Cheap, efficient way to learn German online.
August 22, 2009 10:21 AM   Subscribe

Cheap, efficient way to learn German online.

Hey guys, I'm a physics/philosophy double major in the UK. My specialism is philosophical logic, to gain postgrad admission to my top institutions I'll have to be a competent German reader (speaking, listening would be nice, but not essential).

I have a year and a half.

I was looking for some good online resources to learn the language. I'd be especially interested in good, thorough treatments of the grammar.
posted by ekpyrotic to Writing & Language (15 answers total) 43 users marked this as a favorite
In my experience A Practical Review of German Grammar is the best book for German grammar. It's easy to read, thorough, and straightforward. It's slim enough to be approachable and an easy reference but still presents an easy learning curve.

Also it has some infamous depressing example sentences.
posted by jedicus at 10:52 AM on August 22, 2009 [2 favorites]

Live Mocha is a pretty fun language learning site. Lessons are divided up into speaking/writing/listening and increase in difficulty as you complete each one. It will send you updates on what lesson you should complete that week. Kind of a neat way to track your progress.

Oh, and get real acquainted with - awesome German-English (and vice versa) dictionary, got me through all my upper level translation courses!
posted by wundermint at 11:11 AM on August 22, 2009 [1 favorite]

I know it's not online and it's not cheap but have you considered Rosetta Stone? Your local library might have it in stock.

They also have a six month money back guarantee, which is very generous. I ordered the Spanish set from them and after a couple months I sent it back for a free refund because I didn't have enough time to devote to the program. It easy to return, I even forgot to repack the headphones that come with and they didn't care.
posted by kylej at 11:13 AM on August 22, 2009

I know it's not online and it's not cheap but have you considered Rosetta Stone?

They do have a browser-based version. I've used it, and it's very nicely done, but I'm not sure the immersion method is compatible with my brain, at least not for German (reverse engineering German grammar makes my brain hurt).
posted by effbot at 11:23 AM on August 22, 2009

They do have a browser-based version.

Hmm. Cannot find it on their site, so maybe that's only available for "enterprise" customers.
posted by effbot at 11:24 AM on August 22, 2009

Seconding LiveMocha... it was fun, you can talk to others learning. I did a little bit of their French program last summer - it was great!
posted by honeybee413 at 11:31 AM on August 22, 2009

One other thought. I realize you're a double major, which means you're probably very self-disciplined and don't have tons of time left over in your schedule - but have you thought about taking a once-a-week night course at your university or other local institution (if offered)? The structure of an actual course might work out just fine, and use the online resources to accelerate your learning.
posted by wundermint at 11:33 AM on August 22, 2009

There used to be a subscription model I think, but I can't seem to find it now either. I remember it being pretty expensive still, so you might be better of using the cds and returning them for a refund (though that might not agree with some people).
posted by kylej at 11:36 AM on August 22, 2009

(that was re rosetta stone)
posted by kylej at 11:36 AM on August 22, 2009

We have ways of making you talk!
posted by yoyo_nyc at 11:50 AM on August 22, 2009

I've just done a brief trawl through the German tag, and found the following:
Crash course German refresher
Learn German the hard way
How best to learn German without going to school?
Me Talk Pretty German One Day
Can I learn German in a structured online course?

I realise this might come over as passive-aggressive "why didn't you search first, buddy boy?", but honestly it's not - I've been intending to brush up my German for a while, so this was a good prompt for me to get off my ass and find some resources. There are probably some MeFi posts on German/language resources as well, but I need to go do stuff now. Will post any I find later.
posted by djgh at 12:13 PM on August 22, 2009

Deutsche Welle has a ton of free German language resources. I've listened to the Deutsch - Warum Nicht? beginner's audio course in the past. It's narrative-based, and you can subscribe on iTunes. There are intermediate and advanced audio courses as well, and a variety of other podcasts. They also have weekly newsletters, and you can get a pen pal! My old German professor highly recommended spending time with the slowly spoken news because they provide a transcript that you can follow as you listen. And lastly: resource links.
posted by the littlest brussels sprout at 12:20 PM on August 22, 2009

Response by poster: djgh, I did hit the 'German' tag; however, nothing [much] met my needs.

Most courses are designed to teach spoken German, so emphasise often spoken words, and include lessons on how to greet, or how to find directions, or how to..., etc.

I'll be reading German philosophy, so will have a dictionary with me at all times. It's not word learning I need, it's a nuanced introduction to German grammar.
posted by ekpyrotic at 12:29 PM on August 22, 2009

ekpyrotic - my bad!
posted by djgh at 12:33 PM on August 22, 2009

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