You dream of conducting a perfect German conversation, but your commitment to it can swiftly disappear behind a misty cloud of the rest of life’s to-dos. Without the necessity of speaking a foreign language every day, language fluency seems a prodigious pinnacle that simply cannot be reached. So how do we speed up our language learning momentum and reach those seemingly unattainable heights of German fluency?
Podcasts! Squeeze out the spare space in what the Germans call your “Kopfkino” with a brain-soaking of virtual German chit-chat. Snatch sneaky German language learning moments and listen daily to these free podcasts, wherever you can. Whether you’re taking the train or sipping a coffee in your local cafe.
There’s always time to stick some headphones over your ears, no matter what it is you do day-to-day. Here are five German language learning podcasts to get you started.
1. Coffee Break German
This podcast is a pre-packaged delight for all levels, and it’s as ready to go as your take away coffee. Coffee Break German offers a slow, coffee break length language lesson for those in a rush (though, as you progress through the series, I believe that bean grinding, brewing time and slow sugar stirring are included as part of your break time).
The novelty of this podcast is that you never feel alone in your language learning journey. You learn alongside the Scottish presenter, Mark, as he works together with his German teacher in regular episodes. Mistakes are made and lessons are learned – but you’re in it together, right from the beginnings of saying Guten Tag, all the way through to the finer grammatical details and cultural insights.
And if you’re truly immersing yourself in German culture, you might as well embrace the German “Kaffee und Kuchen” (coffee and cake) tradition. Then you’ll have time to munch on a tasty treat and perhaps even try out their other projects in Spanish, French, Italian, Chinese, Swedish and English, too, depending on how big you like your cake.
2. The Easy German Podcast
This channel’s philosophy is all about learning from real people and natural conversation. The channel began its journey back in 2005 when the creator, Janusz, recorded a video in which he greeted people on the streets of Münster. The video was created as a gift to help two Vietnamese students who were learning German. At the time he uploaded it on YouTube a year later, he didn’t realise what explosive popularity the channel would gain. Today, the Easy German channel is accompanied by many off-shoot projects, including the language learning app Seedlang, the Super Easy German channel for complete beginners, and their podcast.
In weekly videos, hosts Janusz and Cari take to the streets of German cities to provoke meaningful conversation with strangers, all so you can learn from native speakers. They ask the public everything from small talk questions like “What did you have for breakfast?” to existentially challenging questions like “What is the meaning of life?”
With the same desire for thought-provoking yet comprehensible content for language learners, their weekly podcast tackles questions from fans and discusses a broad range of subjects about culture, life and whatever else they fancy chatting about – all spoken in digestible German. The perfect way to learn on the move.
3. Warum nicht?
Brought to us by Deutsche Welle and the Goethe-Institut, this podcast series is specifically designed to help you progress through the standardized language learning levels of the Common European Framework for Languages.
Their podcast, Warum nicht?, takes you from level A0 to B1 in four series in which you learn along with the fictional character Andreas, a journalism student who has taken on a job as a hotel doorman. The podcast can be paired with grammar exercises, translations, vocabulary lists, and even a book to refer to and test your skills.
4. News in Slow German
It may have the word “slow” in its name, but this pick brings a welcome, bite-size piece of language learning in your day. As short as an afternoon-coffee biscuit dunk, you really have no reason not to listen to this regularly.
News in Slow German broadcasts what you need to know about the world at a digestible speed. Build up your vocabulary with the short episodes, then watch the news at its natural speed once a month to see how you’ve progressed.
5. Slow German with Annik Rubens
Another “slow” one, Slow Germanhas a surprisingly fast-paced way of supercharging your learning. Annik Rubens, German social media expert working for the national radio station service, Bayerischen Rundfunk, set up her own podcast back in 2005. She does not claim to be a German teacher, but her friendly approach to helping language learners had brought her huge podcast success.
Dividing her episodes by themes such as “Food & Drink”, “Art & Culture” and “Sustainability and Climate Change”, the podcast provides a simple way to develop your vocabulary in specific must-know areas.