Catawba County News

Learn a Language Online

Learn a Language Online

Published: October 25, 2018

On practically everyone’s extended to-do list is learning a new language. Wouldn’t it be great if we could speak French, we think, or Maybe Spanish would be really useful. Chinese would be a real feather in our cap in the business world, we imagine, and Arabic seems to be increasingly desirable in fields like business, finance, and government.

Whatever the reason for our interest, we understand intuitively the benefits in expanding our horizons and making an effort to better communicate with people of different cultures and perspectives.

While there are plenty of paid services that offer language learning, it should come as little surprise that the Library has opportunities to do the same thing for free. Our most prominent resource is called Mango, and it’s a software program that grants users access to more than 70 different languages. They run the gamut from countries in Southeast Asia to Africa, Europe, and the Caribbean. You can even choose more unusual options, like learning Shakespearean English, Biblical Hebrew, and Scottish Gaelic. And just for fun, there’s even a course in how to speak like a pirate!

Users can also take advantage of nearly two dozen English as a Second Language (ESL) courses. In our area, a version where native Hmong speakers can learn to speak English online is particularly relevant, but the options also extend to Korean, Somali, and Turkish, to name but a few!

In addition, Mango features cultural lessons that can help users understand how to navigate customs, idioms, and etiquette, which can be invaluable in actually experiencing a different country or region. Moreover, there’s the opportunity to dig deep into topics like Chinese astrology or feng shui, Russian slang, and business English for Spanish or Mandarin Chinese!

To learn more about the series (which includes a mobile app for ease of use), join us for a special session on Wednesday, October 31 at 10 am at the St. Stephens Branch Library. You’ll be amazed at the world of possibilities you can pursue!