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What's it about?
MANGO LANGUAGES offers more than 70 language courses and ESL instruction in 19 languages. Once users create an account, they can access the service (with an internet connection) from the web or from an iOS, Android, Nook, or Kindle device. Users can also access Mango Premiere, which lets users view 22 feature films in 8 target languages with special captions and support built in for language-learning support.
Users in the United States and Canada with a valid library card can access the service for free through many local libraries: Users search for their local branch and enter their library card to gain access. Individual users can also access Mango for a subscription fee ($20 per month or $175 per year); K-12 institutions, businesses, and higher education institutions can also set up their own subscription plans.
Is it any good?
Mango Languages' impressive design features an interactive system with memory-building and critical thinking exercises that show kids how to put new words into practical use. Once users select a language, they view a series of cards that offer lesson choices and instruction. A narrator introduces each chapter's goal, reads sentences aloud, and offers positive encouragement like, "Don't worry if the conversation seemed difficult; we'll lead you through it, part by part." Users click an arrow to move to the next slide when they're ready. Occasional cultural notes pop up to explain religion, common greetings, and other elements that relate to slang and language, including notes about literal meaning versus perceived meaning. Many slides also feature a Voice Compare option that lets users weigh their pronunciation against a narrator's using their computer microphone and recording feature -- an excellent feature that can help users focus on accent and pronunciation at their own pace.
The main thing that would improve Mango Languages would be more writing practice: There's excellent speaking, reading, and listening practice to be had here, but more features to hone that fourth skill would be a welcome addition. As it is, there's an excellent focus here on diving deep into the heart of language learning, with a deep focus on how words and phrases are really used in conversation by native speakers. If your school or local public library doesn't participate, Mango Languages could be pricey, but if you can access it for free, it's a flexible, high-impact way to learn a new language.
Talk to your kids about ...
- Families can talk about learning a new language. Are there any advantages to being able to speak more than one language? How can your child practice and use new language skills?
- Learning a second language can help kids better understand their primary language. Discuss grammar and other elements your child is familiar with. What similarities can your child identify in both the primary and secondary language?
- Subjects: Language & Reading: speaking, vocabulary
Social Studies: cultural understanding, global awareness
- Skills: Self-Direction: academic development, achieving goals, personal growth
Communication: conveying messages effectively, speaking
- Genre: Educational
- Price: Pricing is based on school size and usage requirements; schools can call a company representative to get a customized quote.
- Pricing structure: Free to Try, Paid