Babbel is one of the fastest growing language learning programs available online. You can access it on the App Store (through the link above), and if you’d rather use it on your computer, there’s an option for that, too.
Like some of the other applications mentioned below, it’s a complete program that turns your iPhone into a digital classroom. With Babbel, you have access to a wide range of German speaking, reading, writing and grammar courses for all types of skill levels.
What makes Babbel different from some of the other German apps out there is its natural approach to learning the language. While you’ll be exposed (given access) to thousands of vocabulary words and expressions, the dialogues are modern and realistic. This means that you’re also exposed to slang and informal speech as you work through each course.
Tip: Because Babbel is packed with useful and important information, you can improve your German by using it without any other resource. But if you really want to take your German a level up, try using it to help you reinforce (strengthen) what you’re learning from other resources, like German textbooks or different courses.
FluentU is perfect for the German language learner who’s looking for a truly immersive and complete learning experience. It’s based around real-world videos, like the kind of videos you can find and watch on YouTube, including movie trailers, news and more. You can use FluentU on your iPhone or on the website.
The app is filled with fun and informative activities that create the perfect blend of entertainment and education. FluentU is also great because it allows you to learn German in a natural way. Instead of having to memorize vocabulary and grammar rules, you’re able to see how the language is used naturally by native German speakers.
While it might be hard to understand native German in real life, FluentU includes interactive captions with each video, so you can follow along. If you’re having trouble understanding the words in a video, you can easily pause and tap on a word for a definition and image, plus examples. In addition, all the videos are divided into levels, and the program recommends more videos based on what you’re already learning.
Tip: Consider getting FluentU’s Plus plan, which gives you access to personalized quizzes and flashcards. You’ll be able to practice the words you’re learning across different videos, and you can keep getting new quizzes that test you on the words for as long as you need them.
Duolingo is a popular language learning app available for iOS and Android devices. With Duolingo, you’re able to turn your iPhone into a language learning lab where you can learn the basics of German vocabulary, grammar, listening and speaking through activities and flashcards.
Tips: If you want to maximize the effectiveness of Duolingo, try making sentences from the vocabulary words as you learn them. When you create sentences in the app, be sure to repeat them out loud.
While Duolingo is great for vocabulary building and learning the basics of the German language, it doesn’t have much to offer advanced speakers.
AnkiApp is a powerful study tool that allows you to create customized flashcard decks and use them to help you study.
The thing that sets Anki apart from some of the other programs on the App Store is that Anki works with all platforms, including your computer or your friend’s Android phone. You can also customize existing decks or design your own, and can even insert pictures and sounds into each card.
Another great thing about Anki is that you’re in control of what you learn, so it’s perfect for every German learner regardless of skill level.
You can try it out by adding some of the important words, phrases and grammar rules you’ve been learning into a custom-built deck. Alternatively, you can visit the AnkiWeb site and download shared decks for free if you don’t feel like making your own.
Tip: AnkiApp is a free study tool. If you come across a similar product named AnkiMobile on the App Store that costs money, don’t download it. It’s not the same product.
Your Podcast App
Did you know that the podcast app that comes with your iPhone can be turned into an awesome language learning tool?
Podcasts stand out from other streaming services for a couple of reasons. For starters, when you subscribe to a podcast, you’re automatically notified when a new video or audio clip has been uploaded. Also, you can change your podcast settings to either stream content or download clips to your iPhone, which is great if you want to learn German when you don’t have WiFi access.
If you’re looking for a completely new way to learn German, Tandem is just the app for you. Unlike language learning programs on the App Store that teach you through approaches like flashcards and word problems, Tandem gives you a one-on-one language exchange with a native speaker.
What’s nice about Tandem is that all new users are assessed (looked at and considered based on certain information) by a moderator upon signing up to make sure that they’re serious about learning German. Once you’ve been approved, Tandem will help connect you with a speaker (who you can schedule a time to chat with by video, voice or text), who they select based on your skill level and interests.
Tandem is unique in that the app is designed to make conversations go as smoothly as possible. You don’t have to worry about any awkward conversations like you might have with language exchanges on WhatsApp or Skype. Before scheduling your conversation, you and the other speaker can select specific topics to talk about so that you begin ready to talk!
Tip: If you want to take your German learning to the next level, try studying or brushing up on your set conversation topic before the scheduled language exchange conversation.
When it comes to writing out long, complex sentences, Google Translate makes a good number of mistakes. But if you’re looking for a quick definition of a word or you want to hear how something is pronounced in German, this app can be especially useful.
Tip: Think of Google Translate as more of a dictionary tool (instead of a language learning app). Next time you’re reading a story in German and you don’t know what a certain word means, try putting it in Google Translate and seeing the definition in your language.
Quora is a social media platform where people ask questions and experts respond with their answers. If you have any questions regarding German or anything else, Quora is a great place to look. The people who answer questions on Quora tend to put a lot of time and effort into giving well thought out responses and are happy to assist you.
Tip: The other benefit of Quora is that you’re able to leave comments just like you can on Facebook or Instagram, so you can also use it to improve your written conversations. If you know the answer to a question someone else asked, try writing your own response. If you’re one of the top respondents, your answer will be “upvoted” to the top of the page.
The best way to improve your German proficiency is to take a balanced learning approach, and that requires stepping away from the textbooks every now and then.
As you can see, there’s no shortage of useful apps to improve your studies and help you master German with the iPhone.