- Like having your own German tutor
- Builds sentences & boosts confidence
- Perfect for complete beginners
Have you ever wondered how listening to German audiobooks can take your learning to the next level? Have you been thinking of learning German but aren’t sure how to fit it into your busy schedule?
Maybe you’re an intermediate learner and want to add extra immersion into your day. Do you want to learn every day phrases in context and not sound like you’re reciting a grammar book?
All the German audiobooks I’ve suggested in this post I have listened to myself. I only recommend audiobooks that I feel have really helped me to get started learning German, or which are helping to improve my fluency and understanding.
All these audiobooks are available on Audible. If you’re in the UK, you can even get one audiobook for free with the Audible.co.uk 30 day free trial. If you’re in the US you can get one free audiobook with the Audible.com Premium Plus 30 day free trial. (More info on that later!)
1. Learn German with Paul Noble
A super starter course for newbies. Learn German with Paul Noble begins right at the beginning, and gradually introduces you to basic words and sentence structures. He takes basic, everyday vocabulary and gradually builds simple sentences with it.
By way of an example of how he structures learning, he will introduce you to a personal pronoun such as ‘I’, ich, then a verb such as ‘would like’, möchte. Then to complete the sentence, another verb is added such as ‘come’, kommen. And just like that you have a basic sentence in German.
At each step Paul gets you repeat each word, ich, then ich möchte, then ich möchte kommen. He coaches and explains everything himself, but uses a female native speaker to say all the German words to ensure they are properly pronounced.
He uses repetition to help the words and sentence structures sink in. Not to the point where you will really notice it or get bored, but new words crop up time and time again in different sentences. You’ll start to notice that you recognise some of them from earlier in the course.
He has a very relaxed and patient teaching style and the way in which his course is delivered will give you the feeling that he is talking directly to you. It’s like having your own personal German tutor sitting right with you.
If you’re new to German and you’re looking for a straightforward course to get you started, Learn German with Paul Noble is the one for you. Paul doesn’t try to drill grammar points, he just gives simple explanations and lets the sentences speak for themselves. If you’re a real grammar nerd and want to know all the grammatical terms, this may not be the one for you.
2. Next Steps in German with Paul Noble
I jumped straight into this audio course after completing Paul’s book Unlocking German. I have previously written a review about Unlocking German. Paul reviews what has been learned in his previous course, and pushes learners to A2 level.
In Next Steps in German Paul teaches more complex grammar including situations where verbs are ‘catapulted’ to the end of sentences. He introduces the past and future tenses and how to build sentences using them.
After you have learned a few sentences on a topic, Paul gets you to do mini tests. He puts you into scenarios that you may encounter in real life, for example asking the way to a bakery and buying bread there. You get to reuse everything you learned in the previous chapter. It’s great fun and very useful. You get to play the part of the shop assistant and the customer.
Like in the previous course, in Next Steps in German, Paul gradually gets you to build longer sentences using the building blocks he provides. I remember how proud of myself I felt when I realised the moment where I actually sounded fluent! It’s a real confidence boost.
The thing I love about Paul Noble’s courses is that if you actually want to use German as soon as possible, you will learn how to. The courses teach you how to listen and speak. If you need more time to work out how to say a sentence you just pause the playback to make the speaking gap longer.
If you want to practice how to say a particular word you can do so as many times as you want. You have complete privacy, so if you’re worried about mispronouncing something you can just practice in private until you’re happy.
Anyone who feels too nervous to attend a live class can make fantastic progress using these courses
3. Café in Berlin Series (Andre Klein)
Andre Klein is the genius behind the Café in Berlin series of short stories. Someone recommended the first book, Café in Berlin, to me and I’m so glad they did. The story follows the main character, Dino an Italian guy learning German who travels all over Germany to learn about the culture in many German cities.
There are currently 11 stories in the series, in each one Dino moves to a different city, trying to earn a bit of money and meeting many interesting characters along the way. The stories are all available in paperback or audiobook. I have switched between the two.
The books were ideal at first when my listening skills were fairly non-existent. Later on I switched to the audiobooks which I find really helpful for improving my listening comprehension.
The books tend to be around A1-A2 level, increasing slightly in difficulty as the stories go on. The first 3 books in the series have rather slow narration. I found this to be a little irritating as you don’t really get into a flow when listening. If you’re at A1 level this may well be fine for you, there are samples on the Audible pages for each book so you can see for yourself.
In book 4, Momente in München, Andre changes his style and narrates the book at a much more natural speed. I found this a lot better, and long term it’s far better to get used to listening to speakers at a natural speed.
Listening to stories is a great way to learn and improve many languages. You become immersed in the story, learning everyday phrases as you go. I’ve picked up so many great sayings and idioms without even realising it because I was just enjoying the story.
The Café in Berlin series of audiobooks can be found on Audible or as a download on Andre Klein’s own website.
4. 101 Conversations in German (Olly Richards)
The 101 Conversations stories are a great way to experience spoken German in an enjoyable way. The story follows two friends as they arrive in Berlin to enjoy a relaxing holiday. The story turns into a crime drama involving forged paintings and how the local police inspector, Kommissarin Nathalie Wieland and her colleagues solve the crime.
There are 2 German audiobooks in this series, 101 Conversations in Simple German, aimed at readers at A2-B1 level, and 101 Conversations in Intermediate German, aimed at readers at B1-B2 level. The second story again follows Kommissarin Nathalie Wieland as she finds herself investigating the mysterious appearance of an unknown painting, which seems to predict crimes that will happen in the future around Berlin.
Both audiobooks are written in a conversational format, rather than the story format found in the Café in Berlin series. This means the story is more like listening to a radio play, rather than listening to an audiobook. Therefore you get to experience even more everyday spoken German.
The narrator speaks very clearly, and at a normal speaking tempo. The story is divided into 101 short chapters which help provide a feeling of encouragement as each chapter is completed.
5. Baumgartner & Momsen Series (Andre Klein)
The Baumgartner & Momsen crime series follows the work of police Kommissar Harald Baumgartner and his colleague Katharina Momsen. Starting with Mord am Morgen, we follow the pair as they solve a variety of crimes through 5 audiobooks. The stories are exciting and engaging, and the pair share a lot of banter so there are endless opportunities to pick up everyday speech and idioms.
These stories are by the same author as the Café in Berlin series, but they are definitely a level up. There’s a lot more complicated vocabulary and the stories are far more detailed and in depth. Even though I found these stories challenging, and probably a bit too advanced for me at this stage, I understood the story plots, which were very enjoyable.
These stories are available both as an audiobook on Audible, and as a book on Amazon. I bought the audiobooks first, but found I’d overstretched myself a bit, so I then bought the 5 book omnibus so I can read the book whilst listening to the audiobook.
How to Get Your German Audiobooks
Hopefully some of these suggestions have inspired you to give using audiobooks for learning German a try. All these audiobooks are available on Audible, which I find works really well for listening on my phone and in the car.
The good news is you can get a free audiobook when signing up for the free trial. If you’re using Audible.co.uk, here are the details:
- Audible.co.uk offer a free 30 day trial which you can cancel at any time
- With this trial you get 1 credit, which gives you any audiobook for FREE
- The audiobook is then yours so if you cancel your trial you get to keep the audiobook forever
If you’re using Audible.com you get a similar offer:
- Audible.com Premium Plus offer a free 30 day trial which you can cancel at any time
- Get 1 free book token which gives you any audiobook for FREE
- 30% off the Audible.com store
- Keep any audiobooks you buy or get for free after you cancel
My recommendation is to listen to the audiobook samples to get a feel for the difficultly, speed of narration and type of story. Sign up for the Audible free trial. Use your credit / token to redeem you free audiobook. Then remember to cancel the trial (unless of course you want to keep going!)
If you want to keep going, it costs £7.99/month in the UK and $14.95/month in the US. The US version Audible.com does offer a cheaper monthly subscription but you won’t get the free token. That’s why it’s important to sign up for Premium Plus in the US, get the free audiobook and remember to cancel the trial.
That was my 5 favourite audiobooks in German. Have you listened to any of these? Have I missed your favourite off the list? Let me know!