Offline resources for new language learner
February 2, 2015 8:21 AM   Subscribe

I'm learning Spanish. I'd like to take tablet or paper-based resources with me on an upcoming trip to keep the momentum going, but won't have internet access during that time. What should I take?

I'm using Duolingo to learn conversational Spanish for a trip I'm taking later this year. In the meantime, I'm taking a five-day cruise in a couple of weeks and will have some extra study time on my hands. I don't want to lose momentum on the progress I've made, but I'd rather not pay a fortune for internet access on the ship just to use Duolingo.

I'll have access to my Kindle, an iPad, and I'm willing to tote along paper worksheets or books as well.

I'm planning to download a couple of easy children's books and a Spanish/English dictionary to my kindle. I'll also put together flashcards to work on the grammar and vocabulary I've learned so far, but beyond that I'm stumped.

I'm willing to invest money in this so resources need not be free. I'm also willing to switch to an entirely different learning platform and away from Duolingo if it helps.
posted by _Mona_ to Education (10 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
I would try a low-tech solution - Berlitz sells pre-made Spanish grammar flashcards and you get a big enough deck to fill your free time for very low cost. By all means bring your own self-made flashcards too. You can carry a much smaller subset of the total deck with you and use them to make use of five minutes waiting here and there, then use the bigger deck for a longer study session once a day. If you have an Android phone Ankidroid is good to download then you can also download free pre-made language card decks to view on your phone. The advantage of that is the software recognises which words you know well, and shows them less often, while bringing up the words you got wrong more frequently until you learn them.
posted by AuroraSky at 8:37 AM on February 2, 2015

Go old school! Write out verb conjugation tables long hand. It's dull, but since Duolingo doesn't teach vosotros it also helps fill a gap. I like the Practice Makes Perfect series if you want to invest in books.

If you haven't already listened to it, you could also try Michel Thomas' audio course.
posted by wingless_angel at 8:48 AM on February 2, 2015

Duolingo is sort of light on nouns and adjectives I think. I'd get or make flashcards, etc. and practice new words with the grammar you've already learned. Maybe get words for things you're most interested in--words you'd use on a city tour, in a museum, gardening, etc.
posted by sevenless at 9:06 AM on February 2, 2015

If you're far enough along, you could try getting a Spanish version of a novel you know well, in addition to the children's books. I had a surprisingly entertaining time with my dad's copy of El Hobbit, for example.
posted by dorque at 9:16 AM on February 2, 2015 [1 favorite]

You can get duolingo to preload 10 or so lessons to use offline.

I'd also 2nd writing out conjugations, especially the common irregular ones (especially the preterite tense if you've gotten there.) You really just have to do rote memorization for those and you can get pretty far into Spanish and still not have a great handle on them (ask me how I know) which really undermines your attempts at speaking.
posted by geegollygosh at 9:16 AM on February 2, 2015

As an emergency backup def get a copy of point it. It's very thin and pocket sized and has gotten me exactly what and where I wanted many times in many countries. (It's basically 2000 little pictures of things in as compact a form as possible)
posted by sexyrobot at 10:23 AM on February 2, 2015

Memrise is a flashcard-like app that works offline.
posted by neushoorn at 11:36 AM on February 2, 2015

Mind Snacks is a fun set of games for learning Spanish on your ipad. Once you have the games and lessons loaded, it works offline.
posted by saul wright at 11:41 AM on February 2, 2015

See if you can download a copy of Michele Thomas's Spanish. I really like the teaching style - lots of repetition, learning actual sentences instead of just vocab and conjugation. I put it on my ipod and listen during bus trips. You have to repeat things out loud, so you risk looking a bit crazy, but I find I learn the pronunciation much faster if I say things instead of just reading and writing them.
posted by ananci at 12:12 PM on February 2, 2015

Download a bunch of spanish-language podcasts! Some of my favorites when learning Spanish: Coffee break spanish, Showtime spanish, Spanish podcast (with mercedes leon), News in slow spanish. I'm sure there are other good ones but these should keep you busy for a while...
posted by btkuhn at 4:18 PM on February 2, 2015

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