By Katie Stanley
Probably the quickest and one of the most useful resources for learning German is sitting in the Center’s living room right now: the television! Watching Austrian or German TV is a fantastic way to practice listening and understanding native German speakers—without the pressure of having to answer them back!
At the center, we have a couple hundred channels and a great amount of them are in German. Your best bet for learning would be to watch major channels like ORF, ARD, and ZDF, and there are a couple of ways to go about this.
1. Just turn on the TV and flip to one of the aforementioned channels, which are usually in the lower numbers. In the case of ORF, there are several different stations, like ORF: Vienna and ORF: Salzburg, but of course, both are in German. The local news comes on at 7:00 PM every night, so that would be a good time to tune in.
2. Check out stations’ websites! Here you can skim the headlines and see what’s on, or if the internet’s working, stream live TV on your computer
a. ORF (General): http://tvthek.orf.at/
b. ORF Salzburg: http://salzburg.orf.at/
c. ARD: http://www.ard.de/
d. ZDF: http://www.zdf.de/
3. Check the listings off the Salzburger Nachrichten, the newspaper that we get delivered to the Center every day. This way you can see what’s on TV and at what times they are. It’s super easy!
Servus TV (http://www.servustv.com/) is also a good channel to watch for extreme sports and things like that, as it’s run by Red Bull. (You’ll be interested to know, when we watched Felix Baumgartner jump from space together at the Center, that’s the station we were tuned into!)
Even if you don’t watch something specific, any practice in listening is good. In fact, Dr. Brandauer suggests watching commercials because they are visual and use language from everyday life. I would also suggest watching children’s shows or cartoons in German because they often speak slower and with simpler vocabulary.
Whichever way you choose will be useful practice. So feel free to flip on the TV any time!