How deeply have you explored the great, big Internet?
Haven’t discovered this part of the Internet yet? No sweat, I’ve gone there and found all the best stuff for you.
In this blog post, I’ve rounded up my 10 favorite free online German resources. Since you’re a fan of the Internet (and you probably like the word “free”), I’m pretty sure you’re going to love them too.
Why the Internet Is Great for Your German
The Internet is absolutely packed full of information, facts and data on every single subject you can think of.
And, yes, this applies to the subjects of German speaking, listening, reading and writing at all levels.
If you’re not quite sure about the subjunctive, noun genders or compound nouns, all you have to do is have a quick search on Google and thousands of entries will come up in the results. There’ll be everything from in-depth explanations to simple quick tips.
There are also thousands of possibilities to practice your writing. Blogs and online newspapers often have comment sections after each article, giving you the chance to give your opinion in German. If you don’t feel confident about writing long, flowing sentences, there are also plenty of sites which feature online crosswords. What better way to learn German spelling?
And let’s not forget all those online videos and programs which are just waiting to be streamed. So, you might not know any Germans to practice your listening skills out with—but the Internet has got your back, as always!
Finally, one major advantage of practicing your language on the Internet is having the chance to instantly look up any word that has you stumped. If you’re reading an engrossing article on Die Zeit but are flummoxed by some tricky vocabulary, just open a new tab and look for an online dictionary. You’ll be able to continue reading completely problemlos (smoothly)!
10 Fresh, Versatile Resources for Practicing Your German Online
LEO is a fantastic online dictionary. It can translate from German into a handful of languages. What makes LEO unique, though, is its discussion forums.
If a user has a tricky phrase that they’re not quite sure how to translate, they can start a post and other users will be more than happy to give their ideas. So not only will this website help you with any vocab issues, but it’s also a great opportunity to flex your German writing muscles. And you never know, you might have pearls of wisdom to pass on to your fellow language learners!
Known by all UK students, the BBC’s Bitesize revision materials have gotten many a stressed student through their GCSE exams! Their German exercises and chunks of information can be utilized by absolutely anyone with an internet connection.
It’s primarily aimed at beginner and intermediate learners so, if you’re just starting out on your German adventure, this is an awesome place to begin. Most of the exercises are made up of fun games to keep you interested. Everything is broken down into difficulty levels so you know exactly where you stand. Once you have swotted up on a specific topic there’s a final “mock exam” to test how much you really understood.
Duolingo is a popular smartphone app that features mini-quizzes to test your German with. The aim is to progress through the levels as they get harder and feature more complex German. It’s a resource for beginners to use as a starting point, but advanced speakers should also give this app a look—it never hurts to refresh your grammar and stay sharp! Now you don’t even need a smartphone to take advantage—all the tests and exercises are available online on their website!
Not sure where to find interesting German podcasts? They’re all over the Internet, that’s for sure—but it’s hard to tell which ones are right for your skill level and interests, in addition to being high quality productions.
Well, we’ve got you covered with this site. Have a listen to Pukka German’s selection and you might stop your search. These interesting podcasts focus on German slang, idioms and funny sayings. It’s a hilarious take on the German language—one you won’t find in the class room!
It can be difficult finding native German speakers in the States. Even if you do know a couple, they might not be so keen on speaking German every single time you meet up—after all, chances are they’ll want to practice their English too!
And not everyone has the time or budget to fly off to Germany just for the benefits of the language exposure. But don’t despair, NekoPlaza has the solution! This great website will pair you up with a German buddy via Skype, so you can chat for as long as you like about anything and everything in German!
If you’re looking for a refreshing change of pace when it comes to your German practice, then stay right here. FluentU brings German learning to life with a brilliant selection of videos. There’s everything from music videos and movie trailers to lectures and vlogs.
But this isn’t just about videos—FluentU is a complete language learning system. First, choose your favorite videos based on your German skill level, interests and preferred learning style. Then watch these videos transform into personalized language lessons before your eyes.
Every word spoken in your video is carefully annotated so that you have plenty of support while you watch. Every word comes with an in-context definition, image, audio pronunciation and multiple example sentences. You can even click on a word to see how it’s used in other videos across the site.
The interactive subtitles, vocabulary lists and tailor-made flashcard decks will help you learn actively while watching your favorite videos, giving you an extra boost in German reading and listening practice.
As well as hosting all of this awesome material online, we also offer a slick iPhone app so you can learn on the go, wherever you may be! We also have an Andoid app in the works, so stay tuned for that!
Have you gotten through your German reading list already? Or maybe you never had one in the first place? Then this is going to be your next stop.
If you aren’t sure what to add to your bookshelf—or Kindle—next, The Foreign Language Library Online will inspire you.
The great thing about this online library is that it has all the English translations alongside each text. So if you get started on a riveting tale but end up getting confused because of the language barrier, you can always have a sneaky peak at the English to bring yourself up to speed. Even if you do understand what you’re reading, it can be a good idea to quickly skim over the translation just to be sure you didn’t miss anything important.
This is probably really obvious choice, but I just can’t leave out YouTube! It’s got such an excellent, diverse selection of videos.
You can check out the latest German music videos and see what German TV shows are up for streaming. And if you have an opinion on something you see, there’s always the comment section to let the Germans know what you think. So that ticks off listening and writing practice!
If you’re not sure which videos to check out, I have a couple of suggestions. This video about the use of Hochdeutsch (standard German) is very clear and easy to follow. Or if you want something funny, there are also a lot of videos showing native German speakers trying to get a grip on tricky tongue twisters!
Crosswords are great for keeping your German spelling in check. All those cryptic clues and tricky hints are fab for keeping your brain and mind fit and healthy. Lexisrex features daily German crosswords which you can use to leisurely test out and improve your vocabulary. If you’re not a fan of crosswords, they also have hangman games and other options. If you hate games for some reason, you could simply use their lists of useful German words to shape up your vocabulary.
Goethe Institut is a cultural institute in Germany which is also active worldwide. One their website, they offer myriad choices of free online resources for German learning. Everything is sorted by difficulty and topic, making the website easy to navigate. There’s loads to discover on the site, including videos, articles and games.
Now that you’ve finished reading this blog post, there’s only one thing left to do…go forth and try out all these free online resources!
Your German will thank you for it!
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.
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn German with real-world videos.