Best Online German Learning Resources
Today I will show you the online resources that I use on a regular basis that can help you to learn German. Whether you are just starting your German learning journey or you have been wandering through the forest of German grammar for years, you will need a variety of resources to make the path easier to traverse. With the help of these German learning resources, you will be well on your way to mastering the German language. There are links to all of the resources mentioned in the video and a couple that weren’t below.
Online German Dictionaries
No matter how you are learning German or what resources you are using, you will need a dictionary. I prefer online dictionaries, because then it is always with you and you can use it when you need it without bringing a big book with you. Here are my recommendations for dictionaries.
First up is dict.cc. When I don’t know a word, this is where I go first. It has everything you need in a good dictionary. Audio files for pronunciation, singular and plural forms of nouns, irregular forms of verbs and so on. The thing I think it does exceptionally well is the example sentences and phrases. This site has more examples than most other dictionaries and is fantastic for idiomatic expressions or even movie titles. They also have an app, which is very well made. You can even download the dictionaries in the languages of your choice for offline use, which I find extremely helpful when traveling and I don’t have wifi.
If for some reason you don’t like dict.cc, a great alternative is Leo. It has a lot of the same features, but it is occasionally lacking in example sentences and audio files. Also, the app uses data instead of pre-downloaded content. Still it is a solid dictionary choice for anyone in need and the app is still always installed on my phone.
If you need usage tips or grammar help with a particular word, THE online resource to go to is Duden. It is the leading source in everything German grammar and serves as a decent dictionary, too. It is only in German, however, which makes it great for advanced learners, but not so great for beginners. On this site, you will find irregular forms of verbs, examples of verb usage and a lot of cool details you won’t find anywhere else online.
A resource I use a lot is Linguee. It works like a dictionary, but also includes example sentences and then examples of how the word or phrase is used around the web with translations side-by-side. Be careful, however, as the examples occasionally have errors.
Online German News Resources
I like to keep up with what’s going on around the world, but I also like to make sure that my German skills are staying sharp. By combining these two I can keep up to date while reading in German. Here are the sites I use myself and for my German classes.
My main source of news isn’t one particular site, but rather a feed of sites. I always recommend that German learners switch their mobile device into German. This has a bunch of benefits, which I could probably spend an entire video talking about, but one cool one is that your customized Google feed on Android devices will be switched to German and the sites listed will be German sites.
This feed can be customized with your interests, but over time it will start becoming customized for you based on your search history and which articles you click on most. That’s why on my feed you see articles about SEO, Germany and comic books. If you don’t want to switch your entire phone into German, you can download the Google News app and just switch it into German. This app is also available for Apple devices. Or you can access it from news.google.com.
Deutsche Welle ist fantastic for all kinds of reasons, but the one I want to focus on today is the well curated variety of news in German. Again, I could spend an entire video talking about how awesome the Deutsche Welle is and why German learners should check out their German learning tools, but let’s just leave it as a great source for news for now. There are simplified news stories for German learners, but there are also more complex texts for more advanced learners.
This next one might sound like I am messing with you, but hear me out. News 4 Kids is a site designed by Germans for German kids. You won’t find daily articles about whatever is going on all over the world, but you will find the biggest stories and a variety of fun stories in simple to read German. This is a fantastic site for German learners and I personally use it every year in my German classes.
The Usual Online German Newspapers (Spiegel, Bild, Süddeutsche Zeitung, etc)
Of course, there are also the usual online newspapers in Germany. Some of the ones I frequent include der Spiegel, Bild, and Süddeutsche Zeitung among others. My recommendation would be to start with Google News and keep track of the sites you go to most often. Then you can skip the Google News feed and go straight to the source.
Online German Reading Resources
In addition to news, I recommend reading about whatever your interests may be in German. This adds a bit of personality to your German learning and keeps you interested in the learning process. Here are a few places I go for extra German reading.
The Slow German podcast has been a staple in German classrooms for a very long time. Each article explains something about the German culture in German. It comes with text and audio. For a small fee you can get access to extra materials to go with the podcast and really take this to the next level. Slow German also has a YouTube channel now, so you can get the podcast there, too.
There is so much more to Learn with Oliver than just reading, but this is the bit that I think is most helpful. If you want a full review of this site, you can find that linked here. On Learn with Oliver you can choose from a variety of texts already loaded into the site or you can have it analyze an external text. It then populates a list of vocabulary you don’t know from the article and turns them into flashcards. Then you can use this list with their awesome vocabulary practice tools.
Google Books often gets overlooked, because people assume that you have to buy the books. While this is often true, you can find a ton of older texts in German for free. This includes classic works from Kafka and the Brothers Grimm.
If you are just looking to read some Grimm fairy tales, a fantastic resource for this is grimmstories.com. Here you will find pretty much any Grimm fairy tale you want in German, English and a variety of other languages. You can even put the texts in two languages side-by-side.
This isn’t included in the video, but I decided afterwards to include it. Here you will find children’s books written by Hans Wilhelm. You can download each of them in a variety of languages as PDFs.
Fun Online German Resources
If all of this reading is making you sleepy, there are a few sites out there that are simple, fun and can still teach you some German.
The name of this site even sounds fun. It takes the most popular words in a variety of languages and uses a combination of text and images to gamify the vocabulary learning experience. It is a great way to pass the time. I personally find their images to be fun and entertaining even if they can be a bit inappropriate at times.
I’m pretty sure some of my viewers would kill me if I didn’t include Duolingo on the list somewhere. I have made fun of it in the past, but it has improved considerably over the past few years. It includes more grammar lessons than before, which was one of my major complaints. It really has grown into a valuable resource for German learners and I still find it fun to play around with. Someday I will get around to making a new and updated review of Duolingo, but not today.
Online German Grammar Resources
Many people will claim you can learn a language without learning grammar. I am not one of those people. Children can learn in immersion experiences really well, but adults learn differently. We like logic and patterns. For this reason, I recommend a variety of resources for grammar lessons.
This may be a bit self-serving, but I’m ok with that. I make a lot of lessons about grammar on this YouTube channel, but I also create extras to go with those lessons, which I upload to my website. You can buy some of them on an individual basis, but you can also get a ton of them for free. Every lesson I upload comes with a worksheet, answer key and mp3 download. For beginners, I would recommend my e-book “Beginner German with Herr Antrim”.
You will almost never find a German teacher who hasn’t heard of Nancy Thuleen’s website. I have used her worksheets in my classes since day 1. She has worksheets for every grammar lesson you will ever learn. A lot of them come with answer keys. If you want more practice on a particular lesson, this is the place to go. After you stop by my site, of course.
This site has a ton of grammar lessons, as well, but it has one thing that none of the other sites on this list have, sarcasm. Lots and lots of sarcasm. German is Easy takes a delightfully snarky look at German grammar and vocabulary. It is a joy to read and is by far one of my favorite places to learn about German grammar and vocabulary.
This one is only available in German, but it has a ton of articles. As the name implies, it basically functions as an online grammar textbook. You will find articles about every German grammar topic there is. Unfortunately, it is only available in German, so it isn’t great for beginners.
Another great site with a ton of online resources is Grimm Grammar. It is run by the University of Texas at Austin. Each grammar lesson comes with a Grimm fairy tale. The grammar is then woven into the story and you can practice what you are learning by reading Grimm fairy tales. It is a great way to combine reading and grammar.
When I am writing scripts for my YouTube channel, I often go to Dartmouth College’s website for German. It is a very thorough website with a ton of helpful information. The explanations include pretty much everything you will need to know about any topic you choose. I find it helpful as a checklist to make sure I included everything about a topic while writing scripts.
The Best YouTube Channels for Learning German
In case you didn’t know, I’m not the only German learning YouTube channel. There are a ton of fantastic channels for German learning. I am not one of those people who sees these other channels as competition. They are making videos with the same goal as me, to teach you German. When you don’t understand it from my point of view, try Katja’s, Jenny’s or Anja’s version. If you don’t understand their version, try my channel. If you want a list of my top recommended channels for learning German, you can find that linked here.
More German Resources with In-Depth Reviews
This post is by no means a complete list of resources I recommend for German learners. I have an entire series of resource reviews. Click here to check that out and see which resources are right for you. You can also find a short list of recommended resources here.