Having fun learning language: Mango offers learning in fun way

Mango Languages is changing the way we learn languages. The online language learning resource offers 70-plus languages and is available free for people through their local libraries.

The service was founded in 2007 by Jason Teshuba, Mike Teshuba, Ryan Whalen and Mike Goulas. They started it in libraries across the U.S.

It is a great tool that not many people know about, but is offered locally.

This month, it will be featured in training sessions at the Portage Lake District Library. The tutorials will be offered on Feb. 9 and Feb. 20 at PLDL. They are a part of the library’s monthly trainings, where a different digital resource is featured each month.

“Mango Learning is our online language learning tool that the library subscribes to and makes available to all of our patrons,” said Dillon Geshel, director of the library.

“Along with the 70-plus languages offered for adults, there’s ‘Little Pim’ for kids,” said Geshel.

Little Pim is a “portal for children that has about a dozen different languages that they can use.”

Mango is accessible online and through mobile applications, making it easy to use on the go. It teaches the language through conversations.

There are different categories for each language. For example, in Spanish, you may want to learn text talk, medical talk or conversations.

Each chapter aligns your learning to a set of conversational and grammar goals through memory-building exercises.

It breaks things down into words and then phrases, then finally challenges you to build them back up into full sentences.

“Even though it’s a digital tool, it’s focused on real-world communications,” said Geshel. “So they’ll pronounce words to you and you’ll say it back.”

Mango offers pronunciation helpers, voice-comparison technology, a way to control the pace of the audio, and the newest watch-and-learn components.

“One of the coolest features that they’ve added recently was you can now watch full-length films as a part of some of these courses,” said Geshel.

He said you’re not just watching movies with subtitles, but the video stops periodically to explain some of the intricacies of the language and cultural things that are happening on the screen.

“It’s an innovative way to look at language learning,” said Geshel.

Geshel said he has used the program before.

“I think it’s great,” he said. “The movie feature is something you don’t see a lot.”

PLDL has been subscribed to Mango for about four years. The service is offered free for patrons through the library’s paid subscription with Mango.

For those who don’t have a library card, it is accessible to use as a guest if connected to the library’s internet connection.

However, Geshel said, “We encourage people to sign up for it (a library card) because you can’t save your guest access and you want to be able to.”

The Daily Mining Gazette also talked to an employee from Calumet Public School Library, which is also subscribed to Mango. The library employee, who preferred not to be named, said she’s had some experience helping and answering questions about Mango. She said that it is user-friendly and seems to be well-liked.

“People seem to enjoy it,” she said. “Some are using it rather extensively.”