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7 self-study methods for learning German for free - learning opportunities for children and adults

On this page you will find useful tips and links that will help you in the independent study of the German language both in Germany and in any other country in the world. Self-study covers all areas of knowledge of the German language, including reading, understanding, and pronunciation, writing, as well as studying grammar and spelling.


§ Is it possible to learn German on your own, yourself?

The most preferable way to study the German language is to attend the German language courses, as this would provide an opportunity to communicate, study grammar systematically, and ask the teacher a question any time, if something is unclear. Besides, you would hear the sound of the German speech, and when you make mistakes, you would be corrected, and this, too, is an inherent part of the learning process. However, sometimes the opportunity, time, and money for attendance of such courses are not available, while to learn the German language is necessary – for instance, in order to move to Germany for permanent residence. On this page, we shall highlight many opportunities, available today owing to the Internet, in order to study the German language yourself and for free.

Before discussing the possibility of the German language independent study, here are some tips to help you in the learning process:

§ Where to start learning German

As for today, you don’t need to “reinvent the wheel" in order to learn the German language, as for many years of the work done by many institutes and language schools in Germany the efficient regulations and modes of the German language learning have already been developed and set. The given institutions have already released their experience to the public in the form of guidebooks, textbooks, online courses, and computer software. All that is required of you is interest, perseverance and hard work.

So, before you start learning the German language, it would make sense to familiarize yourself thoroughly with the currently existing opportunities for systematic learning and to select what you like most and what would really be helpful to learn the German language regularly, systematically and comprehensively. On this page, we shall discuss the following options:

Apart from the well-selected auxiliary means for learning the German language, it is necessary to think how you could regularly listen to the German speech, read texts in German, build up your vocabulary and train yourself in. Further on here, we shall highlight the available opportunities.

§ Suitable German textbooks and dictionaries in Germany

As our website is meant for those, who live and work in Germany or are just interested in knowing more about this country, we shall tell here, which guidebooks for learning are being used in this country both personally and at courses for group learning. Most of the guidebooks can be purchased on e-commerce websites and auctions, such as eBay or Amazon, as well in Internet bookstores. Besides online bookshops, are as well available in Germany, and over there you can acquire textbooks of the German and English languages in English, although they offer a limited choice.

What German textbooks are used in Germany

In the table below you will find the popular guidebooks for learning, most of which have been approved to be used at free-of-charge state-funded integration courses in Germany.

Title and publisher Brief description Language levels Online materials
Passwort Deutsch (Klett) Textbooks and workbooks "Passwort Deutsch" for learning German from scratch to level B1. The set includes 5 books with an audio CD, and there is also free/ free-of-charge additional material for downloading from the Internet. For a comprehensive study of the German language with exercises and examples. The textbooks introduce not only the German language, but also the people and culture of German-speaking countries. A1-B1 dictionaries, exercises, texts
Aussichten - Deutsch als Fremdsprache für Erwachsene (Klett) Textbooks and notebooks recommended for integration courses with all kinds of free/ free-of-charge online help tools, intensive training. A1-B1 exercises, games, audio, video, tests
Begegnungen - DaF (Schubert) 3 textbooks with workbooks and dictionaries, written in a logical and structured way for adults who want to quickly and efficiently learn German. A1-B1 exercises, worksheets, dictionaries
Berliner Platz NEU - Deutsch im Alltag (Klett) A textbook for refugees in Germany to prepare for an integration course or profession A1-B2 exercises, pictures, cards with words, video
Einfach gut! Deutsch für die Integration (Telc) Schoolbook, trainings, and workbooks for the German language classes and integration courses A1-B1 audio CD, dictionaries
Ja genau! (Cornelsen) 3 textbooks with audio CDs and workbooks, recommended for integration courses A1-B1 -
Pluspunkt Deutsch - Leben in Deutschland (Cornelsen) Schoolbook for migrant learners, highlights daily subjects of living in Germany, such as: visiting the government institutions, family, housing, etc. An audio CD and video DVD are sold along with this textbook. A1-B1 -
Menschen (Hueber) Textbook for adults and youth, with instructing DVD and audio CD. Herein, everything is focused on humans – emotionally, excitingly and captivatingly. A1-B1 assignments with keys

Read more about the German language proficiency levels on a separate page of our website.

Publishers specializing in the production of textbooks and dictionaries of the German language in Germany

It is impossible to draw a list of all existing textbooks of the German language; besides, there are multiple specialized textbooks, such as for adults, for children, for professional purposes, for beginners and for profound learning, etc. On the publishers’ web-pages you can find detailed lists of guidebooks being offered for sale, and even a convenient service for selection of textbooks, dictionaries and other guidebooks. Below you will find a list of links to the popular publishers of textbooks on the German language in Germany:

Some dictionaries of the German language used in Germany

It is impossible to imagine learning the German language without a good dictionary. Such dictionary is helpful not only for understanding the words meaning and spelling, but also for building up the learner’s vocabulary. The online or smartphone dictionaries also provide an opportunity to know the correct pronunciation of words and offer multiple examples. The list of popular dictionaries, where the first 3 are available both in the printed-book form and in the online version, is offered below.

To select suitable book-form dictionaries, refer to the list of German language publishers above on the page to view their offers. Pay attention to the German-German dictionaries, as in them German words are explained in German in a simple way, which is very helpful in learning the language. Teachers in Germany recommend the use of such explanatory dictionaries.

Teachers in Germany recommend using German-German, dictionaries, in which the meanings of German words are explained in plain German.

§ Free online German courses and lessons

Like the book-form textbooks, designed for systematic learning of the German language at some courses or on your own, various language schools in Germany have their online courses or lessons of the German language. Such courses are either free or in order to use them the learners have to pay a small subscription fee, which gets reduced depending on the number of months in the subscription. The given courses include online exercises for learning words and grammar, reading comprehension and listening comprehension exercises, video materials, etc. To take some of such courses, you would need to get registered, while the rest are available without registration. To select textbooks or video-lessons is a matter of personal preference.

Here is the table of online lessons and courses being popular in Germany:

List of free online German lessons and courses

Deutsche Welle Video lessons
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Online courses, offered by Deutsche Welle, are meant for learning the German language from the initial level through to B1 level.
Deutsche Welle Online lessons and courses
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Online lectures and exercises for different levels of the German language proficiency, from A1 through to C1. Many video- and audio-lectures as well as learning materials to be downloaded.
Ich will Deutsch lernen
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Online courses of the German language, offered by the German Adult Education Association (Volkshochschule). Various levels of proficiency in the German language, from the initial through to the advanced ones.
Ich will Deutsch lernen
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Online courses of the German language, offered by the German Adult Education Association (Volkshochschule). Over 11,000 exercises and video-lessons, some of which are only available for registered users.
Deutsch Akademie
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This large online course for grammar training includes over 20,000 exercises and 800 hours of interactive learning, plus personal protocols and forum
Free lessons by the Goethe Institute
follow the link
Exercises and trainings for professional purposes; video-materials and workbooks for downloading.
Actilingua Language Studie
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Online courses of German for those, who begin and contiue to learn the German language. Lectures, exercises, examples, and grammar.
BBC Languages German
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BBC lessons of the German language
Workbook for the German course
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A PDF workbook for the course of the German language, designated to be downloaded free of charge for personal use.

§ Free apps applications for smartphone- and cellphone-based learning of the German language

Like free/ free-of-charge online lessons and courses, multiple applications for cellphones and smartphones have been developed, which are helpful in learning the German language. Some of those are full-fledged teaching software, like courses of the German language, or educational games, while others provide support in some specific sphere – for example, dictionaries, buildup of the learner’s vocabulary, exercises for memorizing words, or training grammar rules. Description of a number of software being useful in learning German can be found in the list below:

Title in Google Play Title in App Store Functions Link
Einstieg Deutsch Einstieg Deutsch German language for migrants – useful the first little while in Germany: helps in usage and memorizing words and phrases on a broad variety of topics. The software has been developed under the support of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). follow the link
Deutsch Übungen Grammatik Learn German DeutschAkademie Intensive learning of the German language, with 22,000 grammar exercises for all levels of knowledge – A1, A2, B1, B2 or C1. Learning from over 70 textbooks, more than 70 textbooks follow the link
Ankommen Ankommen Assistant for living in Germany for the first little while – learning the German language and culture as well as rights and regulations as set in Germany. Help for refugees and a path to education and work in Germany. The software has been developed under the support of theMigration and Refugees (BAMF). follow the link
Deutschtrainer A1 Deutschtrainer A1 The Goethe Institute application for learning German at the initial level: buildup of vocabulary, audio-dialogues, and various exercises follow the link
Lern Deutsch Lern Deutsch Online game, offered by the Goethe Institute for learning German at the initial level follow the link
Various applications offered by Goethe-Institut e.V. Various applications offered by Goethe-Institut e.V. The Goethe Institute also offers other numerous applications for learning German at different levels, and many of those are in the form of games or are based on the use of visual aids follow the link
Ein Tag Deutsch in der Pflege Ein Tag Deutsch in der Pflege Free-of-charge educational online game to train the German language for working in Germany. Exercises in communication and buildup of vocabulary. Levels B1 and higher follow the link
DW Learn German - A1, A2, B1 und Einstufungstest DW Learn German Deutsche Welle application for learning the German language, Levels A1 through to B1. Learning the alphabet and grammar; vocabulary, texts, audio- and video-materials follow the link
Pons (7 applications) Pons (7 applications) Dictionaries, German spelling, grammar tables, vocabulary exercises, courses for beginners follow the link
Learn German. Speak German Learn German: Language Course Memorizing German words, phrases and expressions, lessons of grammar follow the link
JW Language JW Language Helps to learn and communicate in German and many other languages, training pronounciation follow the link
Nemo Deutsch Nemo Deutsch lernen Buildup of vocabulary and training in pronunciation of words follow the link
Vokabeltrainer phase6 classic - Vokabeln lernen Vokabeltrainer phase6 classic Vocabulary training for all kinds of school books and course textbooks in Germany follow the link

§ Learning in social networks

While addressing the chances for free learning of German language, we cannot but consider the opportunities being offered by means of channels and groups in social networks. Some of those, formed by various language schools or German language teachers, contain voluminous material for the language learning and training. Some groups were formed for communication in German, and there you can practice verbal communication and intercourse in correspondence even with native speakers. Below is the list of popular channels and groups for learning German.

Youtube channels for learning German

Groups on Facebook, Telegram and other German learning communities

§ Learning German with a coach, private tutor

Private tutors and coaches of German offer their lessons by personal presence or remotely via video communication/video calls, for instance, using Skype or other communications tools. Such offers, of course, are not free/ free-of-charge, however, you can find rather inexpensive offers placed by experienced teachers. For example, teachers from Poland, Ukraine, Russia, Kazakhstan, Belarus and other countries charge their lessons by phone and Skype at a price of 5 to 10 euros per 1 lesson. For offers from tutors in Germany, click on: Tutors of German in Germany.

Apart from free courses and lessons of the German language, there are also paid online platforms that offer learning many languages over the Internet. Such platforms, in addition to standard exercises to study grammar and build up the vocabulary, also provide the practice of speaking with teachers, as well as taking tests and obtaining a certificate upon the courses completion.

Deutsch Online Individual
follow the link
The Goethe Institute courses of the German language for different levels of knowledge. Exercises and tasks for reading, grammar learning, watching movies, as well the colloquial practice with a personal coach, tutor.
Deutsch-Uni Online (DUO)
follow the link
The German language courses for all levels of knowledge offered by the University of Munich and Society on preparation for admission to the universities.
Babbel
follow the link
Learning spoken German online.
Busuu
follow the link
Language courses: grammar lessons, vocabulary-training facility, and colloquial practice with native speakers. An online platform for learning foreign languages meant for schools, universities, and companies.
Lingua TV
follow the link
Online courses for companies, educational institutions, and private individuals.

§ Regularly read texts in German, listen to the German speech, and speak German

As discussed above on the page, the grammar and spelling of the German language can be studied and trained using textbooks, online courses, and to replenish the vocabulary - using applications to smartphones or cards. However, to successfully master the German language, you also need to listen to it, read in it and train your spoken German. This can be done in your free time, for example, when somewhere on the go or attending to some daily matters, which do not require your attention or concentration.

For your reference, we offer you the following list of free, free-of-charge multimedia sources of the German speech, such as audiobooks as well as German TV- and radio channels, which can be used for effective learning of the German language:


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