Listening Comprehension & Vocabulary Builders

Authentic texts and vocabulary exercises to improve your German listening comprehension

"A word is a microcosm of human consciousness" (L. Vygotsky)

The role of educators is not to promote superficial knowledge of languages, but understanding of other cultures through learning languages and literature. Authentic literary texts:

  • remain in the memory
  • engage the emotions
  • stimulate reflection
  • increase one's knowledge of the world
  • encourage personal growth
  • motivate for more challenging tasks
  • foster understanding of different perspectives
  • educate the whole person

The four ways in which language functions are listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Among those four arts, listening is used 45% of time of communication, while only 30% is used on talking. Listening comprehension, while it exerts tremendous influence on language acquisition, is often poor. It is the interrelation of grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation which makes listening comprehension such a challenging process. At the same time evidence suggests that listening habits may be greatly improved through training which must include vocabulary internalization and audio exercises.

Below you will find a collection of vocabulary building materials paired with authentic literary texts by famous authors. For best results, use these materials in the following order:

Vocabulary building (study examples)

Take audio test (vocabulary)

Incremental processing (listen to one line at a time)

Whole dialog or story processing

Take audio test (vocabulary in context)

"The noblest pleasure is the joy of understanding." (Leonardo da Vinci)

"Herrn Arnes Schatz" by Selma Lagerlöf. Audio recording by

→ Herrn Arnes Schatz Teil 1

→ Herrn Arnes Schatz Teil 2

→ Herrn Arnes Schatz Teil 3

"Die Lebenszeit" by Jacob Grimm und Wilhelm Grimm. Audio recording by

→ Die Lebenszeit Teil 1

→ Die Lebenszeit Teil 2

→ Die Lebenszeit Teil 3

"Winnetou I" by Karl May. Audio recording by

→ Winnetou I - Teil 1

→ Winnetou I - Teil 2

→ Winnetou I - Teil 3

"Woyzeck" by Georg Büchner. Audio recording by

→ Woyzeck - Teil 1

→ Woyzeck - Teil 2

"Kleider machen Leute" by Gottfried Keller. Audio recording by

→ Kleider machen Leute - Teil 1

→ Kleider machen Leute - Teil 2

→ Kleider machen Leute - Teil 3

"Die Kristallkugel" by Jacob und Wilhelm Grimm. Audio recording by

→ Die Kristallkugel Teil 1

→ Die Kristallkugel Teil 2

→ Die Kristallkugel Teil 3

→ Die Kristallkugel Teil 4

Grammar Patterns

Listening Comprehension

Idioms & Phrases