Thursday, December 16, 2010

Spotlight on Subscription Database: Mango Languages

I have been in numerous situations when knowing a second language would have been useful. For instance trying to help patrons at the library, directions for the new gadget I got for Christmas, going on vacation and when I accidentally turned my cell phone to Spanish (it was like that for at least a week). There have also been more serious situations, like when I got in a car accident on a Chicago freeway and other person involved didn’t speak English. Even without being fluent, knowing at least a few hundred words would have been really handy in those situations. In this blog I am going to talk introduce you to a cool subscription database that the library offers for language learning.

Mango Languages is a subscription database available from the library that you can use in the library on your home computer. You can participate in video courses to learn a plethora of languages: Arabic, Chinese (Mandarin), Croatian, Czech, Dari, Dutch, Farsi (Persian), French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Indonesdian, Irish, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Pashto, Portugese (Brazil), Russian, Slovak, Spanish (Latin America), Tagalog, Tamil, Thai, Turkish, Ukrainian, Urdo, and Vietnamese. (Whew!). What I loved about Mango Languages was the simplicity and pace of the lessons. In the past I have found a lot of learning software like Rosetta Stone to have a fast pace that can be discouraging. Mango Languages has a slower pace and prompts the user for a lot of interaction and practice. Most of the lessons operate in showing you slides with study material on it, sometimes the slides seem to take too long, but there is a forward button.

Mango Languages offers three types of courses, from Basic (which is a few hours), and two other more in depth lessons. I completed the Basic course for Latin American Spanish and was quite pleased with the results. In an evening I recalled basic greetings, simple conversation, and how to ask some important questions. My account even keeps statistics and lets me know how much time I have spent on lessons a practicing (four hours and counting). If I continue on to the other two courses there is about 100 individual lessons in all. There isn’t a lot of entertainment, so don’t expect pictures or graphics, but the coloring of the software is slick and bright.

I highly recommend that in the past if you have tried Rosetta Stone or a learn in your car type of resource and you got fed up or discouraged, check out Mango Languages! It is almost fun to learn… Adios!

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