If you study German on your own, German language discussion forums are among the few places where to interact with other language enthusiasts. They bring together German students and German language experts willing to provide free advice on language specific topics. Moreover, German language learning forums are a unique opportunity to meet like-minded German learners from all over the world and share personal tips and experiences with learning German as a foreign language, and to find friends for informal chat or email conversation. Also, German learners’ forums are a great place where to ask for opinions and seek help when having problems with translating uncommon German words and phrases or complicated sentences. Apart from linguistic themes, some forums also allow discussing various other topics related to Germany such as seeking work or flatmates.
The language of most German learners’ discussion forums is either German or English, while some forums allow discussions in both languages or in other languages as well. In general, English-language German learners’ forums are likely to be frequented mostly by those who are not yet comfortable at communicating in German whereas German-language forums for discussing German as a foreign language usually attract advanced learners and discussions tend to be more specific. No matter which of them you decide to participate in, make sure you are helpful to others when expecting favours. Remember, the volunteering forum experts are more likely to answer your questions if you are an active member rather than responding to requests from random visitors.
Alternatively, you can use German language learning forums as a non-registered member to browse through old threads and search for answers to questions that you would like to ask yourself. To make the best use of the forum, do not forget to use its search function.
The Most Active German Learners’ Forums
Unfortunately, forums have been recently giving way to other types of social platforms and are not as active as they used to be. Below you will find only those that still maintain their fair share of active participants.
- WordReference forum is part of a WordReference online dictionary project where you can ask forum participants for help if you have difficulties understanding or translating specific German words, phrases or sentences. The official language of the German section of the forum is German and thus it is not suitable for beginners. When using an online dictionary to translate a certain word, look for links to forum threads discussing that word which can be found at the bottom of the webpage. Spanish speakers can also use the Spanish-German section of the forum where explanations are provided in Spanish.
- Reddit German discussion platform belongs to social news aggregator reddit.com. The main focus of this German subreddit is discussing the language specific issues. You can ask the reddit community any question related to learning the German language or read answers to questions that other members have already asked. The language of the discussion is English and, therefore, absolute beginners can also participate. Unlike in a typical forum, redditors can vote on posts, which makes it easy for you to discover topics that are most liked by other users.
- Expat.com Germany forum is, as its name suggests, an online discussion platform of the expatriate community living in Germany. Expats from all over the world discuss there all sorts of topics related to Germany, including German language. All conversations are in English. This forum can be particularly useful to those German learners who already live in Germany and are seeking first-hand advice from expatriates on dealing with everyday challenges.
- German Language StackExchange is a Q&A forum where you can ask any question related to German language and have it answered by registered members or forum guests. That is, unlike in other forums, no registration is necessary but recommended if you wish to collect reputation points and be able to vote. Registered users can vote both on questions and answers, which makes it easy to find the most popular topics and the best answers. The language of the discussion is both English and German, depending on which language the question was in.
- Goethe forum is part of the Goethe Institute’s German learning platform. The forum is available only to registered members while registration is free. You can ask any question related to learning German or taking German language examinations and read other members posts and so find valuable learning tips. You can meet there German learners from all corners of the world, make friends and learn together or just chat with them. You can also ask for help in translating difficult phrases and sentences and receive professional advice from German language teachers participating in the forum.
- Forum Deutsch als Fremdsprache is managed by the Institute for International Communication from Düsseldorf and it is a partner website of wirtschaftsdeutsch.de and daf-netzwerk.org. It defines itself as a forum for “email partners search for German learning, discussion of German as a foreign language, and job search”. The language of all forum discussions is German. B2 or higher level is required to be able to actively participate.
- LEO forum belongs to LEO’s dictionaries and can be used to help you translate or verify translation of German words and phrases into English. The main language of the LEO forum is German. However, you can start a thread in English but do not be surprised if most of the answers you receive will be in German. A special part of this forum is chat room where you can discuss various language specific topics. When using the LEO translation tool a message at the bottom of the webpage will notify you of any forum discussions related to that particular word or phrase.
German language discussion forums are, just like most other web forums, falling victim to growing popularity of social media websites and apps and are not as lively as they once were. Unfortunately, some do not even have a mobile-friendly web design and thus cannot be viewed on portable devices that now make up more than half of the Internet traffic. If you are a socially active person who likes to communicate with strangers, it is strongly recommended you find a free conversation partner at one of many language exchanges who will be able to answer questions that you would normally ask at a German language learning forum. Alternatively, if you are a good German speaker, you may test your German writing skills on one of the popular German chat rooms (just follow the above link to find them at the bottom of the page). Still, if you study German outside of a classroom environment and do not have a regular contact with native German speakers, the German learners’ forums are a great place where to seek learning tips and help when translating rare German words and phrases or complicated sentences.