How do I learned new language?

I’m surprised that Wikimedia Foundation hasn’t yet expanded into providing language learning material, apart from Wiktionary, of course. I reckon that basic, “101”-type course material for self-teaching always follows an easily applicable template, no matter what the language, and that there would be plenty of multilingual Wikipedians eager to contribute to such courses.

There doesn’t seem to be too much open source software for such self-teaching either, for that matter. I see a couple of drilling utilities in the repositories, but not much beyond that. What I’d love to see is a generic ‘lang-teacher’ package with a bunch of optional ‘lang-teacher-en-101’, ‘lang-teacher-ja-101’ and so on, packages to choose from.

I can hear it already: Sounds like a nice idea. So what are you waiting for, why don’t you start coding? But it’s so much easier just to toss these ideas around than to actually do anything about them…

Many seem to think that the best route to learning a new language is to just get the basics straight and then dive in with people who speak it, but for someone like me that would be impossible. I lead a life which you couldn’t even begin to describe using the word ‘introvert’. Apart from not being able to learn by speaking, this means that I’m not that interested in spoken language; my purpose for learning any new language at this point would be primarily to gain access to the vast amount of written knowledge available (online and in books) in languages other than my own and in English.

Even if I didn’t lead such a secluded life, there really just aren’t enough, say, Japanese people around where I live, to strike a conversation with. And even if there were, there’s still that ‘basics’ part which I’d somehow have to get a grip on, and for that I’d love to have some free (as in freedom) tools, either online or on my desktop.