What would you do if you could easily understand spoken German? Perhaps you'd finally travel to the places you've dreamed of, watch the original version of your favourite film, or try ordering that fabled Club Mate to go full on German hipster.
If you want to prepare yourself for real conversations with German natives, there's great value in developing those listening skills.
Why Practice German Listening Skills?
German is a language with consistent pronunciation and spelling, so you will find that the more you listen, the more you can work out. And for any level of language, podcasts have come onto the scene.
And what easier way to do this than with a German podcast.
Podcasts are a great way to add a little German listening practice into your day-to-day life. They are free, and can accompany any part of your day: driving a car, washing your dishes, doing laundry, working out, reading, and more.
Quick Primer: How Do Podcasts Work?
If you're curious about podcasts, but not quite sure how they work, here's what you need to know:
You can subscribe for free to podcasts on your phone, tablet, or computer.
If you use an iPhone or iPad, go to the Podcasts app. If you're on a Mac, use the iTunes directory.
On a PC or Android device, try the Pocketcasts app for a quick and easy start.
Subscribing means you'll always have the latest episode ready and waiting for you as soon as it's published.
German is a great language for learning by podcast. There is a big selection, so I've gone and selected 9 of the best shows for you to discover.
Listen To The Fluent Show
In addition to the German podcasts you'll find in this article, check out the my own podcast The Fluent Show where we share languages, learning methods, and how to live a multilingual life.
As a German learner, you will love this recent bilingual episode in German and English with polyglot Judith Meyer.
The 9 Best German Podcasts for Learners
In this article, you'll find
- German Podcast Courses from Deutsche Welle
- Podcasts in Slow German
- German Video Shows
- Story-Based and German Culture Podcasts
- A tip on how to find podcasts produced by native German speakers
German Podcast Courses from Deutsche Welle
- Deutsch - Warum Nicht? (Deutsche Welle - A1-B1)
Deutsch - Warum Nicht? is a 4-part podcast series for complete beginners and early German learners. Parts 1 and 2 focus on the A1 and A2 (beginner) stages while Parts 3 and 4 focus on the B1 (intermediate) stages. It tells the story of Andreas Schäfer, a journalism student and hotel doorman. Each of the four series contains 26 lessons all with PDF dialogues, exercises, and downloadable audio clips. These series are for beginners, intermediate learners, and advanced learners.
- Deutsch - Wieso Nicht? (Deutsche Welle - B1)
Deutsch - Wieso Nicht? is the sequel to Deutsch - Warum Nicht. It focuses on intermediate level German (roughly B1). Everything is in German and like its predecessor, downloadable PDFs and audio files are available. The podcast focuses on topics related to daily life in Germany and Austria on fun and interesting topics and situations. It is very clear and easy to understand and follow. I wholeheartedly recommend it to intermediate German learners.
Podcasts in Slower German
These podcasts present slow or slightly simplified German language content, while keeping you attuned to real German voices. Make sure you keep yourself attuned to faster spoken German too, otherwise you might flounder in conversation.
News in Slow German is an intermediate level podcast. This podcast covers world news, grammar, and expressions and slows down all the dialogue to make it easier to process what you hear. Every episode breaks down a point on grammar and vocabulary.
The audio is very clear and easy to follow. On the website there are transcripts for each episode available with grammar, expressions, pronunciation, and quizzes.
Annik Rubens from Munich produces German learning podcasts for two levels:
- For absolute beginners, there is a podcast in English which introduces basic German words.
- For intermediate learners, she covers interesting aspects and stories about Germans, German culture, and German places.
The podcast offers a paid premium version with great extras such as slowed down lessons, PDF guides, grammar and vocabulary tutorials, fairy tales, and quizzes.
German Video Shows
- Learn German With Videos (Yabla)
Yabla is a video-based learning platform with bilingual subtitles and integrated dictionaries. The subtitles are interactive, which is a really cool concept! Check out how Yabla works in detail by reading my full review.
Yabla is great for all levels from basic to advanced. There is a free German podcast available with plenty of videos to watch.
Story-Based and German Culture Podcasts
This podcast comes on the back of the successful Authentic German Learning website and YouTube channel! It promises to be an exciting one, as the host, Marco Rösler, is an enthusiastic and energetic host with a zest for life. This podcast is focused on learning German through personal development and the TPRS (Teaching Proficiency through Reading and Storytelling) method. The concept invites you to read and listen to the dialogue at the same time.
The LingQ German podcast was recommended to me by German learner Alex Gentry as one of his favorites. Steve Kaufmann, the founder of LingQ, emphasises learning German through extensive listening to audio and reading of texts. This is called the comprehensible input method.
The LingQ podcast is excellent for beginner and intermediate learners. There is no English, the tone is relaxed and conversational, and steve gets right in there talking to German native speakers. All exercises are available to download via iTunes, and you can sign into LingQ to get the podcast notes, transcripts, and exercises.
Coffee Break German, a podcast from Radio Lingua Network, combines German language lessons with a lot of useful information about German food, culture, German-speaking countries, and so on.
My favorite part of the podcast is the chemistry between relaxed and charismatic host Mark from Scotland and native speaker Thomas from Bavaria. Cultural Correspondant Julia from Potsdam has great cultural advice, and Grammar Guru Kirsten from Scotland discusses grammar in a clear, easy to understand way.
GermanPod101 from InnovativeLanguage covers any level you can think of from basic to advanced German. With enticing titles and interesting themes for each episode, you'll never get bored.
The dialogues are presented by engaging presenters and the hosts Judith (a native speaker) and Chuck (a fluent speaker) cover both cultural and grammatical aspects clearly and concisely. On the website you can sign up for the premium content to access spaced repetition flashcards, PDF lesson notes, and a community forum for a subscription fee.
Advanced Learner Tip: Native German Podcasts
The German podcast world has come a long way in recent times, and these days you'll be able to find a big array of native level content to listen to when you want to get German language immersion. You can choose from a full catalogue of shows on topics from politics to film reviews. The easiest way to access native German language podcasts is to go to iTunes and switch your country setting to "Germany" or "Austria".
There's no restriction on your switch, and you'll be able to access all podcasts in the same way that listeners from Germany can. One of my favorites is Serienjunkies, covering TV reviews from Game of Thrones to new netflix arrival Dark.
Are You Learning German?
How good is your German? Have you been listening to a cool show you'd like to share?
I’d love to hear your favourite resources and tips, so go ahead and leave a comment below.