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How to learn German fast - watch German movies

How to learn German fast - watch German movies

In my How to learn German fast blog I have covered many topics from how to prepare for the Testdaf to a Brief History of Germany. That is in addition to my system on how to learn German fast and enjoyably. Today I will be talking about German movies and in particular the one that I just watched, (yes, I know, I know, I am several years behind, but bear with me...) Der Untergang (Downfall).

One way of learning a language is to watch movies and shows associated with the language and in that particular language. I have recommended German anime, German shows and TV programmes and online programmes and online courses, and yet have not mentioned any German films. This post will remedy the lack of films and I will be talking about German movies that I have watched.

I have watched many German movies, because learning a language is not just simply about learning words and grammar, but also about acquiring culture, ideas and a whole host of other interesting things as well. That means simply that learning German is not simply about German vocabulary and German grammar, but more than that, German culture, history, tradition and more. For instance, I have watched Fritz Lang and his various movies, very interesting and artistic movies, I must honestly add; I have watched many modern German movies as well, and the one I just watched off the Internet (well, nowadays you can apparently watch anything off the Internet, can't you?) was very interesting.

Here is some name dropping, in case you have seen any of these German language films: The Tunnel (Der Tunnel); Vollidiot; 7 Zwerge, Eins, Zwei, Drei, ... and I can't remember the titles of the other German films that I have watched while learning and studying German. All of them contributed one way or another in the learning and acquisition of the German language and German culture.

As for Fritz Lang, wow. Fritz Lang is a real phenomenon. He has made so many culturally important and defining movies in German and I have had the good fortune to watch some of them: Metropolis, M for Murder (the German title is M - eine Stadt sucht einen Moerder), and Das Testament des Dr. Mabuse. They are all black and white and very interesting culturally and artistically. In addition, it's rather interesting to hear the characters call each other "Mein Herr" and stuff like that. At least to me. Most of those were great and I enjoyed watching them immensely because they were riveting and very exciting.

I was going to talk about "Downfall", the German language movie that I have just watched. It is very interesting and depicts the final days of Hitler's life in his bunker, just as the Allied troops are converging on Germany in the West, and the Soviets are already in Berlin and converging on Germany in the East. All looks bleak, and things are going badly. (A brief look at my post here on my How to learn German fast blog should remind you of Germany's history, if you need.) The really interesting thing about watching this German version of events is that it protrays Hitler as someone who is very human and very feeble. The issue of Hitler in German history and in the German culture and in Germany today is very very sensitive. Many do not like to be called Nazis; there is a real threat of a small but very virulent neo-Nazi group; the Germans have spent years coming to grips with their history. "Downfall" is nothing more than an amazing reawakening and opening up of Germany. I found the movie far more interesting than I had expected, because all I did expect was to see Hitler lose, and we all already know the plot, whether we know our German history or not. He got defeated in the end and killed himself. The end.

For my recommendation on German language movies, there are lots of German language films being produced every day, and as I have said, all shows in Germany are always dubbed and translated into German, so there are lots of opportunities for you to use your German skills and practise your German listening skills. Use every chance to improve or use your German. Listening to characters speak German is a very challenging but rewarding task, and you can improve on your language skills and language abilities by watching more and more. Even if you don't understand most of it, and you have to get by just by cheating and looking at the subtitles, don't be disheartened. You will be happy to know that it takes a lot of German language training, and lots of experience with speaking, writing and listening to German to be able to watch and appreciate a German film without difficulty.

In addition, I would strongly recommend that you start out with Ehrensenf, TV Total, youtube and the other recommendations that I made earlier first, then jump into the deep end of the German language pool. By starting out to understand German through those means, when you finally come to the German language movie, the understanding of the German words and the German sounds will come naturally to you. Listening to German passively can indeed help you to learn German, but it won't come to you naturally immediately, but only after a period of time and exposure to the language.

Current and further recommendations to help you improve your German language skills (be it listening or reading or watching shows):

1. Try German movies and films, and pay attention to the German words and phrases as well as the German culture and tradition portrayed

2. Vollidiot, 7 Zwerge, Der Tunnel and Der Untergang can be some starting points as you set out to improve your German or to enjoy and utilise your German language skills

3. Perhaps think about the German culture, phrases, words, language, ideas and history that you have seen and watched and ask yourself questions... this is something creative and good for your learning.


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