German is not the easiest language to learn. It’s not as widely spoken as English, and it doesn’t have the melody of languages such as French or Italian. However, what it does have is an amazing ability to put together words that never seem to end. And we haven’t even gotten to the grammar yet. Even native speakers struggle with some parts of German grammar.
However, learning a new language can be very rewarding. It makes it easier to explore another culture and make friends from other countries. Once you become fluent, it also opens open new career prospects. German is an official language in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Belgium, and Luxembourg. All great options if you want to find a job abroad.
Of course, the best way to learn German is to live in a German-speaking country. But it would be wiser to get started before you take such a big step. Living among native speakers might help you improve your skills at a much faster pace, but you still need to speak it well enough to handle everyday situations.
And where do we usually look for solutions in the digital age? You guessed it. The internet! There are so many websites available, and there are always new ones popping up. But when you have so many options, it gets difficult to choose the one worth your time. This is why we’ve made a short list of the best online resources for learning German.
If you’re just getting started on your German learning journey, Duolingo is probably your best bet. It’s still one of the most popular language-learning platforms on the internet, and it’s free. You can, of course, pay for premium mode and get some additional features, or you can go through the standard lessons and watch a short ad at the end of each one.
Duolingo also does a great job of keeping you motivated since the app uses a gamification approach. As you’re chasing streaks and virtual coins, you get rewards and unlock levels. If you’re a competitive person, being able to compare your progress to that of other Duolingo users will keep you on track.
Other advantages are that your mistakes get corrected immediately, and you can adapt the lessons to your learning style. Moreover, if you’re a busy person (and who isn’t these days?), the bite-sized lessons are not hard to fit into your schedule, even on a particularly hectic day.
Yes, Netflix. You read that right. Even though it’s not advertised as one, Netflix is a great platform for learning foreign languages. You get shows and movies from all over the world, and a lot of English-language content also comes with voice-over-dubs in several foreign languages. If you’re from the U.S., you already have access to a vast database of German-made or German voice-over content, and you can always expand that library using a VPN.
Let’s face it, some days you’re going to come home tired from work, and the last thing you’ll want to do is open a book and study German grammar. Even a fun app like Duolingo will seem like too much. All you’ll have the energy for is to get some dinner and relax while watching a TV-show or a movie. And isn’t it great that you can add a bit of productivity to this ritual?
Since you get drawn into the story, you won’t have to put effort into paying attention. It will happen naturally. However, a word of warning is needed. In the beginning, watching movies or TV-shows in German will seem a little bit odd, and if you’re not used to reading subtitles, you’ll have trouble following the plotline. We recommend you start with a show you’ve watched before and really liked. Even afterward, only watch the content you actually enjoy. For example, if you generally don’t like romantic comedies, don’t watch one just because it’s in German. It will feel less like fun and more like a chore.
YouTube is another great platform for learning foreign languages. Well, actually, you can learn almost anything on YouTube these days. With a quick search, you can find a ton of videos on learning German, but then you’re back to where you started: too many options, and you don’t know which to choose.
Don’t worry! We’ve also made a shortlist of the most popular YouTube channels for learning German:
- Get Germanized – Get Germanized is one of the most popular YouTube channels for learning German. The channel belongs to Dominik Hannekum, who began making YouTube videos as a way of improving his English skills. However, as the popularity of his videos grew, so did his dedication, and now he makes new content every week. You find videos with lessons from beginner to advanced, and you’ll learn a lot about German dialects and German Culture.
- Easy Languages – Easy Languages has a very interesting format. You get to follow your teachers around as they go out on the street and talk to German speakers about various topics. This is very helpful because you get to hear how German is spoken by native speakers at normal speeds, giving you an impression of the type of conversations you’d have if you moved to a German-speaking country. And if you’re not that advanced, it really isn’t a problem. All the videos have English and German subtitles. You’ll also find videos that cover grammar topics.
- Deutsch für Euch (German for You) – The Deutsch für Euch channel belongs to Katja, who confesses that her goal is to take at the stuffiness out of learning German. Her videos are very well structured, and she talks directly to the camera. Since she’s always smiling and has a friendly disposition, we can testify that she has achieved her goal and her videos are both informative as well as entertaining.
- Smarter German – Smarter German is another great YouTube channel. Michael Schmitz, YouTuber, and professional tutor challenges you to learn basic German in 30 days. This works well because you can go through the videos from Day 01, Day 02, Day 03, and so forth. It’s like having a personal tutor takes you can access anytime, anywhere.