A new use and value of podcasts: Brushing up on your foreign language. I just subscribed to Schlaflos in München, a podcast by Annik Rubens, a pseudonym for a German journalist with a charming — no, sexy — voice. I know that for Americans, the notion of sexy German is oxymoronic, but at the end, when she says the German ciao — “Tchuss!” — you just want to kvell. It’s a helluva lot better than listening to language tapes, all bleached of personality and charm, not to mention relevance and currency. Her ‘casts are brief and fun and I almost understand some of them.

  • dfrisme


  • Gesundheit!

  • Lonnie G. Kohn

    The G. stands for Gerhardt

  • ronbo

    If there is anyone doing something similar in French or Italian I would love to know.

  • Jort

    that Tschuss is indeed very sweet :-)

    voice is not bad either.

  • If you go to iTunes and change countries, then go to podcasts, you’ll see some. There are a few in the US version on the podcast page.

  • rivlax

    As someone who was stationed in Germany in the ’60s in the Air Force, I can tell you from experience that the words “sexy” and “German” go together very well. Anyone ever hear of Elke Sommer???

  • oh, shucks, I'm sorry, I didn't close my tag … here, is that better? :(

  • I’ve been using my iPod pretty much solely as a language-learning device for the last two years… excellent tool for the purpose… well, a pretty good tool for the purpose…. ;-)

    For content, web searches with terms like “international radio online” turns up scads of resources. Some of these are streaming, but some of these are discrete MP3 files. I don’t know how many offer RSS notifications to match the “podcast” label, but for language-learning at beginner or intermediate level you’d be listening for something other than novel content anyway.

    For my “*pretty* good” good comment, the biggest problem I have is the linearity of the audio stream. Tools like Penton’s VocabuLearn are great for background vocabulary accumulation… I keep it on repeat, and catch snippets as my attention floats between foreground and background. But I’d really like to treat each term as its own element, able to repeat at will, able to remove terms I already know so I don’t fall asleep listening… the pocket audio device needs to add local interactivity to achieve this. Some of the new mobile phones are adding such tracking & preference abilities, but a pocket device designed for MP3 doesn’t seem quite suitable for all other styles of learning material.

    Some day, we’ll all have a much easier time of listening to each other, and understanding in context… getting closer every day…..

  • I’ve always thought that German, when spoken by men, was so sexy. I’ve been known to listen with rapt attention to the weather report on Frankfurt’s HR3 radio. Even Germans would look at me funny when I told them that I thought their language was sexy – they usually mention that Italian/French was much more so – I’m glad to see I’m no longer alone!

    tchuss, Debra

  • der Germane

    Whats up?!!

    (sarcasm)English is such an unromantic language.
    The problem that many german men expirience is that german women find foreign men sooo intersting (jealousy). Italians, African men, Latinos and a lot of americans.

    EEE, but der Germane vil fight it, to the last breath. Fueste her, faust auf faust, ihr Americaner!