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How to improve your language skills: Watch children's television

lewisjcranston16 posted a great thread about his favorite German films here: https://www.duolingo.com/comment/2356164

Reading it, I remembered how I often find children's television to be a great and easy resource to improve my language skills. Not only because I'm still a big child at heart but mainly because actors often speak slower, their sentences are simpler, and the plots are usually quite easy to follow - even without subtitles ;)

And as I didn't want to interrupt their discussion on favorite movies and best actors, I thought I'd share here some of my favorite German children's television shows (most can be found on Youtube)

If you've already watched the German version of your favorite movies by Pixar, Dreamworks, or Disney, you might want to watch fairy tales. Simply search for "Märchenfilm" on Youtube and you'll find lots and lots of different ones, a lot of older ones but also a couple of newer ones. And make sure to watch the (originally Czech) classic "Drei Haselnüsse für Aschenbrödel" (a version of Cinderella), it's a tradition of many Germans to watch this around Christmas.

If you're not into fairy tales, why not check if your favorite cartoon has a German version? Or find out which Sesame Street characters moved to the German "Sesamstraße" and which new friends moved in as well? Or maybe the (originally French) cartoons on history and the human body called "Es war einmal das Leben" and "Es war einmal der Mensch" are more for you.

Oh, you want original German children's television? You'll find lots of stuff on Youtube, e.g. - "Die Sendung mit der Maus" (cartoons and learning about stuff for preschoolers and kids) - "Löwenzahn" (learning about science etc. for kids) - "Augsburger Puppenkiste" (famous puppet theatre) - .... or watch my personal childhood favorite "Meister Eder und sein Pumuckl" (series about a funny and naughty Kobold)

What was your favorite TV show or movie as a child? And have you already found it in German? If yes, how do you like it? Which would you recommend?

Edit: Thank you all for your suggestions, I'll save them for future use. Inspired by 12345ann's comment about news, here's also a possibility to learn about recent events in rather easy language: the children's news "Logo" airs every day and can be found here: http://www.tivi.de/fernsehen/logo/start/ If you look around you can also find short and easy texts on current events ("Topthemen") and (under "Wissen") about German history, the EU and most countries of the world (great for presentations in school) as well as a news encyclopedia which explains words often used in German news.

Oh, and here you can find videos of over 40 children's shows, but due to current laws it's often only those aired within the last 7 days, at the far right you can see a calendar and check which are definitely available: http://www.tivi.de/tiviVideos/kanal/1638010?view=flash

March 27, 2014



Learning Spanish, I found Sesame Street somewhat difficult. They like to use lots of silly voices, and some characters speak quickly.


Sesamstraße is, ... scary.


so true, I actually didn't watch it as a child, but I love learning about the differences between the American and the German versions.


If you've advanced a bit, German krimis are either horribly cheesy or quite fun, or both. Obviously they're not children's shows, of course! I like Heiter bis Toedlich (particularly Alles Klara), which is a set of regional comedy krimi series. And there's always the famous Tatort for more serious crime drama. You can watch them all online for free at Das Erste's Mediathek.


The Heiter bis Toedlich series is surprisingly good. The latest Tatort dramas are not so much for me any more, too much drama and a lot switched from clever stories to stupid, unrealistic action. Tatort Münster is pretty much the only one I still watch as I really enjoy the funny ones more these days. For comedy krimis I also recommend "Der Bulle von Tölz" (SAT1 '95–'09) or "Pfarrer Braun" (ARD '03–'13) or the current "Wilsberg" (ZDF)


really useful thanks! My favourite film as a child (and one that still brings back happy memories) was Beauty and the Beast, but I haven't watched it in German!


Here you can find a fairly recent (though also quite different) version of "Die Schöne und das Biest". It's very beautifully done, I think, but I can't decide if I like this one better or the Disney version: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0WphDhTdKIU


I also think that children films are a good ressource but if you want something more grown-up you can try to watch NDW's news (they are made for language learners and spoken more slowly) http://www.dw.de/28032014-langsam-gesprochene-nachrichten/a-17527395 You also find the written text underneath


Does anyone know useful and easy tv shows in spanish?

  • 1715

That looks awesome. Thanks!

  • 1715

I personally like watching "100 Latinos dijeron" (Family Feud) on MundoFox. It's the Spanish language TV show I can follow most easily. With categories like "Things you buy on the way home" and "Pains for which you might take a painkiller" I even yell out the occasional answer. :)


will try that later, gracias


Los Simpsons, a well done Latino Spanish overdub of The Simpsons (I think there's also a Spain Spanish version as well) -> www.lossimpsonsonline.com.ar/‎


There are Schnuffel audiobooks. Pretty easy and interesting. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schnuffel

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