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I recently finished an evening class in beginners German (Common European Framework A1/A2), and plan to take an intermediate class in September.

I don't want to slip out of practice over the summer. What are the best online resources to enable to practice and develop my German until my classes start again?

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Not online, but have you heard about Spaced Repetition Software? I find it invaluable for learning vocabulary, which probably should be a priority at your level. Try the software "Anki". :) –  Stovner May 26 '11 at 19:18

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Something I've found effective with language learning at a beginner level is looking for Disney songs on You Tube. They're generally good idiomatic translations and it's easy subject matter that you may well be familiar with. Comparing the lyrics to work out where the translations are quite literal and where something has been said in a very different way can give you a good insight into how ideas can be expressed differently.

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At first I thought it might be a good idea to look at children's material, e.g.:

http://www.wdr.de/themen/kultur/rundfunk/kinder_links/

A popular show for kids is "Die Sendung mit der Maus", but I looked at it, and it is a lot sillier than I remember from my childhood.

Another show for slightly older children is "Wissen macht Ah!" (translation attempt: Knowledge makes "I see"!). This show was not around when I was a kid. It seems slightly more serious. (At least the parts where they explain stuff)

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I've used Babbel and I've learned beginner level alone. (A1/A2) It has very useful lessons for this level in German. I try to talk with Germans, It's a great practice to improve your skills e.g. writing sentences, try to use what you've learned.

It doesn't seem very well but I guarantee it will work.

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Are using the babbel website? I've been using the babbel iPhone app which seems to be good for developing vocab around specific topics. –  Twelve47 May 25 '11 at 20:41
    
@Twelve47: Yes and it really helped me. –  user128 May 25 '11 at 20:48

you might find something here:

http://www.learn-german-online.net/learning-german-resouces/grammatik.htm

Also, you could try to find a German email/chat partner somewhere on the web. :)

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One thing I've found useful is to listen to German music. Some bands I can think of right off are die Prinzen, Rosenstolz, Wir Sind Helden, Blumchen, and die Wise Guys.

Obviously, you can go to youtube and search for music videos, but you can also go to last.fm (and probably lots of other internet radios) and type in "German music" and hear all sorts of different types of music.

You may well have a lot of trouble keeping up (It took me years before I could really understand all the words in "Kuessen Verboten"...) but if you keep listening and trying to understand when you don't have something else to focus on, you'll be surprised at just what you've picked up.

Of course, a lot of German bands do their thing in English, but that's what the "ban" button on last.fm is for. :)

Here's a link to a "german music" station I just created. http://www.last.fm/listen/globaltags/german%20music

EDIT: And look what I've just found... http://www.multilingualbooks.com/online-radio-music-alternative.html. I have no idea if it's any good, but it looks promising. :)

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+1 for the music idea. I'm actually currently listening to the French Scala songs for the same reason, though French is a little bit harder, because sung it is different from spoken. I'd add Juli and Silbermond to the bands; Austrian singer Christina Stürmer may also be a good resource (no dialect though (; ). And, because I like them, the German songs from Scala are also great, they're an interesting mix through German lyrics landscape (try Hungriges Herz for an idea of what to expect, it's definitely not for everyone). –  OregonGhost May 26 '11 at 18:16

I just found http://www.italki.com/

It seems like a good really good way to find online pen pals to practice with.

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Skype! :)
The best way of learning a language when you're not able to be 'there'.

(I'm currently learning a new language over Skype, I have never seen my teacher yet but I have never learned a language that fast.)

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You do need to find someone to be at the other end of the call though ;-) –  Twelve47 May 25 '11 at 21:23

I find the German section of about.com excellent. They have grammar and vocabulary lessons accompanied by exercises, but the real goodies are found in the audio lab. Try listening to the audio of "Die Bremer Stadtmusikanten" while reading the transcript!

The section of "Deutsche Welle" for German learners has got audio and video as well, and you can sort the material by difficulty (A1/A2/B1/etc.).

For learning grammar, try the Grimm Grammar made by the University of Texas.

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+1! I've used all of these at one time or another. :) –  kitukwfyer May 26 '11 at 23:27
    
Amen to Deutsche Welle. Their website has a WEALTH of downloadable material, for print and audio. They also have a daily news podcast in slow, simple German, for beginners. –  Sean May 31 '11 at 22:13
up vote 5 down vote accepted

Collected Answers:

  • about.com -They have lessons of grammar and vocabulary accompanied by exercises, but the real goodies are found in the audio lab. Try listening to the audio of "Die Bremer Stadtmusikanten" while reading the transcript!
  • Babbel - Cheap online learning and an iPhone app
  • Deutsche Welle - for German learners has got audio and video, and you can sort the material by difficulty (A1/A2/B1/etc.).
  • Disney Songs on YouTube - They're generally good idiomatic translations and it's easy subject matter that you may well be familiar with.
  • German Music - e.g. Prinzen, Rosenstolz, Wir Sind Helden, Blumchen, and die Wise Guys. or Last.fm
  • Grimm Grammar - made by the University of Texas.
  • iTalki - a way to find online pen pals to practice with.
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If you can, the best way to learn is to speak it. Find a German, they're elusive creatures, but out there. Check out /r/penpals on reddit, lots of Germans there. If you're near a university, check out their German department, most have a Stammtisch, where you can practice your German. Otherwise I'd highly recommend:

News/TV: Arte7 (if that works in your country), Tageschau, Spiegel, Süddeutsche.

Radio stations: Fm4 (that's in Austria, but it's half English, half German), but it has a lot of awesome tunes too.

Movies: If you seek, you shall find. Almanya - Willkommen in Deutschland was super sweet, and a great commentary on Turkish immigration. Soul Kitchen was also a nice movie. And if you like romantic comedies (not my thing, but maybe yours) then anything with Til Schweiger is for you.

Music: I'd recommend this, but at the same time, it won't really help you unless you look up the lyrics, and most of the time there aren't good translations to help. Though, Rammstein fans have translated everything, and very well, at Herzeleid.com, the lead singer also has a pretty clear voice and sings relatively slowly. Bela B. also sings quite slow, but translations are pretty hard to find, so you'll have to translate it yourself. Listening to music mostly helped me with pronunciation.

Viel Spaß beim Lernen!! Grüße, G

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