Maybe you have been in this situation in the past? – You are looking for the best learn German program on the internet and can’t figure it out. Between the fake reviews and the marketing of the language learning companies you are getting lost and confused. Prices can range from free learn German websites to pricy software programs of $500 and more.
Is pricier really better, or should you start for free?
While doing my research, I noticed that there are actually not too many learn German programs.
Who Are the Learn German Players Currently?
There is of course the market leader in marketing and assumable sales – Rosetta Stone. Starting at $274.00 for all 5 levels from the beginner level to expert level. You also have the option to buy their online version of the language course. A 12-months subscription runs at $299.00 regular price. This one definitely runs on the high end. From my personal experience as a tutor, I know that the Rosetta Stone language immersion method is great for learning the German pronunciation and builds vocabulary. The immersion teaching method is image based and does not provide any translations. Be aware, however, it lacks the teaching of German grammar and sentence structure.
Transparent Language is another well-known player and offers a really good beginner level with grammar resource guide, pronunciation and vocabulary training. You have 3 main options to learn the language:
A) Either as downloadable Complete Edition at $179.95 or
I’ve tried out their 6-day FREE trial for Transparent Online. Even though going through the letters was a bit dry in the beginning, I liked the quality of the language program. The backoffice is easy to manouver and contains features such as learning progress, self-tests, speech recognition (that really works!),downloadable PDFs for additional studies offline and much more. It teaches German within context, including translation, helping you to really understand the use of words and phrases. Transparent Online helps in two critical areas – listening comprehension and correct pronuncition. The “Learned Items Refresh System” is useful to help recall learned items.
BYKI®, their vocabulary trainer is great, produces fast results and makes that part fun. You receive it with their Complete Edition as well as Transparent Online or can purchase it separately at $7.99 as mobile app. I noticed that their customers reviews overall are really positive. The Transparent customer support is fast and knowledgeable. Grammar, vocabulary, reading, listening, and conversation practice is emphasized through German texts, videos, and stories.
Over all, Transparent Language is less expensive than Rosetta Stone, yet offers a lot more value. It works well for business use as well as German for travel. I personnally like the learning options, this program offers as well as the quality of their language teaching.
Then you have TellMeMore German. This learn German program also provides multiple learning options:
A) Learning software CD/DVD (starting at $229) v10.5 Software
B) Online lessons / exercises (starting at $42/month) with v10.5 Webpass
You receive several learning levels (beginner, intermediate, advanced). The language course teaches vocabulary, phrases and pronunciation. TellMeMore also offers a 7 day FREE trial. It is very comprehensive and for some people it can be overwhelming with all its features and various routes you can take while learning. You definitely should familiarize yourself with their instructions menu before getting started. Even though these language programs can be utilized for both – learning business as well as simple travel German, grammar and sentence structure are on the back burner. Other than that, it is a comprehensive, feature-rich, effective language program.
Rocket German is another one that’s been promoted all over the internet. It is one of those courses that puts you into a typical situation, e.g. at the airport, at the restaurant… You’re getting the story. The people speaking German in the audio, however, are not native speakers. It runs around $149.00 with specials at $99.95 on a promo basis. You can get a 6-day FREE trial. It is definitely not as sophisticated as the ones mentioned before and works more or less as an audio learning course with integrated games, quizzes and a vocabulary trainer. It targets language learners, who want to learn German for personal use and is not recommended for business use. For a detailed program review please go here.
GermanPod101 from Innovative Languages is worth a try. You can try it out for FREE and decide whether the approach works for you. This online course offers a boat load of audio and video lessons, which are also available via iOS, Andriod app as well as on itunes. The makers of this course constantly add lessons and content. They also offer a very useful newsletter that contains useful language hacks. Check out the GermanPod101 review for detailed info.
The Pimsleur German course set is another German CD program. It has a great approach but slightly boring for my taste. If you go for it please be aware of where you are buying it. The Pimsleur Approach, a reseller of the Pimsleur program has received extremely negative customer reviews. This Learn German program is solely an audio course, starting at $24.95 for the basic level.
Linguashop’s TeachMe German is a German based vendor, which is a positive for me. You get the German taught right from the source. The overall customer ratings are very positive. It contains a complete multimedia course with CD and CDrom and is targeted to the absolute beginner. I personally appreciate the fact that the course also teaches basic grammar and even includes voice recognition technology for pronunciation training. Prices start at $48.00 and are very reasonable for this kind of program.
I also ran across some more programs such as Surefire German, eLanguage German Essentials, Learn to Speak German, Cosmi Learn To Speak German Deluxe, Speak & Learn Germanby SelectSoft which are all priced between $10.00 and $60.00. There might be a few more.
To get a decent idea about how a product really works for people I went to Amazon and checked reviews. Some of them were pretty surprising to the negative as well as positive side.
There is one commonality for most of these learn German programs I noticed while doing me research: Many of them focus on vocabulary learning and leave German grammar and sentence structure on the sidelines. Those programs give you the fish but don’t teach you how to fish. In other words, you’ll be able to learn vocabulary really well, memorize phrases and even sentences but you still won’t know why certain endings occur in words or why words are put in a certain place in a sentence.
How would I start learning German?
Now, if I was to start learning German correctly I’d do the following: If it is a pricier program I’d go for a free trial and a demo. The ones on the lower end, I’d take a chance after checking the reviews and get a used copy on Amazon. It doesn’t matter if you have tried with little progress before.
I haven’t mentioned the free ones this time and will include them in my next post. But try them out and see how far you can get.
What is your personal learn German experience?
It would be great to know what your experiences have been related to Learn German programs as software or online. I look at it from a tutoring perspective but not as an actual student of the German language. I’m quite interested in your experience and perspective. Please let me know which learn German software or online program helped you the most and why?
Appreciate your honest input…Bis bald!