Ok, I'll admit it - I was skeptical about learning a language from a comuter app. I mean, the last time I took a language course was in college - and that's a good 20 years ago now - and it was taught in person, where I could easily ask questions and interact with others. How much could I get out of learning from a computer?
As it turns out - quite a lot.
Mango is a free language app ELPL library card holders can access on their computer, phone, tablet and even Kindle. It's easy to use - just click on Mango Languages and sign up with your zip code, select ELPL, enter your name, email, and library card number.
The only thing left to do is decide which of the 72 language you want to start learning!
I chose German and French. I did the starter lessons in both and here is what I found:
- Mango has an easy, user friendly interface. It is simple to move through the lesson by clicking on the "next" button, or hear the phrase said out loud by clicking the speaker icon under the words. Want to replay the whole lesson? Press the blue arrow button. You choose our level of interaction on each page according to your learning style.
- Repetition, repetition, repitiion - it's the key to cementing phrases and Mango celverly mixes them up to keep you from getting bored, but also to help you remember the informal "ça va" from the formal "comment allez-vous" by practicing saying them and quizzing you along the way.
- This style of learning is especially engaging for anyone who loves to play games, because it actually makes you feel like you are playing, which evokes joy and I found myself goofily grinning as I tried on my newfound French accent.
- I don't know about you, but whenever I look at words in a foreign language, one of the biggest obstacles is trying to figure out how it is pronounced. Mango is teaching you how to say the words as you see them for the first time, so there's a real opportunity to work on pronunciation. And since you can click the speaker icon to listen to how it is said, you can keep trying until you sound like the real mccoy. In fact, if you click the microphone icon you can record yourself saying the phrase and play it back with the computer version to see how your pronunciation compares.
- You can learn more than one langauge at a time - I am toggling between German and French and it is easy to switch back and forth between lessons. Mango will hold your place wherever you leave off and you can pick back up again as soon as you are ready.
- Want to learn on your computer one day and then pick up your lessons on your phone the next? Easy! Since Mango holds your place, you can switch between devices for your conveneince and Mango picks up wherever you left off!
So, what's stopping you? If you're bored, or feel like your brain could use a little exercise, learning a new language is a great way to engage your mind and momentarily "travel" to another land without ever leaving your home. Try it!