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How to learn German with TV shows and Movies

When wanting to learn any language, a big part is understanding dialogues and learning everyday phrases. German is no exception to that rule.

In order to playfully learn all these things, great resources are movies and tv shows.

Chances are you already spend some time each day, or at least each week browsing Netflix, Hulu, or Youtube, so why not use that downtime to simultaneously get some German practice?

Discover how to learn German with TV shows and movies with some of our suggestions.

The benefits of learning German with TV shows and Movies

There are a lot of benefits that come from watching movies or TV shows in German when trying to learn the language.

Adjust it to any language level

One of the most useful benefits of this type of learning is that you can use this technique no matter what level of German you’re at.

It can be used whether you just started learning the language this week or whether you’re preparing for an advanced-level German exam.

When you have almost no knowledge of the German language, it might help to choose a movie or tv show you know and love already.

Then you can choose, maybe you want to start with your native language as the subtitles to slowly get your brain used to hearing the language.

Another alternative is to start with very easy shows and movies, maybe even for kids. This will give you some very basic vocabulary and sentence structures.

As your German progresses, you can switch to more challenging shows, or shows you haven’t seen yet.

Usually, language difficulty increases in the following order:

  1. Kids TV shows/ movies
  2. Comedies (Sitcoms, Cartoons, etc)
  3. Thrillers/ Action
  4. Drama/ Dark Humor

Once you feel comfortable, you might want to switch the subtitles to German as well.

This will still help you when the actors speak very fast or with a dialect, and you will also learn the spelling of new vocabulary.

Improve your Listening

No matter where you start with German movies and tv shows, hearing the language will over time improve your listening.

Even if you barely understand anything at first, your brain will get used to listening to that language and start making connections.

This will be very helpful for you further down the line in your learning process when you deal with grammar, as certain things will all of a sudden just feel right because your brain has heard them before.

Understanding through context

Especially in the beginning, you may not understand everything that is being said. This can be a big advantage in training your spontaneous understanding.

It will teach you to understand a scene even without knowing exactly what everyone said.

New Vocabulary

Watching TV shows and movies will bring you a completely different range of vocabulary than what you learn in the classroom.

By choosing a variety of different shows and genres, you will automatically be exposed to different topics.

It will also give you a great introduction to phrases that are used in German, that might not have a literal translation in other languages (word puns, common phrases, etc)

This can be a great way to naturally expand your vocabulary without much work! If you want, you can keep a list in a notebook or on your phone for whenever there is an interesting new word being said in a show or movie.

Pronunciation

Hearing native people speak will imprint the pronunciation in your brain and help you improve your speaking in that aspect.

It will also aid you in sounding more fluent in conversations.

Different Accents and Dialects

It is hard to understand German as a beginner, but it is even harder to understand people speaking with different dialects and accents.

Watching TV shows from different areas of Germany, Austria and maybe even Switzerland will expose you to the numerous ways of speaking and will, over time, make understanding them a lot easier.

You can watch it with a buddy

Maybe you have a friend who is learning German as well. To kill two birds with one stone, you could choose a show or a movie to watch together and then try and discuss the episodes/ the movie together in German.

This will help you implement new vocabulary that might have surfaced during the show and you practice your speaking.

Plus, it’s always more motivating having a buddy to keep you accountable!

It’s FUN

As passionate as you are about learning German, textbooks and grammar exercises can get really boring after a while.

In order to keep the passion for a language alive, it is super important to keep it fun and diverse. What better way than combining a hobby with it?

The great thing about this is that you can choose whatever topic you want. There are thousands of German TV shows and a lot of famous English ones with German dubbing.

There is really nothing you can’t find, so have fun with it!

Don’t watch a show if you find the genre boring, that would defeat the whole purpose.

This is meant to be a fun learning process, so don’t hesitate to look until you find a show you want to binge-watch!

What are good Shows and Movies to watch in German?

Now, after learning all the great benefits of watching German tv shows and movies, I’m sure you’d love to find something great to watch!

As I mentioned, you can of course start with kids’ shows or with shows you already love that have German dubbing, but here is a list of a few amazing shows and movies that are originally in German:

Türkisch für Anfänger

This is a comedy show about a culture clash between two families. A Turkish father and a German mother fall in love and move into the same house together.

This show provides a funny insight into the culture clash that is very present in Germany, as it has the world’s second-largest population of Turkish people.

There are also a few movies of Türkich für Anfänger if you prefer them over watching a show.

Watch the show here

Dark

Dark is a German show that runs on Netflix. It takes place in a fictional town called Winden in Germany and follows the disappearance of a child who went into a cave and never returned.

The show does a great job at mixing Science-Fiction with Drama and the plot feels realistic enough to take place in your neighboring town.

It can be a bit hard to understand some characters at first, so don’t hesitate to put on subtitles for this show!

You can watch it here

Babylon Berlin

This is a historical show playing in 1929 in Berlin, during the Weimar Republic.

It is about a police officer moving to Berlin, where he starts to unravel dark secrets during his investigation.

The show does a great job at portraying the conditions in Germany at the time and gives insight into the time that paved the way to the Nazi Regime and the second world war.


Tatort

Tatort is a great show, and almost everyone in the German-speaking world has either seen it or at least heard of it.

Tatort translates to a crime scene in English and is Germany’s longest-running TV drama. The episodes are feature-length and they have been producing at least 30 episodes a year since the 1970s.

The cast is ever-changing and the plot follows police officers from Austria to Germany to Switzerland, as they solve the biggest mystery of the week.

This is a great option for anyone who is into crime shows!

You can see a list of episodes here

Of course, there are many more German Shows and Movies you can watch, if you want a more extensive list, you can check out this link.

Get watching!

As you see, there are numerous advantages of switching up your German learning practice a bit by watching movies and tv shows!

It might even catapult your skills to a whole new level because a lot of the learning will be done almost automatically!

If you want, write down new phrases and vocabulary you learn to ensure that you will remember them in the future!

Remember to always keep your studying fun and diverse, that way you will not lose interest!

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