Last fall, I included Mango Languages for Libraries in my review of language learning websites. If you do not have access to Mango through your library or would like your own personal copy of the program that is not dependent on an internet connection, Mango Languages now offers Passport software and On the Go mp3 downloads for individual users, available in the following languages: Chinese (Mandarin), English as a Second Language, Farsi, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese (Brazilian), Russian, Spanish, Thai, Turkish, and Vietnamese.
The Mango Passport software includes 10 chapters with several lessons each and a review at the end of each chapter. Some languages have more lessons than others; for example, the Italian program that I reviewed has 52, while Czech has 67, Vietnamese has 76 and Japanese has 84. You can try one lesson for free online to see what the program is like, or if you do have access through your library, the Passport software is the same as the Mango for Libraries Complete 2.0 course. Each lesson provides dialogs and conversations in the target language, with color-coded vocabulary, phonetic transcriptions when you hover over the word, voice comparisons for testing your own pronunciation, and timed “cards” so that you must recall the target word or phrase. Each chapter builds up vocabulary, grammar and culture without being too explicit (especially for grammar) for basic conversation and traveling needs. The ten chapters in Italian are: Greetings, Gratitude, Goodbyes; Do you speak English?; What’s your name?; Where’s the station?; How much does it cost?; I’d like to order; Can I pay by credit card?; I need help; How do you say Thank you in Italian?; What is it?; plus the course review.
The On the Go product is the audio version of the Passport software. The Main Course mp3s are in the same order as the 10 chapters in Passport, and there is also a Quick Course which doesn’t include the memory exercises so the time is cut in half if you prefer a faster version. Three Review sets of mp3s are also included: Cultural, Phrase and Vocabulary; as well as a nice PDF booklet with all the transcripts. The booklet does also include the cultural and grammar notes plus the phonetic transcriptions of each word.
The program does not claim that you will gain fluency (and I really don’t believe that any one program will make you fluent) and remember that these products are for beginners. If you already have knowledge of the language, it will probably be too slow and not extensive enough for increasing your vocabulary beyond the basic conversational level. Only neutral accents are used for the recordings, which have been scripted and rehearsed, so it is not the best bet if you are looking for advanced authentic audio with regional accents. Please check out Mango‘s website, read the FAQs, and try the free lesson to see if the program will suit your needs. The introductory price per language for the Passport software is $150, while the On the Go mp3s are $100 – however, if you buy them together as a Bundle, the price is $200. If you are interested in mobile apps, Mango Languages will be releasing an iPhone/iPod Touch app this summer.
THE TWITTER GIVEAWAY
I have one free copy of Mango Passport & On the Go Bundle to give away, a value of $200!
To participate in this Twitter giveaway, follow these instructions:
1. Either comment on this post or send me an e-mail at ielanguages [at] gmail [dot] com with your Twitter name and e-mail address.
3. Tweet the following phrase “I just entered the @ielanguages giveaway of a Mango Passport Language Bundle from @mangolanguages http://ht.ly/3XrCU” before Sunday, February 20, 2011, at 11:59 PM Eastern Standard Time. One entry per person.
4. After verifying the follows and tweets, I will choose one entry at random on Monday and contact the winner through e-mail with the promo code for redeeming their free copy of Passport Mango & On the Go in one language of their choice.
Thanks for participating! [This giveaway has ended. Please check newer blog posts for further product giveaways!]
Dr. Wagner has a PhD in Linguistics and is dedicated to learning and teaching languages online and abroad. She has studied in Quebec and Australia, taught English in France, and is currently based in the US.