(using a well-stocked library)
I had this idea, last night:
To learn a foreign-language,
for free, and without an instructor-
you need a libary with 3 things:
(to learn spanish, for example)
1) a book in english
2) a translation of that book (into spanish),
and, for proper pronunciation,
3) a book-on-cassette (also in spanish)
I've never done this; it's just an idea...
The koran would be a good way to learn arabic, this way.
Most translated korans have the original arabic, alongside the english. I realize some languages work better than others for this. Finding a foreign language book AND the same book in a foreign language on cassette might be unlikely... you might get lucky, though - and you can always find and buy resources on the net.
The Summer Institute for Linguistics (SIL) Ethnologue Survey (1999) lists the following as the top languages by population:(number of native speakers in parentheses)
Another good resource people don't usually consider is a foreign language dictionary. I don't mean, say an english to spanish/spanish to english dictionary; I mean a regular dictionary in the language you want to learn, with definitions, not synonyms.
I admit this might be a bit harebrained. It's probably only good as a supplement to traditional language-instruction methodology. If it uses the same alphabet you already know, you're better off than trying to figure out, say, chinese.
5 hours ago