Are you looking for the best way to learn German? You’re in luck!
Whether you want to learn German for travel, work or simply for fun, there are plenty of resources available to help you reach your goals. In this article, we’ll share some of the best ways to learn German, so you can choose the approach that works best for you!
1. Take a German language course
The best way to learn german is with a course that uses immersion to teach you a foreign language. Immersion means learning german words in the context of larger conversations, stories, or recorded dialogues. This an immersion based method you start to pick german grammar rules intuitively and learn vocabulary using full sentences.
Learning German this way makes it easier to take the material you learn from the course and start using it in real world conversations. It also keeps you from having you to translate from you native English into German when trying to speak, which is a common problem for many beginning German learners.
StoryLearning is a great immersion based course for beginners. It teaches conversational German through stories. StoryLearning keeps you immersed in the German language from day one. Each story includes level appropriate audio from native speakers, and uses conversational vocabulary. The content strikes a wonderful balance between being difficult enough to teach you a new language, but not so hard that you get lost or become discouraged.
As you become more familiar with German, the course also includes grammar explanations to help you understand the rules behind the phrases you’re using.
See our Super-Detailed StoryLearning Review
2. Download a German language learning app
Language apps make it easy to learn German wherever you go. If you want to speak German then you should check out the app Pimsleur German. Pimsleur is one of the only apps that uses immersion to teach you how to speak german.
Each Pimsleur lesson is 30 minutes long, and starts off by teaching you whole German phrases by repeating after a native speaker. After that the lesson moves into the immersion phase and prompts you to answer and ask questions in German using what you just learned.
This unique question and response technique simulates a real conversation and trains your brain to start thinking in German. Pimsleur also includes lessons on reading German so that you can learn all aspects of the language.
The best way to learn German with an app like Pimsleur is to set aside a short period of time each day where you use the app to practice German. Making the app part of your daily language learning routine will help you stay consistent and keep you moving forward in the language.
See our Super-Detailed Pimsleur Review
3. Take German Classes Online
Online German classes can be a great way to learn German. A German teacher will be able to help you with any difficult grammar rules or pronunciation issues. They will also know which parts of the language are most difficult for foreigners, and provide a clear way to overcome them.
There are a lot of websites which provide one on one language learning lessons with German teachers via on demand lessons. One of our absolute favorites is SmarterGerman. SmarterGerman is taught by a fantastically talented teacher/founder Michael, and his German classes are engaging and encouraging. Michael’s students can join his very active SmarterGerman learner community to keep the motivation level up. His lessons are well-structured and thorough, they really are equivalent to going to an expensive language institute.
SmarterGerman caters to very beginners to advanced level German learners who are aiming for C1 certification. If you are serious about acquiring the German language, SmarterGerman may be something you want to check out.
How about one on one language learning lessons with German teachers via video chat or zoom call? One of our favorites is iTalki. iTalki has over 500 teachers from across the German speaking world, making it one of the largest sites for online German classes.
Many teachers on iTalki offer a discounted trial lesson for prospective students. So if you’re on the fence about German classes or not sure if a teacher is right for you, it’s easy to take a trial lesson and discover what’s best for you.
iTalki also has a lot of free features available besides paid online classes. There’s a language learning blog written by teachers, a public discussion board where you can ask native speakers for tips and corrections, you can also search the iTalki language exchange and find other language learners to practice German with.
4. Listen to German podcasts
If you’re serious about learning German then you will need to develop your listening comprehension skills. One of the best ways to learn German and develop your listening skills is with podcasts.
As a beginner you should start out with a podcast recorded specifically for language learners. A good language learning podcast will give you much needed exposure to spoken German, but it will do it in a way that’s appropriate for a beginner. Usually this means a mix of English and German at first.
Once you become more proficient in the language you can move onto podcasts exclusively recorded in German about any topic you choose. At this level you don’t need to limit yourself to German learning podcasts, you can listen to podcasts recorded for native German speakers.
GermanPod101 has a massive amount of podcast episodes for beginners to advanced students learning German. Each podcast episode is a short 10-15 minutes German lesson. Every lesson uses authentic German dialogues to teach you grammar and vocabulary. There are hundreds of episodes on the site, and each one is sorted by difficulty level. Everyone from the absolute beginner to more advanced students will find something useful on GermanPod101, and make sure to take advantage of its free trial.
5. Watch German movies and tv
Watching German TV shows and movies isn’t just an entertaining way to spend an evening, it’s a great way to learn German too! Watching TV in your target language will help you see how phrases are used in the real world.
Odds are that you will find some words and phrases used differently than what you were taught in a textbook. This is because movies and television are gateways for slang and informal speech. Language isn’t always textbook and German media is great for helping learn the ins and outs of native speech.
Another way to use movies and TV in your language learning is to watch something in German without subtitles. You can start by just watching a minute or two of a TV show. Re-watch the clip a few times and try to make sense of what you hear. Odds are that you won’t be able to understand everything at first and that’s okay!
After a few listens turn on German subtitles and watch through the clip a couple more times. If you still get stuck you can watch once with English subtitles too. This kind of exercise improves your listening skills and helps you pick up new vocabulary.
For this kind of language practice you might want to check out FluentU. FluentU is an app that makes learning German with tv shows extremely easy. With FluentU you can easily switch between English and German subtitles. You can even click on a specific word in the subtitles and instantly see its definition and pronunciation.
6. Speak German with Native speakers
No matter what language you are learning, speaking will be a necessary step in achieving fluency. For many German learners it’s also one of the most intimidating. It’s not uncommon for beginners to put off speaking German and instead focus on reading and writing.
Don’t fall for that trap!
Speaking German can seem scary at first, but once you get over the fear of making mistakes it’s actually one of the most rewarding and fun parts of foreign language learning! You don’t have to jump on a plane to Germany to find native speakers either.
You can look online for language exchanges and a find a speaking partner. Another option are local language clubs. Meetup.com features conversation clubs for most major cities. Also if you have a local university nearby, the odds are that you can find a speaking club there as well.
7. Experience German culture by traveling
Traveling to Germany or another German speaking country can be the ultimate immersion experience. But you will need to prepare a bit before your trip if you want to get the most out of it. You should try to at least master basic German sentence structure and phrases before traveling a broad. Even better if you can get some practice speaking German too.
The idea is to have a solid enough foundation in the language that you can hold basic conversations while traveling abroad. As a foreigner and tourist in Germany, most native speakers will opt to speak English to you. German people won’t necessarily have the time or patience to wait as you figure out what you’re going to say to them.
As we said before traveling is a great way to experience German culture and level up your language skills. But it’s also an experience best for intermediate learners. Absolute beginners might want to wait a bit before traveling to learn German.
The one exception would be to sign up for a German language immersion program in Germany. These are typically run by language schools or universities, and are geared to teaching beginners German.
These immersion programs can last anywhere from a couple weeks to several months. If you want to learn German from scratch while traveling abroad these programs are a great option.
8. Learn German Pronunciation
Pronunciation is the one aspect of learning German that most students overlook. Most German learning resources focus a lot on reading, writing, and speaking; but few take the time to help you develop a good German accent.
This is a shame because learning German pronunciation is one of the most effective language hacks to learn German fast. Not everyone realizes this but pronunciation is a physical skill.
Your German friends weren’t born with a special German gene that helps them speak the language. A good German accent is simply the result of knowing how to position your tongue and mouth to make certain sounds.
What makes pronunciation so powerful is that once you can speak German words with a native accent, it will be much easier for you to understand native speakers and to pick new German words during real conversations. Not to mention you’ll be likely to impress a German friend or two.
Pimsleur is a great program if you want to learn German fast using pronunciation. Every lesson on Pimsleur teaches you phrases by having you repeat them syllable by syllable with a native German speaker. This is essentially pronunciation training, and no other German course I know of pulls it off as well as Pimsleur.
9. Learn German Grammar
Compared to the romantic languages, German grammar is often considered a bit more difficult for native English speakers. German conjugation, articles, and cases are all significant hurdles for beginners.
While we recommend learning German with an immersion based approach, you will have to grapple with German grammar sooner or later, especially as your proficiency in the language improves. When you’re first starting out, you should focus on learning phrases and useful words to start communicating as quickly as possible.
Only after you start using German phrases should you start learning the grammar behind them. StoryLearning follows this approach in its German course. You start by listening and reading German stories, and after you’re familiar with the content, you start to learn German grammar.
This method of learning grammar after having already interacted with the language, helps give context to the rules you learn.
10. Learn German idioms
Idioms are always a bit of a challenge when learning a foreign language. This is because the idioms in your native language don’t necessarily carry over to your target language and vice versa. Take for instance the German idiom ich bin fix und fertig which translates literally to something along the lines of “I’m ready and done”, but when used this phrase means “I’m tired”.
Sometimes there are similarities to English idioms and German ones. Um den heißen Brei herumreden literally translates to “to talk around hot mash”, and means something similar to the American idiom beating around the bush.
Knowing idioms will help you understand what you hear when Germans speak more colloquially. Sometimes a phrase might not make literal sense, and you’ll just have to memorize what it means. Other times you will understand the spirit or logic of the idiom and remembering it won’t be so difficult.
11. Read German books
Compared to other foreign languages, reading in German is a bit easier for native English speakers. The German alphabet is similar enough to English that you have a bit of a head start there. Also German is a more phonetic language than English, meaning that it’s much more often written the way it sounds.
So it’s a good idea to go ahead to incorporate reading into your German learning routine early on. While reading won’t necessarily help you develop speaking skills, it will expose you to a lot of vocabulary very quickly. If you want to learn more than just common words, reading is an excellent way to learn German vocabulary.
As we know, there are many ways as to go about the best way to learn German. Finding the method that works best for you is going to take time. Perhaps it will take more than one kind of method. All in all there are more strategies than this to be able to help you along your language learning journey. We have come up with some ways to help and there are also diff
These are 11 of the top tips we think we could provide to you. These tips are meant to help with your language learning journey. German can be a tough language to learn. With proper assistance and dedicated training, anything is possible. There are so many great ways to make language learning fun!