Mango Languages review
Mango Languages is a language learning resource that I had only vaguely heard of. If you’re reading this post, you’ve probably heard of it more than once, which means you had more experience with it than even me!
Regardless, Mango Languages is different from all the rest because of the access they provide to communities, ie. universities, libraries, workplaces, and more. But I’m getting ahead of myself. In this Mango Languages review, I’ll dive into who can access this program, and who should access it.
Mango Languages available
To start, Mango Languages offers plenty of languages, including:
- Egyptian Arabic
- Iraqi Arabic
- Levantine Arabic
- Modern Standard Arabic*
- Chaldean Aramaic
- Shakespearean English
- French Canadian
- Ancient Greek
- Koine Greek
- Haitian Creole
- Biblical Hebrew
- Brazilian Portuguese*
- Scottish Gaelic
- Castilian Spanish*
- Latin American Spanish*
Wow. 73 languages. That’s significantly more than even Duolingo, who is known for how many languages they cover! And I’ll be honest, there are several languages in that list that I’ve never even heard of before…that doesn’t include freaking Shakespearean English, either. Seriously?
On top of that, the languages with asterisks also have some cultural options, too. Some of them have slang, some have business etiquette, or even Zodiac signs and superstitions. Color me impressed!
Mango Languages review: an overview
So, once you’ve chosen your language, what’s Mango Languages like? Well…it’s super simple. Your language is broken up into units, though I’m honestly not sure why. There doesn’t seem to be any major differences between units: not levels, not subjects, nothing obvious to me.
These chapters give you one phrase each and break them down by individual word, phrase, and sentence, with some nice little cultural facts thrown it.
However, these sentences aren’t taught in order but seem to prefer you to understand each word individually, not just how they relate to the sentence you’re learning. Which, you know, is a completely personal preference. It was kind of confusing to me, but I can see what they’re getting at.
As you begin each lesson, they’ll basically tell you what you can expect to learn. Kind of.
This kind of irks me. I love how they start you out with what your intention is – basically the whole point of my ebook is approaching language learning with a focused intention. However, this part of Mango Languages ultimately feels misleading to me.
When I see that I’ll be learning grammar, I’m expecting to have at least a light explanation of grammatical rules in the lesson. A little bit of a nod or something, you know? That just…doesn’t happen though.
Yes, technically this lesson uses subject pronouns and verbs…but so does a significant number of sentences in the language! I digress.
The first lesson is exactly what you might expect it to be.
You’re introduced to this word, both with a recording and someone telling you in English that this word translates to “hello”. Then, to review, you’ll be given this screen and hear “what’s the word to say…”.
Next, you’ll be shown this.
This is Mango Languages introducing this phrase to you for the first time. You’ll hear “listen to the way you would say ‘good morning’. Buenos días. Let’s hear that again”.
Notice the color-coding. As a visual learner, I do love this part. It makes it easier for me to create the link in my brain between the two phrases and helps me to pick apart what each individual word means.
Check out this other feature that I really like.
This is another way that I like to learn new words and phrases: piecing them together in a way that I can understand with the literal translations. Once I understand the literal phrase, it’s much easier for me to recognize the foreign phrase independently.
So, if you’re an ultimate beginner in the language and have never studied any language before, Mango Languages definitely has a few decent options to offer!
Mango Languages review: my qualms
I work really hard to provide balanced reviews and opinions, right? I’m not going to say that Mango Languages is an awful product that isn’t good for anybody, because that’s simply not true. However, it is awful for me. Like, I seriously struggled through it. Why?
The sheer amount of English audio! Earlier I said the audio says things like “listen to how you say” and “let’s hear that again!”, right? That’s what you will hear over and over and over and over again. Some English isn’t a huge deal, but this? The recordings of the foreign language are probably only about 10% (that’s a really rough estimate, but you catch my drift) of all the audio you’ll hear with this program.
I had to force myself to listen to it over and over and over again. If I’m learning a new language, I want to hear the new language, not my native language. I. Can’t. Stand. That. I just can’t.
And, just to be clear, that doesn’t have to be your opinion at all. If that doesn’t bother you, more power to ya! If that will help guide your language learning, that’s awesome. But I personally can’t deal with it.
The skill level
Mango Languages focuses on beginner content, which is perfectly fine. Many language learners never want to learn past the beginner level, and there is nothing wrong with that. Y’all are a-ok in my book.
However, the way that Mango Languages approaches beginner content is incredibly confusing to me. Call me out if I’m wrong of course, but let me show you what I mean. You learn this statement in chapter 5 of unit 1 (yes, the very first unit).
If you have any experience studying Spanish, you’ll know that the past tense is not beginner content. The past tense is how you know that you’re going from beginner to intermediate content. Let’s dive into how they teach you this statement.
See now I’m confused because you’re learning more intermediate phrases, but you’re still learning to say “and” and “what”? And then I get confused again.
I mean, yes, “fuiste” means “did you go”, but what about “ibas”? In this context, this translation is correct, but if I were learning this for the first time, I would at least want to be told that other past tenses exist, even if I won’t be learning them just yet. This feels like it would leave me in the dark.
Mango Language review: tools
Besides these lessons, Mango Languages also offers a dictionary. Which is…interesting. Check it out.
I say it’s interesting because I’m kind of unsure about its purpose. In the fine print, they do have the courtesy to say that it’s just the Google Translate engine, and is therefore not that great. However, at least for Spanish, there is a better option, which I feel like they should know.
If you really wanted to translate anything, you’d be better of just going to SpanishDict for a much more reliable translation. Now, even though I’m accessing this dictionary from the Spanish lessons you can also translate from a whole bunch of languages, so I guess finding a better dictionary is easier said than done.
I suppose they’re making an effort to provide you with more tools at your disposal. I mean hey, this is a much better option than Duolingo’s dictionary, which can only translate the words available on the Duolingo trees!
Mango Languages review: pricing and access
So I hinted at this part in the beginning, but Mango Languages is different than all the rest because there’s a solid chance that you have access to it through a library system, a university, your workplace, or any other community who may value higher learning.
For example, I can access Mango Languages completely free of charge through my public library system! That was a pretty cool find. If you plug in your postal code, it’ll let you know which organizations offer Mango Languages for free. All I did was click onto my local library, input my library card number, and I was good to go!
I do appreciate how Mango Languages makes it easy for people to access their content. If you can’t access it through any organization, you can also purchase a subscription.
These are obviously not ridiculous prices at all, especially with a 14-day free trial and, potentially, 5 family profiles. Not bad, Mango, not bad!
Who Mango Languages is for
So, at the end of the day, what kind of language learner can really benefit from this program? Well, plenty!
From what I can tell, Mango Languages could be really helpful for those who want some low-stress fun/education in their lives, especially if they can access it for free through some kind of institution.
I know that I made some pretty scalding observations…this program isn’t for me, and that’s just fine. Those huge flaws that are a big deal to me? They’re not a big deal to inexperienced language learners or aspiring language learners who just want something fun and rewarding to do in their spare time.
With access to a TON of foreign languages, including some culture lessons, potentially for absolutely free, Mango Languages can definitely be a solid option if it’s meant for you!