Below is a list of online foreign language study resources for studying German, Japanese, and French as well as some general resources useful for learning any language. I assembled the list for my own use. I am sharing the list in the hopes that it is useful to other language students. Feel free to comment with any resources that you find useful. Thank you!
General And/Or Multiple Foreign Language Study Resources
Duolingo offers free classes in Spanish, Italian, German, Portuguese, and French. Other languages are in the works.
The Lang-8 platform allows you to blog in your target language and receive corrections from native speakers. In return, you build points by correcting blog entries from learners of your native language.
If you are interested in learning Spanish, check out Spanish Hackers! Jesse and Anthony review many of the current courses available and offer grammar tips and advice from fellow Spanish students.
FSI courses are public domain language courses produced by the United States Foreign Service Institute. The courses are older so they may not reflect modern slang. However, they are excellent for drilling and listening practice.
In addition to the major European languages, the BBC also offers language lessons for the languages of the British Isles, including Irish, Scottish Gaelic, Welsh, Cornish, Manx, and Guernésiais
How to Learn Any Language offers advice on how to choose a language to learn, rankings on difficulty for native English learners, and a wonderful forum.
Benny is a fellow vegetarian language learner. He travels the world learning new languages and blogs about his experiences.
Native Monks is a website that covers over 130 languages and provides lessons to students at home by connecting them with hundreds of tutors online.
Immigrants can face many challenges in learning a new language. The above website provides links to resources for immigrants seeking to learn the native language of their new country of residency.
German Language Resources
Emanuel’s blog is a great resource for German students at all levels. One of my favorite features is the Word of the Day feature. He goes into great detail about the history and various uses of each word that he features. Visitors have access to two free articles per week. If you become a site member, you have access to the entire archive of articles. For a good overview of the site contents, check out the online German course.
Nachrichten Leicht is a good starting point to start building vocabulary. This website gives a weekly summary of the news in simple German. If you are a beginning student who wants to start reading and listening to the news, pair Nachrichten Leicht with Langsam gesprochene Nachrichten.
Die Zeit is a weekly newspaper based out of Hamburg. The newspaper has the highest circulation among weekly newspapers in Germany. Die Zeit rates third behind Der Spiegel and Stern for highest subscription rates. Die Zeit is a good starting point for learning to read German newspapers.
Focus is one of three highly popular weekly news magazines in Germany. Positioned as the conservative competitor to Der Spiegel, Focus is worth reading for its own sake.
FAZ is one of the most respected newspapers in Germany. Because of Frankfurt’s position as a financial center for Germany, FAZ is well known for its finance articles. FAZ also covers local news to the Rhein-Main area as well as international news.
Based out of Zürich, Neue Zürcher Zeitung is a good not only for news from Switzerland but also international news as well. Because of the importance of Switzerland in international monetary markets, NZZ is a great complement to FAZ for financial news in German.
Der Standard is one of the most important newspapers in Austria. Originally started as a financial newspaper, Der Standard has a left liberal stance.
In this podcast, Annik Rubens speaks slowly about daily life in Germany. The Absolute Beginner category is especially helpful if you are a new German student. The podcast has a basic (free) as well as a premium version. Subscribers to the premium version get vocabulary lists and exercises as well.
Deutsche Welle has a daily news podcasts which gives the highlights of the daily news in slowly spoken German. The podcast also includes a transcript of a text. Use Langsam gesprochene Nachrichten to improve your speaking comprehension.
Duden is the best German-German dictionary on the internet. Higher level German students should start with Duden when looking up unfamiliar vocabulary.
Beolingus is my favorite German-English dictionary. In addition to having a large database of vocabulary, Beolingus also has example sentences for many entries. The example sentences are helpful for learning vocabulary in context and deducing the meaning of similar words.
The German language course is a good free language course for beginner German students.
Mein Sprachportal is Austria’s German course designed for immigrants to Austria who need to learn German. The site is open to immigrants who are living in Austria currently as well as German learners who are living abroad.
Deutsche Welle has a wide range of German courses ranging from beginner to advanced. I recommend Deutsche Welle as a resource to all German students. The Top-Thema video series is great for intermediate students. The series features current events as well as slices of life in Germany.
Bruce Duncan’s site is part of the German Studies program at Dartmouth. The site contains reviews of several components of German grammar including gender, tenses, and word order.
The University of Texas website takes a humorous approach to learning German grammar. The grammar guide features characters from Grimm’s fairy tales who walk you through various aspects of German grammar.
CanooNet is a German language grammar and dictionary site. Some interesting features are the overview of the Rechtscreibung rules and the Wortbildung function. The Wortbildung function is helpful for learning the rules for how to build compound words in German.
The Mittelpunkt textbook series is designed for German as a second language learners within Germany. These textbooks are entirely in German which makes them great for intermediate German learners. The link above contains several online exercises associated with the textbooks.
Jenny’s videos are helpful because content is rated according to CEFR level. Each video also has exercises to test your understanding.
Tour Germany with Cari and learn what Germans think about various topics. In this podcast, Germans on the street are interviewed on a wide variety of subjects. The podcast is great for building listening comprehension. You are listening to native Germans speaking at a normal pace. The podcast also includes German and English subtitles. All German students should enjoy Easy German.
Julia has created several German Youtube courses. The courses range from beginner level to intermediate and advanced courses. She also has a short Business German (Handelsdeutsch) course.
The Goethe Institut certifications are the most widely recognized tests for proficiency in German. However, depending on your goal, a different test such as the TestDaF might fit your needs better. All German proficiency tests will test reading, speaking, writing and listening ability. Use the links above to improve each of these categories. To familiarize yourself with some of the kinds of exercises that you will see on a proficiency test, use the links below.
Schubert contains several online exercises designed to accompany their German as a second language texts. The exercises are also helpful for practicing for the TestDaF or Goethe Institut certifications.
The ÖSD series of exams span the entire range of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. These tests were developed by Austria as certifications for German proficiency. The website contains practice material for all of the exams.
About.com’s German page is a great resource for looking up questions about grammar.
Japanese Language Resources
Khatzumoto’s approach is intense. I do have some disagreements with his method, but I do agree with his focus on making learning fun and trying to immerse yourself in the language as much as possible.
Tae Kim’s guide is one of the best Japanese language resources on the internet.
Weblio’s Translate function is excellent because it gives example sentences which help determine if you are using an ambiguous word correctly.
Human Japanese is an excellent Japanese learning app that is available on multiple platforms. They now have an intermediate version as well. This is one of my favorite Japanese learning tools.
Kanji Koohii is a great resource for learning the Kanji using the Heisig Method.
JapanesePod 101 is a series of podcasts designed to teach you Japanese. I also recommend that you sign up for the daily vocabulary email.
NihongoPeraPera focuses on tips for self-study and passing the Japanese language proficiency test. I give Patrick credit for introducing me to Kanji in Context.
I use Rikaichan to read Japanese language webpages as well as to learn vocabulary and add sentences to my flashcards for learning. Rikaichan is a plugin which integrates a Japanese dictionary into your web browser so that you can mouse over a word and read its translation as well as the pronunciation in hiragana or katakana.
Rikaichan has also been ported to Chrome.
Hiragane Megane adds hiragana on top of kanji on webpages. Don’t use this as a crutch. When you encounter kanji that you are unfamiliar with, create a flashcard on Anki or your SRS of choice. Copy over the sentence as well as the hiragana reading and learn the kanji in context.
Each week a Japanese teacher posts a blog entry about Japan and its culture in Japanese. The entries are broken into three parts: kanji, kanji with hiragana, and an English translation.
A children’s version of the popular Asahi Shinbun. The articles are lighthearted and content is available at elementary and middle school levels.
Tom Ray has a great page of bilingual texts of Japanese children’s stories. The translations are designed to be as literal as possible.
French Language Resources
French is my newest language so I apologize for the lack of links compared to German and Japanese. If you have any suggestions for resources, I welcome them!
A wonderful resource for both beginner and advanced learners. Angel’s site features advice for learning French as well as general language learning resources.