The University Library system recently purchased a new language learning software named Mango, which is intended to help students, faculty and staff learn new languages more quickly and help them practice outside the classroom free of charge.
“Mango Languages is a web-based language learning software that includes immersion courses in 60 foreign languages and 17 English as a second languages courses,” Director of Collection Initiatives Carla Lee said.
The University used a trial subscription last year and, based on positive feedback from users, decided to purchase the software, which costs the University $15,000 per year.
“It was one-on-one learning, and it was nice because you’re outside of the classroom,” second-year College student Kathleen Smith said, who used the trial software for French. “It’s another way to reinforce what you’re learning from your professor. It’s easy, and you can do it on your own time.”
After creating an account, the site tracks users’ learning hours, courses studied and lessons completed. Each language contains subdivisions — for example, the Spanish section consists of Conversational Spanish, Medical Spanish and Romance Spanish. Within each subdivision, there are units, which help users learn the basics.
Lee said Mango is not a substitute for an academic language course. Using Mango also does not provide any course credit, but rather it aims to teach at a conversational level, which proves especially advantageous for students involved in international research projects or studying abroad.
“In the future I’m planning on studying abroad in France, and I feel like Mango is a great way to prepare, because it offers a more comprehensive review than what you get in the classroom,” Smith said. “Classes are usually focused around grammar, but with Mango I have the opportunity to learn useful ways to communicate about everyday life.”