For our German courses here in Melbourne, we always recommend a few online tools that are an awesome support for our German classes. Those apps and websites will help us learn German, and remember everything we have learnt.
Flash cards will boost your German vocabulary
Let’s start with some flash card apps and websites. You know flash cards? Those shoe boxes with several full of cards, on one site they we wrote the a German word, say der Zug, on the other site of the card we wrote the train. All the new words were kept in the front of our box. Once we knew der Zug translates to the train, we put the card in the back and of our box. After a while and many new words, we got back to the backend and started again.
If you don’t remember those days, don’t worry. Flash cards are back again. Many websites and apps enable us do the same thing, just online or on your phone. We want to tell you about different flash card resources out there.
Why flash cards anyway? Flash cards are a proven way to learn (and remember) vocabulary. Apart from knowledge about grammar, vocabulary is what you need to be able to understand and speak a language. The more words, the easier it will be for you to speak German.
Why improving your vocabulary is important
When making your way around certain grammar topics, you will feel much more comfortable speaking when you have the right vocabulary ready to be used. The flash card system will help us
- learn the right vocabulary (common words everyone uses)
- learn the right vocabulary so it sinks in (repetition)
- learn the right vocabulary context (to see how the words are used)
- learn to write the vocabulary (they make you type the words in).
Studies suggest that the most 4000-5000 frequent words are enough to understand 80% of the most texts and conversations. 80% is quiet a lot and we should aim to archive that at first before we move on to climb the ladder further up. Among these 4000-5000 words, you will find words like der, die, das or das Haus as well. You may even know already a big chunk of those 5000 without even knowing. So don’t give up. Keep going and have fun learning with the following apps and websites.
Memrise.com is almost free as there are free and a premium accounts. It is also the most popular one, probably because it looks quite pretty. They even email you reminders to come back and repeat words you have learnt before.
Like at other flash card systems, you can set up your own vocabulary “courses” or -and this is the best part of it- can use courses others have set up.
Starting out, we want to focus on using courses other companies or individuals have put out there for everyone to use. We want to look for vocabulary courses like “5000 words sorted by frequency” or, if the number is a bit intermediating, how about the “1000 words of elementary German“. You don’t have to use exactly this course, feel free to browse through the German courses you can find.
If you are taking one of our German courses here in Melbourne, please ask for an invite to our course selection. We are happy to add you to our Memrise group.
You want the German course you find to have: articles (most important!), audio files (so you know how words are pronounced), example sentences (context is king) at best and a picture or memes you can link to words yourself. This app is for IOS and Android.
Quizlet.com is a flash card app and website similar to Memrise. It is not as pretty looking but completely free and absolutely as good as Memrise. A lot of universities and other language schools use them for their courses and their course books.
There is also a vocabulary course for the book series we use for our German courses, Lagune 1 – 3.
Go here and scroll down to the bottom of the page where it starts with Lagune 1 and pick the Lerneinheit (learn unit) you want to learn. You can take quizzes as well as play around with other learning techniques. An app is available for IOS and Android.
Lingua.ly is different to the other two in the way that it is basically an extension for your Google Chrome browser.
Once installed in your Chrome browser, you can go to any website, favourably a German one with German texts, and click on any German word to save exactly this word to your cloud. But it doesn’t stop here. The word you just clicked on will also be read out to you and you will be given a translation of the word. How good is that? You won’t even have to type or copy paste it into a dictionary website!
What we love about Lingua.ly is that you can collect the words about topics you are interested in and learn them later doing quizzes. Every word is also saved together with the sentence you found it in, so you will always have an example sentence that will give you an idea how the word is used. Lingua.ly is free and they provide an for IOS and Android.
Use a variety of resources when learning German
Alright, that was it. Have fun learning German.
Also, don’t forget, there is not only one way of learning another language.
If we get bored a bit, we just change how we learn. Go to different websites, read other texts. Do more of the listening exercises you’ve wanted to have a look at for ages before you go onto reading again. There are so many ways to learn, it would be too boring if we stuck to only one of them.
See you in your course!