10 Quality German Learning Books That You Should Devour
Some people like to talk about how books are no longer useful.
Those people have obviously never tried to learn German.
The seemingly unconquerable domains of German grammar, irregular verbs, confusing declinations and endless vocabulary await. When the going gets tough, a good German language book can keep you going!
A book is a unit in itself. It’s a closed system. When you open it, you discover a path to progress.
I was recently talking to a fellow language teacher, and she was telling me how hard it was to teach without an assigned coursebook, regardless of all the other learning tools available.
After all, there’s no other way to literally hold knowledge in your hands.
Opting for books as a language learning tool is a smart and practical way to master German for good!
The Benefits of Learning German with Books
Books that combine engaging content with efficient grammar are one of the best kinds of material for studying German as a foreign language. Here are some reasons why:
- Books can offer a comprehensive grammar and organized vocabulary. When learning with a mix of offline and online resources, you can sometimes get lost in the chaos of it all. A book offers clear goals and provides the materials to achieve them.
- Books have a wider scope than a lot of other resources. Books can devote a lot of space to offering examples, testing newly acquired skills and providing tools for better retention of new structures and vocabulary.
- Books can offer complexity and a carefully selected variety of reading material. Great language books present carefully curated content that can really engage learners.
- Many books offer texts and exercises designed for every stage of learning up to the most advanced levels. Many other learning options are intended primarily for beginners, while books often provide material for a wide range of levels.
- Books can be accessed electronically for convenient learning. More and more, textbooks and other language learning materials are available as e-books. VitalSource, for example, has a variety of various German learning e-books, including dictionaries, grammar books and phrasebooks. You can access them all on one convenient app that works for Kindle, iPad, Android and Chromebook.
- Books are great as a centerpiece of learning. They can be complemented by interactive materials, audio CDs, etc. A book can be like the spinal structure of the language learning process, helping students maintain overall strength when learning other parts of the language. They act as points of reference so that students can look back, reflect on their current knowledge and keep track of progress. They can also be lighthouses that can guide you if you ever feel lost.
10 Quality German Learning Books to Nourish Your Mind
From grammar to phrases, vocabulary and complete German methods, books can have it all! Improve your German for good with these 10 proven and popular books.
1. “Mastering German Vocabulary: A Thematic Approach”
When learning a foreign language, vocabulary is half the battle. This comprehensive vocabulary book puts words in context, using a thematic approach.
It consists of 40 chapters, each dedicated to a different topic. There are chapters on eating, behaviors, clothing, feelings and much more. For each listed word, the authors make sure readers will understand its meaning in different contexts and are ready to use it in conversation.
“Mastering German Vocabulary” is a small book that’s easy to carry around. It’s concise and simple. Supplement this with a good grammar book, and you’ll be ready to face any challenge. Ideal for trips!
2. “Berlitz German Phrase Book and CD”
This is one of Berlitz’s all-time bestsellers, revamped for the current times. It features hundreds of common German phrases, color-coded and organized in helpful categories. The color coding system and the book’s accompanying audio CD dramatically improve readability, pronunciation and language retention.
Approachable, simple and easy to use, this book provides all of the quality people have come to expect from Berlitz materials.
3. “German: How to Speak and Write It”
Illustrated with 1950s drawings, this book combines engaging stories, interesting facts about Germany and numerous exercises. It provides entertaining reading and a nice, gradual language buildup. Meanwhile, a simple phonetic code helps with pronunciation.
The main focus of the book is on developing fluency. It’s a good idea to accompany it with a good pocket grammar, like the “Oxford German Grammar” (more on this later on).
4. “2,001 Most Useful German Words”
Both as a travel companion and as reference material, this book is faithful to its title. Each of the common words listed is presented with a definition, in-context examples and an English translation.
Travelers will surely appreciate the sections on restaurant orders, directions and the like. The coolest thing about this book is that it’s up-to-date with the latest developments in digital technology and consumer electronics.
5. “German Quickly: A Grammar for Reading German”
Combining brainy German grammar with light entertainment and fun, this book provides the keys to unlocking the meaning of German texts at any difficulty level. With clear grammar explanations, a 3,800-word vocabulary and a selection of interesting German proverbs, it succeeds in making German grammar approachable.
The exercises included after each chapter can enhance the learning experience, while the book’s overall humorous tone can make an otherwise bleak topic lively and fun.
6. “German Made Simple: Learn to Speak and Understand German Quickly and Easily”
This book promises to be simple and the promise is fulfilled. Well-organized, concise and comprehensive, it features quality exercises, stories and language learning tips.
It offers a simple road map to basic German, which you may want to complement with grammar and vocabulary books. Nevertheless, if you want to learn basic German easily and fast, this is the book for you.
7. “Living Language German, Complete Edition”
This is actually a learning method which features three different coursebooks, nine audio CDs and free online learning. Books are categorized by levels, from beginner to advanced, but the complete series is mainly a beginners’ course.
The books are visually attractive, featuring useful exercises, grammar and vocabulary explanations. Engaging and well-organized, “Living Language German, Complete Edition” is a great self-study tool.
8. “The Everything Learning German Book: Speak, Write and Understand Basic German in No Time”
This a great learn-German-fast book for those who are too busy for a bigger commitment. Vocabulary with translation, well-designed exercises and a much-praised pronunciation guide make it a very efficient language learning tool.
It’s a great book to have around for practice if you’re somewhere around the beginner level. Carefully indexed content and a humorous tone make it one of the best books in its category.
9. “German Demystified”
“German Demystified” will work equally well for beginners and intermediate learners who want to review beginner language. Thanks to an efficient step-by-step structure, this book manages to debunk the myth that German is a difficult language to learn.
Rich in colorful examples and to-the-point in its grammar explanations, it features quizzes at the end of each chapter to help progress tracking.
Sections are organized by skills and language learning goals. These range from asking questions to comparing things, expressing wishes, linking ideas together and much more. If you’re feeling a bit apprehensive about getting started with German, this book is for you!
10. “Oxford Easy German Grammar”
This pocket-sized book is a comprehensive guide to German grammar. In 250 pages, it offers a useful glossary of grammatical terms, clarifications about spoken language, irregular verb lists and explanations of most common grammar structures. Because it includes no exercises, it’s best used as reference material and as a supplement to any German learning book.
“Oxford Easy German Grammar” can be helpful for learners of any level. If you need a portable grammar to come to your aid in times of trouble, this is it!
Whether you’re learning your German browsing through the vintage items at Mauerpark Flohmarkt, at a language institute or on the Internet, these fantastic books can help you make sense of it all and keep you moving forward. Browse through them often and your German will never be lost!
Aside from books, you can also improve your German with videos and audios that are annotated for learners.
FluentU is one of the best websites and apps for learning German the way native speakers really use it. FluentU takes real-world videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.
Watch authentic media to simultaneously immerse yourself in the German language and build an understanding of the German culture.
By using real-life videos, the content is kept fresh and current. Topics cover a lot of ground as you can see here:
Vocabulary and phrases are learned with the help of interactive subtitles and full transcripts.
Hovering over or tapping on any word in the subtitles will automatically pause the video and instantly display its meaning. Interesting words you don’t know yet can be added to a to-learn list for later.
For every lesson, a list of vocabulary is provided for easy reference and bolstered with plenty of examples of how each word is used in a sentence.
Your existing knowledge is tested with the help of adaptive quizzes in which words are learned in context.
To keep things fresh, FluentU keeps track of the words you’re learning and recommends further lessons and videos based on what you've already studied.
This way, you have a truly personalized learning experience.
Start using the FluentU website on your computer or tablet or, better yet, download the FluentU app from the iTunes or Google Play store. Click here to take advantage of our current sale! (Expires at the end of this month.)
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn German with real-world videos.