New Year’s Resolution #4: Learn Another Language

One of the most useful things one can do with free public-library resources is to learn a second language! Yonkers Public Library (YPL) offers a wealth of resources to learn the language of your choice at your own pace and convenience. 

Online resources 

YPL is proud to offer its cardholders FREE access to Mango Languages, a fully interactive online language-learning system. Go to to click on the Web-based link, or to download the app from Google Play or the Apple Store for free. Mango offers courses in over 70 languages from Armenian to Yiddish, including internationally useful options such as Latin American Spanish, scholarly tools including Ancient Greek, and adventurous choices from Danish to Dzongkha! Whether you’re planning to travel the world, or to read great literature in the original, Mango can help you get there. 

You will need your own computer, tablet, or smartphone and a set of headphones to get started. The best way to get to know the Mango interface is to create an account using your YPL library card barcode, and choose the language “Pirate.” This is a brief, very funny course in how to talk like a movie pirate, which does a very good job of introducing Mango’s conversation-based method and preparing you to tackle the language you really want to learn. 

In addition to Mango Languages, YPL provides links to BBC Languages and to Duolingo, free websites for language learning. Duolingo offers a choice of 28 languages to learn, and 23 languages to learn FROM; if your native tongue is not English, your course can be given in any of 22 other languages! 

Language Learning and Fun with Films 

Many emigrants to these United States have used American film and television to help supplement and reinforce learning English; with the wide availability of subtitled foreign movies and TV on DVD and Blu-Ray, doing it the other way around is easier than ever! There are notable film industries and cinema styles from all over the world, and the YPL media collections offer movies from all of them. When learning a new language, hearing it spoken while seeing a subtitled English translation can offer a whole new dimension of listening practice and exposure to native idioms. Whether you’re diving deep into the human condition in Spanish with Pedro Almodóvar, being taken to the edge in German by Wim Wenders, or taking on the world’s first Polish feminist mermaid horror musical, you can listen and learn while you watch.