German for Beginners: Resource Guide

German for Beginners

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German for Beginners Resource Guide-Novice/A

German for beginners’ resources are abundant online, and expanding.

German is spoken by more than 120 million people in Austria, Germany, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Switzerland and in parts of Belgium, Northern Italy and Eastern France. It is a key language in the European Union and the new economies of Central and Eastern Europe. Even abroad, the German language seems to be in great demand. According to ZAF (Center for Education and Training), in 2015 about 15.4 million people attended German courses at schools, universities or language institutes; half a million more students than 5 years ago.

But, what can you do at this level of skill? 

Novice/A-level (ACTFL/CEFR) language learners begin this level with absolutely no ability to speak or understand the language they are learning. As they hit the top of the Novice/A level, they’re able to understand and produce simple words and phrases, and they begin to create their own sentences with these words and phrases that they learned throughout the Novice/A level. It is a very interesting level because you can make progress very quickly and you are constantly motivated because material is not very hard.

There used to be little dictionaries that we could always carry around, and in that way we learned new words. Today we have with us not only a small dictionary, but a small computer. A few years ago this was probably unthinkable. We present you the best German language learning applications by experts.

My favorite is learning languages in five-week intervals. The five-week period began during my summer breaks from teaching languages. I would get five weeks to take classes, study on my own or travel abroad and learn languages. Technology and the smartphone have made it very easy to do these five weeks intervals wherever I am and at any time of the year. I have stayed active in learning languages because I enjoy it, and I get many of my best ideas for teaching from my experience. 

My experience in German is limited, so I consulted with a German teacher to help us find great resources to learn German. Here is a list of resources specifically designed for German for beginners:

In the days of cassette tapes and bug boxes, the Pimsleur® method focused on the best ways to acquire a new language. Dr. Paul Pimsleur developed his language learning tapes after researching how children learn to express themselves. Today, Pimsleur language courses are available online, on CD and through smartphone applications.

While you can buy CDs and audiobooks, you may be able to borrow Pimsleur CDs or even cassette tapes for free from your local library and listen the lesions right from the audible app. You can also listen on your Alexa. Think about all the things that you can do while you’re learning a language. Clean your house, clean out your closets, exercise, run errands or commute. It’s highly effective program and I’d recommend it to anyone getting started in a language, especially if you don’t have a lot of time. 

Instant Immersion – This is also known as the utalk app. This app also does not promise fluency in language you want to study. It’s really just for beginners. I discovered this app many years ago and I am glad to recommend it to people who just started out learning the language. It’s immersive, addictive, fun and easy to use.

Gabe Weiner, the author of Fluent Forever, has created an app from his Anki Card system. The foundation of our Four Step Method is based on the principles of personalized flashcard creation and spaced repetition, extremely powerful learning tools that optimize your brain’s memory abilities. So not only will you learn a language quickly, you’ll remember it forever. Repetition is one of the easiest ways to learn a language! 

Mark Frobose publishes many materials in many languages. Again, a great way to learn it in your car or with your Alexa, without boring long lessons, only you and your car or private space. 

Coffee Break Languages. A lot of free content with links to full courses. You can learn while at work, the gym, bus. Highly recommended, especially for people who are always busy and going somewhere, but still want to learn something new. 

Michel Thomas. This is one of my very favorites. He takes students through a series of exercises where you can hear them start a lot of prompts, create language for themselves,which is very useful because it helps you to feel the language. 

Phrasebooks. Phrasebooks for travel are intended for people to be able to function and survive in a language at the most basic level for a trip. I highly recommend using Phrasebooks if you are going on a short trip or you are going somewhere unplanned. 

All the themes are presented in the vocabulary and grammar is all in meaningful chunks. You’ll get to talk quickly and effective. And when you start being able to communicate, you will boost your confidence and you can easily improve. Travel Phrasebooks are a very quick way to do it. Remember those Phrasebooks we explored? Here are a couple of ways to really use them in an impactful way. Vocabulary columns, Gold List method and many others.

You can even make your own Phrasebooks with Google Translate. Google Translate gets a bad rap because online translators were very poor in the beginning. For example, in German we have four ways to say one same word. Early versions of online translators would give you only one, which may or may not be the one that you need. Google Translate is constantly improving its content by scanning documents that were translated by humans, so the results get better and better and better all the time. Not 100% accurate, but constantly improving. And it’s completely free. They’ll even say the words for you and you can build your own Phrase Books on a Google sheet. You can go to a site like Forvo or RhinoSpike and hear how those words are pronounced.

Doodles. I absolutely love Doodles. I’m a terrible artist and don’t particularly enjoy drawing. However, I find that drawing vocabulary isn’t a very effective way to learn vocabulary, very basic vocabulary and different themes, this would probably help kids who are interested in learning. Try some of these exercises using a dictionary or Google Translate.

FlashSticks. I absolutely love this fun, clever little tool. Post-it is a great tool for teaching languages. At the most basic level you can use it to label vocabulary. At a much more advanced stage you can use them to organize your writing. The last thing we develop in a language. These FlashSticks were invented by someone who really struggled with learning languages and labeled everything in the room. And everything’s also color coded by part of speech. And they have a very robust and very addictive online pool of resources in games. And my very favorite is it’s got a visual translator. So you can take pictures of things with your phone and start learning the vocabulary for that in your target language. Easy and practical for everyday use. Very, very, very clever and fun. Personally, I really enjoyed this.

Yabla. This is one of my absolute favorites for beginners and intermediate. It’s essentially a growing library of content in German with a patented video player. So you can watch videos being completely immersed in authentic language and culture with subtitles and captions, and the patented player will make it slower, or faster, and will repeat. So a video, perhaps a one hour TV show will be broken up into numerous episodes.

Language Hacking. I absolutely love what Betty Lewis is doing. He’s a smart guy who was studying engineering. Wanted to learn languages, but just wasn’t very successful following other people’s lead. Well, he decided to take control of it himself and not worry about errors or making a fool out of himself. He just got talking and refined and honed his method over many years. And I’ve not done language Hacking myself. However, the reports I’m getting are that it’s excellent. And if it’s from Benny Lewis, he’s all about getting in there and talking to people. And he has some great advice. And in fact you can read some of his advice for absolute beginners in the five-week Linguist when it is released in the chapter titled, ‘’What Would an Expert do?’’

Did you think I wasn’t going to talk about Duolingo? I think Duolingo is fun and engaging. And I wouldn’t recommend using it as a tool for fluency, but I would certainly spend some time engaged in Diolingo’s activities. I love the chat bots and the community. And it’s completely free. 

Learning basic words, phrases and things to help you in everyday life.

Drops is another addicting and fun app. Drops is intended for those who do not have much time or attention to study in detail. Drops require users just a few minutes a day, without reading, without typing. How does it work?

The application puts a number of different objects in a series of categories in front of the user, in the form of white illustrations on a simple background. Everything is clearly understood, whether it is to merge objects with their words, or to discover letters to practice writing. The Drops app makes learning easy, like a game.

Drops is intended for those who do not have much time or attention to study in detail. Drops require users just a few minutes a day, without reading, without typing. How does it work?

Some great podcasts include Rocket Languages and Language 101

Looking for themed content to create your own games and flashcards? Try Quizlet. Type in a search term and you can start learning sets of vocabulary in German. Quizlet is a practical and useful tool primarily in the field of foreign language learning, but it is suitable for other fields and subjects. It’s intuitive to use and doesn’t require too much time to master the tool. The benefit is the availability of a wealth of content within the community, so if the teacher lacks inspiration, he can offer students something that has already proven to be good learning content. You should pay attention if you are going to use the tool on your own and be warned that certain content may contain inaccurate information. In this case, it would be best for your language teacher or friend to check the already available content to make sure the information is correct and then share it with you. There are several ways in which created content can be used, and it gives you variety while learning.

The BBC  courses are super fun. 

German for Travel and Beginners. This was a feed that I created. I love bite-sized lessons when people are shy to get in the language. Remember when we talked about travel and chunking? All of these little files are designed to do exactly that. You create your own playlist of words and phrases of German for beginners. Play the files over and over and learn from a native speaker.

Journals. Journals are one of my very favorite tools to learn a language. At this level, you can do the Vocabulary Columns or the Gold List method that we talked about. But you can also use these Journals to create tasks. For example, you might have one section that’s all language for talking about your home. And that section might include your Gold List vocabulary or words and phrases to talk about your home, including drawings of different rooms that you’ve labeled as you learn the target language.

As you start leaving that novice level where you can start creating, this is a super powerful tool to do the next level. I also like to time myself after I’ve hit that upper novice level and give myself a topic. I write down what I can, could even be lists of words. And what I couldn’t remember I go back and look up. And I add those to my Gold List or my Vocabulary Columns.

You could do something very similar with Voice Memos. Again, once you started to move out of that novice level, you can find yourself talking once a week. Just record yourself talking about something. All of these German resources for beginners will provide material to do so. Listen to yourself after four weeks, you will be stunned at the progress that you’ve made.


Available for Android and IOS, this app is among the best when it comes to all languages, especially German. The application uses images, sound and text to make learning German for beginners more effective. The design is simple and elegant. To help with your pronunciation, the app includes voice recognition. You can use it for free with the basic template or pay for more features.


Busuu has a large online community of more than 45 million users. This app allows you to learn German for beginners for free. The most important feature may be that when you complete an exercise, you can share it with a community that will then help you improve your skills. Also, additional features offered by the community are available for a small extra charge.

IStart German

This application is especially aimed at German for beginners. It’s available on the App Store or Google Play. However, it is recommended for beginners only. 

Finally, don’t forget to enjoy learning and improving your knowledge while you move throughGerman for beginners! 

German Resources for Language Learning and Teaching

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