I have been living in Germany for the last three years and I always wanted to learn and improve my german. Believe me living in Germany and not able to speak German sucks. I did some courses but ofcourse after starting my job as a full time employee, I was not able to continue with my course. But in the beginning of 2017, I found some effective ways to learn German for free and I realized that it improved my German drastically. In this blog post, I will talk about how I did it and how you should proceed based on your level.
By far the most fun and effective app to start learning a language and improve vocabulary. If you are an absolute beginner then you should definitely start with this app. Why? Because the methodology to learn and get a word to sink into your mind is quite interesting and effective.
How does it work:
You are introduced to a word with its meaning and pronunciation (Beware some words in certain course doesn’t have any audio and that can hinder the learning). Then you must once select the meaning of the word visually, select the word based on audio, try to write this word and so on. Thus , you go through every word five times in different ways which can really be useful. If you forget the word or get it wrong then it gets listed into the Difficult section and thus you know that you must revise this word few more times to get it right. For A1 level users or for someone trying to improve their vocabulary this app is top notch. If you get the pro version , you can also watch exclusive videos (for specific languages) where natives teach you how to pronounce a particular word, or work exclusively on your difficult section of words. My tip is that sometimes you get really good offers and can even get the PRO version for 23 euros for a 1 year subscription. So , go for that.
2) Bliu Bliu
This app is just too good when it comes to improving your listening skills and even understanding the sentence formation in a language. You start in this application by first choosing which words you find easy and which words you find difficult. Then Bliu Bliu decides what level you might be at (It predicted my level quite accurately and it was just astounding to see the paragraphs which I could understand with some easy and difficult words).Then you are introduced to a paragraph , or a music video with its lyrics or a video by a bliu bliu community member along with a paragraph with dialogue text. Then you can hear an audio/video and you must decide which words you find easy or difficult. If you find a word easy but has been marked difficult then you can select this word and change its type and based on easy or difficult the color of the text changes. Words you find easy are in normal text while the words you find difficult are red.
If you find a word difficult then this word gets introduced in another paragraph few moments later and thus by going through the same word and how it’s used in a sentence context you can understand and learn the vocabulary as well as learn it’s pronunciation and context of use. Thus, for me this is by far one the most fun and effective language tool. But if you are a complete beginner then this app is not recommend. So better use this app when you have finished A2 level atleast.
The app is not free and you get 5 min of learning time and then you must wait 5 min and then you can learn again and then the waiting time is increased by 5 min everytime. I found learning for 15 min from this app was enough everyday and during this waiting time you can switch to MemRise or Busuu.
When it comes to learning vocabulary or learning a language as a whole I will compare Busuu similar to Duolingo or Babbel. But what sets it apart is the conversation texts and language community to help. Busuu has amazing conversation texts which uses the vocabulary in the previous sections. So you start every lesson with a topic(Holiday, work , travel , food etc) and learn some vocabularies in this section. And then you get to a conversation text where two persons talk (along with audio and text) and you learn to use these vocabularies in these conversations and context.
Also, you can write something at the end of every section and the Busuu community corrects you , suggests you improvements and even rates your writing skills. I found this app quite useful in getting help or suggestions from native speakers and also learning vocabularies with focus on context learning. I think Busuu will be amazing with Premium membership since it will unlock the listening and writing parts of the app and make it much more useful and fun.
4) Authentic German Learning
This is fun. I think if you use this website and the materials it provide it’s more than enough to improve your german. You get daily emails (if not daily then still they are quite frequent). These, emails have german and it’s exact English translation (and not google translated) where Marco the founder talks about various things. Then there are videos where Marco talks covering different topics or day to day activities or sometimes topics related to german language or grammar (when to use AUF for example), sometimes some random videos which are nice to watch with proper English translation.
Again I would advise not to use this website if you are a complete beginner since then you can’t use the website upto it’s full potential. The only thing is that this is is dedicated completely to German language learning and you don't have materials for other languages.
I am quite sure that if you use these four language learning tools , then in a span of few months , your langauge skills can get better. Ofcourse after learning it's always helpful to use these words in day to day conversation. If you are interested you can also add me as your language buddy in the app memrise and we can compete and learn with each other. Adios !