"at your library" in the north island eagle: ahoy there, matey! you can learn how to talk like a pirate – plus lots of fun facts about real pirates – through free apps from your library

Can you talk like a pirate?

September 19 is International Talk Like a Pirate Day, a bit of fun invented by two friends in 1995 and spread around the globe via the internet. Typical “pirate-speak” are growly phrases like Arrr Matey, Avast Ye Landlubbers, and the ever-popular Shiver Me Timbers.

What does this have to do with the Library, you ask? Good question! Pirate is one of 75 languages you can learn through Mango Languages, an amazing language-learning app. If you subscribed to Mango on your own, it would cost you $8/month for one language, or $18/month for access to all the languages – but it’s free with your library card.

There are several language learning programs online, but none compare to Mango Languages. On Mango, each language is taught by a native speaker. Lessons start very simple, and build gradually, so you can immediately see progress and gain confidence. There’s lots of repetition and review built in. There’s even a feature where you can compare your pronunciation to the teacher’s and see how it matches up.

I love Mango Languages because it’s designed for real life. There’s none of that “the pen of my aunt is on the table”. Mango knows the kinds of words and phrases that you need for traveling or living in another country, and helps you get there.

It even includes cultural tips. For example, in some Spanish-speaking countries, people will use the familiar – the tu – after they have been introduced and spoken a few times. In other countries, the familiar is reserved for family and close friends, and referring to people you have recently met as tu or ti is considered insulting. Mango will clue you in on these points of culture to help you succeed.

Mango includes English-language learning too, for speakers of more than 20 different languages. And you can use Mango Languages on a computer or any mobile device.

There’s more to pirates than Ahoy Matey. Kids who want to learn about real pirates will enjoy another free library app: National Geographic Kids. National Geographic Kids gives access to thousands reliable facts and fascinating concepts in science, nature, culture, archaeology, and space. The app contains every issue of National Geographic Kids magazine from 2009 to the present, plus searchable books, videos, and images.

National Geographic Kids is part of the National Geographic Virtual Library, also free with your library card. The Nat Geo Virtual Library contains a complete archive of the famed Nat Geo magazine – every page of every issue! This is a treasure trove of information – articles, images, even the advertising is enlightening, an artifact of earlier eras. And there are pirates galore!

You can find Mango Languages and these National Geographic apps by going to virl.bc.ca > learn > all databases. If you need help getting started, call or stop by the library.

Since International Talk Like a Pirate Day is meant to be humorous, I’ll close this column with a riddle I heard from a library customer.

“What’s a pirate’s favourite letter?”

To which I replied, “That’s easy: Arrrr.”

She said, “Some might think it’s arrrr, but a pirate’s first love will always be the C.”

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