German Learning for Tech Lovers: How to Learn German with Alexa Devices
Alexa has some surprising abilities.
A generation ago, who would’ve thought that a digital personal assistant (read: practically a robot) could teach you a new skill, much less an entire language?
Let’s find out how it’s possible and how you can take advantage for at-home German fluency.
- What Makes Alexa a Good German Tutor?
- How to Maximize Your German Learning with Alexa
- Ich heiße Alexa! Top 5 Programs to Learn German with Alexa on Amazon Echo
What Makes Alexa a Good German Tutor?
For those who don’t know, Alexa is the name of the software in Amazon Echo devices that allows people to control the technology through voice commands. Simply say Alexa’s name and you can turn the lights on or off, change the house’s temperature, listen to music and even get news briefings on the day’s top stories.
More exciting, however, is that Alexa can teach you German! There’s a whole range of German language “skills” (the name for apps or programs that you can enable on your Amazon device) designed to interact with you and teach you the language.
So, what are the benefits of learning German with Alexa?
- It forces you to listen and speak. Because Alexa uses audio commands, you’ll be talking and listening to your device in German. Not only does this make for excellent at-home language immersion, but it’s also an incredible asset for anyone who doesn’t have access to regular German speaking partners.
- You’ll fine-tune your pronunciation. If the software can’t understand you, chances are that real people won’t be able to understand you, either. You’ll hear correct German sounds and will need to imitate or respond to them with clear and precise speech.
- According to Amazon, Alexa is always growing and learning from its user. So as you advance in German, the Alexa programs can adapt. Alexa could become a vital piece of your German learning journey this way.
- It’s an extremely flexible learning option. You could get doses of German practice while doing other activities such as tidying up, cooking dinner or folding laundry.
How to Maximize Your German Learning with Alexa
While learning German with Alexa is nothing short of amazing, there are ways to make your experiences even more fruitful to your German learning regimen.
When using an app with Alexa, don’t just listen passively. Become an active learner.
For starters, write down the things that you’re learning with Alexa in a journal or study notebook. You can simply log what you’ve studied, or try to create sentences with new words and grammar concepts you’ve learned.
This will help you keep track of what you’ve learned as well as provide you with the opportunity to review material when you aren’t in Alexa’s reach (i.e. on the subway or in the doctor’s office).
Also, don’t be afraid to listen to the same Alexa lesson often. I’m talking a couple times a day! Again, this is perfect for reinforcing the material. For an added challenge, try to predict Alexa’s German sentences before she says them!
If you’re feeling really daring (and moderately advanced!), change your device’s entire interface language to German. This will be a great way to put your German to the test and grow exponentially, even when you’re not following a set lesson with one of the resources below.
Try using other learning materials between Alexa lessons. For example, you could use a vocab/grammar driller like Duolingo to imprint language patterns or a virtual immersion program like FluentU to learn German using authentic web videos with interactive captions.
Ich heiße Alexa! Top 5 Programs to Learn German with Alexa on Amazon Echo
“Alexa, show me the Amazon Echo apps that teach the German language!”
This straightforward app includes a collection of 10-question quizzes. Each quiz offers randomized words and phrases, and you must provide an English translation of the given German audio.
The app gives quizzes of unique words and phrases each time and the content is regularly updated.
I would definitely recommend writing down the sentences given in these quizzes as an added step in order to better remember them.
Here’s an Alexa skill from none other than the renowned language learning program Rosetta Stone. This program is available for Alexa in many languages, German being one of them.
You’ll learn words and phrases on topics including greetings, travel, colors and food. The skill alternates between translating from German to English and then giving German translations to English words and phrases.
Best of all, there’s a repeat function so you can practice the German as many times as you like!
SayHi is a great option for practicing your conversational German. Each lesson includes a conversation on a given topic in German such as travel, food or work. The conversation is then followed by a detailed breakdown and explanation of what happened in the dialogue as well as an explanation of some grammar.
The best part of SayHi is that the program uses spaced repetition to enhance your understanding of vocabulary and grammar. “Spaced repetition” means that the app prompts you to review material at regular, optimized intervals so it stays fresh in your brain.
Better yet, new lessons are still being released on more and more advanced skills. This is great for those who want to use Alexa as a longterm learning method.
Plus, if you’re studying other languages (or hope to in the future) SayHi currently also offers lessons in French, Spanish and Danish.
Daily Dose is offered in conjunction with the popular language learning website GermanPod101.com.
Daily Dose is a very versatile app for Alexa. It has two modes: word of the day and lessons. As you can guess, the word of the day allows learners to learn one word per day to grow their vocabulary and competency. The lessons are 10- to 20-minute audio lessons that delve into a specific language topic. These topics include greetings, travel and shopping as well as basic vocabulary and grammar lessons.
For maximal results, I recommend using both of these functionalities together!
Lingo Trip is a German resource of 100 key German expressions.
However, it does’t just recite 100 German expressions! Lingo Trip has gamified the learning process. You can learn by yourself or with up to three others in a competition-style environment where Lingo Trip gives you German sentences to be translated.
While 100 German expressions may not sound like much, these are generally essential expressions for travel and daily life. Therefore this app is perfect for those who are just starting out or want to learn some German before heading out on a trip to Germany!
Best of all, the expressions are offered in different levels depending on the learner’s previous knowledge. Keep up with Lingo Trip and you can advance pretty quickly through the levels.
“Okay, Alexa. Ich bin bereit zu lernen!” (I am ready to learn!) Download an app and get learning German with Alexa today!