Have you heard or asked the following questions before? I often hear questions like –
- What’s the best textbook for learning German?
- What’s the best app to learn German?
- What’s the best way to learn German? Should I learn in a group or on my own?
- What’s the best website for learning German?
- What’s the best way for me to take notes/ learn vocab/ practise German?
Well, I have good news and bad news for you!
The bad news is, there is no best book, app, website or way to learn German!
The good news, there is a best way to learn German! But it takes some work to find it!
The best way simply is the way you enjoy learning German the most…. and that’s where the problem starts. It’s not so easy finding the best way, so it might take some trial and error.
Let’s go back to those questions.
What’s the best textbook for learning German?
There is no best textbook. There are some good ones around but none of them cover everything that you need or want to learn. They all explain things differently, so some of the explanations you’ll understand, other you won’t. If there was a perfect textbook, I would have bought it already and would use it in lessons, but so far, none have got everything I want, so I always have to supplement it with other things.
Finding the right textbook for you is tricky as you can’t try it out, unless you find it in a library. But if at all possible have a look inside and see if you like the style of the book. If you can, check out a grammar explanation and see, if it makes sense to you.
What’s the best app to learn German?
When asked this question, most people answer with Duolingo. I like and use Duolingo myself and I also would tell you to try it. But, if you find you don’t like it, then don’t use it. Try out some apps (many are free and those that cost, usually offer a free version, too) and see which ones you like.
What’s the best way to learn German? Should I learn in a group or on my own?
I know students who thrive in group lessons, others work best on their own. You know what works best for you.
What’s the best website for learning German?
Again, there are so many brilliant websites to help with learning German. I sometimes review some of them, but you need to find out if they are at the right level for you or if they offer something you like. If you find the activities or the texts boring, then don’t do them.
What’s the best way for me to take notes/ learn vocab/ practise German?
Use what you like doing best. Do you like using pen and paper? Use it. Do you prefer using programmes on your laptop or notebook? Use them. Do you like writing lists with new words? Do it. Do you like learning German through games? Use them.
Can you spot a pattern? Exactly! If you are teaching yourself or want to do some extra German in addition to your regular lessons, find whatever it is that you enjoy doing. It should be fun!
And if you don’t like fun and want to do serious work, that’s fine, too. But you need to like doing whatever it is. Because, if you don’t you won’t do it for long.
So, what is the best way to learn German? Whatever you enjoy doing is the best way!
You may not enjoy doing yoga chanting German words, but apparently some people even like doing that ☺
So, what’s YOUR best way to learn German?
PS. If you are a student at school and think I am giving you permission NOT to do any particular work because you don’t like it, you’re wrong. Whatever your lessons contain, you need to do. But if you want to add extra German activities to your studying, find those you like!
PPS. If you need a little help with finding different ways to learn German, my book, The A to Z of Learning German, might also help, available as printed copy or Kindle version.