Writer's Guide to Government Information

Resources to inject real life detail into your fiction

FSI Language Courses

FSI Language Courses  – http://fsi-language-courses.org/Content.php

If main URL is down, also try:

Representative questions that can be answered with this resource:

  • What does Serbo-Croatian sound like?
  • What does modern Hebrew sound like?
  • What does Sinhala sound like?


Pretty much a plain vanilla presentation of language courses originally developed by the Foreign Service Institute of the State Department. As these courses were created by federal government employees, the courses became part of the Public Domain, freely reusable by anyone. This website has no connection to the federal government. It’s run by a nonprofit that wants to provide access to these course which were held in high esteem when they were created are still useful today.

Each course consists of a student workbook (usually hundreds of pages) in PDF format and a number of tapes in MP3 format. The audio tapes appear to be purely in the language being studied. You won’t get any benefit from the tapes alone except for getting a sense of how that particular language sounds.

The workbook varies in detail from course to course, but usually tries to teach the written language along with the spoken language and later units of the course will have reading passages. Suggestions for teaching the language in a classroom setting will also be offered.

Several dozen courses are offered. Representative ones are:

  • Arabic
  • Cantonese
  • Greek
  • Polish
  • Serbo-Croatian
  • Vietnamese
  • Yoruba

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