Modern German: The Best German Software for Complete Immersion at Home
Surely there has to be a better way to learn German without having to move to a German-speaking county.
Let’s take a look at the best software programs for complete German immersion.
- The Best Reasons to Use German Immersion Software
- How to Blast Through German with Immersion Software
- The Best Modern German Software to Immerse You in the Language
The Best Reasons to Use German Immersion Software
We all know that immersion works.
The conventional advice is to move to another country and let yourself learn by osmosis.
But for those of us that can’t just pack our bags, hop on a flight, and start a whole new life in Germany, are we totally out of luck?
Your dreams of German fluency are completely possible through language immersion software, whether you’re a total beginner or much further along on your journey.
Immerse yourself anywhere, anytime.
Turn your world German!
- You can use it anywhere — With the constant hustle and bustle of modern existence, it can be difficult to regularly fit German practice into your life. Fear not though—immersion software is always there for you whenever you’re ready and free to pick it up and have a spare moment, wherever you may be.
- Learn German quicker — Although immersion is simply the best way to learn, classroom teaching can give you measured progression, structure and guidance. Immersion software delivers the best of both worlds! Most programs are designed for speed, so you’ll pick up grammatical points quickly!
- Learn functional skills — Traditional classroom teaching and many online courses focus predominantly on vocabulary and grammatical points. While these are a great way to learn the rules of a language, they don’t help with listening and speaking. However, immersion software shows you these concepts in context, and helps you dive right into understanding and responding.
- Diverse and interactive — Because they strive to provide you with a similar experience to being surrounded by German in Germany, you’ll be exposed to a variety of interactive activities, visual, textual and audio. They’re designed to be refreshing and fun, so learning will feel exciting rather than a chore.
How to Blast Through German with Immersion Software
German immersion software gives you a similar experience to the classroom, but there’s no teacher to tell you what to do and no classmates to practice with.
Learning this way requires a lot of self-motivation, discipline and diligence to work through each unit of the course in order. If you skip around, you may miss out on crucial building blocks needed later on.
Although it can be difficult, try to set aside some time each day to go through the course and review what you’ve learned. A little bit every day is better than huge chunks of time with large gaps in between.
Ideally, you should find a quiet place where you can study without distractions like Facebook or Youtube. There are a number of techniques you can use like making flashcards for vocabulary, either using paper or electronically, having a journal you can jot things down in—writing will help make it stick. If you’re not too embarrassed, try to study out loud, as it will help your pronunciation a whole lot.
To compensate for the lack of classmates, look for an online community that uses the same software as you to ask questions and for feedback. This way you’ll be able to get the support you need through your German learning journey. Who knows, you might even make some good friends! For the lack of a teacher, there are many places to find online tutors, or even native speakers who wouldn’t mind doing a language exchange. Where there’s a will, there’s a way!
Most importantly, don’t forget about the resources you already have! It can be so easy to get wrapped up in a shiny new course, but just like a balanced diet, a well-rounded set of resources gives your brain everything it needs to learn. It means you have extra opportunities to practice while putting things into context.
There are a number of useful apps that help with specific skills, while reading German blogs and novels, watching movies, listening to music and podcasts and reading novels are an enjoyable way to see what you’ve learned “out in the wild.” The possibilities are endless!
The Best Modern German Software to Immerse You in the Language
Price range: $179 for a 24-month subscription or a CD-ROM set.
Format: CD-ROM, downloadable software and an app (iOS and Android)
Best For: Visual learners
Free Trial? Only an online demo as to how things work
This program is great for visual learners as Rosetta Stone mimics the natural language learning process of a child, with many visual associations and vocal repetitions of words and phrases.
For example, a picture of a woman will be coupled with the word Frau. New vocabulary is linked together with scenes, and you’ll soon make connections between the sights and sounds. Eventually, you’ll be able to look at an object and just know the German word for it. The two will be irretrievably bound in your mind—just like when you were a child learning your first language!
There are also several other features that might make Rosetta Stone the right choice for you. They have a Live Tutoring service, where a tutor guides you through activities that inspire conversation, as well as a strong community of language learners that communicate through online forums. A good place to get support and make new friends!
Check current rates on the pricing page
Format: Online and an app (iOS and Android)
Best For: Learning with authentic real-world material
Free Trial? Yes, get it here
FluentU is an immersion program that will help you to contextualize what you’re learning. The program has a collection of authentic German videos suitable for learners of all levels, including movie trailers, TV show clips, news segments, vlogs, commercials, inspirational talks and more.
Watching native German content can be difficult, so to make these videos more accessible at any level, FluentU has added learning tools to them.
Every video has a key word list and a transcript that you can browse before you watch. Transcripts include an English translation but you can also hover your mouse over any word for a more in-depth definition.
Videos have subtitles in German and English, both of which are optional. As with the transcripts, you can hover your mouse over any word for a quick in-context definition. Click on the word to see example sentences and video clips, as well as a button to add the word to your vocabulary list as a flashcard.
Take the review quiz after each video to make sure you understood the key vocabulary. You can also review flashcards with a spaced repetition system, which means that as you learn a word better and better, you’ll see it less and less frequently in reviews. Plus, if you’re on the app, you’ll have opportunities to speak your answers into your device for pronunciation practice.
$575 for the entire software course or $150 for each level
$559 for the entire audio course or $119.95 for each level
Format: Downloadable software and MP3s
Best For: People who want to focus on listening and speaking
Free Trial? One free lesson
The Pimsleur Method was developed about 50 years ago, renowned for both its efficiency and simplicity.
Each lesson is 30 minutes long and primarily audio-based, so very easy to slot into your everyday life. You’re presented with native speakers (both men and women) either saying a sentence or having a discussion.
They offer crisp enunciation and syllabic breakdowns—all you have to do is repeat. It focuses on core vocabulary and grammatical points via spaced repetition—that is, words are presented repeatedly, but further and further apart so that they’re committed easily to memory.
For those of you that enjoy a variety of input, Pimsleur offers software that also gives visual and textual input, and also offers supplementary reading material to complement their audio approach.
Pimsleur allows you to hit the ground running by speaking from day one. Keep up with it consistently and you’ll be talking like a pro with native speakers in no time!
$99.95 for level 1
$249.90 for levels 1 and 2
$259.90 for levels 1,2 and 3
Format: Online, CD-ROM and an app
Best For: Those who enjoy a more traditional, module-based approach
Free Trial? 4 hours of lessons
Rocket German is created for language learners by language learners, to teach you how to read, speak and understand as quickly and fully as possible. There’s a nice balance of lessons—both free and premium to try and give you the best bang for your buck. The lessons run the spectrum from beginner to advanced, so there’s something for everyone, no matter where they are.
When you log in, you’ll be presented with a personalized dashboard that will guide you through the diverse cultural and audio lessons. These are delivered with supplementary text, and progressing through content will turbo-charge your learning! There’s also a pronunciation tool that will hone your skills by comparing your speaking to that of a native speaker.
Additionally, there’s a special “Survival Kit” module that focuses on the essential phrases for when you go traveling. You won’t want to go to Germany without checking this one out!
Even if it isn’t realistic right now for you to hop on a plane to Berlin, you still have all the tools you need to get studying and become a marvelous German speaker.
With a little bit of persistence and hard work, you really can turn your whole world German!
Viel Gluck und viel Spaß haben! — Good luck and have fun!
Winter Jones holds a degree in Linguistics and German and is studying towards a further one in Psychology. When he’s not studying in the library or dreaming of going back to Germany he’s writing and brushing up on vocab for his current linguistic love—right now, New Zealand Sign Language.
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn German with real-world videos.