Great ways to learn German: Part 1 – Newspapers

Learning a language with just a book and CDs can get sometimes a bit boring, so why not seek out other ways to learn new words and improve your understanding of sentence structure.
In this series I want to share with you some ideas of how you can do this when you are learning German. Among these are: reading newspapers (off- or online), comic books, children’s books, listening to German pop music (thankfully it’s not all just Schlager and Volksmusik, we do have some awesome artists) or watch subtitled German movies.
First up – I am sharing with you the different newspapers you can read in Germany. If you are new to learning German, tabloids are the right place to start. I personally don’t read them – I read only the headlines – and Germany hasn’t got such a variety of tabloid newspapers as the UK. So why recommend them? Well, because they often use simple language, short sentences and thus are easy to read. You can learn new words with them. When, I was 14 my parents and I spent our summer holidays in Oxford and I often bought one of the UK tabloids – I can’t remember which one. It still took time to read and understand but it definitely helped me with broadening my vocabulary. So what worked for me will surely work for you.
The “Bild” or Bildzeitung – is Germany’s bestselling tabloid, which you can buy all over Germany (it has its own regional issues) and in favourite holiday destinations such as Spain, Greece, Austria or Italy. The Bild comes with the reputation of being conservative, so if your leanings are more to the left you will be disappointed. However it’s definitely easy to read and like its UK counterparts the editors of the Bild know how to create some punchy headlines.
Then there is also the “Express” which is a tabloid for Cologne and the surrounding areas. It is published by DuMont Schauburg, who also publishes the “Koelner Stadt-Anzeiger”.
The latter is a non-tabloid regional newspaper for Cologne. One of my proudest moments was getting one of my articles about whale watching in Kaikoura published in their travel section.
If you are an advanced learner you might prefer to read any of the regional newspapers like the Stadt-Anzeiger or go for something like the left leaning “Sueddeutsche Zeitung” (published daily) or “Die Zeit” . You need an awful lot of Zeit indeed to read the latter which is published every Thursday. One of the publishers of this weekly was Marion Graefin Doenhoff, a highly admired public figure in Germany who was part of the resistance against the Nazis – you can check out her profile here. Since 1983 former German Chancellor Helmut Schmitt has been co-publisher of Die Zeit. To be honest, I don’t know any UK newspaper I could compare it to. It has a huge culture section and lots of commentary. The articles are often very long and complex so this is definitely something for an advanced learner. There used to be another weekly newspaper called “Die Woche” I subscribed to, but it folded in 2002. Other weekly political magazines you could also cut your teeth with are “Der Spiegel” and “Der Stern”.
And this brings me to the end of this first part. I hope you found it useful and check out some of the links. Stay tuned for the next part.

Thanks for reading.

Helen White

I am a bilingual journalist, jewellery designer, German tutor, and translator – and I am passionate about cats.

Helen White – who has written posts on Helen Kaut Press.


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