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All German, All the Time

December 8, 2011

Lady Gaga actually had quite a few ads on TV in Germany promoting the channel RTL.  I can’t say her pronunciation is stellar, but hey, she doesn’t do ads for NBC, so it was an interesting bit of American pop culture on German TV.

And on that note, one of the absolute best ways to become familiar with a language and its cadence is to listen to it constantly.  It’s definitely not easy living in America to find European channels, even when you’re willing to dump truckloads of cash at the feet of the cable companies.  It all depends on which foreign channels take part in syndication and typically they’re Asian, Spanish or Indian channels.

By being in Germany and watching TV, listening to the radio and just being in public, I picked up many words through pure repetition.  Of course it helps having a German mom to ask what every word I hear means.  But the best shows to watch are the simplest ones possible.  No complex, murder-mystery movies that need a lot of explanation, but also no kids’ shows as those getting boring fast.  Something easy like a cooking or quiz show is the best.  With the quiz shows you also get the bonus of seeing the questions and answers written down as well and you hear it repeated fairly slowly several times.  You just can’t beat it.

If cooking is your thing there were two shows on basic cable that were entertaining enough to keep watching and learn some vocabulary.  One was “Topfgeldjäger” with Steffen Henssler.  It was sort of a cooking competition between two teams with Steffen as host and professional chef.  In the middle of the show there would be a segment called ‘Steffen Henssler’s Schelle Nummer’ or Steffen Henssler’s Quick Number.


The other cooking show also had some reality TV thrown in.  The show was called “Das Perfekte Promi Dinner,” meaning the perfect prominent dinner, in which a group of normal people or a group of celebrities were assembled and each night of the week, one of them had to put together a multiple course gourmet dinner for the group, then be judged on how good it was.


If you just want some radio, you can choose from music to news on

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