Read and listen to less studied but strategically valuable languages at the Defense Language Institute

Thursday, May 13, 2010

A month ago a reader left a comment in the FAQ here about a really great resource that I haven't mentioned until now. It's located here, and is a very simple but effective setup for learning the following:

Albanian
Arabic
Azerbaijani
Chinese
Croatian
Dari
Egyptian
French
Greek
Gulf-Arabic
Hausa
Hebrew
Hindi
Indonesian
Iraqi
Japanese
Korean
Kurdish-Sorani
Kurmanji
Levantine
Pashto
Persian
Portuguese
Punjabi
Russian
Serbian
Spanish
Swahili
Tagalog
Thai
Turkish
Urdu
Uzbek

As you can see, there isn't even a single Germanic language there (all located in well-off parts of Europe except for Afrikaans) but lots of varieties of Arabic, Uzbek, Persian, Hindi, and so on. The setup for practicing languages there is quite easy but it assumes a basic knowledge of the language, as it is simply varieties of recorded samples, the exact script, and an English translation next to it. The mp3 player on the top right is also quite nice in that it is a very small and simple, but has a repeat function built in where you can select two periods of time and listen to the part of the script repeated over and over until you feel like moving on. One disadvantage is that the bar is so small that just moving it a single pixel will move an average sound file by a few seconds so really fine changes aren't possible.

Luckily, looking at the page source you can also find the link to the mp3 file. The location just shows the end of the url so copy and paste that on the end and voila, now you have the mp3.

So there it is, clear and simple. Besides languages like French and Portuguese, Japanese and Korean and a few others, this will probably be one of the most valuable sources you can find online. I certainly can't think of another place where you can find 151 Albanian sound files with text and English translation all together like this.

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