Washington University Launches Urdu Website

By Arun Kumar

Washington, April 13 (IANS) St Louis based Washington University has launched an Urdu website featuring for the first time a web-based Nastaliq font that displays whether or not it is installed on the user's computer.

Called Intermediate Urdu (http://urdu.wustl.edu/) the website is most useful for people with "a basic knowledge of Urdu or those who have taken two semester of language course in any university system," Indian-American principal investigator M. J. Warsi told IANS.

The beauty of the site is that it utilises web-based Nastaliq font so that Nastaliq is natively displayed on the site without requiring the user to download an appropriate font, he said.

"It took us a year and half to complete the project," said Warsi, a gold medalist from Aligarh Muslim University and a West Bengal Urdu Academy award holder, who teaches in the department of Asian and Near Eastern Languages and Literatures at the university,

"Intermediate Urdu comprises 16 interactive reading passages with corresponding audio and English summaries, dynamic online quizzes, and thirteen video interviews of Urdu scholars," he said underlining the importance of the site.

"All content is directed towards students at the intermediate level and preparing them for advanced level proficiency," Warsi said.

"This work has a great significance for development in the field of language pedagogy."

"We have plans to make 'Advanced Urdu' and then 'Beginning Urdu' websites to complete the sequence of Urdu learning," Warsi said.

Featured on the site are among others a speech of Maulana Azad, Bagh-o-bahaar, Alif Laila.

The website was developed with a grant from the South Asia Language Resource Centre at the University of Chicago.

Warsi was recently conferred with Hindi- Urdu literary award for his contribution in the field of Hindi-Urdu language and linguistics at the 22nd International Hindi-Urdu literary conference in Lucknow.


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