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Best Apps To Learn German
Explore the best way to learn German with these top-rated online courses and programs
German is a tough language to learn. With long words that can be a mouthful for English speakers and seemingly backwards sentence structures, it can be difficult to pick up. This in turn makes choosing the right language learning app critically important. But with so many German programs to choose from, how do you know which is best for you? Enter this guide. Our team has thoroughly evaluated over a dozen language apps at this point and assigned each one a detailed rating and grade, so you can figure out which one matches your needs and budget.
After reviewing over a dozen different German programs, Rocket Languages separated themselves as the clear winner. Their German course is the most complete and well-rounded from top to bottom. Here’s why.
Audio Lessons Help You Develop Speaking Skills
The first highlight of the Rocket German program is their series of interactive audio lessons, in which you listen to and respond to fluent speakers within the framework of mock conversations.
In my opinion, these guided conversations are remarkably effective for improving your listening comprehension and verbal skills. You’re essentially asked to use the German language under pressure just like you would in real life situations. That’s the key point here, you get simulated real world experience with Rocket’s interactive lessons.
Diverse Reinforcement Exercises
Following the audio portion of each lesson, Rocket also provides an array of reinforcement exercises and drills to improve your reading and writing skills. These drills include flashcards, matching pairs, writing exercises, and more.
These follow-up drills really help to drive home language retention following the audio lessons. Plus, their quick-hit nature makes them kind of fun.
Feedback On Your Pronunciation
One other cool feature is that the Rocket German lessons also utilize Google’s cutting-edge Web Speech API, which many consider to be one of the best speech tools in the world.
Here’s how it works: as you complete the audio lessons and various practice drills, Rocket (in conjunction with Google’s tech), records your voice to determine the accuracy of your German pronunciation on a scale from 1 to 100. It’s pretty neat and the immediate feedback is super helpful for ensuring you’re using the language correctly.
Detailed Grammar Instruction
I really like that Rocket emphasizes grammar content and instruction within its coursework, but without going overboard. Both their audio lessons and digital text lessons are full of useful explanations, tips and insights to help you grasp the different grammar rules and principles in the German language.
We knew from the first lesson with Pimsleur that they would make their way onto our best list. This is a fantastic program that is unquestionably effective. Here’s why.
Top-Notch Audio Lessons
Similar to Rocket German, Pimsleur offers in-depth audio lessons focused on improving your speaking skills. For 30 minutes at the start of every lesson, an English-speaking moderator walks you through a short German conversation, breaking everything down to the last syllable.
These lessons are long and can be intensive as you reach the higher levels, but they incredibly effective. Pimsleur packs into one audio lesson what you learn in 10 Duolingo lessons.
Better For Visual Learners (Compared To Rocket)
Though highly similar to Rocket’s audio lessons in structure, the Pimsleur lessons, exercises and drills integrate more pictures and graphics than Rocket’s. To be clear, Pimsleur doesn’t offer as many visuals as Memrise or Busuu, but compared to Rocket (the only other provider with all important audio lessons), Pimsleur is supreme.
Therefore if you tend to favor visual learning, Pimsleur might be a better choice for you.
Ideal For Commuters
For all you commuters and road warriors out there, the Pimsleur audio lessons are equipped with a special driving mode feature that allows you to easily complete lessons while you’re on the go.
Simply connect your smartphone to your car stereo, active the driving mode, and you’re good to go. If you usually find yourself stuck in traffic, this is a perfect way to kill two birds with one stone. Plus, Pimsleur requires you to talk aloud quite a bit, and what better place than alone in your car.
More Affordable Than Rocket German
The final difference between Rocket German and Pimsleur (the two most comparable apps), is that Pimsleur offers monthly subscription plans rather than lifetime plans like Rocket.
Thus, if you want to take things slow and sort of dip your toes in the water before fully committing to any one app, Pimsleur is going to be the cheaper option to start. Plus, Pimsleur even offers a free 7-day trial period so you can take their course for a test drive.
Babbel Is The Top Budget Option For Learning German
With Rocket German offering pricier lifetime-only packages, and Pimsleur generally carrying one of the heftier monthly subscription price tags, you might be looking for a cheaper alternative. Enter Babbel. They are our pick for budget conscious learners want to keep their learning under $10/month.
Short, Engaging Lessons
Our team was crazy about Babbel’s short and engaging lessons. Compared to Rocket and Pimsleur, whose lessons each take 45 to 60 minutes to complete, Babbel’s go by in a blur.
Taking just 10-15 minutes to finish, Babbel’s lessons are perfect for those looking to learn German, but who don’t have a ton of time. Their lessons are a mix of fast-faced blended exercises, like flashcards, speed games, matching pairs, and list-and-repeat drills. They are fast, fun, and engaging.
Accurate Pronunciation Feedback
One key aspect of language learning is perfecting your pronunciation, and this is an area where Babbel shines. While most every language app provides speech software today (except for Pimsleur oddly), Babbel’s speech recognition tech stands out.
We found Babbel’s tech to be fast, accurate and unobtrusive. It consistently provided helpful feedback on my pronunciation, allowing me to work on some tougher-to-pronounce words.
Helpful Grammar Instruction
Grammar is another area that is crucial to successful language acquisition. Yet, it’s also one of the toughest concepts for language learning companies to get right. Too much grammar and you bog learners down. Too little grammar and they’ll develop poor habits early.
Babbel, however, tends to strike a nice balance for their grammar instruction delivery. They subtly weave tips and short notes into their lessons, making grammar content delivery fairly seamless.
Sleek Mobile App & Digital Interface
Of all the language apps we’ve reviewed, Babbel has one of the coolest platforms. Their mobile app is sleek, modern and very easy to use. Not only is it aesthetically pleasing, but it’s also very practical.
You can quickly navigate through your lessons and find extra resources, such as games, vocab and podcasts effortlessly. But most of all, it’s just plain sharp. Apart from maybe Duolingo or Pimsleur, it’s the best in the game.
I should say upfront here that Lingoda is not a full-fledged language learning course in and of itself. Instead, think of Lingoda more like an online language school. Their program revolves around live classes with certified fluent teachers. So if you’re not the best self-studier and looking for something more structured and in-depth, Lingoda is our pick.
How The Lingoda German Program Is Organized
As noted above, Lingoda isn’t a traditional language learning app. Here’s it how it works: for a monthly fee you get access to a set number of live online classes. You can choose between small-group live classes (with no more than 4 students per class) or 1-on-1 tutoring, if you prefer more personalized instruction.
The classes are typically 60 minutes long and span beginner, intermediate and advanced levels. Plus, what’s nice is that Lingoda offers hundreds of classes throughout the week so you can essentially build a study plan around your specific calendar.
Then after scheduling and completing each class, you download the relevant study materials and take a short quiz to really help the material sink in before moving on.
Why Lingoda Works For Certain Types Of Learners
Overall, I was just really impressed with the Lingoda German classes I completed. If you’re not the self-studier type, and instead need classes and a set study plan to keep yourself accountable, then I think Lingoda is an excellent option.
It’s just a terrific way to interact with other students and learn from experienced German teachers in a live class environment. I never felt pressured, embarrassed or out of place. Everyone was friendly and it was pretty fun.
What is the best app to learn German?
After reviewing over a dozen German language programs, our team believes Rocket German is the overall most effective app for learning the language. While other apps win on price and “fun” factor, Rocket is simply the most effective.
How much do German language apps and courses cost?
German language apps range widely in price, from 100% free (like Duolingo), to lifetime membership plans that cost $500+. On average, however, most apps use monthly subscription plans that cost $8 to $20 per month.
Are online language apps effective for learning German?
There are a number of ways to learn German, but online language apps are one of the most flexible, effective and efficient means. You can generally learn from anywhere, at anytime, and on any device. This makes them very practical.