Train Your Ears, Your Guide to Learn Spoken German

1. Listen to News in Slow German

Listening to the news in German can be overwhelming—it’s fast-paced, packed with information and your brain gets overloaded quickly. Lucky for you, there’s an alternative: listening to the news a little bit slower. This is a wonderful method to train your ears and get you informed on world events in a relaxed and slower-paced environment.

The podcasts are intentionally slow to get your ears used to sounds and the accompanying transcripts provide excellent vocabulary and word-to-sound recognition for your learning. You can download the app on your cell phone at iTunes or Google Play, to take it with you anywhere you go!

2. Listen to German Recordings at Various Speeds

Finding songs, podcasts, news broadcasts and audio recordings a bit too fast? Remember how your mom said not to play with your food? Well, there’s no reason for you not to play with your language learning!

Compile your favorite Spanish songs and challenging audios into one big playlist. Start listening to them at different speeds using both Audacity and VideoLan to do so.

It’s simple, download the audio in mp3 and adjust recordings as you wish. Experiment from slow, medium to fast speeds, pitches and intonations, increasing and decreasing as you see fit in order to adjust to your level and listening comfort zones.

3. Specialized Podcasts with Written Transcripts

Use websites that offer quality podcasts with written transcripts. For example, you could try the audio features on FluentU German, which play the captions in English and German on your screen as you listen (but don’t worry if you prefer to fly solo or only have German subtitles by your side, you can toggle the subtitles on and off at will).

Start off by first printing out the transcripts then listen to the podcast audio a few times, making sure to follow along on your transcript with a pen or highlighter to catch those tricky words and pronunciation. Check out GermanPod101 by Innovative Language for free quality podcasts on a variety of subjects with transcripts, flashcards, videos and a handy app!

4. Watch Movies with German Subtitles, Consistently

This tip makes it on lists over and over again for a reason—because it really, truly works. But the trick here is consistency—not just watching randomly or sporadically. Aim to watch a new movie in German once a week, or try watching your favorite movies in English dubbed into German with subtitles every now and then.

Consistency really is the key to make sure the word and sound connection is activated in your head at least once a week, if not more!

5. Pair Audiobooks with Physical Books

By this I mean that you should listen to audiobooks while you read them in German.

It’s easier than it sounds! Check out Audible for a wide variety of German audiobooks. If your pockets allow you, try to buy your book on to have the physical book out while you listen to the audiobook recording. Having physical pages in front of you keeps you focused, on-task and also reinforces sound-word recognition.

6. Immerse Yourself in Spoken German with FluentU

FluentU is actually a pretty sweet resource to use for Spoken German. That’s because FluentU takes real-world videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons. The diversity of authentic content here is perfect for exposing yourself to a variety of German.

Oh, and you can use the active learning tools found in FluentU’s learn mode. The interactive captions, multimedia flashcards and vocabulary lists will all give you the opportunity to really practice and reinforce the language you’ve learned from your chosen videos.

Start using FluentU on the website with your computer or tablet or, better yet, download the FluentU App from the iTunes store.

There you have it, now pull those tangled ear buds out of your desk and stick to the 6 methods above to master spoken German. Whatever your level, you’ll surely get quick results—not to mention compliments—on your improved German from teachers and friends!

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