Learn German with Nico and DW

Deutsche Welle is a state-published media concern whose purpose is to share the “German wave”, as its name suggests. It has shows in English, German, Spanish and Arabic. Kind of like Russia Today, if RT weren’t a filthy propaganda tool. However, unlike RT, Deutsche Welle is not just a German-language news site. It also offers various programs and courses for learning German.

DW has a German mini-course for A1-B1 levels called Nicos Weg. Nicos Weg mini-courses actually consist of short 2-3 minute clips, followed by some grammar or vocabulary explanations. Nico is a guy who just arrived in Germany, and the whole course actually revolves around the adventures he has. The only problem I encountered when taking the course was that Nico is German, not a foreigner. The actor who portrays Nico is called Florian W√ľnsche, so he will speak German with an almost perfect accent. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but we can’t see any transformation in accent as we go through the course. Unfortunately, this mini-course is only for people who are A1 and up to B1 in German, so if you are more advanced, I don’t see why you would take the course. In fact, there aren’t many DW resources to suit you if you’re B2 + or C1. But even if Nicos Weg can be useful for your level of German, you should not use it as the only resource. I suggest you combine Nicos Weg with Babbel or Mango Languages, in order to learn as efficiently as possible.

For the more advanced, DW has another program. It is called Langsam gesprochene Nachrichten (Slow spoken news) and is, as the name suggests, a news program in which they are spoken slowly. You can find them on the DW application or on their website. You can even download news shows in MP3 format to listen to offline. A normal show can be listened to in two ways: at a lower tempo (Langsam gesprochen), in which case a show has 6 minutes, or in normal tempo, in which case it has a maximum of 4 minutes. But it seems to me that those that are apparently in Originaltempo are still pronounced slow, at least slower than they would normally be pronounced on a radio show. Honestly, I don’t know at what level to frame this program, because I’m at B2 and I can listen to a normal radio without problems. I consider that if you are at B2 then you have already passed the slow spoken news stage, so this program is intended more for those of B1. However, it is worth at least listening to a session. If you still find it too slow, you can listen to SWR Aktuell, NDR Info, MDR Aktuell, all three being very good news radio stations. If you are still passionate about commercial music or simply want to listen to something other than news, Radio Gong 96.3 is for you. I discovered it when I was in Munich and it still seems to me the best radio station I have ever met.

P.S: If you are interested in German politics, read this brief description of the political parties there.

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