Hello! I highly recommend the Foreign Service Institute’s free courses. They have one for Lao:
The FSI courses can be a little old-fashioned, but they are good quality and free. This is literally what the United States government used to train diplomats serving in Laos. I’ve used a few of their courses (can’t speak for the Lao one though, never tried it).
Its definitely possible, but it depends on the language, and there may be certain tradeoffs you have to make. For example FSI and DLI courses are in the public domain and are often much more extensive than a lot of commercial materials, although they're not the most exciting courses and they can be a bit dated and tricky to use, but if you can find a good way to work through them you can definitely build a strong foundation in the language. (Unfortunately don't think theres a good one for Dutch, there is a DLI course but from what I remember the audio was unuseable). There's of course other options if you're willing to hunt them down.
One of my personal favorite methods Listening-Reading is where you listen to an audiobook in your target language while reading a translation, picking up just the frequent words and sentences at your level, then test yourself by trying to read without translation and repeating as needed. It requires more strategy than pre-structured materials to make it work, and its best if you're a heavy reader with books you're genuinely motivated to re-read a lot. There's tons of good quality public domain Dutch audiobooks on Librivox and if you're willing to spend a little money on professional audiobooks and translations, they're quite a good value compared to a lot of commercial audio courses. (I do recommend using this in conjunction with structured learner materials, but it can be made to work really well on its own.)
I am a huge fan. When people ask me how to learn French quickly, I always suggest using Cortina and French in Action.
The show itself is charming, even if a little dated. The lessons are hardcore. It is entirely in French. It teaches culture as well as language.
Seriously, if you watch the same episode every day of the week before going to the next one, you'll have it down in a year.
You can also find the workbook and text online, though it is not necessary to use them.
You don't even need a library card! The US Department of Defense and Foreign Service Institute have their materials, manuals and audiotapes online for free at https://fsi-languages.yojik.eu/
Granted it's far less enjoyable than Rosetta Stone, but the content is good, you just need to teach yourself!
I picked a structured program (FSI), and then follow a daily routine based on where I am in it. I posted this elsewhere, but here's a quick overview:
Duolingo (10-15 minutes) - more of a warm-up than anything else.
Read 2-3 articles in your target language (another 15-20 minutes), I recommend using sources from different countries to familiarize yourself with regional variation in the way the language is used. While reading, jot down all the words you don't understand and plug them into Anki or a similar tool.
Go through 50-100 Anki cards (10-15 minutes), including the vocabulary you just learned.
Write a summary of the articles you read on Lang-8 (15-30 minutes) - native speakers will correct your entries so you can improve your language.
Find 2-3 language exchange partners, and practice with them regularly. I found a few people on Lang-8 and italki who I was able to speak with every few days via Skype and Whatsapp. Again, aim for regional variety when choosing language partners to train your ear to understand different accents. Ideally, find someone to speak with every day, for at least 30 minutes.
As others have been saying, a foreigner who is fluent in English can survive here without any mastery of Malay language.
However, if you're interested to learn Malaysian language or Indonesian, there's a free course made available from PeaceCorps.
I mean, any knowledge is better than none. The main thing with duolingo is that it’s free. Libraries are also free. If you can find a beginners book for learning Japanese it might be better since it would likely teach you more.
I would also like to make you aware of the US Foreign Service Institute which has released many of its language learning material. Here’s the link. I haven’t personally looked at the Japanese course but it’s very straight forward and self-directed.
Best of luck!
this is a pretty common question we get here, so I would recommend scouring the subreddit (and especially the sidebar) for some resources first and coming back when you have a bit more specific problem in hand. For example, we had this discussion a week ago that was quite similar.
To give you some sort of an answer; The best way would be to immerse yourself in a 100% Finnish-speaking environment. You want to hear, read and try to produce Finnish as much as possible and the best way is obviously having to interact with monolingual Finnish speakers 24/7.
However, if the Finnish-speaking resources around you aren't that great and you just have to go at it alone, I would not delve into the complexities of grammar right away (as you seem to have done) as it will be quite an arduous task to do but maybe just trying to get a feel for the language, its basic structure and vocabulary would be worth it? Basically, just try to do one of the various conversational Finnish courses - the FSI one is available for free for example - and try to expose yourself to Finnish when possible; maybe listening to only Finnish music or podcasts in Finnish while driving?
ce pourrait être impopulaire, mais je vais vous le dire. Duolingo est trop minime. cela ne vous aidera pas à conserver votre niveau, encore moins à l'améliorer. Je suggérerais newsinfrench.org pour la la compréhension écrite, et regarder youtube pour la compréhension orale, et télécharger des livres audio comme linguaphone ou hugo. en attendant, essayez aussi de lire des romans français, la traduction française pour "13 reasons why" est assez facile à comprendre. Deux ans, c'est long, je ne voudrais pas perdre cela. il y a aussi le cours audio gratuit en ligne Cortina French.
essayez ça aussi.
There you are. They are free and in the public domain and the quality is generally good. The most common critic to them is that they can be a little boring, but frankly I don't see the basis for them being more boring than any other language course.
As usual two courses are better than one, so any course is generally better paired with additional material. In the case of FSI language courses, however, this is not strictly necessary as they are generally complete. Their level, however, may vary, and when audio material is not available it is better to find some alternative audio input.
In general, since they have been developed years ago, it would also help to have some more modern courses to just be aware of the current usage of the language. For instance some expressions used in the Russian courses developed during Soviet times are not current anymore, as in you don't address people as 'comrade' anymore.
FSI language website has over 40 different language learning packets including student/teachers manuals and listening tapes.
Thats how I learned to read French. Too bad I don't have time for that anymore. IT"S FREE
I prefer old website:
This is a bit like asking for the rule in English to predict why "like" is spelled with L rather than R, but "ride" is spelled with an R rather than an L, as someone who can't distinguish between L and R might ask. In both cases, the answer is simple: they're different sounds, so they're spelled differently, and to determine how a word is spelt, you listen to how the word is pronounced.
Now, if you can't hear the difference, that's where you need to start. Luckily, you can train your ears to hear this, and there is help to be had. If you're comfortable with computers, /u/ThatBernie put together a great Anki deck to do minimal pair testing: https://www.reddit.com/r/learn_arabic/comments/3vgzm9/cant_tell_the_difference_between_%D9%87_and_%D8%AD_try/
If you prefer things the more old fashioned way, the FSI Levantine Arabic pronunciation course from the 70s is also freely available: https://fsi-languages.yojik.eu/languages/FSI/Arabic/Levantine%20Arabic/
The courses are all in the public domain and hosted here, so I wouldn't buy them unless you're just paying someone to print out a hardcopy for you or something.
The courses have a number of drawbacks that might make modern materials more preferable (more engaging, more up to date, not based on overdrilling). The main advantage of FSI is their audio recordings are much more extensive than many other courses. I've found this extremely helpful when learning more distant languages, which I think are often taught poorly. Since over-testing is considered a bad way to learn now though, my preferred way to use them is to remove the pauses in audacity and use them as input.
So it depends on the language and materials available, probably most learners will find more engaging materials they can use, often for free or cheap, but FSI can be a nice fallback for some languages if you feel your beginner materials aren't extensive enough.
Also Croatian-American. I understand about 80% and speak conversationally (cajkavski). If you are looking for intermediate to advanced Croatian courses then I would recommend just hiring a personal tutor, which is what I did via Skype lessons. This is a bit of an old school doc, but the State Department has a PDF textbook from the 70's. I use it as a reference usually since there is absolutely nothing as comprehensive out there: https://fsi-languages.yojik.eu/languages/oldfsi/languages/serbo-croatian.html
Check out page 14--it gives a pretty comprehensive overview of the proficiency levels. Personally I started with novice low in French and local language and it essentially meant that I had zero or nearly zero comprehension of either language. By the end of training they wanted us to be at Intermediate Low and I think I was about there--I could talk about basic things, ask question, essentially a little above basic communication. Obviously the first few months at site can be challenging and frustrating language wise, whether learning one language or more than one but you just have to persevere and know that it is improving little by little each day. I went from basically 0 French and local language skills and improved to Advanced-Mid in French and Advanced-Low in local language in 1.5 years.
Je croit qu'on dit "en ligne"
Dépendant de ton niveau tu pourrais essayer les cours d'Oncle Sam https://fsi-languages.yojik.eu/ ou duolingo
Comment va tes études du Mandarin? J'ai trouvé qu'il faut apprendre a écrire par main quelleques centaines de characteres pour pouvoir lire. Mais apres ce ne vaut plus la peine. En vrai on fait l'écrit avec les ordi et telephones
Assimil, Michel Thomas, Pimsleur, Teach Yourself, Colloquial, they are all much better than Rosetta Stone and they all cost much less.
As effective, or slightly more effective than Rosetta Stone, there is even Duolingo, if you are really short on budget.
https://fsi-languages.yojik.eu/ Here you can find good learning material for free, for Spanish and several other languages.
I'm currently learning Finnish (native English speaker, also), but the answer will depend on your needs.
Complete Finnish/Teach Yourself Finnish is probably the friendliest intro to the language. The language is very touristy, but checks most of the boxes needed for day-to-day conversation. It's quite affordable, but has limited audio and few exercises to help you practice.
Colloquial Finnish is a second option. Most texts for learning Finnish will teach you Standard Finnish, but in everyday life virtually everyone speaks in their dialect instead. Colloquial Finnish focuses on a "range of varieties of Finnish as spoken by the young people in Finland today , particularly in urban areas," so this might be better if you just want to emphasize listening/speaking skills. I haven't used it, but he does have an odd notation system throughout. More expensive than Complete/Teach Yourself, and might be more thorough.
If you really want to learn the language deeply and well and are willing to invest the time and work needed to become proficient, FSI courses sound like your best bet. The course is now public domain , so it's free, and I'm sure audio is obtainable somewhere. It's from ~1985, so I'm not sure if some of the language used is dated.
I'm using a French-based book to learn, so that's no help to you, but if your Swedish is now strong enough, look for Swedish language courses that Swedes use to learn Finnish. Finland has a Swedish-speaking minority, so there may be really good courses out there designed for Swedes. /r/LearnFinnish might also have advice.
Onnea! (Good luck!)
Also a little on the old side, but the US government has developed language courses that are in the public domain. They can be found here, and there are a bunch of languages.
I keep saying it to new learners: use Cortina Method French and French in Action. It'll cost you nothing and you'll be highly conversant in a year.
Definitely focus on Tetun over Portuguese. Thankfully it is not a very difficult language to learn once you get the hang of it.
If you search “Peace Corps Tetun language course” on google you should be able to pull up some free resources if you search hard enough.
Here is some of the vocabulary from the first 10 chapters of the book.
Numbers and counting (in both Tetun and Indonesian) would be one thing that could be helpful to study a little before departure.
Really, you have a long time to study during PST so I wouldn’t worry about it that much.
Well, I am going to go against the grain here. My favourite is a book called Cortina Method Conversational French in Twenty Lessons. The book has a great phonetic alphabet. I like the books (I have used them for multiple languages, because it includes a great section on grammar, which cracks the code for me.
The Foreign Service Institute has lots of instruction strictly on the sounds for French.
I am self-taught in French. My accent is good. I credit Cortina.
Oh, and when you are learning, practice like you are doing an impression of a French person. Really exaggerate the sounds. It is the only way to get used to the phonemes. You will literally feel your facial muscles strain after speaking French for 20 minutes. You are using everything differently.
There are many more resources for Iranian Persian than for Dari (at least from what I've seen)... I've heard conflicting reports about the utility of learning Iranian Persian first and then "adapting" it to Dari. I know Mango Languages has a Dari course, but I think it's less involved than the "Persian" course (I'm currently going through that and I find it enjoyable). There's also the DLI course here: https://fsi-languages.yojik.eu/languages/DLI/DLI-Dari.html
It's old, and employs the old orthography, but the most extensive Romanian course with audio you're likely to find anywhere is the DLI course, which can be downloaded freely and legally here:
Info on the company (& their other courses):
Similar courses (Cortina):
(I think Conversa-phone went out of business in the mid 90s, so their publications are probably fair game for scanning & uploading too.)
You can download, for free and legally, the mother of all Dari courses here:
It's produced by the US Defense Language Institute, and so has more military-related vocabulary than you might necessarily want, but in terms of the comprehensive coverage and the quantity of audio it provides, you shouldn't discount it as a major resource.
I would say for learning vocabulary as a beginner, it also helps to learn with context and get a lot of input aimed at beginners. Assimil is a good standard example of courses that do this, though for some languages you can find more extensive beginner materials that are sometimes free like French in Action.
I also like taking FSI Courses and removing pauses in audacity as a rich source of beginner level input, though these courses are a bit dated and not the most interesting, so you may find better alternatives, but they can be a helpful backup especially when learning more distantly related languages. The same website that hosts FSI also hosts Cortina courses which are a lighter alternative for input + grammar explanations.
(re-posting comment from deleted thread in case it helps anyone)
>I used audio from the genki textbooks, mainly the dialogues and exercises since they weren't too long to listen to. You can also do this with songs, short podcasts etc. I reccomend short clips not long since it's a bit tiring relistening to long clips. Try to listen to things you complety understand if you could read so you don't have to worry about unknown words and grammar as well.
- sticking to textbook dialogues etc will help restrict the vocab to core items
- use dialogues with translations so you can be sure you understand them correctly (second best: dialogues with vocab lists & copious explanations)
- initially listen to a small set of short clips repeatedly (for a 'difficult language' maybe for weeks or even months)
- gradually add new dialogues with new vocab and more complex sentences (using textbook dialogues basically in order will handle this for you)
- listen to the really familiar dialogues less (eventually maybe just weekly, to make sure you've at least passively retained all the vocab)
- most single published courses simply don't contain enough really basic audio material for this to really 'work'. So add material from public domain courses (perhaps the Cortina & DLI Japanese courses), cheap mainstream courses with good reviews, torrents etc.)
The key thing is you're not listening to stuff you don't understand. You're listening to things take some work to understand. (That work may be checking the translations, definitions etc, or just repeatedly listening until you can pick out the individual words.) But what you're listening to is 'within reach', and consists mainly of a core of vocab & grammar (that gradually expands).
This is very similar to the Assimil passive first wave, just done with other materials.
There's an old FSI course designed for exactly this:
Interested to know how you find it :)
(Might be Brazilian Portuguese tho)
Assimil's good, but it's not magic, & in the US it might be expensive to get hold of (legally). US-published Living Language Spanish looks worth considering, & should be quite cheap secondhand.
There are also at least 5 dated but large public domain courses ("programmatic", "basic", "modular" courses etc in the FSI & DLI sections here. I think "programmatic" is specifically designed for self study, but supplemented with other materials the basic courses, which were designed for classroom use, can also work well.)
well specifically focusing on building comprehension as a beginner, which is what OP mentioned, nearly anything that doesn't have testing built into it and lets you go at your own pace will be way faster, Cortina is an example of a decent course with audio you can find for free and focus on getting lots of exposure on your own pace, Assimil is a better one if you don't mind paying, and for specific languages there are sometimes options that are free and way better than the ones I mentioned, for French I found the video course French in Action to be really great and its completely free, I've heard other people mention free resources they liked a lot more in other languages, if you ask on any language specific subreddit for good comprehensible input for beginners they can probably help you find some. And there's more stuff I could mention that would have different advantages or tradeoffs depending on the learner's preferences and goals.
If people specifically want to use an app for testing themselves, this is less my area of expertise, but I've heard from successful learners who tried different apps that they preferred Busuu or for certain languages, Lingodeer.
I know Duolingo's language selection keeps expanding so if someone wants an free app for testing themselves with a language that's not available on other apps, that's one use case where I could see Duolingo being helpful, but people should always look at their options first.
Chinese courses for self-teaching are often orientated towards speaking, so practicing/shadowing dialogs/drills from those could help.
IDK where you are, but in the US Living Language looks like a good option. In the UK, Colloquial/Teach Yourself Chinese.
There's also the FSI course. It suffers from poor audio & dated vocab, but has lots of recorded drills, which are good to help get people speaking.
If you've been studying for 9 years, all of these materials could seem/be too easy. Starting easy might be a good way to develop confidence in speaking, but if it's just too easy/boring, you could try shadowing other spoken Chinese (maybe chat shows? news tends to be very fast).
These websites have free dense, practical resources. They're old US government language courses that are in the public domain. Be aware that they were made in the 60's and 70's, so expect the audio not to be amazing. However, it is very usable.
I just googled Korean Textbook.pdf and came up with this. There were a few others too.
What I like to do with languages is find a good textbook and make grammar drills and vocab quizlets from it.
I think Duolingo, Memrise, and Mango Languages have Korean courses that you might enjoy.
Edit: I just looked through the textbook in the link a bit, and it seems really similar to my Armenian textbook, which I absolutely love. So if you learn in a similar way to me, you might like it
The FSI course would be my first stop for this. I haven't checked it out, Persian is a bit further down on my list of languages to learn, but the FSI tends to have very good language specific learning material.
Tagalog is quite difficult due to its very peculiar syntax. You can try to read the Wikipedia page on Austronesian alignment if you want to learn more. Basically you have to use different verb forms and particles depending of which argument of a verb is pragmatically focused on.
The officially sanctioned variant is called "Filipino" so look for materials with that name as well.
Filipinos in general are very polite and nice and take kindly to people learning their language. If you are travelling to the Philippines and you're staying in Makati in Manila, code-switching between English and Tagalog is so rampant it has spawned a vernacular register called "Taglish".
Tagalog is not the native language of most Filipinos outside of Central Luzon, the biggest island. There are over a hundred languages in the Philippines, and if you go to the Visayas many people do speak Tagalog as a second language, but the main language is Visayan or Cebuano, a closely related but mutually unintelligible language which itself forms a dialect continuum where the ends are not mutually intelligible with each other. In northern Luzon, the main language is Ilocano, also a related language to Tagalog but not mutually comprehensible.
I recommend watching Paul from Langfocus' videos on Tagalog, you can find them on Youtube with the query "langfocus tagalog". He has first hand experience learning it.
I welcome any corrections by people who know more than I do.
A straightforward biography should not be any problem, but certain genres of fiction or even biographical memoirs could be problematic. If the person has a Wiki page or similar in English, you could quickly familiarize yourself with their life before starting the book.
Cortina's Italian course is legally available for free. https://fsi-languages.yojik.eu/languages/cortina.html
/once upon a time Foreign Language Institute at US Gov't developed a cantonese course.
I haven't looked into the material carefully (because I'm a native Cantonese speaker) but I hope these lessons would be useful.
Another, older book, with audio, can be downloaded for free here:
It uses the old triple accent system, but it's still a pretty user-friendly introduction. And copies of the book can be picked up pretty cheaply if you don't want to use PDFs.
it's a free course found online. scanned PDF + audio files for a bunch of languages, even some that you may not even have heard of.
as far as a review of the course, it's very comprehensive. this is because it was used to teach people in the united states foreign service institute who were in different countries on diplomatic or other duties.
some things may be a little outdated, though (like in english courses you might still find "how do you do" as an acceptable greeting).
one last warning: it's fucking boring. it's not fun. doing it feels like being in elementary school where you're asked to repeat stuff over and over. these lexical drills are, despite being the worst part of these programs, the strength of the programs. at the end of it, you'll come out with an ability to actually pronounce and be fluid with your speech.
highly recommend. cannot vouch for anything other than spanish and french, though. (the french one is better.)
Yeah, I'm finding my prior knowledge of Hiragana (I think it was the Memrise course I did) definitely helped. Katakana isn't such a big deal.
For free I find the FSI Fast book to be very good. https://fsi-languages.yojik.eu/languages/FSI/fsi-japanese.html
I'm a non-native speaker who learned Serbian to fluency, so I feel your pain when it comes to resources.
The most common textbook series at American universities is this one and its companion book.
Also, the Foreign Service Institute textbook is a bit outdated, but otherwise excellent. It can be downloaded for free here.
Don't they have a trial that you can try?
Some free resources for you:
As far as free resources, the FSI coursework is generally great. https://fsi-languages.yojik.eu/ I'd recommend looking at Donovan Nagel's advice on his blog with regard to Arabic specifically. http://www.mezzoguild.com/best-arabic-resources/
/r/languagelearning /r/learnspanish /r/learn_spanish
Borrow the pimsleur tapes and copy them from the library. Michel tomas works too.
Also, if you can slowly work through the spanish course here, it is legally available free and it will take you to B1/B2 .
Alright, here you go.
Visit this link
Right click all text links and audio links and select "Save As."
This course was developed in 1968 by the Foreign Service Institute specifically for diplomats, expats, translators, etc. in Vietnam. Since Southern Vietnam was within our sphere of influence, it was done predominately in Southern Vietnamese.
The course has a "book" (PDF) which you're supposed to use as you follow along to the audio tape. It emphasizes a LOT of drilling, and it can get boring but it's the best thing ever for learning Vietnamese.
Some of the phrases are a bit outdated, although the only major change I noticed was the course teaches "Ông mạnh giỏi không?," when most people today use "co" in place of "manh."
The rest of the course is relatively spot-on.
Now, here's what I did. I uploaded all of the audio files to Google Play Music (separated into two albums based on corresponding text, with a nice Viet flag cover), and uploaded the PDFs to Google Play Books, so I could look at my tablet, laptop, etc. while following along with the audio. I then took the major phrases/words/ideas/etc. as I progressed, and uploaded them to a Memrise course here. You don't have to use the course, but I found it helpful when I couldn't spend 30-40 minutes doing a lesson. You're probably more advanced than the material on the Memrise course.
They recommend doing one to two per day, I did one. But if a lesson was 15 or 20 minutes, I would do two. I'm currently around page 165-170 of the first text.
There are three texts. The main 2 are the language course being taught, and then there's the familiarization course. I don't exactly know what it's for, but I figured it was to be used as a "review" after the first two have been completed. I don't know to be honest.
Anyways, there you go. It was a lifesaver for me.
IAmGilGunderson gave good advice, I'd like to add some structure.
When you speak you need to draw on different skills and combine them, and it helps to train those skills in isolation, as well as to train combining them.
And then, there's another set of skills, interaction skills, which only partially overlap
What helps most with interaction skills is to be in low stress but interesting situations in which you want to connect to people who don't speak English. Some of these factors may be more important to you, I do best either with children/eldery people or in a nice laid-back group that allows me to speak but doesn't require me to.
You can find DLI course material here. Textbooks, audios, woorkbooks. Good luck man.
The have the entirety of the basic, intermediate, and advanced course there.
FSI has a course available online for free, may not be the most up to date, but they can be helpful starting point.
I think most people tend to learn MSA and a dialect together.
I would say for learning vocabulary as a beginner, it also helps to learn with context and get a lot of input aimed at beginners. Assimil is a good standard example of courses that do this, though for some languages you can find more extensive beginner materials that are sometimes free like French in Action. I also like taking FSI Courses and removing pauses in audacity as a rich source of beginner level input, though these courses are a bit dated and not the most interesting, so you may find better alternatives, but they can be a helpful backup especially when learning more distantly related languages. The same website that hosts FSI also hosts Cortina courses which are a lighter alternative for input + grammar explanations.
At least there's a big DLI course:
(Assuming it's the right language...)
Boa noite OP, não sei se você faça inglês porém deixo aqui alguns links que podem te ajudar:
Post no r/French
Cursos de línguas do governo dos EUA.
Só uma nota de rodapé pra dizer que eu nunca estudei francês, e só tenho esses links aqui porque tenho vontade de estudar um dia e eles me pareceram interessante. Por fim recomendo também o r/language_exchange, não sei a extensão do seu nível mas talvez vale a pena conseguir um amigo(a) pra conversar um pouco.
Haven't looked much into Middle Chinese yet, so I dunno all the practicalities of going about it, but for sound distinctions you can't find in modern dialects, you could look for them in other modern languages or just use those general IPA pronunciation charts. I would think at the beginning you'd just try to produce the sound mechanically for recordings and then listen to the recordings a lot, and maybe add them to anki until they become automatic.
Additional things you could look into is I know Gabriel Wyner suggested minimal pair training in Anki, where you test yourself on distinguishing sounds, though I'm not sure if that actually results in distinguishing the sounds regularly in practice or just in the specific contexts you use them, but it still might be worth playing around with, and you could try making your own. Also a lot of FSI courses have pretty detailed phonology drills, if you can find modern languages with the distinctions you're looking for you might find some of their drills helpful.
I'd focus on producing a few acceptably accurate recordings first and then hopefully it would be easier to keep applying those sounds to new words as you go on.
Dunno how helpful it is, but these are some things I'd try if I ever attempted a historical language without much audio resources. Middle Chinese is one I'm kind of curious to explore in the future, so best of luck with it.
It certainly doesn't hurt to use different methods simultaneously, though if your main concern is pronunciation you may want to consider The FSI Introduction to French Phonology course which is free and more thorough than Pimsleur. (I don't remember offhand if its 100% useable by listening only, it may occasionally refer to the text, but the audio alone should still be extremely helpful for French pronunciation).
Linguaphone has 3 generations: pre-1950 (??? lessons), 1950-1960s (50 lessons), 1970s to early 2000s (30 L-O-N-G lessons) and possibly a newer one. You get all-French audio, a book with the French text, another with English translation and grammar and another with exercises. I used 2d and 3rd gens and never used the English as I had already completed Assimil NFWE and French Without Toil (the best book to learn French ever!)
Cortina is legally free online and is pre-1960, so the vocab is very dated. It's got 20 lessons and progresses too quickly for most learners. It has a splendid IPA-esque pronunciation guide and has good audio for its age.
Living Language has two versions: pre- and post- 2000/2002. Run away from the latter, because it's astonishingly dumbed down. The better of the two is like Assimil, but has more grammar exercises.
I didn't like NFWE that much either even though it is an excellent bookd to use in your learning of the language. I understand your frustration.
Cortina German (book and audio are free online)
Video - How to Learn German : A Guide for Beginners
Studien und Plaudereien by Sigmon Stern
Cortina German - book and audio
German Made Simple
If you want more traditional grammar-based courses, try:
Cortina Greek (book course with audio)
Learn Greek Online - log in as "guest"
You don't have to spend $200. You can get it much cheaper with an Audible subscription. Also, Norwegian is sparse on resources, you kind of need to take what you can get.
IME, Pimsleur is good with languages with a conventional prosody and don't have heavy gender inflection. Norwegian should be OK.
Before that though, check out the FSI Norwegian course, it's free, and FSI courses are consistently high quality.
yojik.eu hosts a collection of free resources, including Foreign Service Institutes (FSI) courses online.
>The Foreign Service Institute (FSI) is the United States federal government's primary training institution for employees of the U.S. foreign affairs community, preparing American diplomats as well as other professionals to advance U.S. foreign affairs interests overseas and in Washington.
>- excerpt from Wikipedia
At least worth looking into as far as the free resources go, it will likely be your most complete and detailed option.
The FSI has a Yoruba course. I don't know anything about it, but they did a very good job with both French and Arabic, approaching them in different ways, to address problems English speakers would have with the phonology of both languages. I would expect them to have a good approach to Yoruba's tones as well.
> In discussions like this, it is generally assumed that we are talking about the standard dialect or the dachsprache.
Then you should be familiar with what it happens to be, and not cite pronunciations that are clearly not the standard dialect.
>Yes. Precisely. That's because there's a fundamental difference between writing "fenêtrer" and writing "fenestrer". That in some dialects they are homophones is not evidence that they are equivalent.
That they have literally the same definition in the dictionary and are referenced as variants of each other is evidence that they are equivalent. Also the fact that they are used exactly the same way.
>In the standard dialect, this would include words like "bête" and "fête"
No. Go here, run through this course, and we can continue this discussion in 2 weeks once you're properly equipped to have a discussion about French phonology.
>If you're used to Swiss French then yes, those vowels will be lengthened; but Swiss French is one of the few dialects where this happens.
Swiss French is standard French. There is no difference in pronunciation, only a couple differences in vocabulary. Quebecois has significantly different pronunciation. Aside from that, the change isn't in lengthening the vowel. It's changing the vowel. It's not a long "e". Certainly not in Swiss French.
>In standard French (based on the Parisian dialect), the "ê" in "bête" is pronounced exactly the same as the "e" in "bestial".
This is true, but the "e" in "bestial" isn't a standard "e".
DLI has produced a massive volume of freely available Indonesian materials with audio; take a look at the materials here:
The "basic" course is the one to start with.
Here's a free Thai course. And here's the Lao version.
DLI also has a version of Thai, but not Lao...
I'm not sure about the quality of DLI vs FSI Thai, but the fsi version has a slightly larger file size? lol
Assimil offers a lot of less common languages, and the courses are made in a bit non traditional style that works nicely. Most are with the French base, so it depends on your level, but I think that intermediate should still suffice with a bit of additional googling. I am quite sure they have Thai, perhaps something else too. Their full courses Sans peine are very good, even though some are better and some are less good (I've read about some reservations from Japanese learners for example). They have Khmer and Thai. In their collection of small courses (basic explanations, grammar and some vocab and phrases), they have Lao.
Teach Yourself and Colloquial are two well known brands of good quality classical style coursebooks for self-teaching learners. A book + CD (or mp3, Colloquial audio is downloadable on their website for convenience), with explanations, dialogues, exercises. Colloquial has Thai and Burmese, perhaps something else I overlooked. Teach Yourself: I think the Complete courses are usually the best, but I know some learners like to start with the easier ones and progress to the harder ones. They have Thai, perhaps something else too, I was just looking at the list very briefly.
FSI courses are public domain. They are old, but usually great. Tons of audio and drills, which may be a bit dry, usually bring awesome results. Yes, sometimes the language is a bit outdated in some ways (such as German before the ortograph reform), but still good for at least some use. But when there is very little else, FSI is something to rely on despite the age. There is Lao and Thai.
The last brands are free too and I haven't tried them for any language, but they have good reputation: DLI has Thai. The Peace Corps have a lot of languages, perhaps yours too.
I recommend checking university websites, they may have lists of coursebooks they use, and sometimes even publish.
Mango Languages is an excellent program for beginners to learn pronunciation and basic vocabulary, better than Pimsleur in my opinion. If you have a Australian, Canadian, or US library card, check to see if your library offers the program. Otherwise, Mango Languages can be paid for through their website.
Many have learned French with Assimil. There are 100 lessons, about 15 minutes each. One lesson a day and the course will be finished in January.
Gabriel Wyner learned French to fluency in five months. You can read about his method and decide if it is for you. https://fluent-forever.com/development/
Cortina went out of business and their course is now legally available for free online. https://fsi-languages.yojik.eu/languages/cortina.html#French
There are lots of resources in the sidebar.
Here is a link to the free FSI materials which I am currently using to learn French. It's starts with a phonology lesson which is important.
I'm not sure how well it's reviewed, and it is very out of date. It seems like a good place to start so that's where I am starting.
The other thing I would suggest is to check out "fluent forever" and read about flash card usage and ANKI.
I am just a beginner though so definitely poke your head through the side bar in r/language learning and r/french (I think that is the sub).
Edit: I would like to add
I have tried Rosetta Stone, it's as bad as people say. Too much work for next to nothing learned. And it's boring.
I felt the same for Duolingo though Duolingo has some grammar help lessons.
I purchased "Speed learning languages" which is technically what I am using instead of the FSI materials. However I am very sure it is just the FSI materials repackaged and sold for lots of money.
Here's Peace Corps, and Defense language Institute bahasa Indonesia course. had a glance, seems ok.
The FSI French phonology course sounds like what you want. Listen to the audio, follow along in the student text. It's not interactive, so it doesn't offer corrections directly, but it does go over common mispronunciations to help you distinguish.
There is a big set of free sets for different languages via anki.
Either of these are great options
Studied Russian to fluency. First, see if you can find a copy of Pimsleur Russian. Again, dubious legality resources available, but libraries often have them. By no means a one-stop shop, but it will give you an ear for how the language sounds and it's patterns. Plus, it uses a graduated recall technique like Memrise, so it is easier to remember. Downsides are cost and not a huge amount of vocab learned, but the vocab you learn is learned pretty well.
I recommend also looking into the FSI (Foreign Service Institute) courses. These are very similar to the ones I used in the military, and, though dry at times, they are a thorough resource. There are also audio accompaniments. Plus...It's a FREE resource! Удачи!
Rocket Languages can be picked up for about $35 on Groupon, last I checked. I use them for listening a lot. You can also try the NHK Slow Japanese app, which you can set to autoplay. There is also a dated (but still useful) free audio course by FSI which uses the Hepburn system. You can legally DL it free with a Google search (such as here https://fsi-languages.yojik.eu) or from Amazon music, if you have Prime. I also saw this from NHK. https://www.nhk.or.jp/lesson/english/ Oh, also, if you sign up for JapanesePod101, they'll send you this deal where you can get a two-week (or something) trial plus any download from their store for $1. (You just have to remember to cancel the subscription before it starts, if you don't want it.) But I actually got their entire Japanese audio course for $1. I think it's normally $50. :)
You might try the Foreign Service Institute program:
According to Langfocus (amazing linguistics Youtube channel), the courses are dry but they are good at increasing fluency.
EDIT: Note that FSI courses are public domain!
I would love some tips on resources as well. Preferably on a budget :)
I've been using the free app WordPowerLt to learn a new word every day and also to learn the alphabet (alefbeit), what sounds each letter makes in a word, and how to draw and recognize each letter. I just started Duolingo but am glad I learned the alphabet first because I think I would be lost otherwise since it doesn't formally teach any of that.
I also recently found this old site that has drills for everyday conversations:
It's from the 60's so it's pretty dated but I think it's helping me with some common words and phrases, and hopefully with training my ear to recognize words.
There's also Hebewpod101.com on YouTube, which is really cool but I quickly get lost in everything but the most basic of those.
I'm always looking for more though!
It would also be interesting because you know some Persian, and there was considerable Arabic influence on both it and Swahili.
BTW, there is an extensive (free) FSI course available here.
After Duolingo, I found Clozemaster to be a good next step. The Swedish Institute also released a pretty good ](course that's free called Learning Swedish. The Foreign Service Institute (the US government's training institution) also has a course on Swedish.
I suggest watching movies and YouTube videos too so you can improve your comprehension. Podcasts, radio and music also helps with this.
For Egyptian the best thing I've seen is this and for Lebanese/Levantine I'd look at this FSI course that compares Egyptian to Levantine. Then I'd just start listening/watching basic materials. I think there's a youtube channel that does simple street interviews in Egypt. And there's a collection of basic interviews in Shaami dialect that I can look for when I have a bit more time. Good luck!
More-recent than what? Here's a book published by the Peace Corps that is a beginner's course. I didn't see a date, but a lot of these Peace Corps books came out in like the 60s and 70s. Here's another one from 1995. I'd recommend trying to find more from the Peace Corps since they generally have decent enough beginning courses.
Good on you learning Russian. It is super useful in Eastern Europe in general.
The intro russian assimil here is really well thought of, as is the FSI class.
What reason is bringing you to that part of the world?
Everyone in the r/French sub is probably sick of me extolling the virtues of these two things, but I have learned French, German and Italian using Cortina. I love those books. They have a great phonetic alphabet and a great grammar section.
I have also done the Foreign Service Institute course in German, but not French. It was very good, but also very dated, even back in the 1980s when I used it. (I begged my father to buy it for me, at a cost of about $800 in today's money. He strapped me to a chair all summer and made me use it. I did and it worked. Sad thing is that Germans speak English better than we do, lol.)
I like reading to learn, so Cortina was great for me. If you download Adobe Acrobat to your tablet, you can write in the PDF and make notes and things, which helps a lot.
Use Cortina and watch <em>French in Action</em>.
If you do one lesson every month in Cortina, an hour a day at least, and watch the same episode of French in Action every day for a week before going to the new one, you'll be speaking conversationally when you land in France.
Don't overthink it. Learning a language requires study and repetition.
I'm not sure there's 1 single best place to learn Cantonese unfortunately, so you may have to use lots of different resources and piece together your own route. Probably the most comprehensive beginner course is the old FSI Cantonese public domain course for diplomats. (At the moment the website is down, This website also seems to have the files hosted, but they didn't make the course so I wouldn't give them any of your info). Because its a bit dated and more formal you may not want to use it alone, but it should teach enough of a foundation to learn from more modern but less structured materials. CantoneseClass101 is a more recent resource to draw on with a good chunk of material to learn, but from what I remember it was less structured and just kind of taught things randomly, but studying and listening to the dialogs a lot should help internalize the language as a beginner.
r/Cantonese might have more suggestions in terms of materials and approaches. Might also be worth checking This interview with Luke Truman who learned Cantonese on his own for some advice.
The best option in English is the FSI Greek Basic Course, which was created by the US government when katharevousa was still the official language of Greece. Volume 1 teaches standard modern Greek and points out some of the most common elements of katharevousa that one is likely to encounter on the street and in conversation. Volume 2 gradually transitions to katharevousa and teaches grammatical elements. Volume 3 is essentially a reader of katharevousa as it was used in the newspapers of the ‘60s. That would give a solid foundation to start reading katharevousa, beyond that you would need to study some Ancient Greek to read literary works.
Yes, of course. Grammar changes very rarely (and slowly), but words, expressions, idioms et al change rapidly from generation to generation (where even the span of time denoted by a generation is fast shrinking due to technology).
For example, from the FSI Mandarin course here - https://fsi-languages.yojik.eu/languages/FSI/fsi-chinese-mandarin.html
"The current course was created many years ago. Some informations are not accurate any more.
For example: 同志 (tóngzhì) meant Comrade and now may mean "gay", 小姐 (xiǎojiě) meant "Mademoiselle" and now may mean prostitute, depending on the situation.
So, be careful with the information given in this course: vocabulary has changed a lot. Use another resource to avoid misunderstanding."
You could start out with these for Igbo (may be a bit dated, but rather comprehensive) - https://fsi-languages.yojik.eu/languages/FSI/fsi-igbo.html, https://fsi-languages.yojik.eu/languages/PeaceCorps/Igbo.html.
That’s a great idea! take a look at these materials… I only looked at a few of the PDFs concerned with writing, but hopefully they help you.
One of those too crazy it might just work experiments. Good luck.
Here's a comparative study of Levantine and Egyptian Arabic to get you in the mood:
Depends on what you count as a computer method. If you can stomach drilling, I'd recommend the FSI Programmed Introduction and Basic courses. https://fsi-languages.yojik.eu/languages/FSI/fsi-german.html
I only listen to it for fun. I'm using this course as main material. It's old and language evolved but I like to know about languages evolution.
One additional free resource is the FSI Programmatic Italian course, which focuses largely on pronunciation in contrast to American English, and which you can download freely and legally here:
On top of u/vyhexe's suggestions, the FSI course includes grammar drills that are helpful for getting used to using the grammar while speaking.
People on this sub are going to roll their eyes like I am George Bluth hawking Caged Wisdom, but Cortina Method French is the best one-volume French grammar reader. Now the PDF I linked is a book, the first half is vocabulary. Reference grammar starts on page 220. You can use the study guide and do it that way or just blow through it. It is old, old school, but it is a good summary. You'll also learn English grammar by default.
This reads well in Play Books or Adobe Acrobat on your tablet. The book is out of print, but can be ordered cheaply.
I just want to say that there is a Cortina course in Russian.
I have had their Russian book for a while, but I have never used it. It seems like a lot to take on and I think I might want to learn Polish, as I'd have more ancestral use for that.
I understand what you are saying about paying for something, it gives it value. I just mean that beginners cannot tell where money in language courses are well spent. It is like when you learn to cook. You just need a decent cast iron skillet and a chef's knife to begin, but people just go crazy buying equipment.
Russian is a tough language. Good on you for learning it.
If you're used to the Cambridge English exams, your first language probably isn't English, so take this with a grain of salt. There are different types of language course books. Some are targeted at adult learners preparing for a holiday. These are often called language guides. Stay away from this type, because it usually focuses on rote learning phrases without a lot of grammar explanation and exercises. The other two types are fine though: courses aimed at pupils in school and courses aimed at adult learners to get proficient.
The qualification framework you're looking for is probably CEFR. If a course is compliant, it will likely have it printed prominently on the back or the cover. However, material targeted at pupils is still good and will teach you what you need as well. These books can often be bought cheaply off of ebay, because many students sell their old books. The only issue is that Dutch is not a very common second language in schools.
If you like, you can also browse publicly available course material. Like here for example or on wikibooks. The wikibooks course is notorious for looking very incomplete at first glance - and it probably will never be complete. It still has a lot of good and finished chapters.
I used theFSI/DLI materials for Czech. You can see volume 1 here.
Basically, the course begins with very simple sentences, pretty much using only the nominative, and polite requests, greetings, etc. that can be learned in "chunks" without bothering about their grammar. Then it gradually introduces additional concepts one by one, always with lots of practice along the way. So for example volume 1 in that second link adds the accusative in at about page 37 in lesson 2: what and whom do you see? And so on. One thing at a time, and practice it. (Of course, "one thing" might have to be broken up into subthings, based on gender, number, etc.)
That's pretty much the story with more modern materials too, although they have pictures in color and not just the occasional black-and-white cartoon. :-)
I'm assuming you're aware of it, but there IS an FSI course with audio for Lingala:
I have no idea how good it is, but just wanted to mention it in case you somehow weren't aware of it...
I don't think you can learn Turkish as a foreigner without a good understanding of the grammar. One easy/cheap way to get a feel for this is "Elementary Turkish" by Lewis Thomas. You can download a pdf here:
but the book itself is very cheap and available on Amazon. It focus on a useful basic vocabulary and breaks up the grammar into small chunks, and has a lot of short translation exercises, with a key to the answers, so you can get a feel for phrase and sentence structure by doing the exercises in both directions.
Another free resource to assimilate the sentence structure orally is the FSI Basic Turkish course, which you can find for free and legal download here:
Working through this will enable you to learn the Turkish sentence patterns and thus understand Turkish "on the fly" when you here it spoken.
This has very minimal grammar explanations + spoken grammar drills, mostly involving slightly modifying sentences over and over:
They build up in complexity, but even so can be very difficult at first. However, with enough practice you develop the habits you need to be able to speak correctly. For someone who's had quite a lot of exposure to Turkish, they shouldn't be too bad.