livemocha.com A social networking site for people trying to learn languages. Allows you to do exercises (both written and spoken), and connects you with native speakers who critique what you've done. Also allows you to chat with people who speak the language you're trying to learn and who are trying to learn the language you speak.
WordChamp A social networking site for people trying to learn languages. Provides access to native speaker "tutors," and connects you with people who speak the language you're trying to learn and who are trying to learn the language you speak. Provides a "Web Reader" tool that will mark up a webpage of your choice whenever it encounters a word in its database. Once the page comes up, you can run your mouse over highlighted words and get translations, as well as audio and conjugation information when available. Also provides access to flashcards and exercises.
Courses and Grammars
- Learn German Free Online A directory of quality resources for learning German on the net. All sites included are in English and were reviewed and selected with
care. The focus is on free content, but the site also reviews textbooks and
Welle Sprachkurse Scroll to the bottom of the main page, and click
on "Deutschkurse" in the "Deutsch lernen" category in the navigation section. You could start by taking the "Einstufungstest" to find out your level, and then click on the "Kursfinder" link to find the right course for you.
- Jojo sucht das Glück. A language-learning soap opera created by Deutsche Welle, in 3-5 minute episodes with German captions and accompanying exercises. Starts slowly, but gets more entertaining if you stick with it. 2 seasons so far: Staffel 1 and Staffel 2.
- Deutsch im Blick Free first-year German course from the University of Texas at Austin. Very well done, with a wealth of multimedia resources and activities.
- BBC: German Steps An excellent online course for beginners, with lots of sample audio, concise grammar explanations, useful vocab lists and up-to-date cultural notes [e.g. go to the list of all the "Cultural Notes" via the navigation bar on the left, and then click on "The clubbing scene in Germany"]
- Äußern: wikipedia's German course A wealth of resources is accumulating in this wikibook: you can follow a sequence of lessons, including audio and exercises with answers (no video yet as of 4/2011); you can look at the grammar summaries (note you can choose a more compact "mini-course"), or browse the appendices. The emphasis on completeness may be overwhelming, and the exercises look dreary (as of 4/2011), but given the way wikipedia works, this is likely to improve over time. Work has also begun on a "Bite-Sized German Course."
- Free online course and other materials from DeutschAkademie The online course includes more than 25,000 exercises, and registered users can ask a teacher questions through the site. Other resources include a free grammar poster, a grammar FAQ, a discussion forum for questions, etc. If you like these materials, click here to find out more about DeutschAkademie. They offer courses in Vienna, Berlin, Munich and (as of 9/2010) Hamburg.
- BBC: DeutschPlus 10 episodes focused on aspects of everyday language (shopping, phoning, traveling, telling time etc.) to watch or listen to; transcripts are available.
- BabelNation.com Free interactive German lessons, including lots of exercises, vocabulary games (crossword-puzzles, etc..) and German audio-examples.
- Nancy Thuleen's German Grammar pages An excellent compilation of clear and informative explanations and exercises compiled by an instructor at the University of Wisconsin.
- Essential German, by Eugene Moutoux Methodical, thorough, no-frills explanations and examples followed by exercises (with answers available) and also including some cultural notes. The site is divided into 4 "books" and should thus offer something to students at all levels!
- Indo-European Languages: German This site provides precise summaries of all the basic grammar topics, as well as lists of basic vocabulary arranged by topic, for (currently) 14 Indo-European languages. The link takes you directly to the German page.
This site has a useful (and colorful) grammar section,
and a wide variety of other resources for students
for Travellers Commercial site intended for beginners.
Wide variety of well-done multimedia exercises; concise,
You may need to go through a lot of clicks to get
to what you want, but once you learn to navigate through
it, this site is a tremendous resource if you're interested
in verb tables, word formation trees etc. Note the
site is only in German. If you use the LEO online
dictionary and click on a word for more information,
you will see its tremendously informative Canoo.net
Handbook of German Grammar Methodical and clearly
presented with lots of comprehensive charts and highlights,
but few examples or references to everyday usage,
and no exercises.
of German A reference grammar assembled at the
University of Houston. Lots of charts, some examples,
Languages for Travellers Gives you the rudiments
and some links to pursue to learn more. Also
a useful site if you're ever interested in getting
the basics of some other language at short notice!
- Toms Deutschseite A tribute to the power of love: the author (who is German) created all the materials on this site to help his foreign girlfriend (now his wife) learn German! The site includes detailed explanations in English of all the basic grammar topics, worksheets with exercises (no answer keys), vocabulary lists and more.
- Populearn (formerly "Free German Lessons") Written by a 24-year old half-Canadian, half-New Zealander who wanted to practice his web design skills and his German, this site provides some interactive practice of the basics of German vocabulary in a series of basic lessons.
- Online-Trainers.com Adaptive lessons depending on your level and specific interests. I haven't tested this and so can't say if it's worth the price (€120 for one month or €300 for 3 months unlimited access as of 8/2012)
Lernprogramm zur Rechtschreibreform Learn the
new German spelling. Designed for native speakers,
but this may be harder for them than for you :) The site requires you to register (for free). Simply enter the username and password you want; if you get an error, choose a different username.
Blogs for learning German
deutsch-lerner.blog.de This blog includes listening and reading comprehension exercises, grammar explanations, and the opportunity to communicate with other learners of German.
list of Web Exercises Organized by topic.
- LernNetz A large collection of exercises of various types,
some with instant feedback. This site is Swedish, and you will occasionally
get references to grammar explanations in Swedish,
but most exercises and examples are in German only]
- DeutschAkademie online German course Huge database of online exercises organized by topic and level, compiled by a language school in Vienna. If you register (which is free), you will also be able to ask grammar questions in their "Forum," where they will be answered by the school's teachers.
- Memorial University of Newfoundland's Oral Practice Tutorials Scroll down the page, and wherever you see "Konversation," click to see a list of sample questions and answers for that level. For each question, clicking on "Answer/Lösung," or on an icon representing possible answers, gives you answers to written model answers, as well as a recording of the question and model answer(s).
for German grammar web exercises This site provides
links to interactive exercises from various sites,
some great, some good, some bad.
Institut Deutsch-Englisch Tests 100 short tests
for vocabulary building. You fill in the missing
German word in a series of partial English-German
translations. If the drag and drop function
does not work on your computer, you can type the words
into the appropriate boxes manually.
Munro's Language Teaching Resources Note: Access to the exercises now requires a fee, but many of the other resources are still available for free. The site includes a compilation of more than 3000 online exercises
on German language and culture, organised by topic,
difficulty and resources required, as well as a variety
of other links ranging from humor sites to reference
sources. Compiled by Katherine Munro of West
Moreton Anglican College in Australia.
- German level tests online Great compilation of German self-tests available online, compiled by the "learn german online" site.
- Goethe Institut: Testen Sie Ihr Deutsch Challenging 30-item quiz. A score of 20/30 would already be very good!
- about.com's German Games and Quizzes A great compilation of online quizzes on a wide range of topics ranging from grammar and listening to culture and current events.
- Dialang Projekt Created with support from the European commission, this site provides diagnostic self-tests that give you feedback on your strengths and weaknesses in German, or any of the 13 other major European languages. Feedback from a student: the testing format is not necessarily very reliable, but the exercises are "very good and challenging...almost addictive."
The following sites will help you practice your pronunciation. They are listed roughly in order of the amount of information they provide:
To make up your own pronunciation practice, try the following sites:
- University of Iowa Phonetics Site A marvelous resource. The site contains animated libraries of the phonetic sounds of English, German and Spanish. Available for each consonant and vowel is an animated articulatory diagram, a step-by-step description, and video-audio of the sound spoken in context. Once you click on "German," the interface is in German, and the sounds are arranged phonetically rather than alphabetically, but you should be able to find your way around easily even if you're just starting in German 101. Consonants are on the left, vowels on the right. Below the headings, click on a category of consonant or a category of vowel, then on thea mode of vocalization in the line that appears below, then click on the sounds. You'll be clicking on phonetic spellings and may not know what you're clicking on, but once you click on the sound, you'll see it spelled in some sample words and you'll hear its pronunciation, and then you'll know what you're practicing. Go through them all systematically, or just find your problem sounds and work through those. Hints on how to get to a few typical problem sounds:
- Finding the vowel sounds is fairly straightforward. Note the phonetic symbol for "ü" is either /y/ or /Y/. Note also the many different pronunciations for the letter "e."
- The easiest way to get an overview of the consonants is to go to Konsonanten ==> Stimmhaftigkeit and then click on "stimmhaft" [=voiced] and then "stimmlos" [=unvoiced]
- The "typical German" rolled "r" that is found before vowels and pronounced less markedly in front of consonants is at Konsonanten ==> Artikulationsort ==> alveolar [here the symbol is /r/] AND Konsonanten ==> Artikulationsort ==> uvular [here the symbol is an upside down capital "R"] AND Konsonanten ==> Artikulationsart ==> Frikative [here the symbol is an upside down capital "R"] AND Konsonanten ==> Stimmhaftigkeit ==> stimmhaft [here the symbol is an upside down capital "R"]
- "r" at the end of words does not make an "r" sound. It is typically represented phonetically by an upside-down lowercase "a": Vokale ==> Monophtonge ==> zentral (e.g. lieber, Silber).
- In words such as "sehr," "mehr," "wer," this sound is preceded by the /e/ sound, so the phonetic spelling is e.g. "me:" [the colon indicates that this is a long vowel] followed by the upside down "a." Unfortunately, there are no examples of this sound combination on the site ==> ask your instructor to model the difference between e.g. "immer" and "mehr" if you have questions!
- l [Rarely emphasized in class, but there is actually a significant difference between an English "l" and a German "l"]: Konsonanten ==> Artikulationsort ==> alveolar AND Konsonanten ==> Artikulationsart ==> Laterale
- the various s/ch/sch sounds [note [x] and /z/ are among these!]: Konsonanten ==> Artikulationsart ==> Frikative. The two "s" [/s/ and /z/] sounds are also contrasted at Konsonanten ==> Artikulationsort ==> alveolar. "sch" as in "Schule" or "Stunde" is at Konsonanten ==> Artikulationsort ==> post-alveolar. The "soft" "ch" as in "Chemie" or "Licht" or "ich" is at Konsonanten ==> Artikulationsort ==> palatal. The "hard" or "typically German" "ch" as in "Buch" or "Woche" is at Konsonanten ==> Artikulationsort ==> velar.
- f vs v: Konsonanten ==> Artikulationsart ==> Frikative AND Konsonanten ==> Artikulationsart ==> labio-dentale
- h [easy for English speakers, but not e.g. for Spanish speakers] is at Konsonanten ==> Artikulationsart ==> Frikative AND Konsonanten ==> Artikulationsart ==> glottal
- CLIP2GO This is a great site for practicing pronunciation and building vocabulary by looking at words and their translations and hearing them pronounced: choose words either individually, or based on word lists they provide, organized by topic or e.g. based on famous poems. Meanings of the words are shown when you roll the mouse over them, and any word with a "target"-symbol next to it has been recorded and you can listen to it by clicking on the target. Set "your language" to German and then search for any random German word in order to get German word lists to choose from rather than English ones. Before using the site for the first time, you might want to follow the "About Clip2Go" link for information on how to navigate the site.
- A Guide to German Pronunciation by Paul Joyce- University of Portsmouth Extensive explanations and sets of examples for each sound. Note also the helpful exercises at the end of the page.
- Naperville Chorus German Pronounciation Guide No sound files, but a conveniently concise overview.
- Umlaut-Übung This exercise helps you practice hearing the difference between a & ä, o & ö, and u & ü.
- To find more sites, just go to Google and type in "German Pronunciation."
In addition, you can help your pronunciation by
- German Text-to-Speech Synthesis Enter any German text you want, select one of the German speakers from the "Voice" menu, and you will hear a remarkably good version of how your text should be pronounced in German! Courtesy of AT&T's Bell Labs.
- Interactive Demos of SVOX Enter a German text, click "Submit," and then hit "Play" when the file size for the audio file appears! Not quite as impressive as the site above, but still quite good.
- speaking more in class, and seeking out other conversation opportunities such as Kaffeestunde at the Max Kade House, Deutschtische in South Quad and Bursley etc.
- watching German movies to train your ear. Click here for a list of German movies on reserve at the Language Resource Center, or check out the excellent selection of German films at Liberty Video on the corner of Liberty and Fourth Street, or the foreign film section of one of the major video chains.
- listening to German radio or TV online. Cllick here for a list of links.
sites accompanying various introductory textbooks usually
include some grammar summaries and/or practice, some web
activities, and self-tests of various sorts, and can be
used even if you are not using the textbook, though often
this means the vocabulary and context of the exercises
may be unfamiliar.
Deutsch Website Use the pull-down menu to navigate to the chapter you want; then click on "Practice" for access to vocab exercises and flashcards, and grammar practice ["Strukturen"]. You can also access audio files and web resources.
Website Use the pull-down menu to navigate to the chapter you want; then click on "ACE the Test" for vocab and grammar practice, or on "Improve your grade" for access to audio files, web links and web activities.
Na Klar! Website Use the pull-down menu to navigate to the chapter you want; then choose from vocab and grammar exercises, or access audio files and web resources.
Horizonte Website Excellent website. Includes
a web search activity, a self-test and electronic
vocabulary flashcards for each chapter. Even
if you are not using this book, these exercises are
Heute Website Includes a web search activity,
link list and self-test for each chapter.
Sprache Deutsch Includes grammar and vocabulary
exercises with answers (hold the mouse on the traffic
light to see the right answer; click at the bottom
to get an overall idea of how you're doing), web exercises
and supplementary worksheets to print out.
allgemein [=in general]