Intermediate German: Understanding spoken German
Intermediate German: Understanding spoken German

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Intermediate German: Understanding spoken German

Intermediate German: Understanding spoken German


This free course, Intermediate German: Understanding spoken German, is aimed at intermediate learners of German with an interest in language and culture. The six-hour-course is designed to develop your understanding of spoken German through video portraits of people in the German cities of Hamburg and Passau. It introduces you to naturally spoken language, and gives clear advice on how to use video resources as a useful and enjoyable learning tool. By completing varied activities you will improve your understanding and active use of the language, and develop the confidence to access further resources and take your studies to a higher level.

In this course you will meet people living and working in Germany, by hearing them speak and watching video clips in which they talk about themselves and their lives. Hearing and watching people describe what they do and who they are can offer you an enjoyable and interesting insight into a way of life in a different culture. You will find that the more you watch and listen, the more you understand. Exposure to spoken language is invaluable when you are learning to speak and understand a new language. You may not understand everything you hear, but even so, the act of listening can help you in many different ways: you will understand more vocabulary, you can learn useful phrases, and listening to the intonation and sound of language can improve your pronunciation of your spoken German.

The video recordings you view were recorded for your learning. These video clips are all authentic; they all show people from Germany or Austria talking about themselves at normal speed. This may be different from the sort of material you have come across in the classroom. Listening to spoken language presented at natural speed helps to prepare you for spoken language you may encounter in real life, whether on the street in a German-speaking country, watching material on the internet, or listening to German radio.

Authentic sources, especially authentic audio-visual resources typically include language, grammar and expressions that you may not have come across in your language learning before. In this way they provide you with an extremely useful learning resource. They prepare you for the world beyond the classroom.

You will focus on different ways you can use authentic audio and visual materials to help you learn German. The language level of the course is for intermediate level learners of German at B1.

Before you start, watch the following video which gives useful hints and tips when trying to improve your understanding of spoken German.

Download this video clip.Video player: openlearn_l113_2017_vid003-1280x720.mp4
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Listening to a foreign language can be very exciting. But at the same time, it can be quite overwhelming. A good strategy is to focus on what you do understand such as brand names, places, or other cognates that sound familiar. A cognate is a word that is similar in two or more languages such as the German words 'musique', 'probleme', 'international'.
But how can you ignore what you don't understand so that you can focus on what you do know? There are many words called fillers, which you can ignore, because they don't carry key information. Another technique is listening for common word combinations or chunks.
For example, in German, 'wie gehts', 'im moment', or 'auf jeden Fall' are chunks. A word of caution though, chunks tend to be said quickly. Most people don't say 'hast du das gesehen', but would pronounce the question as a chunk: 'Hasdasgesehn?'
Try familiarising yourself with words that appear often in a given context. Looking at a menu, for instance, will help you quickly break down 'dietagessuppeisttomatencreme' into separate words [Die Tagessuppe ist Tomatencreme]. Remember when you're interacting with others in real life, they're taking clues and signals from you as much as you are from them. So don't be afraid to ask people to repeat, speak more slowly, or clarify the meaning of specific words.
If you don't understand something, let people know. Get as much exposure to the language as possible. Podcasts, films, music, there's plenty of choice out there. Don't focus on trying to understand everything you hear. Instead try to enjoy the sound and flow and get comfortable with it.
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If you enjoy this OpenLearn course, you might be interested in the Open University course L113 German Studies 1: language and culture of the German-speaking world [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] .


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