Books at the Library


A range of grammars, textbooks, dictionaries, and workbooks are available through the library. Most of these are intermediate to advanced. If you’re not actively using them, please return them to circulation so other people have the option.


Irene Motyl-Mudretzkyj and Michaela Spainghaus. Anders gedacht: Text and Context in the German-Speaking World. 3rd ed. Boston: Heinle, Cengage Learning, 2014. PF3112 .M68 2014


The standard course text for German classes at Penn. “ ... encourages creative self-expression as well as critical thinking about the German language and contemporary cultures of the German-speaking world.”


Richard Allan Korb. German for Reading Knowledge. 7th ed. Boston: Heinle, Cengage Learning, 2014. PF3112 .K67 2014


The updated version of Jannach’s, which is a perennial go-to. We also have the older (better?) 6th ed. in the main stacks, too: PF3112 .J3 2009.


April Wilson. German Quickly: A Grammar for Reading German. 6th ed. New York: Peter Lang, 2007. PF3112 .W55 2004


Another favorite from folks who have tested in previous years. Comes with “twelve appendices, including a summary of German grammar, descriptions of German dictionaries, a partial answer key, strategies for learning German, and a humanities vocabulary section of about 3,800 words.” Also, a “sense of fun.”


Henry Strutz. Barron’s 1001 Pitfalls in German. 3rd ed. Barron’s Educational Series, 2007. PF3129.E5 S77 1997


“Idioms, exceptions to grammatical rules, word order in sentences, regional variations, and potential confusions between Der and Ein words are among the many problem areas that are clearly explained.”


Heidi Zojer. Modern German Grammar Workbook. 3rd ed. New York: Routledge, 2011. PF3112 .M63 2010


“ … ideal for all learners who want to deepen their knowledge of German, including intermediate and advanced students at schools, in adult education and within higher education.” Please don’t write in this one. It’s designed to be used alongside this next one:


Ruth Whittle et al. Modern German Grammar: A Practical Guide. 3rd ed. New York: Routledge, 2011. PF3112 .M63 2011


“an innovative reference guide to German, combining traditional and function-based grammar in a single volume.”


Günther Haensch, Hans Wellmann, and Dieter Götz, ed. Langenscheidts Grossworterbuch Deutsch Als Fremdsprache. Langenscheidt, 2010. PF3625 .L364 2010


Langenscheidt’s dictionary for learners of German as a foreign language. Definitions are given in easy-to-understand German.


Workbooks for Purchase


These are “consumable” workbooks, meant to be written in, and thus not being acquired by the library. But they can each be had for about $12.


Ed Swick. German Grammar Drills. 2nd ed. McGraw-Hill, 2012.


“This book introduces essential grammar concepts, with practical examples to demonstrate their correct usage. You will flex your grammar muscle with the exercises included in each section.”


Astrid Henschel. German Verb Tenses. 2nd ed. McGraw-Hill 2013.


“If you're looking for help memorizing German verb conjugations, any German verb book will do. But if you are interested in becoming fluent, you'll need to learn how these building blocks are used in everyday, natural language. That's where Practice Makes Perfect: German Verb Tenses comes in.”


Ed Swick. Intermediate German Grammar. McGraw-Hill, 2013.


  • Example sentences illustrate and clarify each grammar point

  • Reading passages improve your reading comprehension and vocabulary development

  • Answer key provides reference and quick feedback

  • Practical and high-frequency vocabulary used throughout


Ed Swick. Complete German Grammar. McGraw-Hill, 2011.


“ ... focuses on the practical aspects of German as it's really spoken, so you are not bogged down by unnecessary technicalities. Each unit features crystal-clear explanations, numerous realistic examples, and dozens of engaging exercises in a variety of formats--including multiple choice, fill-in sentences and passages, sentence rewrites, and creative writing--perfect for whatever your learning style.”


Online Resources


A lot of folks have been using Duolingo. It’s a free language-learning program that doubles as a means of crowdsourced translation.


Quizlet for German learning, based around Freud’s Civilizaiton and its Discontents.

Username: villanovagerman, Password: germanvillanova


There are a variety of apps out there purporting to useful for learning German. I can’t vouch for any of these though. Here’s a list:


For listening practice, I recommend the langsam gesprochene Nachrichten from Deutsche Welle--world news, read slowly.


I’m a fan of the free Leo Dictionary.


But more pedagogically useful might be the (also free) PONS Deutsch als Fremdsprache dictionary:


Regional Resources


German courses are taught at Penn, Temple, and Bryn Mawr, although tuition fees must be taken into account, and permission from the instructor may have to be secured.




Bryn Mawr:


The German Society of Philadelphia offers courses at all levels for very affordable rates: $430 for non-members, and $230 in the summer.


The Free Library of Philadelphia has a range of other German learning materials, especially basic ones, and provides access to the Mango Languages online platform. It’s like Rosetta stone, but geared a bit more toward tourism.


Goethe-Institut offers highly regarded classes at its NYC location. It appears they will be on hold until April while they move to their new location, but online courses are available too. For those of you pursuing DAAD fellowships, the Geothe-Institut will provide language testing (completing the “language evaluation form”) required by some programs.