Friday, August 31, 2012

Database Spotlight: Mango Languages

Are you planning a vacation to foreign shores? A long weekend relaxing on a the beaches of Cancun or taking romantic strolls through Paris? Has it been a while since you studied a French or Spanish in high school? Or maybe you're just starting your studies in German or Japanese?

Carnegie-Stout has a database that can help you out! Mango Languages offers interactive, introductory level language practice in 46 different languages. Anyone can access Mango from one of Carnegie-Stout's computers, or from your home if you have a full service library card.

To find Mango, go to the library's homepage: and click on the "Research Tools" link on the left-hand side of the screen. This brings you to an alphabetical list of our research databases from which you will be able to open Mango. If you are outside of the library, you will be prompted to enter the bar code from the back of your library card and your PIN (usually the last four numbers of your phone number).

Once Mango loads, you'll be asked to Log In, Create a Profile, or Start Learning. (Note: you can enlarge the images by clicking on them)

You do not need to create a profile or log in to use Mango, but if you do, Mango will track your progress and allow you to pick up where you left off. To create a profile, simply register with an email address and the password of your choice.

Once you have selected Start Learning or logged in, you'll see a screen with all of the available language courses.

In addition to the 46 languages available, there are English courses for non-native speakers. These English courses are designed for people from 15 different language backgrounds. You can select the English courses from the left-hand side of the screen, or you can select the language of your choice from the list in the middle. For today's example, we'll be looking at French.

The French lesson offers some basic information about the language and where it is spoken, in addition to the three language levels: Basic, Complete 1.0, and Complete 2.0. Today we'll be looking at Basic. To start this level, push the button next to Basic which says "Launch." This will open a new window. (Note: you may need to update Adobe Flash Player)

Each level is split into Chapters, and the Chapters into Lessons. If you have created a profile and logged in, Mango will remind you which lessons you have already completed. Although you are more than welcome to repeat any portion you might like to revisit! We'll start with Chapter 1, Lesson 1; to start this lesson we click on the number one under Chapter 1.

Each Lesson starts with an overview of what topics will be covered, and what concepts we'll be learning. Each lesson will include conversations that teach you useful phrases, grammatical concepts, and vocabulary. The text will be shown in English and, in this case, French. You'll want to make sure you have your computer speakers turned on or your head phones plugged in so that you can hear the proper pronunciation. At the end of the lesson there will be questions to help you test your knowledge and review what you've learned.

You may've noticed that at the top of the screen there is an option which says "Translate." This will take you to a feature similar to Babelfish or Google Translate, where text typed in one box will be translated into the language of your choice in the next box. While these tools can be helpful, be warned that the translations are not always perfect.

If this isn't quite your speed or level, Carnegie-Stout does have a good collection of language learning materials in both print and CD Audio. You can find this material in our catalog by doing a subject search for: French language -- Self-instruction (or replace "French" with the language of your choice), or come in and browse the 400s! Or if you're planning a trip, most of our travel guidebooks can be found between 910 and 917 (you might also want to check the DVDs).

Et nous vous souhaitons bon voyage!

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