A few weeks ago, someone asked me if I knew of a good Spanish language course. If you or an acquaintance wants to learn a foreign language for the purpose of enriching travel experiences, I recommend you consider Mango languages.
In the U.S. and U.K. Mango has a free library version that is available in about 71 different languages at participating libraries. The lessons are fun focused on learning the basic language to carry on a conversation.
The course centers on, for example, literally translating Spanish into English and then gives you the common translation for a complete sentence. A word or group of words are color coded in both languages so its easy to understand. There is lots of repetition, which helps in learning.
The program has a good amount of cultural content and the feature I like best is that it does not use flash cards. The language is taught in complete sentences throughout and real conversations are developed.
I don’t recommend Mango for those who want to learn and become fluent in a foreign language because it focuses too much on translation. However, having said that, if your only objective is to learn many common phrases to enhance your travel experiences it’s a great program.
I purchased the complete course for Vietnamese many years ago for $120 and as an added bonus have access to the complete library version for the 71 languages. I can access a course on my Ipad, Iphone or PC anytime and anywhere I have internet access.
I also had the Vietnamese course downloaded on my computer but never had the need to use it.
If you are looking to learn Vietnamese there are a few things to note. Mango teaches southern Vietnamese. Standard Vietnamese is generally considered the language spoken by educated people in northern Vietnam around Hanoi.
There are substantial differences between the two languages. In many instances, letters and consonant clusters in northern Vietnamese make entirely different sounds than they do in the south. Every once in a while I hear someone say that Vietnamese is a completely phonetic language and that is not true.
As just one example, the ‘g’ is pronounced similar to the English ‘g’ in the south but as a ‘z’ in the north. So, in the north ‘gi’ and ‘d’ are phonetically identical and sound like the English ‘z’. For all intents and purposes, northern and southern Vietnamese are two different languages entirely.
But Vietnamese is not a hard language to speak or understand. It is difficult finding a qualified teacher, however, as Vietnamese generally make learning it more complicated than what it need be.
Most notably, everyone in northern and southern Vietnam pronounces numbers differently. I can go to five different stores and they are all different. It’s almost comical because I don’t think they realize it.
I used Mango when I started studying French but because my objective was fluency I bought Rosetta Stone. I also use Mango every once in a while to refresh my Spanish, which I don’t get an opportunity to use much anymore.
I think Mango is an all around very good and reputable organization and their return policy if you are not satisfied is pretty good based on what others have told me.
Hopefully, someone may find this information useful. The information and opinions expressed in this article are strictly my own. I am not affiliated with Mango languages in any manner.