January 23rd, 2012

"If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.” — Nelson Mandela

How about a little language trivia to engage the ol’ noodle on a gray and rainy Chicago Monday?

• There are roughly 6,900 living languages in the world, 90% of which are used by less than 100,000 people. Over a million people converse in 200 languages and 46 languages have just one single speaker!

• 75% of the world’s population does not speak a word of English, the world’s second most popular language.

• 2,200 of the world’s languages can be found in Asia, while Europe has a mere 260.

• With 1,151,000,000 users, Mandarin is the most widely spoken language on the planet. 

• On average, people who use multiple languages at work earn roughly 8% more than those who don’t.

• Many scientists believe that knowledge of another language can boost your brainpower. A study of monolingual and bilingual speakers suggests speaking two languages can help slow down the brain’s decline with age.


In a press release circulated this morning, Chicago Public Library is pleased to announce our new, free and convenient online foreign language learning resourcesMango Languages and Little Pim.

What is Mango?

Primarily designed for adults and students (5th grade and above), the new Mango Languages learning resource features 37 languages (including Spanish, French, German, Italian, Chinese, Japanese and English) and 15 English as a Second Language (ESL) courses.

The Mango resource is offered in two course versions: Mango Basic and Mango Complete 2.0.

Mango Basic teaches everyday salutations, gratitudes and helpful phrases that integrate components of vocabulary, pronunciation and grammar.

Mango Complete 2.0 builds on the successful completion of the Basic version.

Both Mango courses are presented with an appreciation for cultural nuance and real world application. Each lesson combines real life situations and audio from native speakers with simple, clear instructions.

Mango incorporates interactive tools and rich imagery that eliminates boredom and keeps users engaged. Go as fast or as slow as you want. You’ll see progress with every lesson and be encouraged to keep talking.

Founded in 2007, Mango Languages is recognized as a leading provider of online language learning services to libraries, government agencies, corporations and the general public. Designed by a team of linguists, teachers, software developers, human interface specialists, writers, voice talents and designers, the company’s award-winning language learning system has drawn acclaim from prominent national and international reference groups, educational resources, web organizations and travel guides.

Why does Mango work?

What is Little Pim?

Created by award-winning documentary filmmaker Julia Pimsleur Levine, Little Pim is a foreign language learning series for children ages 3 to 6 years. It is designed around the latest scientific research regarding language acquisition and brain development.

Little Pim features the unique Entertainment Immersion Method®, which integrates animation and real kids to teach simple words and phrases for everyday activities. The method combines the work of neuroscientist Dr. April Benasich and Ms. Levine’s personal experience as a foreign language educator, filmmaker and mother.

Children are introduced to a lovable cartoon panda bear, “Little Pim,” who is the series teacher. He invites young viewers to join him in his playful antics as they learn the language along with real children enjoying everyday activities, such as playing, eating, napping and waking. The series is spoken by native speakers and words are presented and repeated at regular intervals.

Watch Little Pim in action and teaching Spanish, as featured on PBS Kids:

While both are typically paid services, using Mango and Little Pim with CPL is absolutely free! Patrons with a valid Chicago Public Library card can access either from CPL’s Language Resouces page.

The Chicago Public Library continues to encourage lifelong learning by welcoming all people and offering equal access to information, entertainment and knowledge through materials, programs and cutting-edge technology. For more information, please visit the website or call the CPL Press Office at 312.747.4050.

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