We begin our series of posts on the best foreign language resources with German. I have to confess that this is because German was the first foreign language that I learnt and it remains extremely close to my heart. It is a wonderful language spoken in beautiful countries and more schools should be offering it and more people should be learning it! As Germany is one of the countries we trade with the most, it is also very useful. I could go on (and on) listing reasons for learning German but I shall spare you all and list (in no particular order) 10 of the best German websites instead!
As the website says, Grimm Grammar is “an irreverent revival and shameless exploitation of 19th-century Grimm Fairy Tales for honorable pedagogical purposes. Fortunately for you, Dear Reader, thirty-six characters from these fairy tales have returned to 21st century Germany (their precise location cannot be revealed for privacy reasons) to model all things grammatical … anything the most eager language learner may wish to know about the German language.” I couldn’t have put it better myself. An absolutely brilliant site.
Slow German is a podcast which can be downloaded or listened to via their website. It is a great site for students at levels B1 – C1 of the Common European Framework for Languages to practice their listening skills as quite complex language is used but spoken clearly and slowly. Topics are listed down the right hand side of the home page and range from religion to beer gardens via German art and dating! Each episode lasts about 5 minutes and the text is also available.
This fantastic site has a range of great teaching materials for beginners through to advanced students and is suitable for all ages. There are some really fun things like song lyrics and suggestions for games as well as some fantastic vocabulary and grammar worksheets with accompanying answer sheets. The grammar section also includes easily understandable and comprehensive explanations.
For learners – Practice German Online http://www.goethe.de/lrn/duw/enindex.htm
For teachers – Teacher Service http://www.goethe.de/lhr/mat/enindex.htm
The Goethe Institut website has a vast array of materials and online exercises for students of all levels and interests. There are printable worksheets, videos, listening, reading and writing activities and games to play. There are materials focusing on everything from business to sport. It is a great place to start for both learners and teachers. Suitable for students of secondary age upwards.
For learners – http://www.dw.de/dw/0,,2055,00.html (Deutsch) /
For teachers – http://www.dw.de/dw/0,,2233,00.html
As stated on their website, Deutsche Welle “represents Germany in the international media landscape”. It is therefore primarily a news site (useful for advanced learners) but also has a separate section on learning and teaching German. This area has some great current affairs based resources, such as the brilliant “Langsam gesprochene Nachrichten” and also more general materials suitable for all levels, including a great beginners web soap for young people called “Jojo sucht das Glück”.
Another fantastic resource for young people is jetzt.de. It is an online version of a magazine produced by die Süddeutsche Zeitung aimed at people in their teens and early twenties. A great source of reading materials for students at levels B1 – C1 of the Common European Framework for Languages.
Kaleidoskop also features reading materials for students at levels B1 – C1 of the Common European Framework for Languages. It focuses on everyday life in Germany with interviews and articles on subjects like smoking, carnival, graffiti and the environment.
Schubert Verlag have a number of online exercises and worksheets that accompany their textbooks but they also function as standalone resources. They are suitable for students of all levels and cover grammar, vocabulary, reading, listening and writing.
More for learners this one. Deutschkurs is not a pretty website but it contains some excellent resources for those interested in German literature; virtual tours through Dresden and Switzerland (with slow commentary in German); and a great grammar section with explanations and online exercises.
Leo is by far the best online dictionary there is. Enough said.
Okay, okay, so I said I’d mention 10 websites but it is also worth mentioning that German television channels also have iplayers like channels in this country and they are accessible from the UK. To watch German television programmes go to http://www.ardmediathek.de/ and http://www.zdfmediathek.de.