Two students studying
Two students studying© DAAD/ Henning Ross

German for University and Daily Life

A good grasp of the German language will help settling down in Germany. If your course is in German, you need to know the language well enough to follow a lecture or seminar discussion. Many courses in Germany are offered in English. But even if you decide on one of them, you still need German for daily life.

Scrabble stones, it reads the word Deutsch
Scrabble stones, it reads the word Deutsch© DAAD

Is German a Difficult Language?


Four Cases, Three Genders

German has four cases, the nominative, accusative, genitive and dative. It also has three genders: masculine, feminine and neuter.


You’ve probably seen the letters ä, ö and ü. German is among the world’s languages that use ‘umlauts’. Often, for example with the words Stöcke, Päckchen or Nüsslein, they indicate plurals and diminutives. If your keyboard doesn’t have these letters, replace ä with ae, ö with oe and ü with ue.

German as a Language of Science

Numerous scientific discoveries and inventions were made in the German-speaking world during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and as a result German became one of the world’s leading languages for science. Today, many scientists publish in English.

Two students in front of a selection of books
Two students in front of a selection of books - What to choose?© DAAD/ Henning Ross

How Much German Do I Need?

Panorama of Germany with the Alps
Panorama of Germany with the AlpsDAAD/contentküche

Regional Variants of German?


German Dialects

As is the case with all the world’s languages, the pronunciation and intonation of German vary from place to place. People speak differently in the Rhineland, Bavaria, Berlin and Hamburg.

Most Germans will do their best to speak the standard idiom, Hochdeutsch, with you, but many may be unaware that the German they use differs from what you learned in your language course. Don’t worry. You’ll quickly get used to the German spoken in your region. And there’s no shame in failing to immediately understand or be understood by someone.

Students stitting at the water
© DAAD/ Henning Ross

How to Learn German or Get Better at it.


Tips for Daily Life

The best way to improve your German quickly is to live with German students. Watching German television and listening to German radio can also help you better your language skills.


Learning German Online

Well-known institutions like the Goethe Institute and Deutsche Welle have lots of language-learning resources on their websites. Some can be used on your laptop, others downloaded as apps on to your smart phone.