Prospecting the Inner Polyglot

Managing Editor

I’d like to begin by issuing a Happy New Year to all of our readers, and I’m glad to be back here at Lynn doing the things I love. I hope that this year provides us all with new opportunities and continuing success.

With that being said, I challenge you all to embark on a new adventure that can open up another world for you. For myself, the world of language has become my intended target—beginning with German.

As most at Lynn know, all undergrad students are required to take a Language and Culture course with the intention of broadening students’ horizons. For the past session, I was enrolled in Dr. Erika Grodzki’s German Language course and loved every minute of it (aside from German noun/pronoun cases, but I digress).

Though Dr. Grodzki has remained instrumental in my development, I’d like to shine a light on a powerful tool that many students do not know they are getting for free through our own library: Mango Languages. Mango is a language-learning platform that can be carried out on desktop or through their app; the service is typically somewhat costly, though lucky Lynn attendees have easy access to the program.

My experience with Mango has mostly been while I ride in my car commuting between work or school essentially seven days a week since my J-Term course officially began. At first, like many skeptics, I was doubtful of what it could do for me that a handful of real-life language courses couldn’t. Fortunately, I was extremely mistaken and now that app has become one of my best friends because I can earnestly say that I am learning how to speak in German.

Though Mango has a wide range of languages to choose from, each one is approached in the same general fashion. There are about four units for each language with around ten chapters in each unit; the individual chapters give you a solid dialogue for the theme or situation of that chapter (such as how to communicate emergency problems or how to cook and order food). As you progress through the program, grammatical and syntactical pointers are dispersed among vocabulary to make for a very rounded and holistic language-learning approach.

While it takes as much effort as learning through any other method, I highly recommend students try it out because by the end of my first unit in German, I could already put together a multitude of phrases with some pretty complicated grammatical structures though it didn’t feel like I was doing so much work. About halfway through the second unit, I downloaded the Duolingo language-learning app to augment my practice, which has only helped to accelerate my skills to a point where I feel comfortable saying I speak a little German.

I think that all collegiate students could bear to learn a little bit more about another culture, including their language. Being that Lynn is one of the most international schools across the entire nation, graduates will enjoy a multitude of benefits if they emerge with solid evidence of having stepped outside of their comfort zone to better themselves.

Frankly, I’m pretty proud that I can pronounce the German translation of “soccer world championship qualification game”—Fußballweltmeisterschaftsqualifikationsspiel.

If that is not solid evidence, I don’t know what is.

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