/Free language learning software accessed through database

Free language learning software accessed through database

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Ngoc Vo
Staff Writer

With a free program in the Troy library database, students across campuses can now learn over 38 languages easily and at their convenience.
Mango Languages are online courses focusing on conversational learning to help users develop basic language skills.
According to Henry Stewart, dean of university libraries, Troy purchased the service in April 2009. Since then, Mango Languages has updated and added more languages to the original six at no cost.
The annual subscription for Mango Languages comes out of the library budget. Stewart said it costs less than a dollar per full-time equivalent student for the program. Using the library database, students can access Mango for free, saving approximately $79 per level.
“This program provides many of the languages that our own students speak on a daily basis,” Stewart said. “This is a good way for them to experience another language. There are audio and visual tools to help students pick up common phrases easily.”
“Even our faculty use Mango Languages before they go and teach abroad at our international branches,” Stewart said. He said some of Troy’s Spanish teachers have incorporated the program as a supplement to their syllabus.
“I personally prefer the style of Mango over Rosetta Stone and other really expensive products,” said Lauren Coughlin, a senior political major from Maryland who is studying abroad in Belgium this semester. “The lessons use repetition and simplicity to help you remember ready-made phrases that you can pull into conversation after only one lesson… I’ve been able to immediately utilize those lessons with a native speaker.”
Mango offers not only popular languages such as Spanish and Mandarin but also less widely used ones like Swahili and Haitian Creole. Pirate language is also among the languages available on the site.
The first year Troy got Mango, Greek was the most popular language learned through the program, according to Stewart’s statistics. Now, students are more interested in learning Spanish and French.
Another course Mango offers is English as a second language. This helps non-native students learn English through lessons tailored for learners with specific mother tongues.
Learning language through films is a special feature which came out within the last six months. Mango has made 16 films available in languages like German, Spanish and Mandarin to facilitate language acquisition.
Stewart said he is happy with the usage Troy Mango has received. Since 2009, about 4,500 sections have been used. Every available language has at least one usage.
Stewart said the average time students spend on Mango per login is 10 minutes. Mango is also available as an application on Android and iPhone for quick access. According to Stewart half of the usage is on mobile phone.
Free Mango lessons are only available to Troy students and faculty through the database. All the computers in the library are automatically logged in to the site. One can use the program across all international campuses. However, a valid Troy email address is required for access. To access the database from any computer go to http://trojan.edu/library/databases.html. From there, search for “Mango languages” through the databases to find the “Mango Languages” link.
The top 10 language courses by usage are Spanish, French, German, Korean, Russian, Pirate, Mandarin, Swahili, Japanese and Haitian Creole.