Mango Languages: where you can learn Pirate-speak

Mango Lingo: Mango Languages teaches students languages and the cultural context of those languages.  

Brian Sazo, a native Spanish speaker, uses Mango Languages, a language-learning tool to learn Mandarin. He is a senior who goes to both Washburn and Washburn Tech on his way to become a Spanish language major. He hasn’t planned out everything he’s going to do with his major, but he is enjoying it.

“For now, even though I speak Spanish, I want to know it formally, you know, the tenses and the grammatical construction,” said Sazo.

He has recently become a student ambassador for Mango languages and is looking to promote the program. He believes that education about languages and cultures breaks barriers and brings in an environment of understanding.

Mango Languages offers 75 languages, including the four dialects of Arabic, Greek, Yiddish, Hebrew and Malay. There is even a course that teaches people to speak like a pirate. Sazo likes how the lessons are conversational, as they not only focus on the grammatical, but the colloquial usage as well.

“The great thing is you can do your learning at your own pace,” said Sazo. “It’s not forced. It’s more digestible.”

Mango is not just a reservoir of languages, it is also a place where people can learn the culture that gives birth to the language. Mango Premier courses help people learn languages through culturally saturated films. Mango’s Specialty courses teach languages to use in a professional setting and in a cultural context, like in festivals, for example. There are courses like “Zodiac Signs,” “Flamengo Dancing,” “St. Patrick’s Day” and more.

“This is all free for university students if it’s connected to their university. You get a free trial, but students can upgrade their profile for free if they authenticate the institution they are using the program through,” said Sazo.

For Washburn students, that institution is Mabee library.

Georgina Tenny, lecturer of Spanish at Washburn, has been using Mango languages to learn Italian.

“I enjoy Mango because unlike other language apps, Mango explains the grammar behind the vocabulary it teaches, which allows me the flexibility to use the language creatively rather than just memorize specific phrases,” Tenny said. “Plus, it does a great job of teaching the culture. I don’t know of any other language app that incorporates culture. I first heard about the program at the Topeka Public Library and later learned that Washburn’s Mabee Library also offers the program free of charge.”

She also saw the Mango as a great way to accompany classes.

“A professor is there to explain the new concepts and demonstrate correct usage of the materials presented and other students provide the opportunity to practice as you learn. Mango is an outstanding app to use as additional exposure to the language of your choice,” she said.

The Mabee library has a lot of resources and students are not familiar with a lot of them. Now, Sazo wants to popularize Mango Languages as a free resource that students come back to time and again.