When to start on media

So I have started learning German, just a few days ago (like 3 days), and I would like to know when would be a good times to start watching shows/movies in German in the hopes of learning instead of being just lost with 0 hope of learning anything.


Hi Pengustar,

I’ve linked to a video from the polyglot conference on just this topic. Others have done similar and suggest that you start straight away but don’t try and understand anything, just get into the tones and soundscape of the language and look up any words you can hear clearly.

I’m in a similar position to you - I’ve been learning German for a couple of weeks - and I’ve started watching Biohackers on Netflix with english subtitles on for now, with a view to watching again with them turned off. I have also watched German Queer Eye and tried it with German subtitles. I’m trusting that the polyglots know what they are talking about and that eventually it will soak into my brain :D.

Good luck on your German journey!


Hi there, I’m learning German as well. A couple months in. I have found the A1 Nicos Weg film a great first step in watching German video content that I can follow along. I’ve watched the movie a few times (well, maybe five times) and it’s great for comprehensible input rather than struggling to follow along with video that’s more difficult.

  • Steve.

thank you, that was very informative and helpful!

Start right away imo. I don’t have any “prescriptions” and haven’t looked at geeklisa’s video she posted, but maybe a couple of suggestions.

First of all. I’d suggest just simply watching the movies with subtitles for your native language. Pay attention to the sounds. Maybe watch the movie/show again with German subtitles. Pay attention to the sounds/words. The one problem, particularly on Netflix is that very often the subtitles don’t match exactly with the German audio (may use different words/sentence structure). Much of it should be similar though.

You could then import the transcript into LingQ and/or use Language Reactor to go through the show or movie. This all might be a really tedious task though at the beginner levels. Keep “sessions” short.

Note. Personally, I probably would leave movies and shows as “entertainment” until you are really able to come pretty close to keeping up with the subtitles. Otherwise it really may be too tedious. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t play the movie/show and just “watch” it. Whatever you get, great, whatever you don’t, just try to follow it. Again this may be tedious/difficult.

Language Reactor, in particular is very nice imo for watching movies. Since you can have both the words of the German subtitles and the translation it’s very easy to watch a movie and start to get the meaning of the words as you can quickly refer to the full sentence translation. You can set it to pause after each subtitle display.

Now, having said all this, I think you’ll still get a better payoff overall in terms of a larger vocabulary with books, news, etc that you can import into LingQ.

I’ve personally really designated movies and shows as “entertainment” for myself. I have imported a few Netflix transcripts, but personally find them hard to follow, particularly for movies. You can work through the words and sentences, but to some degree it feels all a bit “jumbled” as you have no scene to refer to. That’s where Language Reactor comes in handy. Documentaries also fair much better with reading of a transcript.

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My recommendation: Get all the series and movies you’re interested in your LingQ library and keep focussing on easier stuff until you’re at about 30% new words per episode on average.

You CAN watch a series or a movie with English subs but I don’t think that it’s too effective and considering that there is not so much good stuff in German out there, I would wait until you have a better comprehension.

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Excellent suggestion. I was going to mention Nicos Weg myself if no one else had. I started German here as an almost complete beginner, and I think I did all the available A1 and A2 Nicos Weg lessons pretty early. They’re here on Lingq already:

A1 (1-26) Login - LingQ
A1 (27-76) Login - LingQ
A2 Login - LingQ
B2 Login - LingQ

Alas I have not kept at my German because it’s been too easy to enjoy my much more advanced Russian. I may yet return to it someday.


My goto method is learning via watching youtube and TV shows.
Movies and TV shows, however are the top of the food chain: you will need to start with simpler material.

I recommend starting with TPRS type material first on youtube. Just search youtube for “TPRS German” and click through the channels till you hit something you like.
Watch that every day for a month or two and then you’ll be able to level up to something else.

One TV show you should be able to watch right off the bat is a youtube series called “extra german”. It’s kind of sort of loosely based on the 90s sitcom “friends” and is from that era. It’s sort of TPRS so you should be able to watch it and understand it right away. I’d recommend finding one without English subtitles however or else you will use the subtitles as a crutch. Here’s a link to the first season: