My Podcast Method for Learning German

Hallo Freunde!
I wanted to drop a quick post about a German Language resource I found online called The Slow German Podcast. It is a podcast series (in German of course) read at a slightly slower pace than normal speech. I’m not talking radically slower or anything like that, but slow enough to make out the difference between words.

 So, I listened to a few of them and discovered they were a little beyond my abilities but they contained some great information. Of course I contrived a structured plan for tackling these podcasts and wanted to share it with you:

1. I listen to the podcast 3 or 4 times without focusing on it too much. I don’t look at the transcripts yet and I don’t try to pick out any words.

2. I listen to the same podcast another 2 or 3 times but with focused attention this time. I try to pick out specific words I know and I try to identify what the podcast is generally about. I can usually pick out some main topics through vocab but often I get very little else besides a general idea at this point.

3. I read through the transcript without listening to the podcast. I try to pick out as much vocab as I can. I am usually a little better at picking out vocab I know from written words than from the listening. At this point I have a much better idea of what the podcast is about.

4. I listen to one paragraph at a time while reading along with the transcript. I then copy/paste the paragraph into Google translate to get a more solid grasp on unknown vocab. Google Translate isn’t perfect, but it will definitely help you figure out what they are talking about.

5. I jot down the main vocab words that I think will help me understand the podcast. I do not pull every unknown word, just the main vocab.

6. I review the list of words and try to play around with them by making my own sentences and just having fun.

7. I listen to the podcast again while following along with the transcript. At this point I usually have no trouble following along and understanding.

8. Finally, I listen to the podcast again without reading along. I might do this 2 or 3 times (or more) until I feel comfortable that I “get it”.

This entire process can take me anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour+ depending on the length of the podcast. I also will review the previous day’s podcast along with an older podcast on a rotating schedule to make sure I am keeping my new vocab fresh. I have done this with about 20 or so podcasts for Slow German and I think it is helping quite a bit. I am surprised at how much easier each subsequent podcast is thanks to the hard work on the previous ones.

I hope this proves helpful!