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Guten Tag! German is a fun and rewarding language, but finding the best way to learn can be difficult. There are so many resources out there, that it’s hard to know which ones actually help, and which ones are a waste of money. This German language guide was compiled to help you find quality resources that fit your learning style and language goals.
German is one of the most spoken languages in the world with nearly 135 million speakers. It’s an official language of Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, Liechtenstein, and Luxembourg. It’s also an important language for business and research and development. Learning German can open new job opportunities. It’s also an important language for tourism, with over 12 million people visiting Germany each year. This guide can help you find a resource to help you learn effectively, wether you need to prepare for a business meeting with a German client or for your next trip to Munich!
How Long Will It Take You To Learn German?
What is your current level?
What level do you want to reach?
How many hours will you study each day?
Table of Contents
Maybe you’ve already decided to learn German but aren’t sure where to start. Or you remember a few words from your high school class and want to improve. The first step is to identify your learning goals. Are you preparing for a vacation to Switzerland? Do you have business clients in Germany?
Once you are clear on why you want to learn, the next step is to find a way to study that fits your goals and learning style. If you want to learn a few words and phrases for an upcoming trip, a language app is an inexpensive way to start. But if you need to perfect your speaking, taking online classes with a native German teacher is more effective.
After you know how you will study, you can create a learning routine. Consistency is key and is important for continual improvement. Dedicating a set amount of time every day, or at least a few times a week, will help you see improvement quickly.
Language apps are a convenient and inexpensive way to learn a language. And since German is a common language, there are tons of options available. Some apps focus on a specific skill, such as vocabulary, while others are more comprehensive. Rocket German, Babbel, and Mondly are three popular options that have thousands of users. And the good news is, they all have free trials so you can see which one is best for you without paying a dime.
Rocket German is the best overall language app to learn German. It has extensive audio lessons that are laid out in a clear order, so you are always building on what you have previously learned. Rocket focuses on all skills needed to learn a language including listening, speaking, grammar, and more. You can try Rocket German for free for 7 days, or read more about it in this Rocket German review.
Babbel is another quality option that teaches an overall approach to learning German. The lessons are short and interactive so you are actively learning and using the language in phrases and sentences. Babbel creates each of its language courses specifically for the target language, so it’s not just a copy-and-paste translation. It teaches how German is really spoken. You can try Babbel for free or read more about it in this Babbel review.
The Mondly app is a fun way for beginners to start learning German. The lessons are quick and focus on learning new vocabulary and creating basic sentences. It doesn’t have a lot of content for intermediate and advanced learners, but it’s a helpful and engaging option for beginners. You can try Mondly for free or read more about it in this Mondly review.
An online German course will guide you through the German language in a clear and straightforward way. You won’t waste your time because each lesson builds on what you already learned. German Uncovered, Wunderbla, and Smarter German are 3 courses that can help you achieve your language goals. They all have highly developed lessons that will help everyone from beginners to advanced learners.
German Uncovered ties its course together with a story. In each unit, you listen to a chapter of the story and then complete audio and video lessons that cover vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation that you heard in the chapter. There are also detailed lesson notes and practices to reinforce what you learned. You can try German Uncovered for free for 7 days.
Wunderbla is a unique way to learn German because the lessons are delivered to your email every day. No app is required! You watch a video and complete a series of questions about what you watched. It’s a good option because you get immediate feedback on why your answers are correct/incorrect. They use artificial intelligence to tailor the lessons to your level and what you need to study. You can try Wunderbla for free for 7 days.
Smarter German is a structured course that goes from beginner (A1) to advanced (C1). The 5 different levels have video explanations, interactive exercises, and speaking/writing practices. The course is laid out in a very clear and logical way so you always know what to study next. You can try a few lessons from each level for free to decide if you like the style of the course. Langoly readers also get 10% off all courses! Use the coupon code GET10-CE at checkout.
Taking classes with a teacher is one of the best ways to learn a language. You get immediate feedback and can have lessons tailored to your needs. Online language learning has exploded in the past few years and it’s easier than ever to find an online tutor that can help you. Lingoda, italki, and Preply are 3 secure platforms that each have hundreds of German teachers that are ready to help you learn!
Lingoda is a German-based company, so you know their German teachers are excellent. They only hire teachers that are certified and have at least 2 years of teaching experience. Lingoda is different from other platforms because the teachers follow the same curriculum. This gives you more continuity between lessons. You can try a free trial lesson on Lingoda or read more about the platform in this Lingoda review.
The italki platform is the biggest platform on this list and also more flexible than Lingoda. Each teacher develops their own curriculum so they can tailor it to your specific language goals. You can browse tutors with different criteria, such as price, location, languages they speak, and more. There aren’t any free trials, but most teachers offer a discounted trial class. You can also read more about italki in this review.
Preply is a similar platform to italki. You can browse teacher profiles to find one that’s right for you. You can also see teacher ratings and read past student reviews. Teachers set their own lesson prices so there is a wide range to choose from. With Preply’s satisfaction guarantee, you can take a discounted trial class, and if you aren’t happy with the teacher, Preply will schedule you another trial class for free. Or if you’re interested, you can read more about it in this Preply review.
Learning a language with books is the most traditional method on this list but, for some people, it’s also the most effective. Books offer detailed explanations of difficult concepts, you can skip around and learn what you want, and you can take a book anywhere. The The Everything Learning German Book, German for Dummies All-in-One, and German Made Simple are popular options for learning German and have excellent reviews on Amazon.
The Everything Learning German Book is an excellent introduction to the German language for beginners. It covers basic grammar and speaking topics, such as greetings, ordering foods, and understanding direct and indirect objects. The ebook comes with embedded audio to help you hear the correct pronunciation, and the paperback version comes with a CD. It’s very affordable and one of the most reviewed German books. See what other reviewers had to say here.
German for Dummies All-in-One includes 5 different titles from the German for Dummies series. Because of this, you’re getting a comprehensive look at the language including common phrases, how to conjugate verbs, how to ask and answer questions, and more. It comes with an audio CD so you can practice listening and pronunciation. See what reviewers thought of the book here.
German Made Simple says that it’s a “no-nonsense” book, and provides the information you need without any frills. It’s designed for self-learners and teaches the basics of German vocabulary and grammar. It also includes review exercises with an answer key. Reviewers liked this book because it lays out the information in a logical way and is easy to use. At over 600 pages, it’s an extensive resource at an affordable price. See what other reviewers had to say about German Made Simple here.
Watching YouTube videos to learn a language is one of the newer learning methods on this list, but also one of the most fun! In addition to hearing how German is spoken by native speakers, there’s the added benefit of having video that gives visual context to what you’re hearing and makes learning more entertaining. The three YouTube channels below are some of the most popular that German learners watch.
Anja is a quirky and fun teacher that teaches German “in an un-German way.” She has tons of videos that range from teaching traditional language topics to videos where she interviews people on the street. Her high-energy approach will keep you watching! Check out her videos here.
Get Germanized is a popular YouTube channel that has lots of different types of videos. You can watch videos about commonly mispronounced German words, slang words, and even reaction videos, all in German. It’s a good way to hear how German is really spoken. There are hundreds of videos already available, and there’s a new video posted each week.
Easy German is part of the larger Easy Languages series. The focus is to hear how German is spoken on the streets and among friends. They interview people they meet to get their opinion about current topics. There is also a Super Easy German series that explains important language topics in a clear and concise way. They post new videos every Wednesday and Sunday.
Podcasts are perfect for people who like to learn on the go. You can listen while you’re on your morning commute, walking the dog, or even at the gym. And since they’re audio-based, it’s an excellent way to improve listening and understanding. GermanPod101, Coffee Break German, and News in Slow German have tons of episodes available so you’re sure to find one that interests you.
GermanPod101 is an app and online platform with many different learning activities, but the platform’s star is the podcast lessons. There are hundreds of lessons to choose from that range from beginner German to advanced. Some focus on the language, and others on interesting cultural topics about German-speaking countries. You can sign up for a free account to access new lessons weekly, or read more about it in this GermanPod101 review.
Coffee Break German has extensive podcasts that teach German language and culture. It’s divided into 3 levels: beginner, intermediate, and upper intermediate. Each “season” (or level) builds upon what you learned previously so there is continuity between the lessons. There are also additional podcasts that focus on a specific cultural element, such as German literature. You can access all of the podcast audios for free, or sign up for a subscription if you want access to additional learning materials included in the complete course.
As the name suggests, each podcast features a news story that is explained in German at a pace that is suitable for lower levels. There are 2 levels: beginner and intermediate. The news stories are interesting and are divided into a variety of topics, such as science, world news, and art. Each podcast has a transcript with contextual translations in English if you need them. You can try News in Slow German for free for 7 days to see if you like it.
Learning German is a marathon, not a sprint, but there are some helpful tricks you can use to learn faster. The best way to learn is to set a language learning routine. Set aside a few minutes every day that are dedicated to practicing German. Consistent practice is better than a few cram sessions every now and then.
Another way to learn quickly is by exposing yourself to authentic German content. Once you have an understanding of basic German vocabulary and grammar, challenge yourself to find a way to hear how Germans really speak. You can watch videos, listen to music, or stream a TV series. And, of course, you can’t beat practicing with a native German speaker. If paying a teacher doesn’t fit your budget, you can try an app like Tandem or HelloTalk and get connected with a language exchange partner for free.
No matter where you are on your German learning journey, I hope this list has helped you find a resource that can work for your learning goals. Whether you’re a beginner or advanced learner, it’s important to find a high-quality resource that you enjoy using. With consistent practice, you’ll be speaking German with ease in no time!
Want to learn more? Check out our German resource page.
It will take about 36 weeks, or 900 class hours to learn German at a proficient level. The US Department of State classifies German as a level II language, meaning that it’s not a difficult language for English speakers to learn because there are many similarities between the two.
To see how long it will take you to learn German, you can check out our fluency calculator.
You can learn German quickly by using a high-quality resource such as a language app, book, or taking an online course. But having the right way to learn is only the beginning. It takes a consistent learning routine and hours of practice. Even the languages that are most similar to English take over 600 hours to learn.
There are many options to learn German at home. One of the easiest ways is to use a language app. They are convenient and usually have quick lessons that can be completed even if you have a busy schedule. If you prefer a more traditional way to learn, there are tons of textbooks that have many positive reader reviews.
If you are an English speaker, German is not considered a difficult language to learn. English and German share many similarities, such as similar pronunciation and vocabulary. However, there are certain differences that German learners might struggle with, such as the different genders of words and strict grammar rules.
There are many ways to learn German fluently, but one of the best is to take a class with a German teacher. A teacher offers immediate feedback and can teach correct pronunciation. Now there are many online platforms available with hundreds of teachers, so you can take online classes that fit your schedule and budget. Some platforms offer group classes, which makes the price more affordable.
One of the best ways to learn German for free is to use a language app. Many apps offer part of their content for free, like Mondly, and GermanPod101. Duolingo offers its entire German course for free if you don’t mind seeing ads during your lessons. You can also watch YouTube videos or find a podcast that you like.