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The Suburbanite
  • Stark County library offers free language learning program

  • Nancy McKnight studied Spanish several years ago, but never pursued it during her career as a teacher and library media coordinator for Hudson Schools.

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  • Nancy McKnight studied Spanish several years ago, but never pursued it during her career as a teacher and library media coordinator for Hudson Schools.
    Now retired, her interest in the language has been renewed.
    “We have a migrant center here in Hartville and many of the immigrants are from Mexico or southern United States,” she said. “I took Spanish to help me communicate with them better to help out at the center. I minored in Spanish in college, but that was 100 years ago!”
    When it came to relearning the language, she turned to Mango Languages, a free language learning program available at the Stark County District Library.
    The program has a logical approach to learning, she said. “It is great. You can hear the language being spoken and the program teaches you about the culture.”
    FAR AWAY PLACES
    Merci beaucoup — French for, “Thank you very much.”
    Merhaba  — A Turkish greeting.
    Buon giorno! — Italian for, “Good morning!”
    Mango Languages is just one of the free programs available through the library. It offers more than 40 foreign language courses and 14 English as a second language courses.
    The Stark County Educational Service Center lists about 280 current students learning English as a second language in area public schools. The numbers change frequently because of when programs start and those who exit when they become proficient.
    The most popular targets for those looking to learn a new language through the library system are French and Spanish, said Shelia Mawdsley, who teaches classes for 12 to 14 people at a time.
    One of the nice things about Mango, she said, is “if you have a microphone, it will record your voice so you can compare it to the teacher giving the lesson.”
    “To really get the full experience, you need to have speakers and a microphone,” she said. “People who come to the library can use headphones, but you can’t really use the voice comparison.”
    The languages offered have two courses, basic and the complete course, she said. With the complete courses, there are anywhere between 85 and 100 lessons.
    “Mango’s claim is that if you finish the complete course, you will have achieved conversational competency,” Mawdsley said. “Because it focuses so much on conversation it works best to sign on from home with a microphone so you can use the voice comparison software available. This way, you can compare what you say to the professional.”
    There is not a lot of focus on grammar, she said. The program uses stealth grammar. “When you are looking at the screen for complete sentences and phrases, words will be color coded so you can start to learn word order.”
    Page 2 of 2 - HOW TO GET STARTED
    Mawdsley recommends Mango Languages for anyone trying to learn a new language.
    The web-based system offers mobile apps so patrons can access it anywhere using their library card number. To get started, go to the library’s website at www.starklibrary.org, sign up using your library card number, and search for Mango.
    On video
    Watch a video about Mango Languages at the Stark County District Library at CantonRep.com/videos.