My top 5 free resources for learning German

“She said what?”

I am learning German using various free resources online. Thank you for your condolences. Have you also picked up a foreign language? Why did you learn it?

Me, I am studying, mainly, so Markus cannot sell me on the streets of Frankfurt for two bags of potatoes. Okay, that may be a bit harsh. I should at least fetch five bags of potatoes, no?

He helps with my studying but I mostly do it on my own. I go to him when I am out of my wits, which is always, and when I need him to check my answers on model tests.

The best part about learning German is there are numerous resources online that are free and high quality. It works for independent learners like me and I suppose for anyone who is afraid of getting the coronavirus at this time. Below are my go-tos for countless useful content that I can only hope to absorb inside my bilingual brain.

1. Duolingo

This mobile app is the first resource I ever took for learning German. It is casual, fun, and convenient. Like a game! The content is simple and gradually increases in complexity. There are milestones and progress trackers that add motivation, too. The free version is enough for me. But if you decide to get the paid one, buy it at the end of the year for a discount.

2. Goethe Institut

Why not check out the institution, right? The website of Goethe Institut has plenty of practice materials for learning German, including a mobile app game that shows users all over the world in real time.

3. YouTube

Thank you quality content creators of YouTube for producing well-structured, easy-to-understand, and thoroughly explained German lessons. My favorites are Learn German, Learn German with Anja, Lingoni, Easy German, German Pod 101, and Newborn School.

Each has its own way of presenting lessons and you can select which one matches your learning style or which teacher you relate with most. I switch from one to the other, depending on the subject I want to learn for the day. Currently, I watch Newborn School everyday because I am practicing test taking. All these channels are really powerful and they make learning German fun, too.

4. Instagram

Yes, social media can be quite productive. Intentional use, friends! I follow several German food accounts on Instagram to practice my reading skills. The stories are not that useful to me as they talk really fast, by that I mean normal speed for a native speaker, and use slang conversation. But the feed offers good learning materials. You can simply look up your interest and I am sure there is a bread-worshipping German who posts extensively about it.

5. DW

Markus’ mother recommended the DW app to support my German language learning. I enjoyed taking the placement test – I passed it the first time probably because Markus confirmed my answers.

The most helpful content on DW for me is the beginner full length movie called Nico’s Weg. It is well done, easy to understand, and quite entertaining. Check it out if you are interested in learning German or any of the other free online resources I mentioned here – they help a lot!

67 thoughts on “My top 5 free resources for learning German

  1. My husband goes to YouTube to learn anything, so I’m not surprised you can learn a foreign language there. 😆 Good luck on learning German! I took a few units of Spanish back in university but haven’t practiced in so long, i have sadly forgot most of it. Heh.

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    1. Thank you, and yes, what can you not learn on YouTube? It is awesome when used correctly. And sorry about your Spanish – would be cool to take that up again. But I suppose practicing and using the language is the challenge again!

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  2. I have tried going for German night classes here in NZ a long time ago but then I stopped… then while on lockdown my son and I started Duolingo. We stopped after lockdown but hope to resume sometime. The German language is quite hard I think.

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          1. Ya sometime haha! Somehow I can understand a bit but I can hardly speak it. Google translate helps with other relatives in Zurich but most of them can speak English 🙂 thanks.

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  3. Although I personally have zero knowledge of the German language, I find it fascinating!! My sister studied the language for her Music course at school and when she sings in German, it’s like magic!

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          1. Just like one of your friends who love to learn Korean because of kdramas, I have started learning Japanese bit by bit thru that too. Now, I find myself just skimming on the subtitles, I dont require full attention to subs to understand Japanese dramas. But of course, I am nowhere fluency.

            My sister told me not to brag about her German lol. I told her I wasn’t bragging, I was just sharing how amazed I was having heard her, who knows baka naman bogus lang pala yung German nya, how would I know Lol

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              1. Hahaha!! That’s how we normally converse because she sings in several languages so how would I really know, right?!! LOL

                I see you as a determined person, so for sure, you will perfect the language eventually…

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                1. I cannot blame you, yes. Haha. Thank you, I think what will save me is my curiosity – to find out what words mean and learn new things. Also, it is fun so I am confident I will keep going, even after I pass the basics exam. If I fail, I will also tell you. Haha!

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                  1. Yes. And you won’t fail ❤️
                    And your love for Markus will continue to inspire that since part of being married to someone is embracing everything about them— like me and rap music. Who would have known I’d be such a gangsta’! Haha!
                    ….And you will totally learn the language because your desire to know it is from the heart…

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      1. I have seen many Korean dramas with subtitles off course. So I am curious about that language and I think it should be easy to learn and then practise by watching Korean shows..

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  4. Good on you, and, you can practice with a fluent speaker! I dabbled in Spanish in junior high school, then French in high school, and eventually Farsi in college – great fun learning a completely different alphabet/way of writing – but without opportunities to stumble through what I was learning in real life settings and practice, I quickly forgot what I learned.

    As Anne Mehrling commented above, I did became fluent in music. My father told me when I was in college that he considered music akin to a foreign language, an idea that was new to me then but now I tend to agree. It makes me feel a little less sheepish for not being able to speak any language other than English. I speak music!

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    1. Well, speaking music is more than enough. Yes, I agree, it is all about practicing the language. I do not speak as much as I need to, but I will get there. Slowly. What does your father play then? I am not as musical, Markus is the one in this family. We both love classical music and listen to it with the plants every day.

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  5. My friend is seriously obsessed with country and the language too, so even I learned some German😂😂 Yup! Duolingo is an definitely an amazing app!!! Great post! 🤗👊👊

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    1. And ERMAAAGAWWWRRRD, Frankfurt is AWESOME! (Ehe, only because I’ve been there 3 times …..only in the airport BUT the weather is amazing, the people are amazing and yeh, I luv it ❤

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      1. My German is the worst German any human could possib- just kidding😂😂 Only a FEW words so basically I’m even lower than a beginner (is that possible?!) 😂 That’s great!

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          1. It is good that you are doing it because you want to, and not because you have to! Yes I am in the UK, I moved here in 2015! Initially I struggled, I moved to an area where people have a very thick accent so their English was very different from what you would get in London for example. Now I do so much better, even if sometimes I still struggle with Scottish or Irish accent!

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              1. ahaha! For now I think I will stay here, nothing is defined yet so I dont know how many issues I will have when they leave the EU! I have always been fascinated by Scandinavia, so who knows? Are you planning to stay in Germany?

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                1. One of my best friends is Swede! We will definitely spend some time in Germany because Markus’ family is there. But as you know, pre-pandemic we were digital nomads and there is a big chance we return to this lifestyle when the world allows. But who knows, right? I hope when I come to UK or Europe, I can meet you and other blog friends. It will be so fun!

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      1. I made the most of what was available. But what makes the difference is practice and, because I live with my Filipino mother-in-law, there is no shortage of practice in my home…

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      1. Its quite confusing considering the fact that Spanish and French are quite similar, but when I changed my school I had to change my language it was a bit difficult but I yeah I manage(barely)

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    1. Thank you, Anne. It is better to study this way, especially during the pandemic, no? Also I cannot imagine myself sat in a desk in a language school somewhere. Lucky there are many high quality free resources online. Didnyou learn any foreign language, too?

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          1. I still play the piano occasionally and have six-year-old intensions of playing my flute and recorder. In the past are 25 years as an organist and choir director.

            Do you enjoy music?

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            1. Wow, Anne, you are so musical. I wish I can hear you play! We love classical music. Markus plays piano and guitar. I do not know any instruments but am happy to be your audience.

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              1. I didn’t get very far with the old guitar my brother and I found in our grandmother’s attic. We had steel strings, and they cut my fingertips. Bob kept trying and got callouses, so he was successful.

                I don’t practice regularly any more. It’s more rewarding to write and read blogs.

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