How to use Mango Conversations: Tips from one of Mango's linguists.

Aug 19, 2016 11:30:45 AM / by Lilia Mouma

 Welcome_to_Mango_Conversations.pngMango Languages uses its own unique methodology to teach languages and here are some tips for how to get the most of it from one of our very own linguists: Lilia! 

Mango lessons begin with the Conversation and Grammar Goals that will be covered in each chapter. If you like to take notes, you can write them down or read them carefully to get a clear understanding of what the chapter will teach you. One nice thing about writing is that you can refer to your notes at any time during the chapter.

The slide after the goals has the conversation that serves as the basis of the chapter. The sentences in the conversation will be analyzed and their grammar explained (if it hasn’t been taught already), and there will also be more practice on these grammar structures and the related vocab. Even though vocabulary and grammar structures are to follow in the coming lessons, you can still use this conversation to learn. Try to repeat the sentences and listen how the stress falls and rises to familiarize yourself to the sounds of the target language, the intonation, and its words. You can also practice your reading or you can move on to the first lesson.

While you are going through each lesson, you can actively interact with the various features available:

  • If you are not entirely familiar and confident with the target script, you can mute the audio and try to read the words and the sentences on your own. You can then play the audio to make sure you have pronounced what you read correctly.
  • You can repeat the word or sentence to the point you are most satisfied with your pronunciation. You can also use our voice comparison feature for pitch-perfect pronunciation.
  • Try typing or writing the words or sentences without looking at the screen, just by listening to the audio. Look at the screen to verify the spelling.
  • Whenever there is a culture note, try to find out more info online, this way it will stick with you.
  • Although we have taken the best care possible in conveying context and background, our Grammar Notes may not be clear to you at first. Read the note over again and look at the examples provided until it is clear.
  • When you are learning a language with conjugations, it might be a good idea to create a document with tables (or a spreadsheet) and add whatever you learn there. For example, you can create a table for conjugation X with all the forms, singular and plural, in one column and fill it in whenever you learn a new form of this conjugation. This way, your tables will slowly be filled. But most importantly, it will be you who has created and filled in these tables: the gain is great.
  • You will notice that there are several quizzes on previously-learned words and phrases. Feel free to skip them if you believe you have learned them already as you will have many opportunities to practice them.
  • Once you have learned a new structure and have had the opportunity to practice it in the lesson, keep trying to find relevant vocab to practice further. For example, you have learned how to say, “I’d like to have chicken and potatoes please.” Try to replace “chicken” and “potatoes” with other food, like “beef,” “rice,” “pasta” or “fish and potatoes,” or even use “He’d like,” “They’d like,” “My wife/friend/husband would like” etc. especially if you know these words and know how the verb changes. Practice makes perfect, and your Mango lessons will give you the necessary structures that you need to use in your everyday conversations. It’s up to you to customize them based on your preferences and personal needs.
  • When all the lessons are done, you will review the original conversation again. Do not just listen to it and look at the translations; play with it: choose to just listen to it and try to figure out what the speakers say. Write the sentences down and translate them. Using the translations, see if you can translate back to the original and then verify. If a word or phrase is in a polite form, try to make it informal (if you know the forms). Finally, create new conversations based on that one and on what you have learned. Let’s say that the conversation is on how to buy things in a store and the speaker is buying a map that costs X. Create conversations in which you want to buy a souvenir, chocolates, milk etc, that cost Y. Play the role of the shop assistant or the customer. Most importantly, speak out loud.

The success is there for you, grab it:

  • Immerse yourself in language. You won’t learn a language because you sit down 15 minutes every day and passively complete a Mango lesson. What else can you do? Let’s say you learned how to interact in a shop. Next time you go shopping, do the interactions in your mind, or at home when you get back, in the target language. Use the vocab you learned in every situation.
  • Learn new vocab. Label every item in your house and in your office in the target language and repeat the words. Turn your everyday habits into the target language.
  • Create a blog, vlog or any other means that will be updated regularly so you document your progress and keep your motivation up.
  • Listen to target language songs (or other listening activities) even though you do not understand - start with identifying words first.
  • Watch TV shows to see how people sit, stand, talk; observe other gestures they use.
  • Read about the customs of the target language culture. Watch the local news, even if it’s in English.
  • Before moving on to the next chapter, do not forget to do the Review. It is a great opportunity to review what you have learned and go back to repeat a lesson if need be.
  • When you are done with the chapter, ask yourself if all goals are clear and sufficiently practiced. Do not proceed to the next chapter if you are still unclear on how and where what you’ve learned functions.
  • When you have finished one chapter make sure you regularly review chapters and lessons. Although you will be often quizzed on material, nothing is remembered forever without regular reviews, repetitions and use.

Some more little tips as told by polyglots:

  1. Set goals.
  2. Set weekly tasks.
  3. Find some time in your busy schedule that you will dedicate to language learning.
  4. Fill this time with your tasks. (Having freed some time but not knowing what to do with it is a bad enemy. What you study is determined by your goals).
  5. Study consistently and create a habit, a routine.

Both goals and tasks must be SMART:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Ambitious
  • Realistic
  • Time-bound

“Specific” means that they must not be vague (Become conversational). A specific goal could be, for example, “to be able to talk about my family.”

If you can say, for example, that “I will study 10 minutes every day,” this will make your goal “measurable.”

“Ambitious” means to set your goals a bit higher than your comfort zone but you must also be “realistic” and not aim for too high, which may lead to frustration.

Finally, “time-bound” is to set a time limit for your goals; for example, “to be able to have conversations with native speakers on myself, families, hobbies in two months”

Mango Conversations will help you set SMART goals by the way they are structured in lessons, chapters, and units, and by providing you with both conversational and grammar goals.   

For more valuable tips, listen to our Mango Languages Soundcloud podcast with polyglots.

Do you have any other tips to share from your experiences? Comment below, we'd love to hear them.

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Topics: Language Learning and Culture, Mango News

Lilia Mouma

Written by Lilia Mouma

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