When learning a language, we spend a lot of hours cramming grammar, speaking to tutors, attending courses, and much more.
To get the most progress in a short amount of time, however, it is a great idea to find ways to study while being occupied with other things.
Here you will find some ideas on how to learn German in your car on the way to work, on public transport, or maybe even while doing chores around the house.
This type of multitasking will give you hours of added study time that otherwise would be “dead” time.
When you make a habit of these few things, your German will progress infinitely faster!
Audiobooks are an amazing way to learn a language.
Not only do you get a huge range of new vocabulary, but you also hear native speakers speak, which will help tremendously with your pronunciation.
The great thing about audiobooks is that you can truly use them at whatever language level you might be.
If you are just starting out with learning German, a good idea would be to listen to a very simple audiobook.
Don’t be afraid of children’s books in the beginning, they offer great elementary vocabulary to build on in the future!
As an intermediate German speaker, you might wanna choose a book that is a bit harder, but that you already know from reading/listening to it in your native language.
Although the language will be harder, knowing the book already will provide you with context and therefore make it easier to understand.
That’s a great way to enrich your vocabulary, as well.
Now, if you are already relatively proficient in German, listening to audiobooks that are new to you will be a great practice.
Oftentimes when we reach a certain level in a language and don’t use it daily, it can get easy to neglect the language.
Audiobooks are a great way to freshen up your memory and also find fun in the language again!
If you are not a big fan of audiobooks, or simply want to switch things up a little, one of my favorite activities to pass the time is listening to podcasts.
If you aren’t sure what a podcast is, it’s a series consisting of multiple episodes on any kind of topic.
You will find podcasts that are 10 minutes long, and podcasts that are 4-5 hours long, it depends on the format.
There are podcasts of one person speaking, podcasts of two or three people together, or podcasts where the host interviews different people every episode!
The awesome thing about podcasts is that you will find a podcast you like on ANY topic you might be interested in.
Seriously, I feel like there really isn’t any topic that isn’t covered by a podcast!
This will make learning so much more fun because you can really immerse yourself in a topic you love, while still being productive and broadening your vocabulary.
Just to give you a few ideas on what you can find in the podcast universe, here are some popular topics:
- Love / Relationships
- True Crime
- Movie / Book / Music reviews
- Nature / Outdoors
- Inspirational people
And these are just a few!
Another plus of podcasts is that they can be an AMAZING tool when learning a language. There are countless podcasts directed at exactly that purpose.
Duolingo has a language learning podcast, for example, where the beginner episodes will be super slow and simple, covering basic vocabulary and translating hard words.
These types of podcasts will really boost you to the next language level without much hard work!
If you are not a big fan of the spoken word and prefer jamming out to your favorite tunes on the way to work or when doing the dishes, there is still a way to get some German practice in.
Instead of reaching for your all-time favorite bands, maybe try immersing yourself in the universe of German music.
This will give you the advantage of having amazing music, but your brain will still be hearing the German lyrics and the more you listen to it, the more you understand.
Plus points if you find a new favorite song and look up the lyrics!
To not leave you completely stranded in an abundance of bands to choose from, here is a short summary of some bands you could start with based on genres:
- Sportfreunde Stiller
- Wir sind Helden
- Nena (Neue Deutsche Welle)
- Böhse Onkelz
- Tokio Hotel
- Die Ärzte
- Die Toten Hosen
Hip Hop / Rap
- Die Fantastischen Vier
- Farid Bang
These are of course just a few examples, but a great place to start when discovering the world of German music.
Have fun with it!
When looking for a way to learn German in your downtime, really the only advice I can give you is to have fun with it!
Try out different things, listen to guilty-pleasure audiobooks or music that makes you feel great. Find a podcast about a topic you are already passionate about!
When you make something like spending your downtime learning German a chore, you will not want to spend your free time doing “even more”, after already studying grammar.
When you make it super fun, however, it will be like learning effortlessly.
The options here are endless, so if you haven’t found something that feels amazing for you, keep looking!
I promise you there is a German audiobook, a podcast, or a band out there that will make you want to spend all your free time with it!