Sanskrit gets tech savvy with new e-text

25 March 2014

New technology is breathing life into one of the world's oldest languages, with the publication of a Sanskrit electronic textbook by the ANU.

The Joy of Sanskrit e-text, which operates across both Apple and Android platforms on mobile phones, tablets and other devices, is an Australian first.

It is available for free download from ANU eTEXT.

The e-text was developed by Grazia Scotellaro in the ANU College of Asia and the Pacific's Digital Learning Project and Sanskrit lecturer Dr McComas Taylor. Scotellaro says the e-text gives students unprecedented access to their teachers.

"I call the e-text 'professor in my pocket' - the idea being that students have access to their professor all the time," she says.

"One of the biggest problems with online and digital learning is the anonymity of learning - you don't see the person who is teaching you. But, with this you see your teacher every day.

"The students also have access to the materials that they need to learn anytime they want."

Sanskrit is the language of classical Indian art, music, dance, literature and religion. The Australian National University is one of the only universities in the English-speaking world teaching the language.

The e-text is based on iBook technology and is embedded with multimedia, including videos and sound recordings.

The ANU College of Asia and the Pacific is also developing e-texts for Tetum, the language of Timor-Leste, and Vietnamese.