Learning a language can feel like a big task, but with the growing popularity of language learning apps, technology is making it easier to get to grips with German.
You no longer have to commit huge amounts of time to pick up vocabulary and phrases – with some apps, just 10 minutes a day during your commute will gradually increase your language skills.
Here are our 5 favourite apps for Deutsch lernen, all of which are free to download on both the App Store and Google Play.
This dictionary app which stems from linguee.com boasts a comprehensive German/English dictionary, which is also available in several other languages. It allows you to search with words and short phrases, and gives multiple translation options.
Example sentences and external sources are also always provided, giving you a glimpse at how the words are used in various contexts. All of the dictionary entries also have recordings for pronunciation, and you can even download the dictionaries for the next time you’re stuck on your U-Bahn commute, sans WiFi.
A fun added bonus: if you look up a word, the app will pop up with a notification a few days later asking you if you remember the translation. This is great for making sure that you actually remember the words you have searched for.
It is well designed and the interface is easy to use, with no adverts. A must-have app for anyone learning German.
Der Die Das
Just as the title suggests, Der Die Das is an app focused on learning the German articles. It has a very basic interface but fulfils its mission perfectly. Through a search function, you can enter a word to find its gender. A grammatical rules page also outlines the articles and rules which can help you learn them.
If you ambitiously aim to learn several articles at once, the ‘Game’ tab helps you memorize them. Simply select your German ability level and then browse through a list of words, either your own list, or a randomly generated one, selecting the article for each word. The incorrect answers then go into the next round, and this continues until you have completed them all correctly.
This app is very simple, but perfect for both those who are just starting out with German, as well as those who already have an advanced ability.
An extremely popular language learning app available in multiple languages. You decide how many minutes a day you'd like to commit, and then undertake a placement test or start from scratch as a beginner. Even if you take the test, the lessons can be fairly easy, although you can skip through sections by doing further tests. Because of this, Duolingo is probably the best bet for beginners or those with only a small knowledge of German.
Its huge user base shows that it is a fairly effective app and, if used every day, is bound to improve your language skills. Arguably, the web based Duolingo is more effective for language learning, but to commit to this you would have to set aside some time at home with a computer. The apps remains a good solution for on-the-go language learning.
There are adverts, but they are not particularly intrusive. A pro-version upgrade is also available but not necessary.
Also a very popular app which allows you to learn multiple languages through the use of colourful flashcards. You can choose one of the seven German levels and then begin. The flashcards contain both text and images, but also make use of short video clips to improve your listening skills. There is also user-generated content available, which provides a large base of flashcards – for example, a set of the 5000 most frequently used German words, or sets geared towards certain language examinations.
It is a very repetitive system, but it is effective – Memrise claims to have strong science behind their way of learning. It is a great app for learning vocab and phrases no matter what your language level, but yet again there is more content for beginners.
The app has no adverts but does push the pro-version app upgrade fairly regularly.
The German newspaper’s app is a great free resource for practicing your German reading comprehension. It is an especially good option for those with advanced German. There are lots of news articles in the app and for the first month you can also download digital copies of the newspaper, also totally kostenlos.
It is not only a great way to improve your German, but you can also fill yourself in about German news and culture. Even if you have only been learning German for a little while, it is still an effective way to familiarize yourself with the language and find new vocabulary and phrases. Perhaps you can challenge yourself to read one article a day?