A Little Bit of Everything
Though entirely in English, this site includes articles with topics on just about anything you can think of relating to Germany, German culture, and the German language. Plus, it includes grammar explanations, and activities to increase your vocabulary. If you are looking for extra practice, this is a good place to start.
Here is a website with a list of television shows, radio broadcasts, news sites, and podcasts. Some are repeated in my list as well, and some are not.
One more option for online language lessons, German grammar explanations, and tests to check your language abilities can be found through the BBC.
Before you start on your search for your favorite German or English-German/German-English dictionary, considering reading this article: How to Use a Foreign Language Dictionary. There is some invaluable advice here for when and how to use various kinds of foreign language dictionaries, and what dictionaries are best for different circumstances.
My personal favorite as a language learner and a language teacher: linguee.com The reason I like it so much? Unlike other dictionaries, this one gives you examples from real, authentic texts that the website finds online. You can get a grasp for how the term or phrase you’re looking for is used and in what context.
One of my favorites: Dict.cc
Another good one: Leo.org
…just learned about this one: http://dict.tu-chemnitz.de/
DEFA stands for the Deutsche Film-Aktiengesellschaft (German Film Corporation). It was former East Germany’s state-run film studios. The foundation (Stiftung) has preserved these films, and many are available for order through the site. The site itself provides information about each film, as well as timelines, biographies, and other information about DEFA and the people who were involved in it.
Grimm Grammar is a website put together for students of German at the University of Texas, but has been made available for German students everywhere. It is “an irreverent revival and shameless exploitation of 19th-century Grimm Fairy Tales for honorable pedagogical purposes.” 36 characters from favorite fairy tales of the past “have returned to 21st century Germany…to model all things grammatical.”
Grenzenlos Deutsch is an first-year online German textbook. It bases its presentation of the German language on/in “topics of discussion in the lanagugae classroom [that] are relevant to and reflect today’s world.” You can complete online activities and check your work right away. The curriculum is a work in progress and is continuely added to, so right now it makes the most sense to use it as a supplement to a fuller program, but eventually, it will stand on its own!
The German Graphic Novel Blog is all things German Graphic Novels!
Das Hochhaus is a digital comic developed by Katharina Greve. Every week for two years, Greve added a floor to what has become a 102-floor skyscraper, each level featuring a look into a family’s life. It’s worth the read.
German History Docs includes original historical materials (i.e. primary source materials) from 1500 to, right now, 2009. The information is divided by time period, and then further into an introduction about this period, the documents themselves, images, and maps. This is a great place to go to learn about a specific time period, and/or to find materials for presentations, essays, or projects.
USHMM is the website for the United States Holocaust Memorial and Museum in Washington, D.C. The website contains information about nearly every aspect of the Holocaust, and a lot of information about modern-day genocides. There are timelines, maps, interviews with survivors, videos, scholarship, short introdutory articles, an encyclopedia of terms, as well as an entire section meant just for students which includes readings, online activities, and further resources.
Language Learning Platforms and Free Online Courses
Yabla Check this out while you’re still at CU, because this one is free for us for now. Yabla contains all sorts of videos, most of which can be found on Youtube as well, that have been subtitled and/or which include learning activities like fill-in-the-blanks, multiple choice, and true/false to test your comprehension. (Note: CU Boulder pays for students to have free access to this website.)
Duolingo You’ve probably heard of this one. Duolingo is great for learning and practicing vocabulary. There is an app for iOS and Android devices, so you can learn on the go.
Deutsch im Blick is a fully online (and fully free) German course with 10 chapters of material. This is meant for beginner-intermediate level learners. It includes vocabulary practice, videos, a course packet, songs, interviews, and a grammar component (It is called Grimm Grammar and it is also helpful outside of the context of the full course). You might consider using this resource during breaks (especially our long summer breaks) to keep up with and refresh your language, or work with it alongside your formal lessons. You can also easily pick and choose what you want to do, so you can also use Deutsch im Blick as you would a reference text, referring to it when you’d like clarification, or more examples.
The Goethe Institute has created a language program for refugees living in Germany. Many of the materials are relevant for German language learners in the U.S. as well!
Here is a YouTube channel called 24h Deutsch, which you might enjoy.
Das Bild Daily Tabloid (Bild is the best-selling non-Asian newspaper in the world; it is the most-read paper in Germany and in Europe. This is according to the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers wan-ifra.org.)
Deutsch-türkische Nachrichten/Turkish-German News: Turkish folks and people with Turkish backgrounds make up Germany’s largest ethnonational minority. This is a news site that focuses on things happening in Turkey and with Turks around the world. Shockingly, the news here is available in German and in Turkish.
Focus Right-leaning weekly news magazine
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ)Right-leaning daily newspaper
Der Spiegel Left-leaning weekly news magazine
Sueddeutsche Zeitung Left-leaning daily newspaper
Tagesschau in 100 Sekunden/Daily Show [Tagesschau] in 100 Seconds: Only have 2 minutes? Here you can listen to the news (and still have 20 seconds to spare). Think NPR National Newscast…only in German.
Tageszeitung (TAZ) Left-wing newspaper
Die Welt Right-leaning daily newspaper
Die Zeit Centerist weekly newspaper
ZDF (Zweites Deutsches Fernsehens) Public television station with documentaries, sitcoms, films, news, political commentary, and so on
Additional News Sources for German Language-Learners
1) Top-Thema mit Vokabeln gives you access to news in the form of audio/video and text. It is meant for intermediate-level learners, but give it a try even if you’re just starting off! Take note of what words you understand, what the general theme of the article is, and if there is a video, what people, places, and things are being shown, and what is the relationship between them? The articles/videos each have vocabulary lists as well as Übungen (activities), like multiple choice questions, you can do after you’ve read or listened to the text. You can also view the manuscript of any video you watch and access further resources about a particular topic.
2) Langsam gesprochene Nachrichten or Slowly Spoken News, is a service through which you can listen to the day’s news…slowly. It is meant for immediate advanced language learners, but, as always, do not let that prevent you from trying it out, beginners! You might find that you understand more than you thought.
SBS German features stories about absolutely anything you can think of – malaria, objects found in concentration camps, recently published children’s books, yoga, cancer research, new film reviews, you name it. The episodes are varying in length (from 5 minutes to 30), and in fairly clear German, featuring different hosts and guests so that you get exposure to many different variations of German.
Grüße aus Deutschland (Greetings from Germany) is a Podcast put out by the Goethe Institute which is meant for German language learners. Each episode is also accompanied by a written transcript, but I suggest listening first. Then, if you’d like, listen to the Podcast again while following along with the transcript.
Literatur, Drama, Gedichte, Essays, und viel mehr– This is Der Spiegel’s text collection, and it is enormous. You can find nearly 8000 primary texts in German here for free. As language learners, I would suggest trying some fairytales (Märchen), some plays (Drama), or some short stories (Kurzgeschichten) first, but don’t be afraid to go wild and click around. You might consider starting on the Genres page, or if you are looking for a specific Author, head to Alle Autoren.
This website published by Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) has links to many 19th-century German stories.
Note: These websites are definitely not extensive and wholly representative databases of every text ever written in or translated into German. As you click around, take note of what kinds of texts are included, and what kinds aren’t, as well as which authors are represented, and which authors are absent. What groups of people and kinds of texts are not included on this website? Why might that be?
Just in the mood to be read to? This website called vorleser.net (vorlesen = to read aloud) has an enormous collection of audiobooks, and a good number of them are completely free and downloadable. This is like Audible, only free. The best part of this site, in my opinion, is the collection of 273 fairytales compiled by the Brüder Grimm. There is also a free app for iOS devices.
Refugee and Refugee Rights Organizations
Easy German is a great resource for students of any level of German. The videos include discussions of German grammar, tricks for learning the gender of nouns, how to make small talk auf Deutsch, and many, many more topics of interest to language learners. The interviewers use authentic German and talk to German speakers on the streets of Germany, surveying everyday Germans about their experiences with their Muttersprache.
Learning vocabulary is an important, nay, crucial part of learning a foreign language. Review vocabulary everyday. Schedule in 10-15 minutes for vocabulary review, just like you schedule time for the gym or to watch your favorite TV show. I suggest using Quizlet for practicing and playing with your vocab lists. Enter the words you need to learn, then play the games, do the quiz, and even share the lists with other people in your class. Another thing you can do? Make a rule: Every time I stand in line for coffee, I practice my vocab OR Every time I’m on the bus, I go through my German vocab OR Every time I spend any time on social media, I have to spend that amount of time practicing my vocab.
Conjugemos is an awesome website that includes vocabulary lists and grammar help. There are games to help you remember your conjugations, to learn different tenses and moods, and to review vocabulary. You can search vocabulary lists by theme OR by textbook (Deutsch Aktuell, Deutsch Na Klar!, Geni@l, Kaleidoskop, or Komm mit!)
This German Word of the Day (WOD) website determines the WOD by finding the keyword that is used most often in Germany’s top newspapers.