Laugh while learning german with the BBC


I love finding FREE ways to learn German, yes I’m a cheapskate, but lessons can be expensive and it’s always better to have a range of places to learn from, that aren’t just a classroom. I’ve mentioned the BBC pages for learning German before and they have recently been updated with some fun and informative videos.

They still don’t have ‘German steps’ a 12 week beginners course back online, which is really annoying because it was pretty good, BUT, they do have ‘Talk German’ which is ‘An introduction to German’, better than nothing right? It covers the basics, all that you would need to get by daily  to start with and a decent amount beyond. What is great is that you get to hear different accents and that really helps with pronunciation.

You can download an MP3s of basic phrases and the alphabet, the latter of which has some really good pronunciation advice and information with it.

Henning Wehn, an actual real live German and the self titled ‘German comedy ambassador to the United Kingdom’ has recorded a series of useful videos titled ‘What’s so funny about German?’. I love this guy, he’s been on lots of shows in the UK that I love, Have I got news for you and QI for a start, it’s a little light relief and some actual useful information too!

My personal favourites are –

The Alphabet – ‘..Umlauts are the lederhosen of the German language..’

Gender Bender – ‘..Germany is a highly sexualised society…I’m saying this in the best possible taste..’

Waiting for the Verb – ‘..Obviously German is the most exciting language in the world..’

Probably the most useful part of the website is the Cool German section, not all of it is kid friendly but it’s a plentiful selection of actually useful everyday topics and vocab that you can listen to, download and print out. It really is the kind of stuff you won’t necessarily learn in a classroom and that is usable day to day, ‘mind you own business’, ‘the ref needs a white stick’ and ‘Everything’s banana’ to name but a few.

And so the journey towards not humiliating myself in public fluency continues!

The BBC also produced this fun glance at German life in 2013. ‘Make me a German’ follows an British couple who attempt to live like average Germans in Nürnberg for a few weeks, it makes for quite interesting viewing.

BTW This is not a paid endorsement and all my views are my own.

Edited 19/07/15 First published on The Erlangen Expat 05/09/14.

2 thoughts on “Laugh while learning german with the BBC

  1. Ami Schwabenland says:

    I found the “Make me German” video very interesting! I don’t think the outdoor kindergarten thing is the norm in Germany (more kids attend regular day care/Kindergarten), but that is an option. I have a ways to go before I have a house as tidy as the average German and I don’t spend 4 hours on housework unless preparing meals and cooking is part of that – then I sometimes get 4 hours in a day. After seeing that video I recorded my housework hours the next day, and it was disappointing. 🙂

    I had not heard of Henning Wehn before but just watched a few episodes. Funny! I love the one called “How to be polite”, especially the first minute!

    • Alie C says:

      An English friend was actually in the film and her kids since they went to the waldkindergarten, that’s how I first heard of them. It’s a shame it’s not the norm I just love the whole concept of properly getting into nature while you’re young.

      I’ve tried the whole 4 hours a day thing and no way, unless it includes shopping and cooking, even then it’s a stretch. It’s a running joke in our house if I do a big spring clean I roll the hours over to the next few days!

      I’m happy to introduce Henning to more people, I’ve not met a German yet who has heard of him. Have you heard of Reginald.D.Hunter? He’s an American comedian who appears on all sorts of comedy shows in the UK and I’ve not met an American yet who knows him!

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