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French, Turkish, Korean... The internet is the new language school for Delhiites

Delhi residents are opting to learn new languages via mobile apps or websites rather than opting for regular classes.

more lifestyle Updated: May 18, 2018 17:08 IST
Henna Rakheja
Henna Rakheja
Hindustan Times
Delhiites say websites and mobile apps allow them to learn new languages easily. (PHOTO: Shutterstock)

When commuting on the Metro or chilling with friends at a mall, don’t get startled if you notice someone trying to well, talk to their phone or laptop in an unfamiliar tongue. Sneak a harmless peep into their screen, and you’re likely to find that the gadget user is trying to learn a new language.

“It’s easier to learn this way, on my mobile,” says Farah Hussain (name changed), a 28-year-old media professional. On her way home after office, she finds it convenient to access tutorials on her phone and learn to translate English to Korean. “I wanted to learn Korean, but getting admission in language classes is difficult for a person like me who has an erratic work schedule. But I didn’t want to give up the idea. I had started watching Korean dramas, but sometimes the subtitles didn’t match the actors’ expressions, and I was left with an unsatisfactory experience. I didn’t want to be lost in translation, so I opted to learn Korean online,” she says.

READ| Playing video games is one of the best ways to learn a new language

Another Delhiite, 30-year-old PhD scholar Sabhyata Prakash decided to learn Turkish, after developing a liking for Turkish TV dramas. “I saw a few Turkish dramas on Indian television, and found that their content was great. It was very different from usual Indian saas-bahu sagas. But one thing I hated was the poor dubbing in Hindi. So, I started watching the original shows online with English subtitles. I began paying attention to the language, too. To understand the dialogues, story and culture better, I made notes and practised through online tests and websites,” says Prakash, who has picked up the basics of Turkish now.

Utsav Bansal, an MBA student at Delhi University’s Faculty of Management Studies, aims to acquire a certification course in French language. “But, to be able to get admission in the course of my choice, I need to know French till the primary level. Since, I didn’t have time in between my hectic schedule, I thought of learning it from a mobile app. Although I’m still a beginner, I’m happy I chose this medium because I’m in Mumbai for my summer internship now, but don’t have to miss my language learning sessions, since it’s online,” says Bansal.

A word of caution

Language teachers warn that the information online can be inaccurate. “I’ve found many of those YouTube videos giving wrong information on a language. Also, the quality of teaching and its information cannot be guaranteed,” says Kwak Mira, education manager at Korean Cultural Centre. For those insisting on an online course, Mira advises finding an authorised course. “Check the teacher’s profile and visit only recommended sites.”

Interact with the author at Twitter/@HennaRakheja

First Published: May 18, 2018 17:08 IST