Audio resources for language learning
June 29, 2016 8:59 AM   Subscribe

I'd like to learn new languages - specifically French, German and Latin. The only significant time I have to do this is a daily ~2 hour commute. So, recommendations please for offline audio-based language resources (something that is, or can be put, on a CD).

Current ability levels: Latin I use a lot but don't understand much; French I did at school 25 years ago; German I have no clue about whatsoever.
posted by monkey closet to Writing & Language (6 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I liked using the 'Take off in . . .' (from publisher Oxford). They are a book and CD combo, but I remember going through lessons on the CD and then reviewing with the book later. I found it was a great course for natural learning - you won't like it if you want high structure and learning grammatical rules as a foundation. It was great for developing useful listening skills right from the start. Maybe have a browse in a local bookshop?
posted by kadia_a at 9:11 AM on June 29, 2016

I've been using a set of Pimsleur CDs to try and learn Spanish; they've got a long list of other languages available too.

There's no books or anything written, just the CDs, but the thing I really like about it is the sheer usefulness of what they're teaching: way back in school I remember a lot of 'here is the pencil' and 'this is the library'; Pimsleur seems to focus on more practical language, like 'do you know where the ___ Hotel is?' and 'I would like a beer'...... when I'm on vacation I don't want to discuss 'this is a window'!
posted by easily confused at 9:37 AM on June 29, 2016

If you don't mind using your phone/tablet, Duolingo, which is fun and free, has an offline component, at least for Android. (Disclaimer: I have used the online version, but not the offline one.) I think you still need to go online periodically to have it sync your progress.
posted by pangolin party at 10:45 AM on June 29, 2016 [1 favorite]

I did quite a lot of the Michel Thomas Spanish CDs and found them great - also available in French and German. They're audio only, and you build up quite quickly to having usable sentences, picking up grammar as you go. I know some people find the other two "classmates" annoying but I found the rest of it so fast and effective I didn't mind too much.

Since MT died I know other stuff has been produced under the "Michel Thomas method" which I can't vouch for, but the original ones have a lot of material to get through.
posted by penguin pie at 10:56 AM on June 29, 2016 [1 favorite]

Seconding Pimsleur. They used spaced repetition techniques that work remarkably well. I finished German 1 years ago and it's still with me.
posted by JoeZydeco at 12:43 PM on June 29, 2016

The DLI French course has hours and hours of audio drills, much of them repetition drills, that could be used in an audio-only driving situation. Check grammar and vocabulary in the printed book afterwards, if need be. Your college French will probably get you pretty far with these, though.

The FSI French course is great with audio too; the drills here are a bit more tricky than DLI's. More substitution, all the basic grammatical concepts of the language being presented by means of examples of variations.

Have fun!
posted by bertran at 10:09 PM on June 29, 2016

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