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.
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.