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What better way to start this post than with a show-stopping musical number?
That, my friends, was the first five minutes of the first episode of the new German TV show Neo Magazin mit Jan Böhmermann. Don’t feel bad if you didn’t get all the jokes. Even a fluent German speaker would have to already be familiar with who that guy is to understand all the references. Just to give you the gist, the song tells the story of Herr Böhmermann reaching rock bottom after the “failure” of his previous talk show Roche & Böhmermann, but then he is visited by the spirit of Markus Lanz, who gives him the courage to try hosting his own show.
*I’ve included the transcript and translation of the first verse at the end of this post, in case you wish to follow along and find new vocabulary.*
Why don’t we ever see anything German on TV in America? NBC had such great success with BBC’s The Office that adapting UK shows like The Inbetweeners and Skins was a no-brainer for MTV. And then in 2011 AMC found moderate success with the Danish series The Killing (hot on the hype of Scandinavian crime drama started by The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo). So it’s not just the language barrier preventing television exports from Germany to the USA. I think that in the end the networks just aren’t seeing anything being made in Germany as profitable among American audiences.
Until very recently, that was a big bummer for anyone in the USA wondering what’s on TV in Germany. But now we have the Internet! Problem solved. As I mentioned Friday, part of my goal with this blog will be to expose readers to quality programming being offered in Germany these days. Thanks to the viewing habits of the youth of today, German networks have moved to put a great deal of content online to watch at any time on their Mediatheken. For instance, you can watch full episodes of Neo Magazin on the ZDF Mediathek by following this link: http://www.zdf.de/ZDFmediathek
Semi-Pro Lernen Tip #1: If you want to learn a language, it is extremely important to hear that language as much as possible. Even if you don’t understand what is being said, merely giving your ears practice with the rhythm and melody of the language will do wonders for your own pronunciation.
What do you use to practice listening? It took me a very long time to get to the point where I could understand what was being said on the radio or what the lyrics were to German songs. I’ll keep sharing more of the good stuff I found through practicing in future posts. Any suggestions you have are welcome in the comments!
“…was bisher geschah” = “…the story so far”
Was ist los? Willst du reden? = What’s wrong? Do you want to talk (about it)?
Nein! Ich möchte singen! = No! I want to sing!
Die Studiolampe brennt nicht mehr = The studio lamp is no longer lit
Die Mikrophone… abgebaut. = The microphones… dismantled.
Die Wucht des Schicksals traf mich schwer = Fate’s impact hit me hard
Ich glaube, ich habe es versaut. = I think I screwed it up.