While speaking German is the best way to achieve fluency, you should never abandon your listening practice when you’re learning a new language. And listening exercises are great at improving that skill.
Discover why it’s crucial to practice listening and learn about 4 easy and fun ways you can listen to German native speakers. You’ll be on your way to German fluency in no time.
Why Improve Your German Listening Skills?
Your listening skills need to be just as great as your speaking skills if you want to become fluent. However, if you’re looking for more specific benefits of German listening practice, here are the top three:
- Have a conversation with a German local: If you can speak but can’t understand what a German person’s saying, you’re not really having a conversation. Learn to listen and understand German words and phrases to communicate successfully.
- Perfect your German accent: German has many different accents and dialects. If you strive to perfect a particular one, listening to it is your best bet at developing that kind of dialect.
- Understand German movies and TV shows better: German pop culture is great, and if you want to understand more of it, listening practice can also bring you closer to that goal. German TV shows and films are definitely worth this exercise.
How To Improve Your German Listening Skills
Now you’re probably wondering, well how do I actually improve my listening comprehension?
The simple answer is to listen as much and as often as you can.
- Find the correct level for you: Comprehensible input has never been more relevant. You need to find the ideal level of listening difficulty to understand most things yet still improve. If you listen to something and understand barely a word of it, it won’t help you to improve. Likewise, if you listen to something and find it incredibly easy, you won’t learn anything new.
- Focus on the right speed: While slower dialogue will make it easier for you to understand each word, in reality, no one speaks that slowly. If you want to use and understand German in real-life situations you’ll need to get used to understanding the language spoken at a normal speed.
- Fit German listening practice in your day: Thanks to modern technology, listening to German is quite easy. You can store your lessons on your phone, and listen when you’re commuting, doing your chores, or exercising.
4 Ways to Practice Your German Listening Skills
Now, for some actual tips and advice on where to find good materials for your German listening practice. Here are the top 4 ways you can practice your German listening skills.
If you want to improve your German vocabulary, ‘Cafe in Berlin’ by Andre Klein is a great audiobook to get you started. This great audiobook introduces Dino, an Italian guy who visits Berlin to practice his German. This book is around A1-A2 level and the narration is quite slow.
The great thing about Cafe in Berlin is that it’s just the first book in the series, there are 10 more stories to listen to. The first 3 books are narrated quite slowly, but after that, Andre speaks at a normal ‘real-life’ speed. The books get a little harder as you go along, and are around B1 level at most.
Another engaging audiobook series is ‘Baumgartner & Momsen’. This is a collection of short detective stories. They’re around B1-B2 level, so a little bit on the advanced side of language learning. However, they’re very fun.
Both these audiobook series’ also have paperback book versions, so you may find it beneficial to read along as you listen.
Podcasts are a great way to improve your listening skills, you can learn new things about German culture, and best of all, they’re free!
Check out ‘Coffee Break German’, which is a very well-known podcast for German learners. You can start as a complete beginner and follow the course. They also have another series known as the ‘German Travel Diaries’ which is more advanced.
Another great podcast is ‘Auf Deutsch gesagt’. The host, Robin, usually does interviews with a German speaker on various subjects. After each interview, he goes through a selection of the words and phrases used and explains what they mean (all done in German).
A fairly new podcast is by a popular German YouTuber: ‘GerMany Podcasts’. This is a great podcast for many reasons. The host, Dominik, has a great presenting style and a clear German accent, so he’s easy to listen to. And each podcast covers a different topic in an interview-style format. You can learn a lot about German life and culture.
Of course, we need to mention ‘Easy German’ when we’re talking about podcasts. Famed for their popular YouTube channel, Cari and Manuel talk about many different topics and current events. Episodes are released weekly and are well worth a listen.
Listening to German radio is a great way to improve your German listening skills. You don’t just learn to understand real Germans, you can also keep up-to-date on current German events.
However, these radio shows are made for real Germans. So, you need high listening skills to understand them and learn from them.
Of course, there are countless radio stations and programs to choose from. DE Radio is a great app to download to browse hundreds of channels and see which one you like most. nd trying out a few of the hundreds of stations to see which ones you like.
If you’re looking for a recommendation, Schwarzwald Radio is a great radio station. It has a combination of great music, chat and hourly news.
The best way to achieve German fluency is to combine listening and speaking into one action. And that’s exactly what OptiLingo does.
OptiLingo shows you the most common German words and phrases, and you can read and listen as you’re pronouncing them. It’s an incredibly easy yet effective way to learn German and reach fluency.
Try OptiLingo today to discover the best way to learn a language!