Hey, what are you up to? Wait—don’t tell me. Let me guess!
You’re watching another cat video?!
As a matter of fact, there’s a whole lot more to YouTube than just cute cat videos!
Did you know that YouTube is a fantastic resource you can use for your German studies?
Hopefully, you’re already using Netflix for your German. And you should also have a couple of excellent German movies in your DVD collection. Well, now is the time to add YouTube to your repertoire of awesome ways to improve your German.
Not sure how you can utilize this amazing tool for your language skills? No problem; I’ve got you covered with this blog post!
Just make sure you don’t get distracted by all the ridiculously funny cat videos—unless they’re in German.
Why Use YouTube for Your German?
There are so many great reasons why you need to start using YouTube for your German right now.
Firstly, it’s completely free! It won’t cost you a dime to log in and start checking out all the various language-based videos. So, as you can see, it works out a whole lot cheaper than buying textbooks and taking language courses. You’ll be able to repeatedly top up your German grammar and listening skills without damaging your bank balance.
One other fantastic advantage of using YouTube for your language learning is that you have such a great choice of videos. Absolutely anyone can upload a video to YouTube. As long as someone has a camera and an internet connection, they can make a video and post it online. And this helps your language! Especially your listening skills. Native speakers from across Germany will be uploading their videos and showing off their different accents and dialects, so this gives you plenty of practice listening to different accents. So if you want to fine tune your ear to a range of accents, YouTube is the place to be!
Lastly, YouTube gives you the chance to listen to German being spoken at a normal conversational speed. If you search through YouTube for videos, you’ll find that there are ones aimed at different German abilities. So if you feel that you’re ready to listen to naturally spoken German, take a look at some of the videos aimed at native speakers.
How to Use YouTube for German
If you just sit back and watch a few YouTube videos, you won’t feel like your German has improved a whole bunch. The only way watching all these videos is going to help is if you’re proactive in your learning. One way you can be super proactive is by using the subtitle tool on the videos. If a user has added English subtitles to a German video, you can turn them on and off whenever you like.
So how can you use these subtitles to your advantage? Firstly, watch the video through once without them turned on. Then write down everything that you understood. Watch the video a second time with the subtitles turned on. You can then use them to fill in any gaps in your understanding. Be sure to also write down any words you don’t understand in a notebook. Return to this list on a regular basis to review them until you learn them.
Are you completely new to German? There are plenty of videos aimed at beginners on the site. You can watch ones that go over the basics of German grammar. Once you have a basic understanding, move on to videos of German cartoons. As these are aimed at young children, the language will be simple enough to understand.
There are also plenty of videos on YouTube for intermediate and advanced German learners. Intermediate learners can watch videos which showcase a native level of spoken German so they can brush up on their listening skills. As for advanced learners, why not invite all your friends around and have a study session together? You can watch a video (without subtitles!) and then have a discussion about it afterward. Make sure you discuss it in German so that you can squeeze in some speaking practice as well.
You can find German videos for all levels with optional subtitles on FluentU. FluentU takes real-world videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.
4 of the Best YouTube Channels for Learning German
The fabulous Bookboxinc YouTube channel specializes in language-learning videos.
No matter what language you’re learning, you’ll certainly find plenty of videos on this channel for you. Many of them are aimed at German learners! Since all of the cartoons are aimed at children, the German is very slow and clearly spoken.
What’s more, the videos have German subtitles on them so you can read the German to help you follow the story while you’re listening. If you find that you’re struggling to understand even with the German subtitles, you can simply switch on the English ones as well.
The Goethe-Institut is a non-profit German cultural association. It offers a great language learning program and lots of language schools around Germany that teach German to foreigners. Not only that, though, the organization has a really strong online presence as well. Especially on YouTube!
Intermediate and advanced German learners should take a look through the videos on YouTube. They cover various aspects of German culture, including the one above, which focuses on business German and interviews.
Want to get into a German TV series for your next binge? Then the MySpass.de YouTube channel is where you need to be. They have uploaded many clips from numerous German TV shows.
Most of them are comedies, such as the clip above which is from “Stromberg” (the German version of “The Office”). Another great comedy show that’s on the channel is the awesome “Ladykracher.” This sketch-show isn’t on TV anymore, but has thankfully been preserved on the MySpass.de channel. So if you’re ever in need of a giggle, head right on over.
4. TEDx Talks
If you’re an advanced German learner and want a video that pushes your language skills and challenges your way of thinking, tune into one of the videos on the TEDx Talks channel.
Each talk is presented by a different speaker who is a leading expert in their field. The talks cover a vast array of topics from various areas in science, technology, education, culture and more. No matter your interests, you’ll certainly find a TEDx Talk that will get you thinking and will stretch your German language skills.
The TEDx Talks channel links to talks in multiple languages. To find the German ones, simply go to the playlist section and choose one of the German, Austrian or Swiss cities.
As you can see, YouTube is a fantastic tool that can help you get very far with your German. It’s an unbeatable platform for German videos that covers all the bases. With everything from grammar for beginners to philosophical TEDx Talks for those who are almost fluent, YouTube has your back.
So, what are you waiting for? It’s time to go on over to YouTube and start tapping into its remarkable German videos!
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn German with real-world videos.