Say you watched an incredible sci-fi movie over the weekend.
You’re absolutely dying to dissect the convoluted plot with one of your buds.
The only problem: your friends hate sci-fi!
Looks like you’ll need to go online to find someone willing to chat.
Online forums are your best bet, because they’re tailored to specific topics. You know that anyone you meet there will share your interests.
So it’s not only sci-fi obsessives who benefit from them. In fact, if you’re learning German, forums are invaluable for building a German-focused community you might not have access to otherwise.
There are several different types of German language forums, all of which are beneficial in their own way. We’ll help you choose the ones that are best for you, with tons of recommendations for specific forums you can start browsing today.
Why Use Language Forums?
As you’ll see below, there are forums in English for German learners, and there are forums where everything is written in German.
Forums about German, not necessarily in German, will give you tips and study strategies from veteran German learners. They’re also a great place to get answers to those tricky grammar or vocabulary questions you can’t figure out on your own. This is especially useful if you’re studying German outside of a classroom environment. Plus, forums are a great place to commiserate with fellow learners and share motivation when the going gets tough.
On the German-language forums, you’ll get bite-sized reading and writing practice with a constant stream of German content. Even better, you can find German-language forums devoted to the activities or hobbies you already enjoy, allowing you to pick up useful vocabulary and make new like-minded, native-speaking friends.
On these forums, you’ll also get up-to-date information about how German is used in the real world. While many of the rules in a grammar book are time-tested and unlikely to change, even as recently as the 1990s, there was a change in what’s considered “proper” spelling via an orthography reform.
Useful Vocabulary for Browsing Forums in German
These words will help you sign up for an account, follow threads and post and reply to messages, all in German.
To sign up for a new account, most forums will have a button that reads Registrierung (registration) or Anmelden (log in). The screen that pops up may ask you for your E-Mail-Adresse (e-mail address) in order to create your Konto (account).
Don’t forget your Passwort or Kennwort (password)!
On the forums themselves, you can find Neue Themen (new topics). If a thread strikes your fancy, be sure to abonnieren (subscribe) to see new updates or Antwort schreiben (reply) with your own thoughts.
If you enjoy learning new words in this immersive environment, you can get many of the same benefits through video with FluentU.
FluentU takes real-world videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.
Since this is the content that native German speakers actually watch, you get the chance to experience how modern German is spoken in real life.
Here’s just a brief example of the variety of content you’ll find on FluentU:
Watching a fun video, but having trouble understanding it? FluentU helps you get comfortable with everyday German by combining all the benefits of complete immersion and native-level conversations with interactive subtitles.
This way, you get German immersion online without ever worrying about missing a word.
Just tap on any subtitled word to instantly see an in-context definition, usage examples and a memorable illustration to help you understand how the word is used. If you see an interesting word you don’t know, you can add it to your vocabulary list for later review.
Once you’ve watched a video, you can use FluentU’s quizzes to actively practice all the vocabulary in that video. Swipe left or right to see more examples of the word you’re on.
Access a complete interactive transcript of every video under the Dialogue tab, and review words and phrases with convenient audio clips under Vocab.
FluentU will even keep track of all the German words you’ve learned, then recommend videos and ask you questions based on what you already know. Plus, it’ll tell you exactly when it’s time for review. Now that’s a 100% personalized experience!
Where to Find the Best German Forums for a World of Language and Culture Learning
1. English-language German Learning Forums
If you’re an early beginner, German-only forums might not be quite useful to you yet. Starting in English is a good way to learn basic rules without misunderstandings or getting overwhelmed.
There are a number of English-language boards to check out. Many language learning tools offer message boards and discussion forums as a way of letting their users talk among themselves. If there’s an app or tool you like to use, visit its website and look for a “community” option—that’s where you’ll usually find forums and discussion options.
Below are three language forums where you can discuss German auf Englisch (in English):
- GermanPod101 forums: These forums are especially helpful for beginners, as the topics tend to cover the basics. Many of the posts are quite specific—you’ll likely run into many German vocabulary and grammar questions you didn’t know you had! There are also broader conversations covering everything from German movies to reasons for studying German.
If you want to take it up a notch, GermanPod101 offers a lot more than just this forum. They’re a popular audio and video podcast resource with more than a 1,000 lessons available (and more added all the time). The podcast lessons are designed to be clear-cut but entertaining, with lively hosts you’ll enjoy listening to. Check out the podcast, plus tons of extra learning tools, here.
- The How to Learn Any Language forums: These forums aren’t specifically about German, although there’s a sub-forum just for German discussion. Instead, this gathering of linguaphiles offers tips, tricks and ideas on language study as a whole.
- The German UniLang forum: This one mixes both English and German in its posts, so it can be useful for both early beginners or upper-beginners building their reading comprehension skills. The topics range from grammar to translation to common mistakes and more.
- Toytown Germany forums: Well-known by expats in Germany, these forums are more focused on culture and life in Germany than on language learning, per se. However, they’re a great place to meet experienced German learners and prepare for any study abroad or immersion trips that you may be planning.
When browsing for more forums about German, be sure to include grammar terms and German in your search queries. For example, searching for “german grammar entlang forum” brings up a variety of useful options. The use of the word entlang (along) is simply to focus the query with a word that’s only found in German. Don’t use a word that could possibly be found in English, such as die (the). Focusing your search terms in this way will diversify your results and can weed out inactive or very general forums.
2. Forums for Deutsch als Fremdsprache
As you become more comfortable with reading German text, start looking for boards designed for Deutsch als Fremdsprache (German as a foreign language). Posts on these boards are written in German, but they specifically cater to people in your shoes—people trying to learn German!
As such, they’re perfect for reading lower-level German text and discussing the finer points of grammar.
Unlike English-language boards, Deutsch als Fremdsprache forums tend to be based in Germany or German-speaking countries, so they can also have advice on navigating Germany for expats. Some posters may direct people to good language lessons, while others might just be confused about how to talk with their landlord.
DaF boards are great for finding new study buddies or people willing to practice. Sometimes you might even find a learner at a similar level as you, which can be a relief if you’re a bit too shy to talk with a native speaker. That said, Achtung (caution): these boards—as well as other German-language forums—can have mistakes. Don’t use the posts as your sole means of learning new grammar!
Below are three language forums catering to the Deutsch als Fremdsprache community:
- The Goethe Institute DaF forum: The Goethe Institute is devoted to helping people learn German and appreciate German culture. They’ve cultivated a robust online community of German learners, and have a forum available if you register for an account.
- DeutschalsFremdsprache.de: The name says it all. It’s an active, searchable forum where you can post and answer questions about German learning.
This site has conveniently also put together a list of other groups and forums you can explore, which includes not only discussion opportunities but also resources for expats in Germany.
3. Authentic German-language Forums
Forums are designed to be places to discuss specifics on narrow topics, and they can be a great way to chat with like-minded people. If you start talking to a work buddy about your passion for archery, their eyes might start to glaze over. But if you broach that subject on an archery forum, the response might be, “Yeah, that arrow brand is great!”
You can find German-language forums on all sorts of topics—which means you can practice German while learning more about the stuff you care about. Plus, since forums are living resources, you have the ability to make a post and shift the flow of the discussion, just like a real-world conversation.
To find German-language forums, look up words in German that relate to your favorite things. For example, if you’re into painting, you might create a list of words like malen (to paint), Kunst (art), Pinsel (paintbrush) and Gemälde (picture/painting).
With this vocabulary list, search for those terms plus either Foren or Diskussionsforum, both of which should pull up forums in German.
Need some ideas to get started? Here are a few German-language forums found through hobby-specific Google searches:
- The Chefkoch.de forums celebrate cooking, baking and all things lecker (delicious). This forum is active, so it’s great for daily check-ins.
- Think sausage-making isn’t the Wurst way to spend your time? The Hobbywurstler forum is your place to meet about meat.
- Like comics? Comicforum offers sub-forums on comics of all types, from action-packed superhero stories to Korean manhwa to Japanese manga.
- Traveling can be a lot of fun. Talk about travel tips and tricks in German on the German-language forums from Lonely Planet, noted travel guide publisher.
Plus, when you’re ready to take your skills out of the forum and into real life, Lonely Planet has got you covered with nearly 20 books about Germany and German cities. They’re in-depth guides with expert, firsthand knowledge you’ll be glad to have in your pocket.
4. Reddit: The Best of All Worlds
Want to get all of the above forum types in one convenient place? You can always look to “subreddits” to get your German fix.
Subreddits are forums found on Reddit, one of the most popular websites there is. Reddit is known for its huge user base, and sure enough, you can get plenty of quick, bite-sized opportunities to practice your German by posting on German-language subreddits.
Subreddits are online communities where Redditors gather to discuss a specific theme or interest. People can make text posts, discuss links or share images. In turn, viewers can then “upvote” or “downvote” the posts, helping them get more attention or banishing them to obscurity.
Reddit features a number of language learning subreddits in English. Many of the linguistics subreddits are very active, but you can get more specific and look at just subreddits centered on German. The /r/German subreddit features English-speaking learners asking questions about German resources, grammar quandaries and more.
But Reddit is a global site, so it also features a number of German-language subreddits. The primary German-language subreddit, /r/de, gets enough traffic to sometimes get publicized to non-German-speakers, so there’s a bounty of text to read. /r/de also has a list of other, more specific German-language subreddits in the righthand sidebar. You can find forums about sports, music, politics and more.
The German used here is often slangy and colloquial, so it’s educational as well as entertaining. Don’t forget the German-language memes!
If you hit it off with a redditor, you can easily message them directly and possibly start a conversation beyond the forum. Although other forums feature built-in messaging systems, Reddit’s system is easy to use and a great way to chat with language learner partners.
Language forums, be they in English or German, can be a helpful resource as you’re studying. You can use them to home in on the finer points of grammar or just as a means of practicing the fine art of gabbing. Maybe you can even pick up a recipe or two.
Either way, you can improve your German understanding and have fun. Look for forums that interest you, and you’ll want to keep on reading, even if the language feels beyond your grasp. Enjoying the journey to fluency is key.
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