I bet before you clicked on this blog post you had a quick check of your Facebook.
Am I right?
The website can take up quite a bit of our time, as most of us take a peek at it regularly (and at many other social media sites/apps…).
So why not take advantage and add it to your list of useful German tools?
If you want to speed up your learning, it’s really not as wacky of an idea as it may sound at first!
Getting into the German zone on Facebook has never been easier, as we’ve put together this handy guide with tips on how to make the most of it—including the best pages to follow and groups to join.
Why You Should Learn German with Facebook
Everyone from a beginner to an undergraduate in German can get on board with Facebook. Here’s why:
- It’s familiar. You may not be familiar with German just yet, but you’ll certainly be extremely familiar with Facebook. You understand how to use it, its layout and its whole purpose. So rather than signing up for another website or app which you aren’t entirely intimate with, it can be easier to play it safe and stick to good ol’ Facebook. Even when everything is in German, you’ll be able to carry on using Facebook because you know it so darn well!
- It’s addicting. Something that ties in with familiarity is the fact that Facebook is such a large part of our everyday lives now–even if it’s all in German you’ll still want, if not need, to use it. One criticism of the website is that it can be fairly addictive. You can use this to your advantage and get addicted to using it for German practice!
- It’s social and free. The great thing about social media is you are just a few clicks from meeting people from all over the world. As with Twitter, Facebook allows you to connect with people from all over the world, so why not start up conversations with German-speaking users? Chatting with native speakers online is great for your writing. And hey, let’s not forget it’s completely free!
5 Easy Tricks to Learn German with Facebook
1. Change Facebook’s Main Language to German
Did you know you can change Facebook’s language? If not, it’s time to learn how to switch over to Facebook auf Deutsch!
If this is the first time you’ve heard about this feature, here’s how you flip from English to German. Click the small arrowhead in the top right hand corner of the browser. A small menu should pop open; now click on “settings.” You’ll be sent to the main settings page, where you need to click “language.” You’ll be given a very long list of languages to choose from, so click “Deutsch” and you’re all done!
You’ll now be faced with the website completely in German. But, as I mentioned above, you’ll already be really familiar with navigating the site, so even if you’re a beginner at German, having to handle a German Facebook shouldn’t be too difficult.
Here’s some helpful German vocabulary to help you navigate Facebook:
- Gefällt mir. (I like it.)
- teilen (Share)
- Nachrichten (Messages)
- Einstellungen (Settings)
- Sprache (Language)
2. Join German-language Groups
There are many different German-language groups on Facebook which you can use to your benefit. Some are aimed specifically at German learners, while others based on specific interests are intended for anyone.
The best thing about groups is that they are usually moderated and therefore provide a safe place in which you can practice your German, free from any trolling or harassment. Even if you just want to join a group and see what kind of stuff is being posted, this is still really fab reading practice. By getting active and participating in discussions, you’ll soon turn that reading into an active process while also sharpening your writing skills.
Here are some of the best German-language groups for beginners:
- German Word of The Day — If you want a daily dose of German, this group posts a new word every day, which is a terrific way to help you build up your vocabulary.
- German Cat Book — This is a group for cat lovers where you can get chatting with fellow cat fans by sharing pictures and cat-keeping tips. There are also regular links to German sites where you’ll find more information on your feline friends.
- Duolingo: German Learners — If you’re learning German with Duolingo, this group is a way you can connect with fellow app users and help each other with the various translation questions. Explaining aspects of a language to others can be really beneficial to you and help cement all the grammar rules in your mind.
- German Language Learners’ Group — This group takes their language seriously–all communication is entirely in German! It’s another page that regularly links to useful sites outside of Facebook, enabling you to build up a list of useful websites for supplementing your German studies.
- Deutsch verbindet – Deutsch lernen — Another large network of German learners who communicate solely in German, this group’s members are always willing to help out with any niggling language issues.
3. Like Pages Aimed at German Learners
Facebook’s pages are like groups, but more public and usually attract more followers. And, just like all the groups, there is also a wide choice of pages aimed at German learners of different levels. Here are a few of the best:
- Learn-German-Easily — Aimed at beginners, this page regularly posts quick pointers on vocabulary and grammar. The organization behind it run German courses on their main site and they often offer special discounts for Facebook fans.
- DW – Learn German — This page is run by Deutsche Welle, an organization aimed at promoting the German language. The page’s posts include grammar exercises and also link to useful material on the DW homepage.
- Learn Useless German — Perhaps the name gives it away, but this group offers a humorous look at the German language and usually posts jokes and memes. It’s more lighthearted than the others in this list, but it’s still highly informative.
- Deutsch Lernen // Learn German — This is a great source of German resources and materials as well as regular grammar questions.
- Learn German Online — Here you’ll find lots of fantastic information regarding online German courses. There’s also really handy grammar and vocab refreshers in most posts.
There are also plenty of pages aimed at different interests and hobbies. Here’s a list to get you started:
- German Food Blogs — This page is a great resource if you’re looking for a few tasty recipe ideas like these lecker spare ribs!
- Bundesliga — All the news from the German soccer world on this page will help you keep up to date with all the latest scores.
- Musikbord — The page’s musical updates from Berlin are a fun insight into German culture.
- KINOblog — You’ll be able to practice reading while finding out about all the latest Hollywood releases.
4. Chat with German Friends or Tandem Partners
If you’re not quite confident to speak in German yet, Facebook is a great platform to use for building confidence. Take advantage of its chat function and get talking to all your German friends or tandem partners. By chatting on Facebook you’ll be exercising your writing skills.
You don’t have to stop at just using the chat though—use your German when writing on people’s walls, commenting on statuses, and even in your own statuses. You’ll be showing off your excellent German skills to the rest of the online world—what better way to build up your confidence!
You could even come up with little games to play over Facebook to help stimulate your German. For example, you could leave a photo or message on one of the many pages for your friends, and then leave them clues (in German!) to see if they can find it.
5. Follow German Publications
Keep up with all the latest culture and current affairs in German-speaking countries by following German publications on Facebook. Most newspapers, magazines and current affair websites have a Facebook page and often link back to their main site and articles. Here are a handful of the best for German learners:
- Die Zeit — A highbrow newspaper, this page is perfect for advanced learners.
- Bild — Better for newcomers to German, this tabloid paper’s language is slightly easier to handle.
- Neon — Aimed at a young and hip demographic, Neon features articles on fashion, music and pop culture.
- RTL Aktuell — RTL Aktuell is a current affairs TV show. Follow its page for all the latest political and economic news.
- Bunte — This is the page to follow if you want to be kept up to date on all of Germany’s celebrity gossip!
So not only is Facebook a super useful tool for keeping in touch with your nearest and dearest, but you can also use it in your German learning. So what are you waiting for—it’s time to log back on now!
After studying German and Philosophy at The University of Nottingham, Laura Harker relocated to Berlin in 2012. She now works as a freelance writer and is also assistant editor at Slow Travel Berlin.