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"A well-rounded course with decent online tutoring and audio downloads."

Living Language German Review

Living Language German - The ReviewI studied German at high school and was looking to brush up on my skills. One course that stood out was Living Language German. I was immediately attracted to this online course by the live tutoring included in the package. This seemed to offer excellent value, as hiring a one to one tutor can be expensive.

Below you will read a few of my experiences with this German course. You'll discover what's included in the package and some of its stand out features. You will also find a comparison with some other leading German language instructional courses.

How much does it cost?

The online package is priced at $150 for full internet access to the course material.

What's included?

Included are 46 lessons which cover the essentials of German grammar, vocabulary, conversation, and culture. These are supported with puzzles and games which reinforce the course material. Members of the program have access to a personal tutor who provides one-to-one support, conversation practice, and can answer any questions about the course material. The program has its online community made up of German language experts and other students.


  • Great for grammar and vocabulary - One of the strengths of Living Language is its focus on grammar and vocabulary. Unlike an immersive learning approach, such as Rosetta Stone, there are clear instructions in English on the grammar and vocabulary reinforced through exercises that you need to complete.
  • Live online tutors are excellent - It's worthwhile purchasing Living Language German just for its access to the online tutoring sessions. There are plenty of tutoring sessions on offer and so you can always find a slot to meet your timetable. These tutoring sessions involve no more than 3 students in each session so you do get lots of one-to-one attention. The classes are well thought out and you can ask your tutor a question in English. This is the closest experience to having a tutor in person that I have seen offered by any German language course.
  • German speakers are very clear - The audio quality of the language lessons is very good. The professional speakers have clear intonation, concise pronunciation, and are well paced. This makes it much easier to get the correct pronunciation of German phrases.
  • Excellent mix of materials - Living Language German online uses a mixture of materials, audio lessons, written exercises, and reading practice. There are also flashcards and games to make sure things stay interesting.


  • Reading passages are sometimes uninteresting - The short reading passages can sometimes be uninteresting and too close to the textbooks that most students will have used in high school. That said, they are useful for explaining and putting the grammatical structure of German into context. Making the reading passages more interesting would help encourage students to look forward to their Living Language material.
  • Sometimes there is too much English instruction - One of the features that differentiates this program from some other courses is its English instruction in addition to the German audio material. For beginners this English audio is reassuring and will help them move through the material faster. That said, once the learner becomes used to the structure of the course, some of this English instruction becomes superfluous and will require skipping forward.
  • Activity in the forums is inconsistent - The course is marketed on its access to their social community. But the forums are often fairly inactive. That said, professionals from Living Language do sometimes visit the forums and answer questions that students pose.

Comparison with other courses

Most language learning software companies are offering a German course. It's interesting to see how these compare with Living Language German. One of the leaders in the language and structural market is Rosetta Stone. Rosetta Stone German levels 1 to 5 is currently priced at $299 (my review). It includes many of the same features as Living Language German: audio instruction, live online lessons, a social network, and games. For me the better of the two courses is the one by Living Language. The tutor sessions are more helpful and the course is stronger in reading and writing.

Another popular language course is Pimsleur German (my review). Pimsleur German is primarily aimed at getting people to be able to speak in German. One of the advantages of the Pimsleur approach is that it's very easy to get started with. If you are looking for an alternative to a high school or college approach to German instruction, Pimsleur can be a good option. But at over $600 for the complete Pimsleur course it's considerably more expensive than Living Language German.

Lastly there is Rocket German (my review). Rocket German is currently priced at $69.95. Not only is Rocket German much cheaper, but also stronger at audio teaching. If you are primarily interested in learning conversational German, I recommend Rocket German over Living Language German.


  • Features a great set of grammar, reading, and vocabulary sessions.
  • The online tutoring sessions are a great addition even though they're based on a renewal fee which has to be paid yearly.
  • Downloadable audio lessons for on-the-go learning are available.
  • The reading passages can be a tad boring at times.
  • There are a lot of instructional English texts along the course, which makes it difficult for foreign English speakers to understand.
  • Not much activity in the online community. The forums are dead and empty.


Living Language delivers a decent German course with grammar coverage and reading exercises that other programs don't have. In particular the online tutoring service is very good and excellent value for money. While other courses such as Rosetta Stone also offer e-tutoring, the Living Language tutoring service is better organized and more useful. Living Language German online is well priced at $150. This makes it more affordable than both Pimsleur and Rosetta Stone.

But for travelers looking to learn German quickly and people who prefer audio listening I would recommend Rocket German. Rocket German is also significantly less expensive than Living Language German online. Overall Living Language German is a very good course, but one that requires serious dedication to get the most out of it.