ken zirkel

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Resources for learning German

February 2nd, 2013 · 9 Comments

I’ve been learning the German language for about five months, now. I need a place to put all the resources I’ve found, so here it is. Hopefully it will be useful for other German-learners.

Dictionaries:

  • I’ve been told that Pons.eu is the best German-English dictionary online, because it’s not crowdsourced.

Podcast courses

  • Deutsche Welle has several courses, for young learners and grownups alike.
  • My favorite DW podcast course is Deutsch, Warum Nicht. It comes complete with a text you can download.
  • The AudioTrainer looks interesting, as well, although I have not tried it yet.

Human help

Online and Electronic Text References & Tutorials

Textbooks and books

  • Textbooks: We are using “Neue Horizonte” by Dollenmeyer. I have to say, I cannot recommend it. It’s exorbitantly expensive and the grammar dwells a lot on college-student vocabulary, such as “student ID” and “student dormitory”, which I don’t find useful, as a post-college learner. If anyone has a good textbook to recommend, leave me a comment.
  • Barrons German Grammar is a useful reference
  • German childrens books in PDF format

App-based courses & drills:

  • Anki: a flashcard program with many German decks
  • Memrise online learning website with many German courses
  • Duolingo: Free language-learning website and crowdsourced text translation platform. It was originally sponsored by a MacArthur fellowship and a National Science Foundation grant.
  • Toms Deutschseite I haven’t tried this online course, but it was recommended on Reddit.
  • Perfect German, Michael Thomas Method: This is one of those CD-based courses. It’s not cheap, and I haven’t tried it yet. I might try this after my course is finished, to brush up.

Blogs

Speaking Partners

  • See if there is a local college near you that has a German program. Maybe they have a weekly social hour for speaking German, often called a Kaffestunde
  • There are a number of websites which will match up speaking partners, such as Language Exchange; I haven’t tried them.

Video/Movies

Music

There are lots of sources for German music, contemporary and old. You can find tubas and oom-pah music if you want, of course, but there’s a vibrant pop music scene in Germany. Here are a few sources:

  • German radio stations streaming on the internet
  • Spotify has a lot of German artists. You can listen to a free account with commercials. Spotify is play-on-demand, so you can control what plays. Search for a German artist, and Spotify will recommend similar artists. You can also search for “Deutsch” or “German” playlists from other members.
  • Reddit has a subreddit of German music submitted by Reddit members
  • There’s an autoPlaylist of music videos from the r/Germusic subreddit
  • Amazon.com has a lot of German music for sale; many older albums can be downloaded for $9.99; some newer CD’s can be really expensive there, though.
  • If you’re looking for a specific and newer CD, it might not be on Amazon at a reasonable price; try looking for it on eBay.
  • If you want some background and information about German music, Deutsche Welle has a really nice German Pop podcast.

Popular groups which come up a lot include: Wir Sind Helden; Peter Fox; Klee; Juli; Einstürzende Neubaten; Rio Reiser; Herbert Grönemeyer; Wise Guys; Silbermond; and my personal favorite duo, Rosenstolz. Rosenstolz is highly melodic, their more recent work features a lush sound and sweeping, somewhat melodramatic songs about life and love. Recommended: their albums Wir Sind Am Leben, De Suche Geht Weiter, Das Grosse Leben, and Herz. (AnNa, ruf mich an!)

More ideas? Leave a comment. I keep a running list of German language links on Delicious.

Tags: Learning German

9 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Cameron Lee // Mar 28, 2013 at 10:14 pm

    This is a wonderful compilation. I’m about three months into the Pimsleur audio courses and looking for some skill-appropriate supplements; I look forward to trying these.

  • 2 Emanuel // Apr 6, 2013 at 4:21 pm

    Great compilation, especially because it is commented and not just a bunch of links… as for Pons, I think it is partially crowd sourced. You can login and suggest a new translation there. This shows for certain words like “schon” for instance where you have a billion translations and quite some redundant ones. However, I would recommend it too, because, while not perfect, it is a very comprehensive dictionary that organizes translations by notion or concept and gives many example phrases. For a beginner it is definitely better than Leo or dict.cc because those just list everything there which can be overwhelming and misleading… additionally I’d recommend http://www.linguee.com … This one is crowd-sourced and could use lots more user activity but it gives translations in a larger context with the languages back to back.

  • 3 domestiques // Apr 20, 2013 at 3:17 pm

    After I originally left a comment I appear to have
    clicked the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and now whenever a comment is added I recieve 4 emails with the
    exact same comment. There has to be a means you can remove me from that service?
    Thanks a lot!

  • 4 Ken Zirkel // Apr 20, 2013 at 5:05 pm

    I don’t think so … I don’t see any other comments from you in my blog. Also, my blog doesn’t have a “notify me” feature.

  • 5 Ken Zirkel // Apr 20, 2013 at 5:06 pm

    Test

  • 6 Katja // Apr 26, 2013 at 8:23 am

    Great list! You have combined well quite many German resources. I have been learning German as well since September and enjoy finding new resources for learning German for free. As I am learning by myself I feel that I want all the time something new to encourage me to keep on learning. I like your Video and Music list. I came across first time with the Spotify and I really enjoy it (well not only for German songs :) ).

    One of the app-based courses that I have been using for some months and I would recommend is http://www.deutschakademie.de/online-deutschkurs/english/ It is a grammar trainer which can be used online or can be downloaded on a smart phone. It has a wide range of exercises on grammar with the possibility to choose level, grammar topic and exercises on course books and is totally free. There is as well an Audio course on the same website, which I haven’t used much, as I discovered it lately that my level is higher, but can be useful for beginners.

  • 7 ecigaret // May 11, 2013 at 1:43 pm

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  • 8 Katja // May 11, 2013 at 3:39 pm

    Great list! You have combined well quite many German resources. I have been learning German as well since September and enjoy finding new resources for learning German for free. As I am learning by myself I feel that I want all the time something new to encourage me to keep on learning. I like your Video and Music list. I came across first time with the Spotify and I really enjoy it (well not only for German songs ? ).
    One of the app-based courses that I have been using for some months and I would recommend is http://www.deutschakademie.de/online-deutschkurs/english/ It is a grammar trainer which can be used online or can be downloaded on a smart phone. It has a wide range of exercises on grammar with the possibility to choose level, grammar topic and exercises on course books and is totally free. There is as well an Audio course on the same website, which I haven’t used much, as I discovered it lately that my level is higher, but can be really useful for beginners.

  • 9 billig e cigaret // May 20, 2013 at 1:12 pm

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