The Web can be an invaluable resource for learning a foreign languageif you know how to take advantage of this electronic treasure trove. Below we offer some suggestions for getting the most out of German on the World Wide Web. Let's start with the various categories of Web resources for German. The Web offers several different types of language resources:
Authentic Language Sources
This important category includes many subcategories that offer the Web surfer access to authentic German in written or spoken form. The growth of online audio and video in the last few years has been striking, and it offers the German-language learner a unique opportunity to hear German that didn't even exist a short time ago! Here are just a few of the categories for authentic German online: (1) live radio broadcasts or sound clips, (2) streaming video, (3) newspaper and magazine articles, (4) German literature online, and (5) many other Austrian, German, and Swiss Web sites in German and for almost any interest. Whether you are a beginner or a more advanced learner, there are many ways to use the Web to your advantage to help you learn German. If you're still a beginner in German, see A Beginner's Guide to Following the News in German.
All German-learners are welcome in our two About Chat Rooms for German. You can join people like you who are also learning German. We offer a wide range of chat opportunities, from chat for beginners to live German-only chat. If your skills are up to it, you may wish to join in our authentic German chats with Germans in Germany. Things go awfully fast, but you can always just "listen."
Exchange information and tips about learning German in our German Forum 1 or im Deutschen Forum 2. The forums are an online bulletin board where you can read messages in German or English concerning the study of German and other topics. We even have native-speakers who drop in from Germany and other places to help those who are trying to learn their language. The forums require membership, but it's free and very simple to join. You can also drop by as a guest with read-only privileges before becoming a forum member.
Online Pen Pals (E-Pals, Keypals)
The old days of communicating with a pen pal via slow postal mail (even air mail takes a week or two minimum to make a round trip) are gone. Although there are still times when the traditional postal method makes sense (for photos, gifts, etc.), the advantages of email have made it a very popular way of enhancing language learning. An email exchange is a very good way to expand and maintain your German skills. (See our links for Pen Pals to connect with online e-pal organizations.)
Online Courses and Resources
The Web has become a popular platform for language-learning instruction. Because it is both an audio and a visual medium, the Web is in many ways ideally suited to offer online instruction. This category includes both free and fee courses, dictionaries, grammar guides, and other resources for learners of German. (See our links for Online Courses - including our own German for Beginners course, Dictionaries, and Grammar for sites in this category.)
Many language schools and organizations that offer German language instruction at home or abroad have Web sites that offer information about courses, schedules, costs, and often even a registration form. (See our links for Language Schools and Language Organizations.)
Most vendors and makers of language-learning and translation software have Web sites with information and, quite often, even demos or samples of their products. See our Software links to connect with software.
Computer translation, either online or software-based still has a L-O-N-G way to go! That said, it can be both fun (sometimes ridiculous!) and useful to get a "draft" translation. We link to Web sites that can do a quick translation. (Don't expect too much!) For more, see our Translation links and our special Text Translation page.
In addition to the links cited above, see the "Subjects" links on the left and the "Related Resources" above.
Also see: German and Your PDA