ken zirkel

“Believe nothing. Try to understand everything.”

ken zirkel header image 2

Resources for learning German

February 2nd, 2013 · No 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