The 6 Best Books to Learn German in 2023
There are many ways to learn German, from online courses and immersion programs to audiobooks, podcasts, TV series and more.
But among all the modern-day learning tools, a solid language learning book never fails to offer invaluable knowledge and practice.
In this post, you’ll get six fantastic options for your next trusted German language book, all written by expert authors.
Many provide useful learning tools like exercises and quizzes to test your knowledge, and some even come in e-book format!
- Best Books to Learn German
- How to Choose the Right German Book for You
- And One More Thing...
Best Books to Learn German
1. “The Everything Learning German Book” by Ed Swick
This book is for the basic German learner who needs simple phrases for things like ordering food and drinks.
You’ll learn phrases like Wie viel kostet der Käse? (How much does the cheese cost?) or Ich möchte ein Berliner, bitte (I want a Berliner, please).
With the included CD, you can improve your pronunciation and hear native speakers using the German language naturally. It comes with easy-to-understand exercises and everything from basic introductions to interesting cultural insights.
This guide is not for the more advanced users, but if you just started in your quest for German fluency, it can add some ease to your learning.
2. “Living German” by Ed Swick
This is a good option if you want to immerse yourself in German culture, people and events. Whether you’re a beginner or have some prior knowledge, it offers a comprehensive guide to mastering German.
The book uses a traditional approach with grammatical foundations, practical vocabulary and conversational phrases. Its exercise key lets you check your answers, and the CD helps with alternating between talking and listening.
The key advantage of this book is that it offers real-world examples and dialogues that drop you into authentic German situations. By leveraging and expanding on your current German knowledge, it can help you start communicating with people instead of just struggling through conversations.
3. “German Made Simple” by Eugene Jackson and Adolph Geiger
This popular book is the ideal option if you consider yourself a self-learner. It’s designed to help beginner and intermediate German learners develop their language skills in a simple and effective manner.
With its straightforward approach, this book covers essential grammar concepts, vocabulary and conversational phrases, enabling readers to build a strong foundation in German. It caters to learning the basics with the goal of picking up common phrases fast.
It also includes various reading exercises and a pronunciation guide so you can improve multiple language skills. Its common expressions are useful for travelers, and the review exercises test your knowledge. Don’t forget to check the answers in the back when you’re done!
4. “Hammer’s German Grammar and Usage” by Martin Durrell
This is a comprehensive guide that delves deep into German grammar, challenging intermediate and advanced students.
A notable feature is the grammar reference section which allows you to check back in to see if you’re using words properly. The grammar examples are taken from contemporary German, ensuring relevance to today’s world.
With a clear format and vivid descriptions, the book helps readers visualize situations and objects. It also breaks down common usage forms, clarifying the appropriate usage of words in formal and informal contexts.
And if you plan on writing in German, this guide is ready to assist. It covers important topics such as spelling reform and evolving word meanings.
5. “Living Language German”
This is a comprehensive all-in-one language learning book suitable for beginners to advanced learners. It offers a digestible, well-structured guide that can take you from little or no knowledge to fluency.
The package includes three books, nine audio CDs and an online training course, allowing you to learn through various mediums. Backed by linguistic science and over 65 years of experience, the materials are designed based on proven techniques.
The trademarked Living Language Method consists of four steps: Building a Foundation, Progress with Confidence, Retaining What You’ve Learned and Achieving Your Goals. With its extensive resources and systematic approach, “Living Language German” offers a complete language learning experience.
6. “Learn German with Stories: Café in Berlin” by André Klein
This captivating book is designed for beginners seeking an engaging way to learn German. The compilation of 10 short stories offers an alternative to repetitive language guides.
The book provides insights into German culture and its people by introducing intriguing characters, such as a young man who moves from Sicily to Berlin. From romances to peculiar living situations, the story evokes curiosity about his language journey and adaptation to a new country.
The book’s well-structured table of contents allows you to flip through the stories, and its in-book dictionary helps you build your vocabulary and better understand the text. In addition, the introduction provides a helpful guide on how to utilize the stories for effective learning.
How to Choose the Right German Book for You
How do you choose from the vast selection of German books available? Follow this three-step approach to narrow down your options:
- Level: Start with an inner evaluation of your German language knowledge. Are you a beginner, intermediate or advanced learner? Some German books cater to all of these groups, but you can cut down the selection for many.
- Age: Next, think about your age. Some German books are only designed for children, with cartoon images and simpler learning procedures. Some might be more aimed toward teens and young adults, with slang and informal language, while others are for adults in general.
- Goals: You should compile a list of goals you want to achieve by learning German with a book. Are you looking for fluency? Do you just need to get by for your two-week trip to Berlin? Write down these goals to connect them with the proper books.
With a trusted book as your study buddy, you’ll advance your understanding of German culture and use of the language.
So choose one or two of these books and integrate it into your current study regime. Just don’t forget to reinforce your book learning with authentic German content, like the kind on the language learning program FluentU.
FluentU takes authentic videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.
Soon enough, you’ll be navigating the language with confidence and ease!
And One More Thing...
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