Hi guys, I’m going to share with you today a resource I’ve been using to learn German for a couple of months and which I really enjoy: Slow German.

It’s a (free) podcast by Annik Rubens.  She’s a German journalist from Munich.  What she does is very simple:

  • Talks about interesting aspects of German culture
  • She speaks slowly and clearly when she does this
  • She includes a verbatim transcript of what she said on the website and as a PDF at the bottom of each post

The picture you see there on the left is a character from one of my favorite episodes so far: Der Pumuckl.  The Pumuckl is a German legend, similar to a Leprechaun or (friendly) troll.

He chooses a person to live with and is only visible to that person.  They’re primarily intended for children and every German I’ve talked to so far knows what a Pumuckl is and happily recalls watching episodes on TV about it as a child.  They’re popular with children because they’re naughty, they cause trouble in amusing ways, they irritate adults, and generally do all the things children are told not to do.  The Pumuckl then gradually learns, over the course of the story, why they shouldn’t do the things in question, thereby simultaneously entertaining the children with their antics and teaching them why they shouldn’t do certain things, such as stealing or intentionally annoying people.

The episode of Slow German that talks about this explains – in slow, simple, clear German – what the Pumuckl is, the basic story behind it, and a bit of history of the author, her books, and the extremely popular TV series later based on them.  Here’s the very first episode in that series:

I really hope you check out her website and give those podcasts a listen.  The way I learn from them is thusly:

  • Read the transcript and look up everything (words, grammar, expressions) I don’t know one or two sentences at a time
  • After having done this for a couple of sentences, I play the audio
  • Pause the audio at the end of each sentence and try to repeat it back, correctly, without looking at the transcript.  Try very hard to sound like the native speaker but don’t get too obsessed with saying it perfectly; if you can’t get it just right after a few tries that’s fine, you’ve still significantly improved your pronunciation just in doing what you just did
  • Once you can say it correctly (if you can, just do your best), repeat it a couple of times.  You definitely shouldn’t be spending more than a minute or so trying to say a sentence
  • Move onto the next sentence or two, looking up what you don’t know, then playing the audio, pausing after each sentence and repeating it a couple of times until you sound like the native speaker

That’s it!  I’ve found this is a nice, fun way to learn some German that’s not too intensive and which allows me to work on my listening comprehension, speaking ability, and reading ability all together.

Lastly, I’m sorry it’s been so long since I’ve written anything here, I’ve been learning Spanish, German, and French as well as upgrading both my websites and getting the second edition of my book (on how to learn Spanish) published.  I’m getting back into it, though, and you can expect much more regular posts here.

Cheers,

Andrew

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