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.
Since 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.
Find more posts about: German