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German for Beginners: Learn the basics of German online for free

German for Beginners: Learn the basics of German online for free

German for Beginners: Learn the basics of German online for free


Whether you are an absolute beginner or want to improve your academic knowledge of German, many free German courses for beginners are available online to help you get started. But before you start learning German, you need to define your goals. Some people may want to learn only a few basic German phrases to impress their German friends during an occasional visit to Germany, some may wish to acquire the vocabulary necessary to understand written German, while others plan to move to Germany to study or work. You have to decide what you want to achieve and how long you are willing to invest so that you can choose the right approach. There are so many free online German courses for beginners as well as lessons for more advanced students that you can easily get lost.

The worst beginner fears

German is generally considered a foreign language that is difficult to master because of its complex grammar and it's extremely long and difficult to pronounce compound words. But, in fact, at least for an English speaker, German is not too difficult. In addition, many local dialects, still in use, would make understanding problematic. You shouldn't worry too much about it because foreigners are rarely confronted with German dialects. However, there are a few basic facts you may need to know before you start learning German.

German pronunciation

For most people who speak English or another European language, German pronunciation is not too difficult. However, there are two vowels called "umlauts" that you will not find in English. These are ö and ü. In addition, some German beginners may have difficulty pronouncing German "ch" and may be tempted to replace it with "sh". Some native Germans as well as many French people who speak German as a second language do so too.

German grammar

All German names have a grammatical genre which is reflected in their article (der, die, or das). For most games, you will have to memorize their gender because there are no grammatical rules to give you a clue. Knowledge of the grammatical genre of a name is necessary for declension. Likewise, you will have to memorize several forms of most names. In addition, unlike English, German has formal and informal address forms and, therefore, two second-person pronouns, singular, and plural. This may seem confusing at the first hearing, but there is nothing to worry about as there are specific rules for this.

German dialects

There are many local and regional dialects in the German-speaking world and some native German speakers, especially those from Austria, Switzerland but also in parts of Germany, use them fluently in everyday communication. Some of these dialects are classified as separate languages ​​and differ considerably from the standard German language called "Hochdeutsch". However, all native German speakers learn standard German at school and use it when speaking to people outside their community.

The best free German lessons for beginners

Most of the free courses that you will find on the net also include German courses for beginners, but not all of them are suitable for absolute beginners. Many of them are too ambitious and skip the basics while the instructions are only given in German. However, the majority of German learners will agree that for complete beginners it is important to find a course that has instructions in their mother tongue or their second language like English. From level A2, they should be able to use only courses in German. Some of the best free resources for learning basic German online (where the language of instruction is English) are:

  • German lessons with Eva are an excellent channel for anyone looking for a painless approach to learning the German language. A German teacher Eva will help you in 30 lessons (divided into units of three courses) to master German pronunciation and grammar and teach you the most important German words and phrases.
  • Deutsche Welle has developed German courses for absolute beginners, in addition to courses and exercises for intermediate and advanced students. The course called Deutschtrainer, consisting of 10 video lessons with full transcription and explanation in English, is the most basic. Each lesson can be downloaded in MP3, MP4, or FLV format.
  • Goethe Verlag offers 100 free German lessons for beginners who have a basic knowledge of the German language (level A2). Each of these lessons consists of simple sentences in English that you are asked to translate into German. You are provided with the initial letter of each German word in the sentence to assist you with the translation. In case of problems, you can listen to the audio recording of the translation. It will also help you to train your listening comprehension in German. The mobile applications for this German course are available for download for a small fee.
  • Deutsch-Online-Lernen.com presents 22 free, well-structured lessons with exercises for beginners. Each lesson focuses on a different aspect of German grammar. You can also find this course on their YouTube channel (although lesson # 22 is missing).
  • Radio D is a free audio course from the Goethe Institute developed jointly with Deutsche Welle. There are two series for beginners (levels A1 and A2), each consisting of 26 episodes. It is an innovative approach to teaching a foreign language. Check it out to see if this is your cup of tea. You can also download this iTunes audio course to your mobile device.
  • Learning German with Anja is an unconventional and fun way to learn the basics of German with a native German speaker. There are around 150 video lessons to help you with pronunciation, grammar, vocabulary, and oral comprehension.
  • Duolingo is a free German course for beginners and pre-intermediates. You can create your profile (although it is not necessary) and immediately start learning the basics of German. If you are at the pre-intermediate level, you will first need to take a placement test before you can start taking free lessons. This course should teach you to communicate on a basic level when you visit a German-speaking country and is equivalent to level A1, maybe A2.
  • LanguagesOnline is a language learning platform of the Department of Education and Training of the State of Victoria in Australia which offers free resources for language teachers and students. Besides other languages, there is also a free interactive German course for beginners. In 35 lessons, you will learn basic vocabulary such as greetings, numbers, animal names, body parts, family members, colors, days and months, food, clothing, items the words that describe if and how to indicate the time. This is a very basic course suitable for all beginners. For each lesson, you can download exercise sheets in PDF format.
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