Learn German While Driving: 16 Great Resources for Learning Deutsch on the Road
Mercedes Benz, BMW, Porsche, Volkswagen, driving on the Autobahn—all these things are essential elements of modern German culture. Some even believe that German Karl Benz invented the automobile, though the history of the car is much more complicated.
It may seem unconventional to learn German while driving, but that time in your car can be the perfect built-in study session to learn and perfect your German language skills.
Plus, you won’t just be learning about the language, you’ll also be learning about the culture of Germany, and maybe even start a love affair with German cars!
Read on for 16 resources that are perfect for learning German while driving, plus a handy list of German driving and car-related vocabulary.
- Learning German While Driving Through Podcasts
- Learning German While Driving Through Audio Lessons
- Learning German While Driving Through Music
- And One More Thing...
Learning German While Driving Through Podcasts
Load your smartphone with one of the many podcasts and spoken German learning options available out there. Then listen to the tracks, over and over again, until you find yourself picking out words and comprehending most of what the speaker is saying. Here’s a list of great German podcasts. Also, check out the ones below:
1. Nachrichtenleicht Audio News
Nachrichtenleicht is a website for high A1/low A2 language learners to pick up useful, real-world German vocabulary couched in simple terms with easy grammatical structures.
The website features current events distilled into simplistic articles, accompanied by 3-minute sound bites of a newscaster reading the articles in German very, very slowly. The sound bites are all available for download, making these clips ideal for short car rides.
2. Deutsche Welle Podcasts
Deutsche Welle’s news podcasts are similar to Nachrichtenleicht’s sound bites, but they’re geared towards a higher level of learning, typically the higher B-levels and C1. These podcasts, which are also downloadable as MP3s, are ideal for intermediate learners to catch up on the news and hone vocabulary while driving.
3. Slow German
The Slow German podcasts don’t deal with news, but with various useful topics including marriage, newspapers and history. These podcasts are also downloadable as MP3s—and you can download the transcript in PDF format and check your comprehension when you get home.
4. Coffee Break German
Coffee Break German is a language learning podcast that takes a relaxed and friendly approach to teaching German. The hosts, Mark and Thomas, cover a variety of topics and language skills, making it suitable for learners of all levels.
GermanPod101 offers a comprehensive language learning experience, including podcasts that cover grammar, vocabulary and cultural insights. The lessons are structured and come with additional learning materials to enhance your understanding.
6. Learn German by Podcast
Learn German by Podcast provides audio lessons accompanied by transcripts and lesson guides. The hosts, a native German speaker and a non-native German speaker, create a dynamic and engaging learning experience covering various language aspects.
Learning German While Driving Through Audio Lessons
If you want to brush up on your grammar and vocabulary classroom-style, look no further than the following audio lessons.
They’ll help you learn key words and phrases while on the open road. Lessons are ideal for beginning language learners, as they often begin by emphasizing the sort of material you learn in A1—the basics you need to interact with people on a superficial basis. They also force you to listen and repeat, and repetition is often the key to language success.
7. Learn in Your Car German
The Learn in Your Car series teaches key words and phrases and walks learners through the beginning steps of language learning by forcing repetition. This makes Learn in Your Car ideal if you’re just starting out with German. You can buy a CD version of the series, download it through the iTunes store or stream it on Spotify.
8. Pimsleur Language Learning
Pimsleur Language Learning is a method through which you can embark on Deutschlernen the same way you would in a classroom: through half-hour lessons that target specific topics.
The German Pimsleur software is somewhat expensive, but it comes with 120 half-hour lessons—perfect for those longer commutes—plus flashcards and other review materials for when you stop driving. The prices vary depending on which materials you opt for, and you’ll catch the occasional sale on their site. Check out what they're currently offering here.
9. Deutsche Welle Audio trainer
Deutsche Welle’s Audiotrainer, geared towards A1/A2 learners, allows you to practice your pronunciation and learn new vocabulary by listening and repeating. The Audiotrainer is available as an MP3 download as well, making it easy to take into your car and on the go.
10. The Michel Thomas Method: Total German
The Michel Thomas Method is an audio-based language learning approach that emphasizes understanding and building sentences from the start.
The Total German course, narrated by experienced language teacher Michel Thomas, is designed to be interactive and engaging. It breaks down the language into manageable parts, allowing learners to construct sentences and grasp grammar concepts effortlessly. The lessons are suitable for beginners and intermediate learners.
11. Assimil German with Ease
Assimil is a language learning method that combines audio lessons with a printed book that you can look at when you’re not driving. The “German with Ease” program is designed for beginners and focuses on a gradual, intuitive approach to language learning. The audio component features dialogues, vocabulary and exercises, allowing learners to absorb the language in a natural way.
The accompanying book provides explanations, translations, and additional exercises for reinforcement. The program aims to help learners develop both conversational skills and a solid understanding of German grammar.
Learning German While Driving Through Music
Podcasts are no doubt very useful for picking up important vocabulary and learning about the main issues facing Germany today.
But sometimes you just want to turn the music up and drive (especially when you’re on the Autobahn).
Don’t worry—there are plenty of German musicians whose catchy tunes will help you learn new vocabulary and grammatical structures. Check out these classic German songs or listen to some of the artists listed below.
Rap is often easier to understand than rock for language learners, so rapper Marteria’s songs will be perfect for you if your comprehension is still at a beginner level—or if you just love rap music. Marteria’s songs cover a variety of topics, ranging from a tune bemoaning other members of his generation growing up, to a homage to his hometown of Rostock.
13. Andreas Bourani
Sometimes it’s fun to listen to an inspirational pop ballad while driving. Singer-songwriter Andreas Bourani provides that in spades, especially with his song “Auf Uns,” which is featured in the trailer for the video documenting Germany’s 2014 win in the FIFA World Cup.
She’s more of a relic from the past than the others, but Nena’s song “99 Luftballons,” an anti-Cold War song about a bunch of balloons mistaken for UFOs that unwittingly spark off WWIII, remains one of the most famous German-language songs—and if you’ve never driven while listening to this song, you’re certainly missing out!
15. Tokio Hotel
Tokio Hotel became a massive hit on the German rock scene, capturing the hearts of teenagers worldwide, especially during the mid-2000s. The band, which hails from Magdeburg and formed in 2001, is made up of the talented Kaulitz twins—Bill on vocals and Tom on guitar—alongside Georg Listing on bass and Gustav Schäfer on drums.
Their breakthrough came with the debut album “Schrei,” where they seamlessly blended German and English songs. What sets Tokio Hotel apart is their knack for crafting tunes with infectious melodies, merging them seamlessly with a rock vibe. It’s this unique blend that, combined with their high-energy performances, has cultivated a devoted fanbase over the years.
16. Helene Fischer
Helene Fischer is a total powerhouse in the German music scene. She’s got this incredible ability to rock the Schlager genre, which is all about those catchy and feel-good pop tunes that folks in German-speaking countries can’t get enough of.
Originally from Krasnoyarsk, Russia, Helene made her way to Germany when she was just a kid. And let me tell you, she’s been leaving her mark ever since. What really sets her apart is not just her killer vocals but also the way she commands the stage. It’s like she’s got this magical combo of talent and charisma.
Now, what’s cool about Helene is that she’s not boxed into one genre. Nope, she’s all over the place, dabbling in pop, dance—you name it. And here’s the kicker: she’s not just making music for a niche crowd; she’s got this amazing knack for connecting with pretty much everyone.
FluentU takes authentic videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.
If you incorporate some of these tips and tricks into your driving routine, you’ll soon have German study time built into your schedule.
Just remember to be careful and focus on your driving first and foremost.
Eyes on the road (to fluency)!
And One More Thing...
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