I can understand German when I read it. So, I started watching the Mad Man TV series with German subtitles and the show on mute. I write new words in a two-column Word document. I then try to learn the words.

However, is there any software which could also give me tests based on these words, and make the whole experience easier?


I really advise the use of Mnemosyne or Anki.

"Spaced Repetition" is really effective. The softwares mostly test the words (cards) you know the less, until you know them well, and then they test more rarely the words you do really know.

All is based on a self estimation for each tested word (card). The longer part is to fill the flash cards with your own proper words, sentences, rules what you want...

But it's really worth the effort.


Apart from repetitive software (I agree about Anki and Mnemosyna mentioned by @Stephane-Rolland )

I recommend to support it with Mnemonics (cheack out "see also" with other mnemonic systems).

I have good logical memory, so I like to take advantage of my logic memory, by remembering word relationships. For such purposes, I really recommend you Mindmapping techniques. My favourite software (because it's most efficient amoung other, when you learn just few key shortcuts) is Freemind (btw. it's Opensource and Crossplatform).

  • +1 for the Mindmap softwares... it's been months I am searching for one, and it having your preference, I'm really incline to give it a try. Aug 14 '12 at 17:55
  • @StephaneRolland happy to hear I could help. When trying Freemind, I really encourage to learn basic keyboard shortcuts. Freemind is Mindmapping software that needs a fewest keystrokes to achieve effect. Aug 14 '12 at 18:21

I've been using the dict.cc vocabulary trainer in the plus app https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/dict.cc+-dictionary/id521791825?mt=8 Also low tech solutions like keeping a notebook and flash cards.


There are three tricks IMO:

1.) Focus on the most frequently used words in German — not so much point in spending your early learning-time on fringe vocab to describe mermaids or friezes.

2.) Learn the gender of the noun at the same time (otherwise you'll curse yourself down the line since German grammar falls asunder when you don't know the correct der/die/das).

3.) Keep revising using some sort of spaced repetition algorithm that shows you each word at progressively longer intervals.

4) Be mindful of when a word is a compound (and look out for the root word within) - I find that making these kinds of connections eases memory (and, of course, you get the gender of the compound word "for free" since it's the same as the root word).

If you want to build your own lists using generic SRS flash-card software, go ahead and download Anki - it's cross-platform and really great.

If you want SRS software with a pre-built German word-list and special features for the German language (automatically shows compounds, explains the rules behind the genders, warns you when a word changes meaning with gender, etc), check out German Grammar Spy. (I was involved, but it's basically a passion/charity project.)

  • Buy an Archos 28 (Cheapest mobile device I found with anki mobile support)
  • Install Anki application on your desktop computer

  • Use a combination of the following to get your words

    • Forvo.com = natives say the words for you
    • Google images = correspond images to german words (no english!)
    • A dictionary website of choice (dict.cc recommended)
    • Lang-8.com = Corrections from natives
  • Install the anki mobile app on your archos device

  • Sync your anki desktop deck to the anki website, and Dropbox
  • Sync from Dropbox to your Archos mobile device

You can now consolidate the words you want to learn from your desktop or from the anki website, keep it all in sync with your Dropbox account, then sync to your mobile device and revise words on the fly in your daily life (on toilet / drunk in bar / eating lunch)

This method is really working for me.


I would suggest Memrise for several reasons:

  1. They provide an easy editor to copy and paste any two-column word list.
  2. You can add audio by recording it or by uploading MP3 files.
  3. They have a uservoice forum accepting your suggestions and letting you comment and vote on the ideas of other people.
  4. They are available mobile offline on Andoid and iOS as well as online with the web.
  5. You can share your courses.
  6. They are free but have paid features if you want to support them and analyze how you study.
  7. Their testing system is more quantitative because it generates questions that have an answer rather than asking you to rate yourself.
  8. They offer a way to add memorization techniques to help with challenging concepts. These are known as mems.
  9. They offer a way for teachers to setup a course and follow students.
  10. Their spaced repetition system is available on all the platforms and has a game-like feel where you plant ideas as seeds that grow into flowers that then need watering.
  • I have also used Memrise and it helped me a lot. Here, I have created my own courses and other people can also participate and learn together. Sep 15 '16 at 7:59

I've never tried it, but there is a free one you could try:

Interlex - The free Vocabulary Builder

Btw, I found it using this search on Google.


I had been using a very simple word reminder software of a single executable. It is free.

It has web interface to add words and then this software fetches from the site and displays one by one every 5 minutes.

Here is the link.


  • 1
    Is this software able to handle German special characters like äöüÄÖÜß? From their German localization I don't get the impression they do.
    – Takkat
    Jun 28 '13 at 18:04
  • also it says: "hich reminds you the English language words" that kinda excludes german.
    – Vogel612
    Jul 1 '13 at 8:56

If you happen to be using an Apple device like a Mac, iPhone or iPad, the app "Wokabulary" might offer what you need.

Wokabulary is a vocabulary trainer app that is intended for people who add their own words (it does not come with content).

It features:

  • flash card system based on difficulty
  • two quiz modes
  • statistics
  • syncing between devices using iCloud

It costs $9.99 (iPhone) / $24.99 (Mac) but can be downloaded and tested for free: https://wokabulary.com/

Disclaimer: I'm part of Wokabulary's development team

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