German Online Language Training
You can learn German for free in a fun and quite effective way. Here are a few online German language training platforms for you to consider.
“I have studied German for years – BUT I can’t talk.” How often have I heard these comments among my foreign friends. There are so many exciting offers out there that enable you to learn German online in no time, if you hang in there.
The best online language courses to learn German for free are embedded into social learning communities. These mix up the old pen pal with a Facebook style online language course. Give and Take rules: You can earn tokens by reviewing submissions in your native language, and then spend them by submitting exercises in your selected language.
If you are not too busy, this system can work for you. These social language networks are fun, interactive and convenient and can be a way for you to learn or brush up on your German in a very informal way. However, do review their quality and effectiveness for what their basic services essentially are: courses for free.
Learn German For Free Online: Top Three
Busuu.com is an online community language site that enables you to learn German for free in a social networking environment. The site is clean and looks really fun. One of the best items is the speech recording functionality that lets you check your pronunciation with native speaker community members. The course materials are arranged by topic, for example At Breakfast, In the Restaurant , Welcome. The basic service is free but there is a paid premium membership to use advanced course facilities, such as a travel course (EUR 10 or you invite 10 friends to join Busuu). In addition, Busuu launched a free iPhone Travel App that includes a Survival Guide, vocabulary and dialogue sections, interactive exercises and a mistakes overview that reminds you of your test mistakes for quicker progress. Premium membership rates vary between around EUR 15 and EUR 5 per month, depending on the length of time you want to join.
Unlike Livemocha.com, busuu does not offer private instructions, and the grammar material and advice are most useful when you pay for them within a premium membership. Via video chat application you can engage live with native speakers and make local friends while you learn German for free. You can find friends by country, by age range and gender (there are for example hundreds of Austrian members between 30 and 49 in the database, though unfortunately you can’t search by city!).
Livemocha.com is similar to Busuu.com. Beginners can for example sign up to a course, write exercises, record their own German voice and send it on to a native speaker member for review.
When I signed up to the system to help review German language submissions and connect with people, I was instantly pinged by a number of LiveMocha members who wanted to have a German conversation with me. If you want to take a step up from learning German for free, you can take paid private lessons with your own assigned private instructor, provided you are a GoldKey member. All course materials are developed by members for members, and technical support has been reported to be satisfactory (I haven’t needed it yet.)
Lang-8.com is another online language learning platform though this is pretty much stripped down to a blogging facility. With Lang-8, you learn German for free by submitting a blog post about a topic you like or contribute to an existing blog thread. The post is corrected by native speakers and sent back, detailing the corrections made. You develop your German for everyday conversations in an informal social setting: a recipe for slow but steady progress as the blogging is usually fun and can be addictive. (There is no speech recording facility to practice your pronunciation, though, as with Busuu and Livemocha.) I have seen a few blogs on certain German language related issues, and they differ greatly in terms of quality. The premium account is available from USD 5 per month or USD 45 per year. Your entries are prioritised, you can send an unlimited amount of messages per day, can conduct a personal journal search, get a personal URL, and can select more than two additional learning languages. As there is no basic instruction of the fundamentals you would find in text books or dictionaries (grammar, sentence structure, vocabulary) I would recommend the service for intermediate speakers who know the basics and now want to put them into practice with native speakers.