While the end result may be the same for many language-learners, the motivation can be unique for every learner.
Below are three quotes that relate to three different situations I found myself in this past week.
“Learning another language is not only learning different words for the same things, but learning another way to think about things.”
While catching up with an old friend from high school and mentioning where I worked, I was excited to hear that he had not only heard of Mango Languages, but he was also starting to use it, thanks to Mango Military through the US coastguard! He shared his new goal to learn Spanish as a new dad and husband. It seemed random at first, as both him and his wife, and their families, all speak English. When I asked why, he told me that he wants to learn Spanish to be able to better communicate with the teachers at his son’s daycare. It was great to see him making such an effort to ensure that communication was always clear for the well-being of his son, but it also was great to see that language-barriers don’t have to push people apart, in fact in this situation, it is only bringing people closer!
A friend from Mexico who recently moved to the United States for work asked me if I knew any fun and easy ways to learn a new language (Mango Languages!) so that his girlfriend who is still in Mexico could start learning English. After telling him all about Mango Languages I realized that he also had a unique motivation for learning a different language; his future! It was touching to see that he thought about his girlfriend’s comfort and success as they contemplate their future together beyond their comfort zone and in a foreign country.
“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart.”
Hitting a little closer to home, my Turkish boyfriend’s parents, after hearing all about my new job at Mango Languages, wanted to know how and how fast they could start learning English. With my efforts to learn Turkish and their effort to learn English, I was excited at the prospect of us being able to communicate without needing a constant translator (the boyfriend ). I was also touched that they were willing to take time and put an effort into learning a language in order to be able to talk to me and my family. It also made me realize how much it would mean to them and to my boyfriend for me to be able to speak to them in their native language. Without doubt, my Turkish-learning experience continues!
After talking to these friends and family, I realized how extremely happy and thankful I was for being able to be a part of their language-learning experience. In the end, everyone has a different motivation for learning a language. Maybe it is out of necessity, or out of thirst for knowledge, or maybe its for love. Whatever it may be, I hope you continue to find motivation and encouragement!
When Mango sends marketing goodies to libraries, we fill the boxes with love and orange and green crinkle paper.
The staff at the Bedford Public Library saved the Mango packaging, added some love of their own and turned it into beautiful pumpkins.
Thank you, Bedford Public Library, for making us smile.
And now for a serious question: if mangoes stay out too late, do they turn into pumpkins?
“I can’t afford to buy study materials”
“Between work and responsibilities at home, I just don’t have the time to study.”
“I can’t find a partner for speaking practice.”
Excuses. Trust us, we’ve heard them all. And they just don’t work with us. The truth is, if you really want to learn a language, you’ll find a way to do it. There’s actually many easy, simple and fun ways to infuse language-learning into your everyday routine – most of which cost little or nothing at all. To prove it, we put together a list of 20 suggestions to get you started.
1. Read a news article in a foreign language.
2. Write a status update or tweet in a foreign language.
3. Listen to the live feed of an international radio station online.
4. Sign up for an international pen pal and exchange emails on a regular basis.
5. Cook from a recipe that is written entirely in a foreign language.
6. Rent a foreign movie and watch it without the subtitles. If that’s too difficult, try turning on the closed captions so that you can see the lines written in the original language, rather than the translated version.
7. Download a trivia app for your smartphone that’s in the language you’d like to learn. Still a beginner? Try looking for a children’s version for simpler phrasing.
8. Next time you go to the store, practice writing your shopping list entirely in the language you are studying.
9. Visit a foreign restaurant and try ordering in the language.
10. Have a partner to study with? Try playing “I Spy,” “20 Questions,” or Scrabble in the language you’re studying.
11. In a relationship? Come up with some fun pet names for your significant other that are in a foreign language (like “Schatz” in German or “Chéri” in French). Up for a challenge? Practice writing an entire love letter.
12. Check out the foreign music charts, pick a couple songs, and see if you can understand the lyrics. Too difficult? Look up the lyrics online and you’ve got a great translation challenge!
13. Next time you need directions, look them up in a foreign language by going to an international version of the Google Maps site (for example: the German, French, or Spanish site). It’s a great way to learn vocabulary!
14. Join a foreign language Meetup in your area.
15. Finding foreign or international clubs or associations in your area is probably easier than you think. Think outside the box when you’re searching: schools, college campuses, and even churches or other religious organizations can be a great place to look for clubs.
16. What’s your favorite TV show? Chances are it either has a counterpart (like American Idol or Survivor) or a dubbed version in a foreign language. Try downloading episodes or look for clips online to watch. Alternatively, you could purchase a DVD set online – just be aware that you may need an international DVD player in order to watch it.
17. “Like” or “follow” a foreign company on Facebook or Twitter. This will infuse your newsfeed with foreign language content.
18. Looking for a fun way to practice vocabulary? Each day, pick a different topic to focus on (e.g. animals, food & drink, or family members) and see how many words you can list for that topic. Each time you make a list, try to list more words than the day before. If you want to take this challenge to the next level, see if you can come up with a word beginning with each letter of the alphabet.
19. Did you know that official Wikipedias have been created in 285 languages? So if you’re looking for seemingly endless content and articles to browse (on almost any topic), then look no further.
20. Turn your down-time into language-learning time. Practice vocab while getting ready in the morning, have a conversation with yourself in the shower (nobody will know – we promise!), or doodle conjugation charts on your lunch break. Sitting in traffic? Listen to foreign music and practice singing along. See? Almost any situation can be turned into a language-learning opportunity. There’s simply no excuse not to try.
Last week, we introduced you to ‘Libby the Librarian’, Mango’s FREE course developed specifically for librarians to learn Spanish.
‘Libby the Librarian’ was officially launched at this year’s ALA Annual Conference in Anaheim. At the show, Libby got librarians talking – in Spanish, as well as English! Check out the video below to see what they had to say!
We also had the chance to sit down with Patrick Sweeney, Branch Manager at the San Mateo County Library, to talk about how he’s going to use ‘Libby the Librarian’ to educate staff at his branch.
Ready to join in the fun? Well, Libby’s ready to teach! Click here to access the course.
“Hola. ¿Cómo le puedo ayudar?” Or in other words: “Hello. How can I help you?”
Here at Mango, we’ve met thousands of librarians over the years and have consistently found them to be some of the kindest, most helpful folks you can imagine. But we know that even the most helpful librarian would struggle when language barriers become an issue. Which got us thinking: why don’t we develop a Spanish language course designed specifically for librarians?
Enter: Libby the Librarian.
She’s resourceful, she’s intelligent, and she’s pretty darn cute – if we do say so ourselves! She’s also ready to help other librarians learn useful phrases and vocabulary to assist their Spanish-speaking patrons, like how to get a library card or navigating the reference desk.
The best part? Libby’s course is FREE. This is just our little way of saying thank you to the awesome librarian community that we love so much.
Ready to get start learning with Libby? Click here.
I would be lying if I didn’t say that I have been counting down the days until the release of Spanish Castilian. My love for the language and culture has started with my choice to study Spanish to fulfill my foreign language requirement in high school. My high school teacher was originally from Valencia, Spain and this was when I first learned the differences between Spanish of Spain and Latin American Spanish. She shared many fascinating stories about the history and culture of Spanish (a lot of which you can find in cultural notes in the new Mango Castilian Spanish course). I realized I wasn’t done with Spanish after I graduated and decided to keep learning and majored in Spanish in college.
To this day, that was one of the best decision I have ever made since it lead me to choose a study abroad program in Madrid, Spanish for a summer. From making the perfect paella, to quickly realizing how important futbol is for the Spaniards, the culture of Spain is beautiful to say the least. Being surrounded by native Castilian speakers, I slowly started to pick up the differences.
So what exactly are the differences between the Spanish of Spain and the Spanish of Latin America? A good example is to compare it to the differences between British English and American English. Most people in the Spanish-speaking world can communicate and understand each other, however there are differences that are noticeable if comparing the two. Some of the common differences is that many Spaniards often pronounce the z and the c before i or elike the “th” in “things.” As far as grammar goes, the biggest difference is the leísmo (the use of the indirect object pronoun le in place of the standard direct object pronoun lo) of Spain and that Spaniards use vosotros as the plural of tú (the singular word for “you”), while in Latin America ustedes is usually used.
There you go, a little lesson and you haven’t even started the course.
Planning on traveling? Not to worry. Whether you’re looking to climb to the top of Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia in Barcelona (pronounced “Bar-THe-lona”), run with the bulls in the San Fermin festival, or dance the night away in Ibiza, Mango is ready to accompany you on your adventures. Through your library and Mango Languages, not only do you get access to Castilian Spanish, among 40+ foreign languages, but you also get access to our free mobile apps, available on iPhones, iPod Touch and Android devices.
Whether you walk, run or flamenco dance* to your public library, make sure to check out our new Castilian Spanish course!
Buena suerte (good luck)!
*We here at Mango consider flamenco dancing incredibly impressive, videos are welcome.
Warren and Betsy Talbot of marriedwithluggage.com applied what they were learning in Spanish with Mango during their first stop on their amazing trip around the world: Ecuador.
In his own words, Warren Talbot describes their Journey learning Spanish in Ecuador and interacting with locals:
“We started our trip in northern Ecuador, just outside of Otavalo. This area does see a fair amount of tourists for their huge and diverse Saturday market, but the vast majority of people speak no English. This turned out to be the perfect scenario to start to learn a language.
Our first of many funny experiences occurred when we headed into the local food market for breakfast. We were clearly the only foreigners, and from the looks of it, it appeared like we were the only outsiders to enter this area in some time. We sat down at a stall and decided to order desayuno (breakfast). We started in with the limited Spanish we had learned in our first 2 weeks with Mango Languages, accompanied by as many smiles as we could fit into the request. The woman was delighted that we were trying, though she clearly had no idea what we wanted. Through a series of pointing and finger gestures we were able to order the best empanadas we have had on this trip and some wonderful sweet coffee.
That one experience began a 6 month immersion into Spanish that we absolutely loved. We found that people were always friendlier when we tried to speak Spanish, even if we did it wrong.
A couple of months into our trip we arrived in Baños, Ecuador, a place famous for living in the shadow of a live volcano and for having plenty of hot springs as a result. By this time we were more comfortable with our Spanish and during a hike one morning we stopped at a remote guesthouse for coffee. There were no other guests, and the elderly owners showed us around their beautiful gardens, pointing out plant and animal life and telling us about past eruptions of the volcano. Had we not learned some Spanish, we would have never had this very special memory.
As we neared the end of our time in Ecuador we discovered one of our friends from Otavalo was leading a tour in Cuenca and would have a few hours free to see us. His wife was bilingual and always paved the way for any misunderstandings, and this would be our first time with him alone. He didn’t speak any English. We ended up having a great time together, taking a tour of the city, enjoying a local specialty in a roadside restaurant, and strolling around the main square with ice cream to end the day. We bonded with him like never before because there was no middle man paving the way. And believe us, when you no longer have need of a middle man, you experience a country in a completely different way.
Through the last 18 months we’ve had some wonderful interactions with locals as we work to pick up Spanish, Thai, and now Mandarin. From a Spanish-only 4-day trek in Peru, to chatting with monks in a temple in Thailand, and recently to eating with a family in China our ability to communicate, even in a small way, opens people’s hearts (and sometimes homes) to us.
For us, learning a language serves many practical purposes on this adventure: getting directions, buying groceries, asking for help on public transportation, finding the restroom. At one point we got sick and needed to see a doctor. We were able to find out where the doctor’s office was, tell him our symptoms and even engage in a bit of small talk about our travels, and go to the lab and pharmacy. Knowing some language when you travel in a country gives you comfort that you can handle most things that come your way, expected and unexpected.
However, the true benefit to learn a language is the opportunity to communicate and learn from people in a completely different culture. Even if it is just a few words in the local language, people will smile and light up your day. New experiences and opportunities will appear that you never thought possible. Inevitably you will engage in a discussion and learn something new about a person, a place, or a culture all by being able to share a common language. It does not require you to be fluent, but merely be willing to start learning. Most importantly you must be curious, as curiosity leads to the greatest discoveries.”
What inspiring stories would you like to bring back from an adventure like Warren’s? Tell us what kind of Journey you would take with more advanced content from Mango Languages and you could win a Mango Passport bundle containing Mango Passport Journeys One, Two and Three!
How will YOU be celebrating Cinco de Mayo?