There are a number of different ways to learn German, but not all of them are created equal. Some people prefer to use online platforms, others like audio or video lessons, and others use language apps.
Regardless of which way you choose, it’s always beneficial to mix the different methods – it’s especially beneficial to add one or two textbooks to your language learning process. But with the amount of books for learning German available on the market, it can be tough to make a choice. Don’t worry, though – we’re here to help.
The best books for learning German will vary depending on the individual learner. However, some textbooks are better than others and can make the process of learning German easier. In this article, we will explore seven of these books and explain which skills each of them will help you improve. Read on.
For Complete Beginners
When you're a beginner learning German, the sheer volume of information you have to deal with can be overwhelming. Textbooks can be a great way to help you get started on the right foot. They can provide a structured foundation for your learning, and can also help you to become familiar with the language and its grammar.
Here are the best three books we recommend to start your learning journey with:
1. The Everything Learning German Book
The Everything Learning German Book is a comprehensive textbook that can help beginners to get the basic skills. If you want to learn how to ask simple questions, introduce yourself, and describe your appearance, this is the perfect book for you.
Apart from simple German vocabulary, you will also find the basic grammar rules here as well as numerous exercises and follow-up questions for every lesson. The book also includes a CD with audio lessons, so you can work on your pronunciation and listening skills from the very beginning.
Additionally, this German textbook is written in a friendly tone that suggests the content is intended for everyone, not just kids. It also explains the similarity between German and English, which will make your learning process much easier.
2. Living Language German
Tired of taking German classes and not seeing any results? You're not alone. A lot of people find traditional German classes to be dry, boring, and ineffective. Living Language German is different.
It's a light-hearted and fun guide that will teach you everything you need to know about the German language – from grammar and vocabulary to common phrases and conversational skills.
This book is perfect for both beginners and advanced German learners. Living Language German is a comprehensive course that includes three books, nine audio CDs, and an online training course.
The authors also use the trademarked Living Language method, with four steps to complete: Building a Foundation, Progress with Confidence, Retaining What You’ve Learned, and Achieving Your Goals. All this is based on linguistic science and proven learning techniques, so with Living Language German, you should become fluent in written and spoken German in no time.
3. Cafe in Berlin by Andre Klein
If you're looking for a more creative and fun way to learn German, you should check out the book Cafe in Berlin. This textbook is written by German author Andre Klein and provides learners with numerous short stories set in different cafes in Berlin. Each story is accompanied by a list of comprehension questions, exercises and cultural notes.
We have already mentioned this book in our article about the best German short stories – but apart from being a good reading material, it also works well as a textbook. If you want to start reading more in German, or wish to learn more about German culture, or dream about reading German literature in its original language, this is a good place to start.
For Intermediate Learners
Textbooks can be extremely helpful for intermediate German learners. They provide a wealth of exercises and activities to help you improve your grammar, vocabulary, and reading comprehension skills. Additionally, they can help you work on the topics you’re less familiar with, and build up on the foundation you already have.
Here are our top 2 choices of German learning books for intermediate learners:
4. German All-in-One for Dummies
This is one of the best German textbooks for people who dive deeper into the language and make their learning process more effective. German All-in-One for Dummies is a complete course that covers all aspects of the language, from grammar rules and vocabulary to common phrases and conversational skills.
The book is 720 pages long and covers the complexities of German grammar with verb tables. It also helps you learn to communicate with people in different industries in German.
The book includes a CD with more than 25 audio recordings that should be used hand-in-hand with the textbook if you want to grasp the proper pronunciation and boost your listening skills.
5. German Grammar & Practice (Collins)
This is one of the most popular German textbooks among intermediate learners. German Grammar & Practice covers the more advanced grammar topics, such as adjective endings, cases, tenses, or adverbs.
In each chapter, you will find every grammar point explained with clear examples and numerous exercises. You don't have to follow it chapter by chapter – feel free to hop around and learn whatever you need at the moment.
This book is a perfect grammar dictionary, and even when you move to the advanced level, it’s good to keep at hand – to remind yourself about the rules or more detailed grammar points. Nevertheless, it might be challenging to work with if you're not a fan of grammar. In that case, make sure to use it with another textbook – for example, the German for Dummies.
For Advanced Learners:
Advanced German learners can continue to improve their fluency and fill in the gaps in their knowledge with textbooks.
In addition to the books mentioned above, here are some other recommendations:
6. Living German by Ed Swick
This is one of the most popular textbooks among advanced German learners. At this level, you already know all the basic German grammar rules, vocabulary, and feel comfortable holding a basic conversation in German. Learning with simple exercises doesn't cut it – so now it's time to start living in the German language and immerse yourself in it.
The book focuses on brushing up your current knowledge of German, boosting your skills as much as possible, and working on fluent interactions with people. With the help of Living German, you should see a lot of improvements in speaking this language.
The CD alternates talking and listening, and exercises have keys that let you check your answers, which makes this textbook a perfect choice both for learning by yourself and in class.
7. Hammer’s German Grammar and Usage
This is one of the best German grammar books available, making it a perfect choice for advanced learners. It covers all aspects of German grammar in great detail, including verb conjugation, noun declension, and sentence structure. A huge advantage of this book is that all examples are taken from contemporary German, so you can work directly with the real-life language.
The book also covers spelling reform and the topic of evolved spelling over the year, which is why it's a great tool for working on your writing skills as well.
A clear format with lucid descriptions will make the comprehension as easy as possible even when it comes to the most challenging topics, and the grammar reference area will give you the possibility to check your current usage of German words. All in all, Hammer's German Grammar and Usage is probably the most comprehensive grammar guide for advanced German learners.
Choose Your Textbooks, Boost Your German
Learning a new language is never easy, but it's worth the effort. Whether you want to brush up on your skills or learn from scratch, textbooks can be an excellent way of practicing and improving what you know about German grammar before moving onto more advanced materials.
If this sounds like something that might interest you – which we hope it does! – then why not check out some of the best books to learn German that we've listed above?
Nevertheless, remember that key to becoming fluent in a foreign language is regular practice. The more you use your German, the better you get at it! Try to find a German-speaking partner to practice with, or look for German meetups in your area. You can also try listening to German podcasts or watching German TV shows and movies.
The options are endless – so get started today, and who knows where your new language skills might take you?