They’re all the rage: podcasts are the newest method to learn a language while on the go. Whether in your morning commute, during your lunch break or after hours, podcasts are a great way to get in extra practice for whatever language you’re learning. If you’ve chosen German, there are a plethora of options to check out through your preferred audio platform. If it all seems overwhelming, we’ve compiled a quick list to make learning German by podcast a breeze.
Why learn German by podcast
- They’re great for learning a language on-the-go. This way, you don’t have to set aside the time to watch a movie for several hours or study grammar with a book in hand. Plus, they’re usually free or low-cost! Just go to Spotify, iTunes, or the podcast’s website, download and start learning!
- You learn to listen. With podcasts, you have no visual cues to pick up on context or subtitles to read along to. Podcasts make you listen intently to vocabulary, intonation, and pronunciation. If you do get stuck, however, many podcasts will have scripts available online.
- There’s always something new to learn. Many podcasts release updates daily, weekly, or monthly. You’ll never get bored with podcasts – many use common language, slang and casual conversations to give German learners an authentic experience.
1. Learn German by Podcast
If you’re starting with no prior knowledge of German, this is a great podcast to pick up. Learn German by Podcast starts from the ground up, so you’ll have a solid grasp on the language’s basics before moving on to more difficult themes.
In this podcast, the hosts banter through several events while introducing the listener to new vocabulary to match each roleplay. Sentences and phrases are repeated clearly for emphasis, and then they’re translated.
This podcast is great for beginning-to-intermediate learners. For those just starting, you’ll be speaking along with the podcast from day one: allowing you to learn vital German constructs immediately while also picking up on topical German culture.
German Pod 101 is hosted by a native speaker and an American expat living in Germany, so the hosts make connections between German and English obvious.
The creators have made the latest podcasts free on their website for three weeks after release, while older podcasts are available with a subscription. You can also find the podcasts for purchase in ebook form on iTunes, if you prefer.
Trying to build your vocabulary? This podcast is the way to do it. Each episode of Learn German Vocabulary focuses on a theme, like “relationships” or “personal details,” along with the vocabulary that matches each theme. Each theme has three levels: familiarize, recognize, and memorize.
Coffee Break German breaks up lessons into easily digestible 20-minute bites, while maximizing your time to the fullest. Why this is a great podcast to start with – the lessons are between teacher Thomas and German learner Mark, who’s starting to learn German along with you. He’ll often pause to ask the questions you might’ve had yourself, making the learning process even smoother.
German LingQ (pronounced German Link) provides immediate immersion for maximum learning. The podcasts use almost no English, so prepare to jump in right away. The podcast also has a helpful online community for extra support and access to tutors to simplify the process.
German LingQ is available online with a free account.
For intermediate learners:
A Flavour of German is made by the same creators of Coffee Break German, so expect a similar style. However, the key difference here is that A Flavour of German centers on idioms and common phrases – whether the topic is weather, emotions, or drinking. Each episode is just 8-10 minutes long.
7. Slow German
This podcast is what it claims to be – real life German conversations, but slowed down. All of the language used in the lessons is authentic and sentences are spoken loudly and clearly. If you want the accompanying vocabulary lists or extra materials, everything can be found on the Slow German website (some for a price).
Warum Nicht and Wieso Nicht are two podcast series by German news outlet Deutsche Welle. The first, Warum Nicht, is for beginning to intermediate learners, while Wieso Nicht is intermediate. Both follow journalism student Andreas, who also works as a hotel doorman, as he goes about his daily life.
This is (obviously) a similar concept to the Slow German podcast, but discusses current events and is updated constantly. Each lesson covers the news in a slowed-down voice, while also picking a grammar and vocabulary topic to break down.
For advanced learners:
Buckle up, because things are getting a little more intense. Elementarfragen might be the most difficult podcast on this list, as it’s made with native-speaking Germans in mind. Each episode, between an hour and two hours in length, covers biographies of “exceptional people” – from musicians, to astronauts, to bank robbers.
Listen to the podcast on iTunes or Spotify.
Maybe Elementarfragen is too much for you right now, but you still want to dive into the nitty gritty of learning German. Sozusagen! examines German linguistics, from different accents across regions to how words are used in differing contexts.
12. SBS German
Last but not least is SBS German, which is a talk show-style podcast covering current events, hot topics and the latest debates. While fast-moving, the hosts are easy to understand and have natural German accents.
And there you have it, that’s our list of 12 podcasts to learn German! By listening to podcasts a little every day, you’re sure to be a German master in no time. Which podcast are you starting with?
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