FSI Language Courses

I'm a huge fan of the language courses prepared by the Foreign Service Institute, part of the U.S. State Department. For a long, long time, there's been a community-sourced collection of these public domain materials at FSI-Language-Courses.org, which made the PDF and MP3 files available for free to language enthusiasts everywhere. Some time ago, the old site website went dark.

I've been playing around with a couple of projects around these courses, off and on, for many years. When I get a rare free moment and have an urge to work on something I find endlessly fascinating, I work on one or two of the original PDF book files and convert them into HTML5 for my own use. Many of these original books were typeset with a typewriter and the preparers seem to have written accent marks in with a pen after the typing of the book. Today, with Unicode, it's trivial to produce beautifully typeset versions of these.

I've spent a long time in the technology industry, focused on, among other things, internationalization and localization. Perhaps I'll post some of the work I've done to these FSI books one of these days.

A few days ago, after searching the Internet Archive for the original fsi-language-courses website, I found a large downloadable repository that contained everything that was posted there. The day after that (I think it might have been last Wednesday), I found that LiveLingua.com also downloaded and mirrored the archive, added things to their version, and also included a large collection of Peace Corps Language Courses and Defense Language Institute Language Courses. It's difficult for me to express how excited this new discovery makes me.

Thanks, LiveLingua!

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