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Online language learning resources

Several online services meant for helping one master a language are in place

This week, NetSpeak introduces a few services that enable you to learn languages online for free.

English language skills are fast gaining significance in today’s world. Several online services meant for helping you master the language are in place.

Kantalk ( http://www.kantalk.com/ ), devised for improving skills in spoken English, is an innovative service of this kind. Kantalk, a service with social networking features, integrates several popular Net tools/services (such as e-mail, Skype, Youtube and the like) for enhancing your communication skills.

Kantalk, like any other Web 2.0 service, allows you to engage in real-time conversations with others. The service lets users record text by reading it and share the generated audio with others. As we can listen to audio content thus recorded by people from different countries, we get an excellent opportunity to acquaint ourselves with a variety of accents/pronunciations. Another notable feature of Kantalk is the use of videos for learning the language.

The site lets you view a video and transcribe it. This is an excellent means by which you can test your listening/comprehension abilities. Of course you can view the videos transcribed by other users as well.

TalkEnglish ( http://www.talkenglish.com/ ), meant for practising spoken English, is another service worth a look in this regard. This service hosts a variety of free lessons such as ‘Business English,’ ‘Travel English,’ ‘Interview English’ and so on, to help specific users enrich their required English speaking skills.

Lots of podcasts that enable you to improve your language learning skills are also in place. BusinessEnglish Pod ( http://www.businessenglishpod.com ) is a good example.

The videovocab ( http://www.businessenglishpod.com/videovocab/ ), the weekly videocasts of important business terms/words, is a unique feature of this service. In this regard, you may take a look at Englishcaster ( http://www.englishcaster.com/ ) that hosts links to several podcast services and other English language learning resources. You may also check out the repository Word2word ( http://www.word2word.com/ ) that hosts links to a variety of language resources under categories such as ‘Free online language courses’ and ‘Real audio language stations.’

Mango

Do you wish to learn languages such as Spanish, French, German, Russian and so on? Move over to the service Mango ( http://www.trymango.com/ ) that hosts several free language learning courses online, with a very user-friendly interface.

Readeroo

While on the web, we come across several useful articles, but may not have the time to read them instantly. A tool that lets us keep such articles online and helps us retrieve at our convenience could be useful. The Firefox extension Readeroo ( http://www.monsur.com/projects/readeroo/ ) is one such tool worth a test. Once the extension is installed on your browser, it places a few buttons on it for storing the article online and accessing it from the queue later. As the articles are stored on the social bookmarking service ‘Delicious’ ( http://www.hindu.com/biz/2005/03/28/stories/200 50328005 71700.htm), you need an account with this service to use Readeroo.

Magazine directory

Tens of hundreds of magazines pertaining to computers and allied subjects are in place. Those of you who wish to know the details of such magazines may find this directory beneficial: http://www.hitmill.com/internet/magazines.html . Though there are some dead links, it is still worth browsing through. In this regard, you may also scan FreeSoftware ( http://www.freesoftwarebooks.com /) that hosts links to several free IT books.

J. MURALI

He can be contacted at: jmurali@gmail.com

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