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.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.