¿Habla español?

With the United States being home to over 37 million native speakers of Spanish, learning the language is becoming important to many non-speakers. 

I began studying Spanish a couple of years ago.  I realized if I were to meet the needs of many library patrons, I needed to bridge the communication gap with at least some knowledge of Spanish.  I studied Chinese in college but, due mostly to shyness, I never really obtained a working knowledge of the language.  Here was my second chance-- to jump in, apply myself to learn and use a second language! Today, I cannot say that I am a fluent Spanish speaker, but what I have learned has surely helped me working at my library in Hightstown.  I have found that people appreciate the effort that one makes to connect and communicate with them.

Whether the reason you want to learn Spanish is because of work, travel, a desire for a mental challenge, cultural curiosity or friendship, the library has many high quality resources for self instruction.  Some materials will be for cursory knowledge, say for travel skills, while others are for more extensive learning.

The library system’s databases have two excellent offerings available to our patrons.  The most comprehensive resource we have available is called Mango Languages. This online language learning system offers three levels of instruction.  Begin with Basic if you are new to learning Spanish.  I used it, then continued with the next course - Complete 2.0 - and am now half-way through the final course - Complete 1.0.  (Yes, you read that right.  Complete 1.0 is the advanced program, not Complete 2.0.)

Our new online language learning database, Pronounciator, is less extensive than Mango, but is a great place to start to learn a language.  It has two things that Mango does not:  one, a pronunciation correction feature and two,  you can learn Spanish (and 44 other languages) using any of 75 languages as a starting point, including English.  As an example, if your native language is Hindi, you can use the Pronounciator program in Hindi to learn Spanish.  Those are cool bonuses.

If you have any questions about connecting to Mango or Pronounciator through our databases page, ask for assistance at your branch’s Reference Desk. 

My favorite Spanish learning resource available through the library is the Pimsleur audio program.  It does not require a book.  You can use it while moving around, like walking and biking, or in the car and it really does teach you the language.  Pimsleur starts with basic conversational Spanish (available on audio CD or Playaway), then you can move on to Spanish 1, Spanish 2 and Spanish 3.

It is best when learning a new language to use a variety of resources.  This is both to avoid boredom and to get the most out of different teaching approaches.  Our library catalog has books, audio CDs and Playaways, DVDs and computer software to supplement language learning.  Below are other materials that have helped my learning the most:

Audio CDs:


Once you feel like you have a rough grasp of the language, you can spread your wings!  Use our librarycatalog to find Spanish language movies--watch with the English or Spanish subtitles.  It is easier to follow if you have seen the movie and are familiar with the story.  To read Spanish language books, I began with children’s poetry and other simpler children’s books.   Have fun with it!

- Kim L.


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