Learning a new language is often considered a costly task and people spend tons of money on buying books, courses, taking daily German lessons or paying for audio tapes, video lessons and so forth. Now, there’s an alternative to all of this: free language lessons online.
Not all languages can be learnt online. It depends on what you’re trying to learn and what your mother tongue is or what other languages you’re already familiar with. For example, learning Chinese online won’t be as easy as learning German through the same methods. Chinese requires more careful assimilation of grammar rules, vocabulary and learning steps whereas German can be learn more “freely” (and I’m not talking just about the financial costs). If you’re reading this, you’re either at least moderately familiar with English, or English is your mother tongue and this is a good starting point to learn German online, since there are a lot of connections that can be made between the two languages.
With German becoming an increasingly important language on the international stage, more and more people leave their course books behind and seek out websites that can offer free language lessons online. They’re faster, more convenient, you can go through them from the comfort of your own home and most importantly, they are much easier to assimilate, since an online lesson, unlike a course book for example, can combine visual and audio elements to make your learning process faster. In the past, this was not possible as websites were pretty blunt back then, they were just “clones” of course books with text, text and more text.
With the increased interactivity offered by many language learning sites out there, you can take online quizzes, play language games on the Internet, or on some sites, take audio/video lessons like you would from an audio or video tape. Forget about wasting time going to your local store, buying the tape, buying a good stereo and a set of headphones – now you have all these bundled up for free on the Internet. Technology is a blast, isn’t it?
Many websites (such as Internet Polyglot for example) offer a wide variety of methods to learn German, ranging from standard basic-to-advanced lessons, to word memorization games, text-video quizzes (like the ones that have you attach a specific word to a specific image – sort of like an interactive flashcard game) and so forth. Using games to increase German vocabulary or strengthen your grammar rules is also a solid option. Although many consider these games “childish”, they’re actually quite important and efficient, since you’re learning while having fun and we all know that this is a major boost to assimilating new words naturally.
One good tip would be to try and find quizzes and games that don’t simply use words. Sure, you can easily memorize a few words each day, but they won’t be “printed” in your memory as strongly as if you would have something visual attached to them. Our brain holds visual images much longer in our memory than simple strings of characters and words, so it’s a good idea to associate a picture to each word. When learning German, it’s even easier to do this since German has a lot of cognates with English (words that look or sound alike in the two languages and that share a common meaning) so you can stamp the English word instead of a visual image to the new word.
However, watch out for false cognates as they can be quite misleading. False cognates are words that sound or look alike in both languages, but their meaning is completely different, so if you don’t learn to spot them, you could be using words in completely inappropriate contexts. Fortunately, the list of false cognates is not that high between English and German, but it’s still a good idea to learn these exceptions by hard.
I’ll leave it to you to find the right websites for learning German online, but know that you shouldn’t just settle for the first one you find. Try learning from two sources and go through several websites before settling in on these two. In most cases, this will offer you a more complete coverage of the German language.
Increase your German language vocabulary at German lessons at Internet Polyglot by playing online games.