Listen to Reinforce Your Comprehension

I’ve learned that the only way to really learn a language is to soak yourself in it. I try to maximize my exposure to everything German as often as possible.  One of my favorite ways to do this is to catch as much native content as possible.

The Deutsche Welle (DW), slowly spoken news report offers straight news, reported in German but at a much slower pace. It’s the same news that’s reported to Germans by DW, Germany’s international broadcaster. It is a great resource because it offers language learners a better chance to comprehend what’s going on.

When I am working during the day or when I’m getting ready for bed, I have started tuning in to German radio stations as ambient noise in the background, something I can focus in on or ignore based on what I am doing. Luckily, I am near my PC during the day, so I can stream German radio all day long.  I have a few favorites, and they’re all newsy: Deutschland Radio (news and culture from Berlin), Deutschlandfunk (News from Köln), and Info Radio (24-hour news from Berlin).  You can find everything else including pop, rock, hip-hop, and of course what Germany may be best known for, techno and electronic, online via useful radio directories such as Live-Radio.net and Listenlive.eu.

squeezeboxinternetradio e1397778595723Since I am so devoted to learning German, I have taken this whole immersion thing one step further when it comes to listening to German on the “radio.”  A couple months ago I picked up a Squeezebox Radio from Logitech. The Squeezebox can stream Internet radio from around the world, including by German city, through a series of built-in directories.  So, I have all the aforementioned stations programmed in as well as my favorite Berlin music station, MotorFM, making listening to Berlin radio as simple as punching one button on a funny, red clock radio.

I recommend spending some time listening to news or other German radio, be it slow or not, as often as possible, even if you can’t comprehend most of it.  Focus on what you can understand — on words or phrases.  Let yourself melt into what German sounds like.  The more time you spend learning German with Rosetta Stone, the more you will comprehend when listening to the German news or watching TV, or, hopefully, interacting with German speakers.

In my next several posts, I will continue to talk about my language learning experience and adventures in Berlin. Please let me know in the comments what you would like to know more about, where you would like me to go on this blog, and what you think.

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  • Hunter Pyle

    Hi,

    I think that it would be interesting to know your opinion of other ways to immerse ourselves learning German besides the Deutsche Welle Radio.
    Also, techniques that may have helped you master the language.

  • http://baronesinamerica.wordpress.com jill5150

    Wow, the “slowly spoken” option for news is pretty cool! Do you know if it exists for any other languages? I am learning Italian and subscribe to the RAI italian package through Dish network, but I have never seen any programming geared specifically toward language learners.

  • http://matthewbenson.wordpress.com/ matthewdbenson

    Great post, and I agree entirely. I’m in Frankfurt am Main (from UK), and have employed similar methods (for example, on my car radio I sometimes listen to B5 Aktuell, a Munich based news radio station):

    http://www.br-online.de/b5aktuell/
    http://www.br-online.de/br-mediathek/live/br-mediathek-live-streams-ID1200409281985.xml?_requestid=87162

    The second link has a live stream.

    I’ve also written a blog post on my own language learning experiences in Germany (“10 hints and tips for learning a new language (from my experiences learning German)”):

    http://matthewbenson.wordpress.com/2009/08/21/hints-and-tips-for-learning-a-new-language-from-my-experiences-learning-german/

  • cabraham

    Hello Hunter! I will be going into other ways of immersing yourself in German in the next post and others. The next post will be about my adoration of post-war German cinema, all of which are available via your local Video store, via Netflix, or even at a local revival cinema or German cultural center in your city. DVDs are the best because you can turn off the subtitles and try to see what percentage of the movie you can understand without the subtitles. It can be frustrating at first but you’ll be amazed. What i need to do, also, is explore streaming video and TV you can watch online. The weird thing is that modern Germany has all the same reality shows we do. Exact replicas. Dancing with the Stars and Big Brother and that new 60 second game show. It is amusing and amazing how each language market has an American Idol — same theme song and everything!

  • Petter Amundsen

    I agree, Chris. I learn French and listen to Radio France Internationale in my car. They too have slow-spoken news. Their website has a player:
    http://www.rfi.fr/

  • m

    You should not just listen to understand.

    Understanding is the easy part.
    You need to speak it (thats the most difficult part)

    I recommend to repeat everything you hear as it is spoken. You will learn sentence structure alot quicker and also not have any time to translate which is very important

  • Hunter Pyle

    Another resource to immerse yourself in German is the BBC iPlayer videos and radio stories. The videos and radio stories are organized according to difficulty and are a great way to experience german entertainment. The BBC iPlayer radio stories are available in the United States presently; however the videos are not yet. However BBC stated that in the near future they should be.

  • cabraham

    You’re right, m, that speaking is the harder part but i do think that getting an ear for the way German is spoken by native speakers and how they string the language together is very important. Also, increasing comprehension can aid in getting the confidence needed to get the courage to go jump in and start speaking.

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    good share, great article, very usefull for us…thank you

  • Ralph Rosales

    I totally agree. However, I am not interested in the German language. Is there a possibility to get a slow version of Spanish?

    • Rosetta Stone

      Hi Ralph, the whole point of the Rosetta Stone system is that you can work at your own pace. You can take it easy while learning Spanish, and focus more on review. There’s no separate “slow” product.

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