Therefore, we have selected a few good, local resources to help you get accustomed to reading and hearing German. We believe that working on your understanding of the language every day will greatly improve your chances of becoming fluent in German. Local resources are, indeed, a good way for you to get used to the version of German native speakers are actually using every day. That way, you will learn useful idioms and crutch words as well as develop a natural feeling for the language.
To make the most of this process and really improve your understanding of the German language, we would also advise you to grab a good dictionary or use an online one – our favorite is Leo, which is also available as Android as well as iPhone and iPad app.
Now that you are ready, here are our 5 recommendations!
A book: Jackie Thomae “Momente der Klarheit”
Jackie Thomae is a German journalist and author who published her first novel earlier this year. It is titled Momente der Klarheit (“Moments of clarity”) and deals with the topics of when love ends and how to deal with a break-up. This very contemporary book manages to pinpoint how and why creative people living in big cities struggle as far as love is concerned. The characters are a colorful group of people including a musician, an artist, a film director and a pharmacist. These couples are all dealing with complicated relationships all while trying to find happiness. This book is both extremely funny and sad because the author’s witty sentences are often depressingly accurate, but read it and we’re sure you will enjoy the ride!
A song: Barfuß am Klavier – AnnenMayKantereit
This work surprised everyone when its video was released because of the very deep voice of the singer who also happens to look quite young. This song has simple lyrics about a failed relationship between the singer and a young woman. It manages to be both sweet and stirring without succumbing to clichés.
The stripped down musical arrangement and slow rhythm make this song a great learning tool – read the lyrics while listening to it, look up any word or phrase you haven’t heard before and, if you’re feeling confident, why don’t you try to sing along?
A movie: Wir sind jung. Wir sind stark.
Wir sind jung. Wir sind stark. was released in 2014 and tells the story of the violent, xenophobic riots that took place in Rostock in late August 1992, shortly after Germany was reunited. What happened is that a group of right-wing extremists tried to set fire to an apartment block where asylum seekers were living while 3,000 people stood by and watched, applauding them. Fortunately, no one was killed but these events brought to light the fact that there was a serious xenophobia issue affecting German society at the time.
The movie is shot in black and white and describes these unfortunate events from the perspectives of three different characters involved in different ways. It is very interesting and beautifully shot, which make it a must-watch for anyone interested in Germany and its society.
A podcast / radio show: Der Explikator
Der Explikator is a podcast which, as the name suggests, aims to explain things. The shows range from answering questions such as “Is it better to live in a city or in the countryside?” to analyzing the (supposed) decay of Game Of Thrones as a TV series. It was created by Oliver Wunderlich who wants his audience to listen to Der Explikator in the morning as the author got the idea for the show after realizing he didn’t enjoy what morning radio had to offer at all.
He speaks fairly slowly and clearly, which makes it quite easy to understand for intermediate to advanced learners.
A website: DailyBread Magazine
If you are interested in digital culture and want to read about the thoughts of influential and creative people on this topic, the DailyBread Magazine is just what you need! Carefully curated by some of the best lifestyle bloggers and content creators Germany has to offer, it gathers articles from a wide array of perspectives and covers many different topics. How can we help refugees? What are the 5 best apps for backpackers? Is it wrong to not dream of becoming a professional blogger? All of these questions and more are answered on this online magazine.
The interesting thing about this website is that it was born out of a social experiment: all of the contributing authors are currently sharing a coworking space in Berlin, which they are allowed to use for free in exchange for creating content for the DailyBread Magazine. A great project that you will definitely enjoy following!