By Anoop Varma
Language is the father of thought. Sri Aurobindo and Swami Vivekananda have held the Sanskrit language as the most perfect medium for expressing spiritual and philosophical ideas. Our ancient sages have said that Sanskrit was the language of Gods (Devbhasha). Many modern languages, which are today spoken by millions or even billions of people, are in one way or other connected with ancient languages like Sanskrit. The online space offers excellent avenues for learning Sanskrit and many other foreign languages.
If you are filled with the desire of honing your skills in any particular language, these are websites that you can try:
Learn Sanskrit Online
This website located at http://www.learnsanskrit.org/ is focussed exclusively on using the unique qualities of the Internet to facilitate the learning of Sanskrit language. The website has been created in a most easy to use format. The best place to start your education in Sanskrit is the chapter titled Introduction, which gives an overview of the historical and cultural importance of the language. After that there is a range of other chapters that will help you gain further knowledge of the subject.
If you wish to learn the major European languages without having to spend a single paisa, the BBC website (www.bbc.co.uk/languages) is a really good resource. The courseware out here is designed to help users develop the linguistic skills that they will need for communicating in local languages. You have to sign up using your email. The courseware will be sent to you on the same email ID. Once your study is over, you even get a certificate from BBC and that must count for something.
One of the world’s largest online language learning communities, Livemocha (www.livemocha.com) offers free and paid online language courses in 35 languages to more than 11 million members from 196 countries around the world. At the home page there are two drop down lists, in the first you can choose the language that you already speak. In the second drop down list you have to select the language that you wish to learn. When you click on the link that says “Get Started” you will be directed to the page where you have to fill in few personal details and create a password. Once the registration process is complete, you will start having access to a well-developed courseware in the language of your choice.
Located at http://www.internetpolyglot.com/, the Internet Polyglot helps users learn foreign languages by providing them with innovative ways of memorising words and their meanings. Such memorising strategies are really effective, as they help your mind grasp more information and retain it for longer periods of time. The service out here is completely free. The tutorials are provided as a game, and this turns the learning process into an entertaining exercise. This is a really good place for turning yourself into a polyglot.
Located at http://www.elanguageschool.net, this website is offers elementary courses in 15 different languages, including Hindi. The courseware follows a step-by-step process and is arranged in an easy to use manner. You begin by learning the basics of the language, where an overview of the pronunciation and the alphabets is given. After that there are some elementary grammar lessons. The website also has YouTube videos where learners can listen to how most commonly use words are pronounced.
The name of this website (www.rosettastone.com) is probably derived from the famous Rosetta Stone, whose discovery paved way for a better understanding of some ancient languages. The website offers comprehensive online courses in as many as 30 languages from all over the world. Almost every major European language is covered and so are popular Asian languages like Hindi, Chinese, Korean, etc.
OneStopEnglish (www.onestopenglish.com) is a good resource for learning English. A teacher’s resource site developed Macmillan Education Group, this website offers succinct and easily understandable reading materials organised in core subject areas such as Skills, Grammar and Vocabulary, Business, Exams and Young Learners. The main advantage of this site is that it packs large number of lesson plans. Much of the content is free, but for accessing premier content you have to pay up to £39 as year’s subscription.