your buddies, your colleagues, lovers and whomever else you desire. As the daylight fades we will invite you aboard the Membus as our resident barman mixes sun-downer cocktails and the music begins to play. These are widely expected to be some of the most seminal European parties of 2016.

    Sometime between May - July 2016, depending on the country.

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    Pledge £1,900 or more About US$ 2,399

    *NEW!* Sponsor the Royal Suite:

    More extravagant and deluxe than the beds, this is an opportunity to shine by sponsoring our Royal Suite. Made with great taste, people will fight to get the privilege to spend the night in this luxurious enclosure. You will of course also have a say in the decoration of the suite.

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    Pledge £2,000 or more About US$ 2,525

    The Language Learning Festival comes to you! - UK

    Call the Membus to your school or university, anywhere in the UK for a half day event. We have a team of linguists, neuroscientists, memory experts and event organisers. Together we will throw you a language-learning festival at a school / university / prison or any other institution of your choice.

    And we'll film your students, putting them into the first ever video dictionary of English!

    The exact event plan will be finalised in discussion with you. It will happen in April 2016.

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    Pledge £2,000 or more About US$ 2,525

    2-person Membus week's holiday!

    The ultimate team summer holiday - you and your friend for a week on the Membus in a country of your choice.

    There's nothing in life quite like friendship, and the greatest way to celebrate life with friends this summer will surely be on the Membus! Share the most luxurious quarters of the Membus with your besties, while zooming across Europe in a true carnival of language, travel and fun.

    *The travel to and from the Membus won't be paid for but everything else will.

    Sometime between May and July 2016, depending on the country you want to road-trip through.

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    Pledge £2,200 or more About US$ 2,777

    Become fluent in a language - One week of personal training in London

    Pick a language, any language, and we will provide you with the ultimate immersive learning experience here in London. You will have a personal language coach and special activities tailored to the language of your choice. The rest of the time you will be able to enjoy the charms of Albion and we will throw you a party at our glorious headquarters.

    *The travel to and from London is not included but the accommodation is.
    *The exact dates and program will be discussed with you.

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    Pledge £5,000 or more About US$ 6,312

    Sponsor a wheel... and cover your brand in glory!

    Become a celebrated Kickstarter sponsor. You will be known forever as one of the four trusty wheels that drove the Membus forward, set its course and carried the full weight of all our hopes and dreams on your broad rubber shoulders.

    The newspapers of Europe will ring with reports of your generosity and vision !

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    Pledge £5,000 or more About US$ 6,312

    *NEW!* Memrise makes a video course for you:

    Tell us a language that you would like to see made with videos. We will parachute a team to record them and you will be able to choose part of this course's phrases.

    It will happen in 2016 in discussion with you.

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Funding period

- (30 days)