German is the new English


Image source: Good Housekeeping

This week has been a great week for me language-wise. I was sitting in bed on my laptop Sunday morning doing my usual procrastination routine. I’m sure I’m not the only one who fools themselves into saying “Hmm, I’ll definitely study later, but I’ll watch something on Netflix first to relax myself…. Oh it’s 8pm already? Time goes by so fast. I guess I’ll just get up early tomorrow and do some work.” Or am I? Are you all really diligent students or lazy like me? 😉

The page refreshed and suddenly the character voices changed and they all sounded very different, and, well… German.

Anyway, I was lying there watching a series on Netflix called “Orange is the New Black.” Has anybody seen it? Here’s a link for the first season trailer if I’ve made anyone curious. It’s about the lives of multiple female characters while they’re in a minimal-security prison. I’ve watched it already but I decided to watch a few episodes of the first season. While watching, I accidentally clicked onto something on-screen. It’s the settings button on Netflix that gives the audio and subtitles option. I always watch things in English so I’ve never actually needed this setting but suddenly I noticed that Orange is the New Black (OITNB) has a lot of language options. The viewers have the options of

  • French
  • Spanish
  • English
  • German

dubbing and subtitles, among other languages. Out of curiosity I selected the German audio. The page refreshed and suddenly the character voices changed and they all sounded very different, and, well… German.

I suddenly felt my brain snap out of its lazy Netflix-watching mode and get to work on comprehending what the characters were saying. To make it a little clearer I turned on German subtitles too. Aha! This was amazing! It was a way of learning while de-stressing, something that every student dreams of. I proceeded to watch two episodes in German, listening to their voices and reading the subtitles when something was unclear.

During this time I learned many new words. After the first ten minutes I got up and rooted around for my vocabulary notebook, which is a sort of custom dictionary of phrases I’ve discovered. By the end of the two episodes I had a page full of vocabulary, some of which actually came in helpful when I finally got around to doing some German translation homework!


One page of my German vocabulary copy. Excuse the messy writing! 😛 

Since Sunday I have watched almost a full season of OITNB auf Deutsch and I can already notice a difference in my level of German comprehension. I could understand my German lecturer this morning (the classes are taught through German, keeping in line with the CLT learning method I discussed in a previous blog post) with less difficulty than ever before and my grasp of grammar while speaking has improved. I am also more relaxed due to all the binge-watching I have done, which is a definite advantage.

Overall, I’m so happy that I’ve found yet another way of learning outside of the classroom other than listening to German and Austrian radio shows. Has anybody else tried to learn by watching TV shows in German? If you have, I would love some recommendations in the comments! For now, have a great week everybody!


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