People don’t know how to learn – Mango Languages

There aren’t a whole lot of things I can genuinely claim expertise in. For the most part, I am a useless human being. But apparently I am decent at languages. I have been consistently working in language instruction for more than a decade, and I have been consistently learning a second language for a little longer than that. I have some expertise, although some is giving me and toward credit. The longer I stay at it, and the more I learn about it, the more I am starting to learn that without the actual next steps of formal education (in my case, a PhD), I’ll never actually get there.

I won’t be doing a PhD. I don’t have the will to go through with it. If I did it, it would mostly turn into a vanity project where I use it to shut people up when they don’t know what they are talking about. Those people are on the internet already, and at some point I asked myself why I should bother to wait for a PhD to give them their due mocking. Really I shouldn’t.

I have mentioned in previous posts that I was one of the every dumb people who mistakes YouTube for a place to get information, and not a place to merely get content. I was once watching a certain YouTube talking head who was giving the world his uneducated linguistic opinions, specifically as it pertained to language learning. This person had a lot of stupid opinions, and showed his education (lack there of) by pretty much outing himself as a prescriptivist in the intro to the video. It was a video that could be summed up pretty quickly as ‘Duolingo is Bad!’.

Actually, it isn’t not if you know how to fucking use. But I think I will save that for a later post.

In Duolingo’s stead the big brained youtuber recommended Mango languages. Without a hint of irony they nominated how this app, a paid app, it better than a free one that does more, and then still not getting the joke, talked about how if you live in some countries you can use your library card to get it for free.

If you live in a different country, well then you don’t matter of course.

But I didn’t want to make a socio-political point here. The moron then made a totalizing statement about Mango languages being the best way to learn a language. If ever you want to lose an argument, make a totalizing statement. Because all then you interlocutor needs to do is find the one exception to prove you wrong.

Mango language’s Greek section is really fucking bad.

Now this is coming from a person who lived in Greece twice and speaks the language fairly well. But learning isn’t something you can ever complete, and so I rummage through learning apps pretty frequently. For Greek, Mango languages may be the worst i have ever seen. But if the methodology for Mango Greek is anything like the other, than I cannot recommend it.

The problems are numerous. It has the same, ‘you never know when to translate literally or not’ problem that Duolingo has, but somehow worse.

The Greek they wanted you to produce translates roughly to ‘it has sunshine’. If you added any form of “ο καιρος” (the weather) anywhere in the sentence and you will never know if it is right or not. Because unlike duolingo, this is not interactive, and you either brainlessly rehash the answer they want, or go away. This example is fine, but later, when they introduce three different ways of making a suggestion in span of three lessons, you are expected to remember to use one form vs the other by merely memorizing when they used a certain version of it.

So, case in point. In the first picture ‘sunny gets rendered as ‘λιακαδα’ while in the second it comes out as ‘ηλιο’ despite both following ‘εχει’. So how does one learn when to use the former vs the latter?

Fuck you, that’s how you know.

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