Learning Language Online
Posted by: Admin
Ever since Rosetta Stone announced in 2007 that it was discontinuing online access for libraries to its popular language-learning program, libraries have been searching for alternatives. One of those alternatives, Mango Languages, had a big presence at the just-concluded Public Library Association conference in Portland OR. They were a Gold Partner, and their booth always seemed be be one of the busiest on the exhibit floor. The mango smoothies didn't hurt. In case you didn't make it to Portland:
Mango is designed more for travellers who want to learn some useful phrases and basic conversational skills, rather than for full language immersion. It has instruction for English speakers in 22 languages, in addition to ESL courses. I overheard one customer at the Mango booth in Portland saying it was much easier to use than Rosetta Stone.
Also on the exhibit floor in Portland were Tell Me More and Recorded Books, which distributes Byki Online: Library Edition. Tell Me More has programs for Spanish, French, German, Italian, Dutch, Arabic, Chinese, and Japanese as well as ESL and ESOL. There are more than 80 language options on Byki Online: Library Edition (Byki stands for “before you know it”), which is based on Transparent Language, used by the Foreign Service Institute and other government foreign-language schools. Powerspeak Languages, distributed by Gale, was recently made available for school libraries. It currently offers Spanish, French, German, Mandarin Chinese, and English for Spanish speakers.
Livemocha provides “social online learning” in numerous languages for free. Oakland (CA) Public Library's Barbara Bibel, our language-learning expert, has taken a look at it for Reference Books Bulletin; her review will appear in the May 15 issue. And watch for Barbara's review of Mango in the April 15 issue.