Wednesday, June 12, 2019

You Say Mango, I Say...Mango

Image result for foreign languagesAfter five years of studying German, and passing quite a few difficult exams, my younger son recently graduated from high school with a seal of biliteracy on his diploma. I'm very proud, of course, but it also got me thinking about my long-ago experience learning French in school. I never got close to my son's level of fluency, but it was fun to be able to muddle through in a foreign language.

For some odd reason I still remember the text book from my junior high French class. C'est Marie. Marie est blonde. Exciting stuff! That was eons before the many apps and online courses that make it easy to learn a new language from the comfort of your very own home.

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Uhh...different Mango
My local library provides free access to Mango, so this past week, I dipped my toes into the vast ocean of world languages. Mango offers lessons in everything from Arabic to Yiddish, including Shakespearean English and Pirate. Yes, that kind of Pirate, shiver me timbers. (From an entertainment standpoint, that one is pretty great.)

First off, I tried Dutch. My husband learned to speak it as a 5-year-old expat back in the day, so I figured how hard could it be? As it turns out, it is hard. After a few days, I switched to Spanish, which was easier because a) I have more exposure to it and b) it's linguistically closer to French.

The Mango lessons are fun and quick. It's helpful to hear the pronunciations of native speakers, and I enjoyed the cultural tidbits thrown in. As I clicked through the screens, I could feel the rusty gears of the foreign language center in my brain coming unstuck, which was gratifying.


Learning a foreign language is a lot of work! (Thanks, Captain Obvious.) It requires much more investment than fifteen minutes a day--for me, anyway. After a mere seven days, I have a renewed respect for anyone who is multilingual.

Even though my Mango language study was fun and good for my brain, I just don't have the capacity for it right now. As a result, this week's Take It or Leave It is a regretful Leave It. With the possible exception of Pirate.


  1. Lol, I didn't realise Pirate was a language *grin*. I'd love to learn another language. It's on the "one day when I have time" list.

  2. I have a list like that, too :-)