Free Language Courses

Martin Brinkmann
Aug 22, 2006
Updated • May 11, 2013

Free public domain language courses developed by the United States Government? To good to be true? The Foreign Service Institute created a website offering eleven different language courses for free. Languages included on the website are: Cantonese, Chinese, French, German, Greek, Spanish, Portuguese, Serbo-Croatian and Turkish.

All courses consist of audio and text lessons divided into chapters and those are divided further into courses like basic course volume 1 and volume 2. Most units and audio files seem to be really big, the test mp3 files that I listened to had a size of about 10 megabytes each and lasted for about 20 minutes.

The language courses could serve as an introduction or supplement for learning the language but they seem to be rather old, the first basic volume of the German language course for instance was printed in 1961. If you want to learn a new language and lack the money to purchase one of the high priced language courses you might want to try this online course and rent additional books from a local library.


All courses are offered as mp3 audio files which guarantees that they can be played back in nearly every device that you may use for the purpose. You can naturally burn the mp3 files to audio CDs again if you prefer that. For that you can use a program like ImgBurn.

If you see tapes listed there it usually means that the courses have previously been offered as cassette tapes who have then been converted into mp3 audio files.

I'd suggest you download the full course directly to your computer. All language courses are offered as public domain files which means they can be downloaded legally free of charge and used legally as well.

Additional language courses and languages have been added to the site which is now making available courses for more than 30 different languages.

Update: The website has been pulled, unfortunately. You can however download all language courses that were made available on the site as legal torrents. Note that it is a 20 Gigabyte download, so make sure you filter the files included in the torrent so that you only download the language courses you are interested in. To do so start downloading the torrent and remove the courses that you are not interested in from the download.

Some torrent clients display the file list before the download starts so that this is an option as well.


Previous Post: «
Next Post: «


  1. sam said on August 24, 2006 at 4:33 pm

    thank you .. its good

  2. Waters said on November 4, 2006 at 6:32 pm

    Just to be clear — this website is not set up by FSI. It’s a one-man show. It doesn’t get government funding or anything. The material is all public domain, though, so it’s free to download.

  3. East London School of English (English School London, English Course London) - Learn English in London, English Courses In London, also Business English, IELTS and more, in our Language School in London said on November 5, 2010 at 4:53 pm

    The best is, to learn the language in a country, where the language is originally spoken.

    We do experience that every day in our language school in London.
    While staying in the country to learn the language, our students also do experience the culture and history, as this is an important aspect to really understand a language properly.

    Come and enjoy – London is a great town and it is really a melting pot of different nationalities.

Leave a Reply

Check the box to consent to your data being stored in line with the guidelines set out in our privacy policy

We love comments and welcome thoughtful and civilized discussion. Rudeness and personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please stay on-topic.
Please note that your comment may not appear immediately after you post it.