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Language learning

Language learning takes many shapes and forms. A lot of it can be done with using good online language learning sites (see below, under self help), but books still have their place. 

Recommended books

Make sure that you have the books recommended for Use of German (GeB1) and Translation from German (GeB2).

It is also essential that you have access to the following dictionaries:

  • a good German-English/English-German dictionary containing around 200,000 items of vocabulary (ie not a concise dictionary) eg Collins German-English/English-German Dictionary or the Oxford-Duden German Dictionary (preferably an edition including the new spelling reforms)
  • a good English dictionary, eg Collins English Dictionary or the New Concise Oxford Dictionary

The following books are also recommended:

  • M Durrell, K Kohl & G Loftus, Essential German Grammar, (2002)
  • M Durrell, Using German. A Guide to Contemporary Usage, (1992)
  • M Durrell, Using German Synonyms, (2001)
  • A Künzl-Snodgrass & Silke Mentchen, Upgrade Your German (2003)
  • A Künzl-Snodgrass & Silke Mentchen, Speed up your German (2017)

Useful reference works:

  • Langenscheidt, Basic German Vocabulary
  • Wahrig, Deutsches Wörterbuch (a user-friendly German-German dictionary)
  • Duden, Deutsches Universalwörterbuch
  • Duden, Richtiges und gutes Deutsch
  • Duden, Stilwörterbuch

The Department of German & Dutch has an excellent collection of yet more German reference books in the MML Library. Besides all the standard dictionaries you will find there not only a range of philosophical and historical ones, but also some more unusual ones which should make browsing in this section very enjoyable.

Self help

What you get out of your German Language work depends a great deal on what you put in independently of your teachers’ instructions. The following may help you improve your German on a day-to-day basis:

  • On this page you will find a large selection of online language learning and other resources for you to browse through and work with at different times and stages in your course.
  • The Cambridge University German Society puts on interesting events and holds a regular Stammtisch which will put you in touch with German native speakers. It has also in the past produced German plays. You could take a lead. Becoming a member is essential!
  • German films are often shown by the German Society or by Lectors, and there is a good selection of DVDs in the Faculty Library.
  • The online resources of the Cambridge University Language Centre are well worth exploring, particularly ‘Just-in-time Grammar’, an extensive interactive German grammar revision programme. The Language Centre’s Language Learning Adviser in may be able to pair you off with a German native speaker keen to swap conversation sessions - don't be shy!
  • Above all, keep a regular written record of the new words and phrases meet every day - including the gender and plural of all nouns - and of the context in which you find them.

Latest News

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Prof Mark Chinca will be one of Melvyn Bragg’s guests on BBC Radio 4 In Our Time this Thursday at 9:00am, when the programme will be discussing medieval Germany’s most famous and notorious epic, the Nibelungenlied. Listen online here .

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2 November 2022

We are delighted to announce that Helena de Guise, one of last year’s Part II students, has won the Thomas Mann Prize of the English Goethe Society for her essay 'Ein ‘Platz an der Sonne’ ohne Sonnenbrand: Understanding Irony in Thomas Mann’s Der Tod in Venedig (1912), Unordnung und frühes Leid (1925), and Mario und der...

Radio: Dr Sharma on multilingualism and migration in Germany

29 September 2022

We are delighted to announce that our Teaching Associate in German Linguistics, Abhimanyu Sharma was recently interviewed by the Bayerischer Rundfunk. You can listen to the report on multilingualism and migration in Germany here . Dr Sharma is interviewed at around 00:21:00.

Applying to Cambridge

Information for prospective applicants thinking of studying German at Cambridge.

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Cambridge Online German for Schools

Cambridge Online German for Schools (COGS) is a core element of the Cambridge German Network

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