I am looking out for self-study German books targeted for beginners. Please help me to compile a good list of titles worth buying.

  • 1
    Have a look at this question. The question is for intermediate learners rather than for beginners, but you (or someone who just found your question) may still get something out of it. Commented Jun 2, 2011 at 10:24
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    Please define: "beginner", "good", "worth buying". All of these are highly subjective.
    – RegDwight
    Commented Jun 2, 2011 at 10:44
  • @OregonGhost: Going through the link, I came to find that the post was discussing more on books like novels and short stories targeted more towards more matured users. Can you please help me to point out any materials for beginners like me?
    – AbrahamJP
    Commented Jun 2, 2011 at 10:57
  • @AbrahamJP: Now that you say it, I think I took the word self-study in your question too broad, sorry :) Commented Jun 2, 2011 at 11:01
  • @RegDwight: Did you mean "Please define:" keywords in the sense as tags? If yes, I tried adding the following terms into the tags section like "Books", "Self-Study" etc.. but as I was not having enough points tag creation failed.
    – AbrahamJP
    Commented Jun 2, 2011 at 11:01

1 Answer 1


Langenscheidt's "Basic German Vocabulary" is a tool for building your vocabulary, and I must emphasize that it is not a dictionary. It contains the 4000 words that most frequently occur in written German divided into categories. Each category is again divided in two, with the most frequently occurring words first and the more esoteric ones last. Each entry contains the following:

  • English and German translation of the word
  • An example sentence in both English and German
  • IPA of the German word
  • and also all kinds of auxiliary information like gender, irregularities, cases, and so on

Here's an example entry from the category "Ordnung und Einteilung":

entsprechend [ɛntˈʃpʀɛçənt]

Präp. (+gen)

Alle Angestellten werden entsprechend ihrer Leistung bezahlt.

according to

All employees will be paid according to their work.

I have been studying with this book for almost 200 days and will soon finish it. Before starting I could read nothing in German without a dictionary, and now I hardly need a dictionary at all when reading, because the few words I do not understand can be understood from the context.

I suggest using any kind of "spaced repetition software", like Anki, to learn the words.

It's also cheap. I picked it up for 12€.

There is a corresponding "Übungsbuch" ("workbook"), which I have not tried. From personal experience I would say that it is not necessary.

  • I just got Basic German Vocabulary. Browsing through it, the vocabulary seems neatly and logically organised. Definitely recommended for expanding your vocabulary.
    – Tim
    Commented Jun 3, 2011 at 19:54

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