Want your German to sound more authentic?
Worried you sound like one of those silly Google Translate mistakes when you speak German?
The solution is pretty simple.
You just need authentic German resources to get familiar with the language as it’s actually used by native speakers.
In this article, we’ll start you off with some German learning resources that teach you through authentic content. You’ll immerse yourself in real German while actively learning from it.
Then, we’ll point you to podcasts, websites, TV shows and more that native speakers love, for a tour of authentic German language and culture.
How to Learn Authentic German with 13+ Rad Resources
Language Resources That Teach You with Authentic German
Not sure you’re ready to dive straight into authentic German content? Don’t worry. Language learning resources can still give you that real-world German immersion you crave.
Here are several amazing resources that are entirely in German, but also designed for language learners.
FluentU occupies a very useful middle ground between “made for learners” and “made for Germans.”
For example, every video comes with interactive subtitles. Click on any word for an instant definition, grammar info and useful examples. There are also professionally translated English captions that you can toggle on or off.
Vocabulary lists, full transcripts and a “quick look” feature make it easy to understand any difficult parts of the video.
Once you’re done watching a video, flashcards and fun quizzes help you remember everything you’ve learned.
There are more than 1,000 videos and the library is growing all the time. The videos are conveniently organized by difficulty and genre—or just use the handy search box to find videos related to specific terms or topics.
You can use FluentU on both your iOs or Android device and your computer. Switch between several devices and your computer whenever you like. FluentU will keep track of all your practice sessions and everything you’ve learned, so you can just pick up wherever you left off—whenever and wherever you’d like to learn.
Sound interesting? You can check it out for free with a FluentU trial.
Super Easy German
The Easy Languages series of subtitled street interviews should be a household name by now, and yet I see them mentioned all too rarely. Easy German is their flagship series.
They’ve produced hundreds of videos where you’ll hear real Germans talking about interesting topics—all with built-in subtitles in German and English.
There’s also the Super Easy German series, which features more controlled situations where the hosts speak slowly and in short sentences to describe a particular location or process.
The best part is, after you’ve watched a Super Easy German video a couple of times, you can look for a regular Easy German video on the same subject to complement what you learned!
Did you ever watch silly little sitcoms when you were in language class at school? The ones with big personalities, slow dialogue and very goofy situations? That’s Extr@, and it comes in four languages.
From my point of view, the German version is far and away the best thanks to the wonderful chemistry between the actors. Of course, I may be biased since it was one of the very first things I watched in German.
You’ll hear natural conversations among native German speakers, all designed to teach you essential, everyday vocabulary.
Here’s a tip: do what I did and watch only with German subtitles, no English. You’ll be surprised how fast you learn!
Slowly Spoken News
I always say focusing on pronunciation from the start really pays dividends later on. Slowly Spoken News is a service where a professional broadcaster reads out a brief segment of daily news, very slowly and very clearly.
Even better, the language itself isn’t dumbed down at all, so you’re getting great exposure to native German phrasings and structures.
The best way to use a resource like this is simply to listen and read at the same time, and repeat certain sections when you need to.
Slow German Podcast
Here’s another popular German resource that’ll help you get familiar with real German, without getting overwhelmed.
Not only will you hear authentic German spoken at a manageable pace, but you’ll also get introduced to important topics in German culture and history.
Best of all, it’s available totally for free and even comes with PDF transcripts in German. If you really like this resource, you can sign up for a Premium membership to get comprehension questions, grammar lessons and even fairy tales in German.
Authentic German Reading Resources
Quora is already a pretty famous website, but in the last couple of years they’ve taken big steps in internationalization. The German version has already been out for a while, and there’s a ton of native German content posted there every day.
It’s essentially a Q-and-A platform, where people post questions on all types of topics and other users provide answers. Quora is really good about recommending content related to what you’ve already read, so it’s a great option to keep you interested in authentic German reading practice.
As a first step, one great practice idea would be to look for questions that you already know the answers to, or that you would be able to answer yourself—like questions about what tourists should do in your home country.
There are also lots of topics where people share funny, infuriating or thought-provoking experiences, and those are ideal for learning how Germans tell stories about themselves.
Reading fiction is one of the most effective ways to strengthen your vocabulary. But have you ever seen old German novels? You can’t read for 10 minutes without getting lost in a 50-word sentence.
One of the ways to work up to that level is by reading German stories on FictionPress, a site for amateur writers to publish original content for free.
First, choose a category, and then apply a filter by language to search only for German material. Although there are a lot of pretty short pieces, the quality tends to be a little higher on FictionPress than on other self-publishing sites.
Authentic German Audio Resources
Die Frage (The Question)
This podcast has got to be one of my favorite things to listen to in any language. Each episode revolves around a particular “burning question” that you may have wondered about yourself. Then, an investigative journalist has a couple of weeks to find out all they can about that topic.
These topics range from the light and entertaining (fitness, nutrition, music) to the hard-hitting and seriously thought-provoking (prison life, poverty, ancestors with Nazi sympathies).
The resulting podcast episodes, without fail, are extremely well done. You’ll hear a variety of accents (mostly Southern German, as the show is based in Munich) and listen to people from all walks of life.
Are you interested in online privacy, cybersecurity or other questions about life, politics and technology? Alternativlos is for you.
It only releases a few episodes every year, making the older political and tech topics slightly dated, but the debates about the underlying issues are as fresh as ever.
Furthermore, the hosts are all skilled speakers. Listening closely to a couple of episodes will do a lot for your ability to actually express nuanced ideas well in German.
ZDF is one of the best-known broadcasters in Germany, similar to ABC or CBS in the U.S. On their website, they post a lot of their shows completely free to watch—and they’re all real, high-quality stuff.
Did I mention they have subtitles in German too?
Don’t limit yourself to strictly German media either. Check out the dubbed crime series from Sweden and Norway as well, since for one, dubbing is usually a little bit easier to understand, and two, Scandinavian police dramas are incredible!
Just know that depending on where you are, you may hit location blocks with some of the videos.
SBS is an Australian news broadcaster. But it doesn’t matter if you’ve never set foot in Australia before—you’d be foolish to ignore this amazing listening resource. It’s actually available in dozens of languages, and each one has a daily broadcast and downloadable program archives.
They’re recorded by professionals and have light and easy-to-follow discussions about all kinds of things happening in the world. It’s probably one of the best ways to get into German news, simply because it provides more surface-level content than deep dives into specific issues.
WDR Aktuell (WDR Up To Date)
There are a lot of news stations doing regular podcasts, but WDR Aktuell deserves a mention for its amazing commitment—every hour, on the hour, 24/7.
They regularly run in-depth stories that take up nearly the whole hour slot, so this news broadcast is ideal for when you can easily understand other news broadcasts and you want to stretch your abilities.
There’s no harm in repetition, either—read about today’s news in English first and then check out the WDR broadcast to see what you can pick up.
Listen Live is really an aggregator site for lots of different internet radio stations. They have literally dozens of news, talk, sports and music stations from all over the German-speaking world. Bored with one? Slap on another!
One of the reasons I like internet radio is that I don’t have to choose the topic. I tune in, and if it’s a good station, I just keep the station on. There’s no need to select the next podcast episode or find a new artist once you’ve listened to all the songs.
The more effortless you make it to listen to German, the faster you’re going to learn!
Popular German Vloggers and Streamers
There’s no way we can link to every single one of the most popular German YouTubers. Instead, you should just know that they’re out there. Anything you enjoy in English is probably available in German too, when it comes to YouTube creators.
All you have to do is search for a particular category like “photography” or “makeup” in German. And if you don’t know how to say it, simply search in English, add the word Deutsch and you’re likely to find what you need anyway.
In addition to that, you can check out Social Blade’s list of most-subscribed YouTube channels in Germany, to get the latest info on what Germans are streaming right now. That’s what you should be streaming, too!
You probably want to give your mobile data a break if you’re spending all your time watching German stuff online. Try out a YouTube-to-MP3 service, such as the app 4K Video Downloader, which lets you download whole YouTube playlists at a time!
Now you’re practically surrounded by great authentic German resources. What’s the best way to actually use them to get fluent?
It’s easy to just keep consuming media in English. But how about this—you set a couple of random timers to go off during the day, and when they do, you have to read or watch something related to what you’re doing in English—whether that’s finding a news article, watching a game stream, or arguing online—and look for it in German.
With all the authentic German resources linked above, you’ll find something engaging in no time. Keep yourself engaged and it’s a smooth road to German fluency.
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