Mango Languages database
Overview: This database provides tutorials for learning a variety of languages, like Spanish, German, Japanese, even English for English Language Learners. It operates similarly to Rosetta, in that you are learning the more conversational elements of the language. The site describes its software thusly, “Mango uses real-life situations and actual conversations to more effectively teach a new language. By listening to and repeating after material designed from native conversations, you’ll not only learn the individual words and phrases, you’ll know how they’re used in practical situations and conversations. You’ll learn more than grammar, vocabulary and conjugation, you’ll learn how to communicate.” The lessons start with introductory conversations and first play native speakers in the language. Then they break it down by word, and allow you to practice saying the words and comparing your voice to what it should sound like.
Critical Evaluation: One of the cool features I got to try during this tutorial was a wave sound representation. To compare your pronunciation with the correct pronunciation, they show you what a native speaker’s sound representation looks like, as compared to yours. It doesn’t seem as helpful as having a physical person to correct you or tell you how you are pronouncing it wrong, but with a little interpretation I could see that I was putting too much emphasis on the second part of the word, while native speakers have more emphasis at the beginning. They also quiz you immediately after learning the word, which ensures that you are practicing right away.
In a lot of ways, this can’t really compare to learning the language from another human, and I do think that Rosetta involves more human interaction, albeit through chat groups, but I imagine that this would help a lot to be certain that your words are understood. However, as a service offered for free to patrons, I think this has a good concept of how it is that people actually learn languages and get good enough to be able to use them. In contrast to some of my language classes in school, I got a lot of theoretical knowledge of the language, but had no practical concept of how to use it. As I continue to search around the site, I see that there are two tracks for learning: the basic, which takes a few hours and gives you simple practical skills, and the complete, which would incorporate comprehensive language and grammar skills. I think having both options will be very useful and allow users to find the track which better suits their present needs.
Reader’s Annotation: Learn languages your way! Choose whether you want basic conversational skills, or if you want to learn the language and grammar skills for a better understanding of the language. Great for helping with your language class or before you go on vacation.
Information about the providers: Mango Languages is the name of the company that provides this service. They are based in Farmington Hills, Michigan.
Genre: Language Learning Database
Curriculum ties, if any: This has a direct correlation with what teens will learn in their language classes, and could be used to tie into class work or as an extension of what is done in class.
Booktalking Ideas: I would encourage teens to use this software to learn languages for fun, or if they need additional assistance with their class. I might demonstrate the page using a fun language, like Pirate.
Reading Level/Interest Age: Mango Languages is designed for older learners. There is also a Little Pim service for children. So this version is best suited for adults and teens.
Challenge Issues: None.
Why did you include this database? : I mention it for this database because I think that high school students in language classes will find it particularly helpful.
User Dashboard (2013). Mango Languages. Retrieved from http://libraries.mangolanguages.com/dashboard (Need to create an account to see this page, but similar information is on commercial website.)