General Language and Culture
Free and Open Source Offerings:
- Defense Language Institute,
Foreign Language Center supports the US Department of Defense with foreign language needs.
This is an interesting collection of information, some of which may be beneficial to our
CI-PIRE students. Specifically, you may wish to explore the Downloads link or "Choose a
Language" and explore pronunciations as well as cultural background. Because this site
caters to support for the defense industry, not all of our destination countries are
represented. This site will be helpful for Hindi, Cantonese, French, and Mandarin.
- MIT Open Course Ware (OCW) is a program supported by the Massachusetts Institute of
Technology. Selected MIT course materials are publish on the web for world to reference.
We have included several MIT OCW courses in this materials list. There are no costs for
these courses, though students may choose to purchase text books.
- My Language Exchange: Your
language exchange online community
This social network for language learners is a good place to find pen-pals or language practice partners.
- Omniglot: Writing systems and Languages of the World
This is a wonderful linguistic reference site which contains links to language course sites.
- Open Culture: "The best
free cultural & educational media on the web"
This site offers a variety of cultural and language references.
Commercial language resources:
Our intention is to provide primarily open source materials for your language reference.
Following are a few commerical language resources. Many of these offerings have special
offers and free materials available for you to explore.
- Mango Languages offers web- based language courses including free demo programs
and subscription services. Languages included: Brazilian Portuguese, Spanish,
French, Chinese-Mandarin, Hindi, Japanese, and Italian.
- Pimsleur provides courses for many languages. They have an iPhone
app for travelers, and various affordable courses.
- Rosetta Stone is a well regarded program for learning language.
Languages included: Chinese-Mandarin, Dutch, French, Hindi, Italian,
Japanese and Brazilian Portuguese.
- Transparent Language offers a range of software products to help adults
and children learn a second language. There are a host of
free resources that will help you to get started. Their "
byki" product is well regarded for ease of use and quick results.
Appropriate Internet resources for Chinese Cantonese have proven difficult to locate.
Several of the general resources noted above have content options for Cantonese. Specifically
review Pimsleur, MyLanguageExchange, Omniglot, GLOSS and the Defense Language Institute.
- The Devanagari Script Tutor is an application that can be
installed on your computer.
- Door into Hindi is a free course provided by the
U.S. Department of Education.
This is an online course.
- Hindi Lessons Online is a free course that
provides an introduction to spoken Hindi and the Devanagari script.
- ISpeakHindi.com is an interactive website for casual learners of Hindi.
There are podcasts of material and daily lessons. Plenty of free content and a subscription option, as well.
- Omniglot page for Hindi
- Purpose Games (Hindi) is an educational
quiz and trivia game community.
There are linguistic games to support learning Hindi.
"PIRE... provides our students with the kind of
direct international experience and training that will
prepare them for careers in an increasingly competitive
Dr. Modesto Maidique
President Emeritus, Florida International University
"PIRE...will enable the next generation of
students participants to become fully engaged as members of
the globally-aware IT workforce.""
Dr. Nicholas Bowen
Vice President of Strategy and Worldwide
Operations, IBM Research
"We look forward to hosting students researchers
... to foster our existing collaborations and create new
Mateo Valero Cortés
Director, Barcelona Supercomputing Center
"I was able to develop quite a bit as a person, researcher, and professional."
"Being able to learn elements directly related to my project, the likes and dislikes of another culture, and be able to communicate in a different language are all aspects related to the PIRE program for which I will always be grateful."
"It helps you build confidence that the degree you hold will enable you to tackle any problem, and, more importantly, it lets you experience the job before committing your life to it."