Advancing Your Skills: Free Foreign Language Courses

Would you like to learn a foreign language without leaving home, while never spending a dime?

You might choose to learn a few of them! Mango Languages is a foreign-language learning product that currently offers 63 languages. There are no CDs, tapes, or DVDs to buy, rent, or lose under the car seat. Mango is an online learning experience, and many libraries subscribe to it. Their patrons have free online access to Mango through the subscribing library’s website. Expect access to require a library card number.

I learned about Mango from my library’s newsletter. I was excited to have the opportunity to explore so many languages with no strings attached, so I signed in and checked out Mango.

I selected a beginning Italian course. Do I have Italian ancestors? Not unless there was one of those incidents. But my McBride family owned a business in Santa Pietra, Italy. My great-grandparents and some of their children spent time there. My mother had Irish-American cousins born in Italy. The family lost the language of their homeland generations before, but later gained the very different Italian language. In time, that was lost. It intrigues me, being my family’s closest foreign language when counting generations.

It has been enough time since my foray into basic Italian to have forgotten most of it without great effort. But it was fun. My guess is if I were to retake the course, things would click. With 63 languages to choose from, I wonder if I should try something more exotic for my next course. Like Pirate.

Although basic language courses might not help you to translate family documents (unless they are menus), learning the words that an ancestor spoke can be quite satisfying. More advanced levels are available. Their usefulness for a genealogist might increase as the complexity increases. Foreign language ability is useful when undertaking trips to ancestral homelands.

To find a library that subscribes to Mango, use Mango’s handy Find Mango feature. Enter your zip code and hit Find. A list of nearby libraries appears. The list indicates which libraries subscribe, and which do not yet subscribe. I think that is clever on Mango’s part, because it might encourage patrons to ask their libraries to subscribe.

Mango has phone apps. I also follow the Mango Languages Facebook page.

What class did you sign up for through Mango, and why?


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3 Responses to Advancing Your Skills: Free Foreign Language Courses

  1. Pingback: Recommended Reads | Empty Branches on the Family Tree

  2. Thanks for sharing this, Debbie. My library has this service, but I had no idea until I read this post and checked. I’ve been saying for years that I want to study the German language and finally put it on my to-do list to find a way to do this either in a traditional classroom or online…I had planned to start researching options next week, so this is VERY timely for me!!

    • debbiemieszala says:

      That is great news! I’m glad that the post was helpful. Enjoy your adventure. Our libraries offer many wonderful things, but they will only keep databases if patrons use them.

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