Continuing on from the series we started last week on online language courses, this week we’ll be looking at German.

For European travellers, German is probably the second-most useful language one could learn, after English. It’s spoken by approximately 100 million native speakers worldwide, and is spoken in Germany, Austria, a large part of Switzerland, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein, parts of Belgium, and pockets of Denmark, Poland, Italy and Hungary. It’s also well known as a second language in eastern Europe, particularly by older people.

  • Deutsch – warum nicht. Germany’s international radio broadcaster, Deutsche Welle, has been broadcasting this course to the world on shortwave radio for years. It’s now available for free as a podcast, with accompanying literature and is a great way to learn the language if you don’t have time to undertake a univesity course.
  • BBC Language: German. The BBC’s online course is fairly basic, concentrating mostly on learning to deal with common situations like meeting people and buying food. I’d recommend it for anyone who needs to quickly pick up a few phrases before they jet off.
  • Exeter University Beginner’s German. A fairly comprehensive course, with a focus on picking up a good vocabulary.
  • Advanced Learning’s German for Beginners. Covers quite a bit of ground, but the website design makes it hard to learn.
  • Babelnation’s German for Beginners. Seems quite comprehensive, but the layout makes it difficult to follow.

Next week: French

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