German (Deutsch [ˈdɔʏtʃ] ([1] listen)) is a West Germanic language and is closely related to and classified alongside English, Dutch, and the Frisian languages. To a lesser extent, it is also related to the East (extinct) and North Germanic languages. Most German vocabulary is derived from the Germanic branch of the Indo-European language family.[5] Significant minorities of words are derived from Latin and Greek, with a smaller amount from French and most recently English (known as Denglisch). German is written using the Latin alphabet. In addition to the 26 standard letters, German has three vowels with Umlauts, namely ä, ö, and ü, as well as the Eszett or scharfes S (sharp s) which is written "ß".

The Brandenburg Gate: an 18th-century neoclassical monument in Berlin, Germany.

German dialects are distinguished from varieties of standard German. German dialects are traditional local varieties and are traced back to the different German tribes. Many of them are not mutually intelligible, since they often differ in lexicon, phonology, and syntax. Standard German originated as a written language, developed over a process of several hundred years, in which writers tried to write in a way that was understood in the largest area.

German Speaking World

Around the world, German has approximately 100 million native speakers and also about 80 million non-native speakers.[6] German is the main language of about 90 million people (18%) in the EU. 67% of German citizens claim to be able to communicate in at least one foreign language, 27% in at least two languages other than their own. German is a Category III language according to The Foreign Service Institute language difficulty rankings meaning it takes a minimum of 36 weeks or 900 hours of study to become proficient.


Apps & Programs Edit

Name Platform Price (USD) Description
Duolingo Desktop, iOS, Android, and Windows Phone Free, $10/Mo. Good for beginners. Gamified lesson format includes a variety of speaking, listening, translation, and multiple choice challenges covering many fields. Duolingo Effectiveness Study and more research here.
Lingvist Desktop, iOS, and Android Free, $20/Mo. Flashcard system that uses statistically relevant words and phrases to aid memorization. Very good progress tracking, stats and audio quality. Good for intermediates.
Clozemaster Desktop, iOS, and Android Free, $8/Mo. Good for intermediates. Similar to Lingvist in that it promotes memorization through the use of context and word association hence "cloze" (see: Cloze test).
Memrise Desktop, iOS, and Android Free, $9/Mo. Good for beginners. Pre-made and user-generated flashcard decks (over 20 million users). Corresponding courses for Assimil, Duolingo, and German for Reading.
Anki Desktop, iOS, and Android Free, $24.99 on iOS. Popular flashcard software with user-made "decks"
JW Language iOS, Android, and Windows Phone Free Similar to Duolingo and Memrise, but made by Jehova's Witnesses. Has a really cool interactive grammar section which teaches the user my manipulating a sentence in various ways. A good supplementary tool.
LingQ Desktop, iOS, and Android $10/Mo Input (reading and listening) focused product. Great import feature. Plenty of user generated content, but it is difficult to navigate. Website makes it hard to unsubscribe. Good for any level.
Learning with texts Desktop Free A tool for Language Learning, inspired by: Stephen Krashen's principles in Second Language Acquisition, Steve Kaufmann's LingQ System and ideas from Khatzumoto, published at "AJATT - All Japanese All The Time".
Assimil: German with Ease Audio + Book $125 Recommended for beginners, which will teach the basic rules of grammar and vocabulary of 2000-3000 words. This method is focused on learning whole sentences, for an organic understanding of the grammar. Can be used to gain a strong foothold in the language.
Pimsleur Audio $575 5 levels totaling 150 30-minute lessons with a focus on speech and conversational ability. Try a free lesson!
Michel Thomas Audio $35-$125 A language program for beginners developed by Michael Thomas -- a well known Polish polygot.

Michel Thomas teaches you grammar: how to use verbs. You'll have the skeleton of the language in your hands but won't have any vocabulary.

Language Transfer Audio Free A beginner program very similar to the Michel Thomas method, but free.
Rosetta Stone Desktop $20/Mo. 5 levels available covering pronunciation, reading, listening, vocabulary, writing. Can be used as a beginning tool but is generally considered overpriced and ineffective.

Books and .PDF filesEdit

Book Description
German for Reading Highly recommended for beginners. Requires 80-120 hours to complete.
German English Frequency Dictionary Covers the majority of spoken and written German used daily.
Basic German: A grammar and Workbook For beginners.
German essential grammar
Hammer's German Grammar and Usage
A practice Grammar of German
Schaum's Outline of German Grammar, 4ed
The Everything Learning German Book
German Graded Readers This is a compilation of books that sometimes you have to read as part of the curriculum in official schools. A lot of them come with the audio files.


Useful Websites Edit


Link Description should be your go-to DE<->EN dictionary (also supports pronunciation examples for most vocabularies and some other languages like DE<->PL, DE<->FR but in a less complete way) an alternative to
Beolingus Excellent German <-> English dictionary including pronunciations and example sentences (most of the time.) Is a good site for German dictionaries, word formation (conjugation), and sentence grammar. Well organized and engaging free courses that fit into the rest of the DW Series. They also have a corresponding youtube channel that might be easier to navigate.


  • Toms Deutschseite A website which mainly teaches grammar and conjugation
  • German for English Speakers A nearly-finished complete guide to the German language
  • Marathon Sprechen Blog A blog on German grammar concepts. They're not posted in any certain order like Tae Kim is, but the examples and explanations are very helpful.
  • really good website to learn german. Has vocab, scentences structuring, convesations to listen to and teaches levels of German from A1-B2
  • Collection of grammar worksheets
  • Wonderful website that covers all things German (such as traditions, etiquette, culture, etc) but in particular: grammar, pronounciation and how to use certain words.
  • A Review of German Grammar by Bruce Duncan
  • Jabbalab - good grammar resource with very simple explanations


  • A song for learning the alphabet.
  • Native Monks Learn German language online through skype.

Dead Links

  • Uz-translations (a very useful website that you should definitely check out)

YouTube Channels Edit

Name Description
Learn German with Antrim Covers a variety of German topics including teaching to a child.
Deutsch für Euch Covers a variety of German topics, especially the quirks of German grammar.
Slow German mit Annik Rubens Podcasts in slow German with each episode's transcript available
Easy Languages / Easy German Videos in "easy" German (and other langauges) with subtitles in both English and German
LanguageSheep Videos with detailed explanations for German pronunciations.
Learn German Daily news, and many learning vids
Learn German with Ania qt3.14 teaches you German
Rewboss British guy living in Germany.
Get Germanized Videos about German culture and language for English speakers.
Bookboxinc Children's stories with audio and subtitles to read along. Listening practice, you can also visit their website for more.
DW - Deutsch lernen About a spanish dude in Germany. There is an App as well. Good for beginners.
Deutschretter New Language learning channel (uses POV and On-Screen-Teaching)

Media Edit


Name Description
Nachrichtenleight News written in easy german with audio.
Nachrichtenwerk News written in easy german.
Nachrichten in einfacher Sprache News written in easy german with audio.
Frankfurter Algemeine Zeitung A daily centre-right, liberal-conservative newspaper based in Frankfurt.
Süddeutsche Zeitung A very popular centre-left daily newspaper based in Munich.
Die Zeit
Die Bild A tabloid similar to the UK's The Sun
Der Spiegel
Deutsche Welle
Kleine Zeitung
Die Presse
Neue Zürcher Zeitung




Genre Films
Action Der Baader Meinhof komplex
Adventure Die Wilden Hühner
Biography Der Untergang, Die weiße Rose, Sophie Scholl: Die letzten Tage
Comedy Soul Kitchen, Daheim sterben d'Leut, A Coffee in Berlin, Der Schuh des Manitou, Er ist wieder da, Fack ju Göhte, Freche Mädchen, Free Rainer, Good Bye Lenin, Honig im Kopf, Keinohrhasen, Kokowääh, Lammbock, Suck My Dick, Was nicht passt wird passend gemacht
Crime Die weiße Rose, Lola rennt, Tatort, Tattoo
Documentary Shoah, Triumph des Willens
Drama Michael Kohlhaas – der Rebell, Paradies Liebe, Vincent will Meer
Family Die Wilden Hühner, Die Wilden Kerle, Honig im Kopf
Fantasy Der Himmel über Berlin
History Shoah, Der Untergang,Triumph des Willens
Horror Anatomie, Nekromantik, Tattoo
Romance Der Himmel über Berlin, Freche Mädchen, Gegen die Wand, Goethe!, Good Bye Lenin, Keinohrhasen
Sci-Fi Die Wolke
Thriller Das Boot, Der Untergang, Das Experiment, Die Welle, Die Wolke, Das Leben der Anderen, Lola rennt, Restrisiko,
War Shoah, Stalingrad, Triumph des Willens, Unsere Mütter unsere Väter
Western Der Schuh des Manitou

Interesting German directors: Michael “Bully” Herbig, Leni Riefenstahl, Jörg Buttgereit, Olaf Ittenbach, Andreas Schnaas, Uwe Boll, Ulli Lommel, Werner Herzog, Wim Wenders, Fatih Akin, Rainer Werner Fassbinder.


Country Broadcaster
Austria ORFeins, ORF 2,ORF III, ServusTV, 3sat
Germany ARD, ZDF, n-tv, SWR, WRD5, ARTE, 3sat
Switzerland SRF 1, SRF Zwei, 3sat


Genre Artists
Electro We Butter The Bread With Butter, Kraftwerk, Eisbrecher
Experimental Soap&Skin, Sonne Hagal
Folk Rock/Metal Equilibrium, Saltatio Mortis, Faun
Future-Pop Blutengel
Hip-Hop/Rap/Reggae Blumio, Die Orsons, K.I.Z., Peter Fox, Alligatoah, CRo, 257ers, Bushido, Casper, Falco, Kollegah, Marteria, Sido, Weekend, Kraftklub, Seeed
Indie Angelika Express, Bilderbuch, Sportfreunde Stiller
Metalcore Callejon
Neofolk Darkwood, Die Weisse Rose, Forseti, In Scherben, Nebelung, Vergissmeinnicht, Sonne Hagal
Neue Deutsche Härte/Rock Megaherz, Oomph!, Rammstein, Lacrimosa, Knorkator, Unheilig, Nena, Madsen, Revolverheld, EAV
Punk/Punkrock Die Ärzte, Die Toten Hosen, Beatsteaks, Nina Hagen, Marathonmann
Ska/Ska-punk Die Skatoons, Hammerhai

Literature Edit

Author Notable Works
Die Brüder Grimm (Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm) Kinder- und Hausmärchen (Grimms' Fairy Tales) - dual language (english/german) edition available here
Franz Kafka Die Verwandlung (The Metamorphosis), Der Process (The Trial), Das Schloss (The Castle)
Hermann Hesse Die Geschichte von Emil Sinclairs Jugend (Demian), Der Steppenwolf (Steppenwolf), Siddhartha, Das Glasperlenspiel (The Glass Bead Game)


  • A lot of current anime and manga are licensed and translated to German. Look up Carlsen-Manga, Kaze and the news section of animexx they usually have an up to date article about recent manga releases.
  • Spongebob
  • South Park
  • My Little Pony
  • Death Note
  • Soul Eater
  • Alfred J. Kwak
  • Heidi
  • Ducktales
  • Darkwing Duck
  • Pinocchio
  • Almost all of the Ghibli movies
  • Puschel
  • Pipi Langstrumpf
  • Nils Holgerson
  • Biene Maja

Brotips Edit

If you have experience learning this language please share it, it's greatly appreciated.

General Edit

  • No single resource will advance you to fluency. Experiment with different apps, programs, books, audio, and other media.
  • Many videogames have German language support which can be a good way to get some extra practice. Some games may even have German voice acting (e.g. Skyrim). Keep a bilingual dictionary on hand. Many online games can be played on EU/German servers so you can interact with other German players.
  • You can easily install German along with your native language on your phone. This is very useful when using language learning apps, or chatting with others on your phone in your target language.
  • When reading the Graded Readers be sure to read those that are one level above yours. If you're studying A2, try reading those labeled B1. That way you'll be practicing your A2 and learning new things from B1.
  • If you know what you're looking for Book Depository sells a variety of foreign language books, including books and manga in German. And it's free shipping!
  • A guide to buying manga in German

Grammatical Edit

  • When learning vocabulary it's important to learn the article as an important part of the word and not just the word by itself. So it's not Hund, but der Hund. Not just Halskette but die Halskette. 
  • Learn about the High German consonant shift not only will it help you understand a little bit about how German spelling works, but will help your acquisition of cognates. For example, an English D is a T in German, e.g. World -> Welt, Good -> Gut, Word -> Wort, Dance -> Tanz.
    ENG-DE consonant shift

Tips for studying word genders:

  • When writing out vocabulary or adding nouns to Anki, colour code your words! Blue for masculine nouns, pink for feminine, green for neuter.
  • One technique I learned in class is visualizing a male, a female and something considered neuter (let's say ET) along with the noun I'm learning. So David Hasselhoff sits on der Tisch, Angela Merkel opens die Tür and ET drinks das Bier.
    • Use this in conjunction with Anki! I use a bunch of kawaii as fuck images I pull from the internet with my cards to remember my genders. Want to remember the gender for die Sandburg? Find a picture of a little girl playing with a sandcastle and stick that in your Anki cards.
  • There are also a few hints you can use to recall genders of certain words.
  • If you have time, write three stories and use only nouns from one gender for each one. This way the next time you need to remember, for example, the gender of "Nachbar" all you have to do is remember in which story was the word used. Make the protagonist of the story the same gender as the other objects. For example, if you're a man, you can be the protagonist of the story with masculine nouns. Your mother can be the protagonist of the story with feminine nouns, and something that you know to be neutral (e.g. Mädchen) can be the protagonist of the story with neutral nouns. My story for the masculine gender starts like this:
I wake up and my Kopf is on the Tisch. I've fallen asleep on front of the Bildschirm of the Computer. I've fallen asleep over my Kugelschreiber, Radiergummi and Bleistift. I sit up on the Stuhl and I take a look at the Kalender. What Tag is it today? Oh shit, I'm gonna be late. I take my Rucksack from the Boden and throw my Ausweis inside. It's cold today, so I better take my Pullover, my Schal and Handschuh. I get out of the Raum. I can hear a Schrei from my Nachbar. "Mein Gott", I think. They're always fighting. Perhaps I should write them a Brief and put it in their Briefkasten. I drink my Kaffee, clean my Mund and take the Aufzug to go out.
Germanic Languages
West Afrikaans Dutch English German Old English

North Danish Faroese Icelandic Norwegian Swedish