Given that I am a translator, you shouldn’t be surprised that I love languages.
I started learning Spanish as a child, in a before-school program at my elementary school. I studied Spanish through college, where I also picked up Japanese and Catalan. More recently, I began learning Farsi. I have tried just about every method available to me for learning Farsi in the U.S., and I finally discovered a program that works for me:
I have now started learning German through Mango Languages, an interactive, online program. It is similar to the Pimsleur method, which uses repetition to build vocabulary (and covertly introduce grammar).
Why I like Mango:
- It focuses on practical, real-life vocabulary
- It has both visual and audio components
- It lets me record myself to assess/improve my pronunciation
- It prompts me to make educated guesses about grammar (more active learning)
- It has just enough repetition to solidify the vocabulary without getting boring
Of course, it isn’t perfect. Although it’s better than the phrase books targeted at tourists, it still teaches a relatively limited amount of vocabulary and grammar. I feel like I can talk my way through a script, but I am hardly ready to handle the spontaneity of a real conversation.
That said, it’s a great way to become familiar with German and get ready for my arrival in Aachen. If I can pick up some basics now, I will be ready to jump in and really learn the language once I get there!
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