The Most Interesting and Quiskest Way to Learn a Lot of German Vocabulay and Pass Goethe’s B2 Exam

I have always heard this sentence: “In a certain exam, if you scored higher than someone else, then this does not necessarily mean that you know better than that person. It might be only that you mastered certain tips and tricks for passing the exam. In other words, you knew what is tested in the exam and how is that tested“.

This is the same situation with my passing Goethe’s B2 Test. I took a mock test (sample test) of this exam in Goethe Institute in Amman, Jordan (My experience is in this post). I was shocked to find that only 20% of its questions are grammar-related. It is like the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language). TOEFL has “zero” grammar questions and tests your knowledge of grammar indirectly through speaking and writing (Link to official sample questions for TOEFL). The 20% grammar-related questions of Goethe’s exam are represented by two questions: (1) To correct a written letter and (2) to fill in blanks. Their marks are only 20 from the total of 100 marks in the exam. Even these two questions do not require a good knowledge of grammar and test common expressions and grammar. For example:

– “Im Jahr” not “In Jahr”

– “Ich freue mich ___ eine Antwort” –> auf.

– “Ich bedanke ___ bei Ihnen” –> mich

– “Das Buch würde drucken” –> gedruckt

– “Ich freue mich auf eine schnellen Antwort” –> schnelle

– “mit neuen Büch” –> neuem

– mit den besten Grüße –> Grüßen

– “…, weil ich fahre nach Deutschland.” –> weil ich nach Deutschland fahre.

– “Deutschland hat die beste Universitäten” –> besten

I myself was, and still, very bad in grammar. I did not concentrate a lot on grammar as I liked the theory that grammar comes with time. One need to read and listen a lot and then a person can, like native speakers, speak with grammar without actually knowing the reason. During my experience of language exchange with native German speakers, I was told many times setences like: “I do not know why den Patienten NOT den Patient. It just sounds better when you say the first“.

Kató Lomb

Kató Lomb (1909-2003)

To further support this point on not concentrating on grammar, I like the following paraphrasing from two famous publihers. It is from a book called “Polyglot: How I learn languages”by Kato Lomb (1909-2003) (Wikipedia article); a Hungarian woman who has been called “possibly the most accomoplished polyglot in the world”. I highly recommend her book (The book is freely available for download from this link).

Man  lernt  Grammatik  aus  der  Sprache,  nicht  Sprache  aus  der  Grammatik.” (One  learns  grammar  from language, not language from grammar.) - A paraphrasing from 19th famous publishers Toussaint and Langenscheidt.

Source: “Polyglot: How I learn languages”, page X (Roman numeral), link to download the book.

Therefore, after setting for this mock test and discovering what is actually tested in this exam, I decided only to collect the largest amount of vocabulary. This is what is mostly needed to pass this exam. This worked and I passed the B2 exam with a mark of 77.5%. I scored more than 70% in the grammar-related questions.

What is the secret to learning the largest amount of vocabulary in the most interesting, quickest, and easiest way possible?

I spent at least one month just reading articles on the internet. It was the most interesting and useful part of my German language learning. This is mainly because I started reading about topics I like and not being restricted with boring topics in books. Moreover, it saved me a lot of time from searching for the meaning of new words in dictionaries and the meaning of sentences and structures I do not understand. It saved my time because I did not have to type them as I used Google Chrome Extensions that show the meaning of words and sentences when you double-click them. I used, and still using, three extensions simultaneously:

– Dict.cc: This is a Chrome Extension of the great online free dictionary with the same name. This extension gives you  the gender of words and their plural forms. Moreover, you can click “more” to go to their websites where you can find plural forms, conjugation of verbs and examples. In the screen shot below, you can see dict.cc in action. It translation is in the bottom. The translation in the top is from Google Dictionary Extension. Read about it next.

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– Google Dictionary: This is useful because it functions as translator of all languages. If you click on a English word, then it will shows its English-English translation. Moreover, if you click on the name of famous person or place, then Google translate will give you explanation. This is not available through Dict.cc’s extension. In addition, you can highlight short sentences and this extension could translate them.

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ImTranslator: Google Translate: This is useful as it allows you to translate sentences. You can notice below the translation by this extension to the right. Google Dictionary extension also translate sentences (right). Hoover, you can see that the size of translation box is small and the text overlaps.

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• The two important sources that I used to find interesting things to read:
Google news in German: The advantage of Google news is not in that it categorises the news into different useful categories (Health, Politics, Technology, etc.), but that it shows the most famous pieces of news. Therefore, you can stay up-to-date with the top news each day.

Wikipedia in German: I read a lot of articles about topics that interest me. The only problem with Wikipedia is that there are a lot of words that contain hyperlinks. Double-clicking these words will not show a translation and will cause your browsers to open new pages. You can, however, change the settings of Google Dictionary to show translation also when words are highlighted. This solves this issue, however, translation becomes harder.

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A friend of mine was not convinced of this method and thought it is best to write down the meaning of new words on his book. After I convinced him of just trying this method, he liked it and started preparing to his B2 exam by reading about topics that interested him on the internet. After passing the B2 test, he told me:

“After I tried this method, I will tell anyone that learns the German language that this is the best and most interesting way to learn German vocabulary”.

Give it a try! It will take your minutes to install the extensions and start learning. You are simply reading… Reading about topics that you like not boring topics that does not interest you or would help you in your job!

Ten months from zero to B2 Goethe Certificate outside Germany: My German Language Leraning Experience

B2 - Goethe Institute Jordan - Jameel Khaleel Hijazeen - Back side
My B2 Certificate from Goethe’ Institute, Jordan.

I studied the German langauge here in Jordan. It took me less than ten months. I began from zero as I had never studied the German langauge before. I studied in average not less than 20 days a month for not less than 10 hours a day. I took the B2 test of Goethe Institute in Jordan and scored 77.5.  To pass it, you need at least a mark of 60, including passing the oral exam part. Read more details about this exam based on my experience of taking  a mock test (Probeprüfung) of it:

A 10 JD Sample B2 Test in Geothe Institut Amman: My Experience (B2 Probeprüfung, Goethe-Institut Jordanien)

 

If you are to study in an language center, the German levels are eight until B2: A1.1, A1.2, A2.1., A2.2., B1.1, B1.2., B2.1 and B2.2. If you are taking intensive lessons, then each level lasts one month. You will finish all in eight months.

I studied five out of the eight required levels  in a private institute here in Jordan (Language Generation Center). The institute is the best, or at least among the top best, in Amman. However, Goethe Institute is the best and cheapest place to learn German because it is non-profit as it is supported by the German government. That is to say, it aims at spreading the German language and culture rather than gaining money. For almost the same amount of money (+/- 5 JD), you are given in Goethe at least 15 extra hours of teaching.

[You can also in my post about the sample test get an idea of the attitude of the head of Goethe Institue in Jordan about students paying 120 JD  to take the B2 exam despite having a low German level. Would not a profit-oriented institute be happy about people taking exams as many times as they like?]

Moroever, in Geothe Institute, you live in a German atmosphere as only German is allowed in the classes (starting from A1.1), the teachers are mostly German or from a German-speaking country (Austria and Switzerland). All the teachers have C1 certificates and spend at least one year in training before they are allowed to teach. Moreover, throughout the year, there are German university students doing training as voluntary work in Goethe. You can meet and talk with them inside Goethe. Moroever, like a friend of mine, you can become friends and start hanging out togehter. My friend visited them in their house and even slept in their house too. In addition, in Goethe, you can meet German people who are learning Arabic and want language exchange partners. Goethe would help to connect the German learners with the Arabic learners. Moreover, Goethe has a large library from which you can borrow books, videos and audio material [Annual subscription is 2 JD (<3 USD)]. Finally, the examiners of the B2 test are mostly teachers from Goethe. Therefore, as happened with a colleague of mine, he said that a teacher “which loved him” was responsible for administering the oral exam to him. According to my friend, she helped him a little bit. Putting this experience aside, I think it is best to be taught by teachers who administer a certain exam. Such teachers would be experienced of what is required in exams and would tell the students about the common mistakes that students committ. On the other hand, there are disadvantages of Goethe. Firstly, you have to wait for a month or two before being able to  register for A1.1 course (mostly in summer time).  Secondly, the lecture times are not very flexible and some courses are in morning time. Thirdly, you have a lot of homeworks and if you do not pass a level  by getting a mark of at least 70, then you need to repeat it [In my opinion, this is an advantage because you are forced to study hard and homeworks are necessary for learning especially writing]. Lastly, some argue that a lot of time is wasted in Goethe on culture- and custom-related issues and these are not important for passing the language exam. All in all, if you have a flexible schedule, then I highly recommend Goethe.

In addition to the five courses, I took a preparatory course for the B2 exam at private teacher here in Amman. She is called Noora (I forgto the family name). She is excellent as she taught us tips and tricks for taking the B2 exam. Moreover, she helped me a lot to develop my writing.

The currciulum I studied:

– A1-B1: Studio D series. They are great.

– B2: Aspekta B2. This is great too especially the sumarrizing pages at the end of the book.

 

Preparation (In addition to the curriculum):

• I studied a lot of online material on YouTube, especially:
– Extra Deutsch and Muzzy Deutsch.  Watch them with subtitles in this channel and download this whole YouTube channel using this program. The expressions and words in them are basically more than enough for the B2 level.
German from the Streets: This is advanced as the people sometimes speak in colloquial language.

Extra Deutsch: From the number of YouTube views, this is the most famous show for teaching the German langauge. The show is in the style of the famous American comedy series “Friends”. Therefore, it is very funny and you watch the videos not only to learn, but more importantly, to laugh! The only disadvantage is that the pronunciation by one of the main charcters, Sam (An American who is a beginner in German) is very horrible. You cannot learn good pronunciation from him at all.

• German-learning YouTube channels that I recommend:

http://www.youtube.com/user/barcelada [It contains many series. I recommend a BBC series about a Romanian immigrant in Germany. It is very interesting and informative. This is a link to its playlist in this channel]

http://www.youtube.com/user/DeutschOnlineLernen

http://www.youtube.com/user/DeutschFuerEuch

# http://www.youtube.com/user/germanpod101

http://www.youtube.com/user/ArchStandon

# http://www.youtube.com/user/ziescheelearning

• I watched German movies with subtitles: This was not very helpful as the language is very hard. However, when you are bored and want to watch something, then it is certainly better if it is in German. Nonetheless, compared with Hollywood movie, most movies do not contain high technology and video effects. Some are boring and silly too. This is expected as I read that about 100 new German movies are only produced each year. There are tens of full-length German movies on YouTube. Her is a link.

I recommend these:

– Das Leben des Anderen, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hllyMOGVzvI, this is one of the best movies I watched in my life. If you are to watch only one German movie, then I recommend this. This YouTube version unfortunately does not contain subtitles.

– Good Bye Lennin, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OoinsDXZ59c. This is a comedy movie and is funny. More importantly, it gives an idea about the situation in Germany after the fall of wall of Berlin.

 

•  I heard a lot of songs. I searched YouTube for the German word for songs (Lieder).  This is a Link  to the YouTube search for Lieder. I chose the songs to hear based on the number of views and positive ratings. Moreover, I watched the top charts of German songs to discover the best songs because the number of views is not enough to find all the best songs (link). Overall, I did not enjoy more than 5% of the songs. Probably because I am not a big fan of music. I compiled a YouTube Playlist of the songs I most like:

For Chirsitans out there, following is a playlist of the German hymns that I most liked. I am not a religious person. However, it is not easy to get bored of hearing “Jingle Bells” or “Silent Night”! Even in German 🙂

Tip: You can search google for the name of the song and “lyrics english translation”. For example, to read the German lyrics and their English translation of the song “In meinem Leben”, search google for “In meinem leben lyrics english translation” (link to this google search).

 

• Online dictionaires that I used: Dict.cc, Leo, Duden, Linguee and Google Translate. Dict.cc and Leo are German-English and vice versa. They are useful because they give the gender and plural forms of words, in addition to conjugation of verbs. Duden is German-German and it is like the Oxford Dictionary of German. Concerning Google Translate, some say that it is not accurate and discourage using it. However, unlike dictionaries, Google translate, along with Linguee, are the only two services that allow you to understand the meaning sentences. Sometimes, even if you translated each and every word in a setence, you will not understand what it says. Google Translate and Linguee can help. Linguee is different from Google in that it searches in texts translated by humans and show you how they were translated.

 

• At advanced level, I started reading a lot of German news and articles. I spent at least one month just reading articles. It was the most interesting and useful part of my German language learning. This is mainly because I started reading about topics I like and not being restricted with boring topics in books.  The full details are in this post:

The Most Interesting and Quiskest Way to Learn a Lot of German Vocabulay and Pass Goethe’s B2 Exam

 

• I watched a lot of German TV channels. I benefited from this a lot. Read this detailed post about how I initially tried online source but ended up buying a satellite. I did not understand anything most of the time. Even now. However, you only need to listen and with time you start to understand more and more. There is another advantage to watching TV. If you have ZDF and Euronews channels, then you can surf their websites and read similar or exact articles of what is aired. The website of ZDF channel (www.heute.de) contains articles that are highly similar in their words and content to what is aired. The website of Euronews (de.euronews.com), however, has transcripts of what is aired. I was surprised to discover that. The reports on TV are totally written as articles in the website.

• To improve yourself in writing: Practice always writing in the German language. At the beginning of my learning, writing an email of three setences took me more than half an hour. Writing an email was a very painful task. Moreover, I began blogging in German and started a diary in Germany, which now has a separate section in my blog (link). To have a good feedback about your writing, there are two online websites that will correct your writing for free. They are not 100% accurate but they help you discover a lot of mistakes:

http://www.duden.de/rechtschreibpruefung-online:  This is a part of Duden’s website and is free. However, you are limited to 800 characters per text. You can divide your texts into multiple blocks. Microsoft Word gives you the chance to know the number of characters in a selected text.

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– korrekturen.de/rechtschreibpruefung.shtml

– rechtschreibpruefung24.de

 

• I met in real life Germans who are learning Arabic and we were language exchange partners. I spent more than 100 hours with Germans teaching them and they teaching me. I met three of them at the University of Jordan (UJ). I had a library subscription there. The UJ has a famous Arabic learning center and about 5-8 Germans come there every semester to learn Arabic. Moreover, I came to know an Austrian friend through an free Ad that I put in this website for expatriates (www.expatriates.de) (an expatriate is someone who lives in a country not his for work, learning, tourism, etc.). There is a special page for every city in the world. The page of every city has differnt categories for Ads. One of them is for language exchange. For example, this page contains the current Ads for language exchange in Ammans. The Ads expire after 60 days. Therefore, you need to repost your Ad again. This post in my Blog contains the text of an Ad that I once placed.

• I tried to find language exchange partners online. However, I find many people not serious and it is very common to see people, especially young, who are learning multiples languages simultaneously (some six or even seven!!!). I sent a lot of messages and got few responses. All in all, if you want to get to know German-speaking people, then you can make friends on Facebook. This will save your time as you do not have to teach a langauge to them. These people are just interested to have friends from “all over the world”. See the next paragraph for more details.

Language exchange sites. Be careful as some of them limit the number of messages you can send, or do not even allow you to send any messages at all:

http://www.mylanguageexchange.com/

http://www.conversationexchange.com/

http://www.sharedtalk.com/

http://polyglotclub.com/

http://www.language-exchanges.org/

www.interpals.net

• I had more than 50 German friends on Facebook. I talked with two of them for a toal of 10 hours on Skype in German. I got to know them through Facebook groups and pages for friendship. There are pages and groups where you can find German-speaking people who announce that they welcome frindship requests. Such pages an groups usually has “Börse” in their names. Here is a Facebook search for “Börse Freunde”. However, you need to be careful as few of these facebook account are fake. I do not know what people benefit from that.

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An example group: “Freunde & Abonnenten Börse

Useful sites:
– DW Learn German, http://www.dw.de/learn-german/german-courses/s-2547

– Learn German by about.com, http://german.about.com

– German is easy! | The blog for all who want to learn German, http://yourdailygerman.wordpress.com/

Useful Facebook pages and groups:

– There are tens of facebook groups and pages. I rarely used them. The most professional one in my opinion is this one: “DW – Learn German

– Facebook search for “Learning German”: Link.

– This is a group of me for medical doctors wanting to specialize or study master and PhD in Germany: “Doctors Going to Germany“.

Websites for German Books and Magazines:

• www.ebook-hell.to: This website is specialized with German books. *****

• www.almanii.blogspot.com: The best website. It has almost the most famous books, videos, dictionaries, and software. *****

• www.magazinesdownload.org/category/german: German magazines section of this specialized magazines website.

• uz-translations.net: Videos, full books (with MP3), CDs,  Very good. You need to get a free account to be able to make downloads. There are sections for other languages like English, French, and Spanish *****

• www.theeducationlounge.blogspot.com: Limited books, but there are videos, audio CDs, language learning programs, etc. Similar to uz-translations but with limited content.

• www.eng.bookfi.org: This famous website is not dedicated to German books nor does  it mention that it has German books. However, I could find many German books in it.

Useful Books to read: Before learning a new language, consider reading some articles and books about how a person learns a new language. In addition, consider reading articles about learning the German language. I read multiple articles and two books. The articles you can find them using a google search. The two books that I highly recommend are:

# “Polyglot: How I learn languages“: This book was written by a Hungarian woman who spoke 15 languages. She was described as the most lingual woman who ever lived. Her books is very interesting. It is available for download free here.

# “The Word Brain: A Short Guide to Fast Language Learning“: This book was written by a famous person in medicine-related publications. He speaks more than six languages. His book is short and can be finished quickly. The author distributes his book free and has a website for this book. You can download the book from its site here.

A 10 JD Sample B2 Test in Geothe Institut Amman: My Experience (B2 Probeprüfung, Goethe-Institut Jordanien)

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Facebook page of Goethe Institute in Amman, Jordan. Link.

Goethe Institute, Jordan, holds a sample test before each B2 or B1 exam (Probably also before other types of exams, but I am only sure of these two.) Last month, I participated in the B2 sample exam which is held every two months. I paid only 10 JD. We were 13 students. To take this sample test, you do not need to be a student at Goethe and you do not need to have registered for the B2 exam (It costs 120 JD). It was an amazing experience. Therefore, I will write about it as Goethe Institute published today the timing of the new B2 sample test: 15/04/2014 at 08:45 AM.(https://www.facebook.com/events/1416591968600818/?ref=22).

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Next B2 Sample Test by Goethe Institute in Amman, 15/04/2014. Link.

Last time’s sample test was under a direct supervision of the director of the Goethe Institute Amman, Dr. Christiane Krämer-Hus-Hus. For about 10 minutes before the exam, Dr. Krämer-Hus-Hus explained many things including the aims of the sample test (I hope my rememberance is good):
1) To give students the chance to experience how the real exam is.
2) To give students an important feedback on what to concentrate on. More importantly, the director said more than one time, “We do not want you to lose your money. We want to give you a chance to withdraw your money that you had paid for the registration for the B2 exam.” I think that the Institute will give you 110 JD (out of 120 JD) if you decided to withdraw up to three days before the date of the exam. Dr. Krämer-Hus-Hus continued saying, and it was very funny and interesting, “After you finish the exam, if we tell you not to take the exam and you still insist on that, then do that if you like to throw your money through the window on the street.” At the end of the exam, Dr, Krämer-Hus-Hus beautifully advised the 11 out 13 students who failed the exam, “Go and invest your money in learning German instead of taking this exam and failing in it!” 

[I got 42.5. I needed 45 to pass. I had been learning German only since 7.5 months then. No one in my batch had taken the B2 exam yet].

Last time, the origin of the sample test was from the book “Fit fürs Goethe-Zertifikat b2, 2 Auflage, 2012”. The book is amazing and I highly recommend it preaparing for Goethe’s B2 Test. Today, an employee at Goethe Institute told me that next time’s exam would be a real Goethe test not from a book. This is more rational! We began the sample test at 09:30 AM with general instructions. We finished at about 03:00 PM with instructions on the speaking section.

The details of the sample test:

We did three out of four parts of the Exam (Reading – Lesen, Writing – Schreiben, and Listening- Hörverstehen). The timing of each section is like the real exam. We started with writing, then continued with listening and reading. Concerning the writing section, they made copies of the texts that each of us wrote before a teacher from the institute corrected them. After we finished the above three written parts of the exam, they distributed randomly the uncorrected copies of the texts at us. They taught us how a text is corrected (On what points are marks given. For example, grammar, spelling, covering the points in the question, use of good expressions, etc.) This was amazing! I did not know that the correction is that systematic. Next, we worked in pairs to correct and give a mark for three random texts that were given to each pair of us. The director of Goethe Institute then wrote the marks on a white board. She then wrote beside each of our marks the mark given by the teacher. We compared the two marks. Most of our marks were higher than the real marks given by the teacher. Interestingly, one student got zero/15 because he did not understood the topic of the writing correctly and wrote an irrelevant text. Making a hard fest, the director of Goethe Institute finally concluded, “We were stricter than you are!” They then gave us the corrections of the text we wrote, the reading, and the listening sections.

Concerning the speaking section (Mündlich) of the exam. It takes a lot of time for teachers to do it for all participants. Therefore, a teacher accompanied us after we finished all the previous three parts to a video room. After only 2/13 students were told that they had passed and were recommended to take the exam, only five students were interested to attend this section. Like the writing section, the teacher gave us written instructions and explained to us how the performance of participants is evaluated (Fluency, grammar, content, covering the points of the question, etc.). She then showed us a sample official video of real students who took Goethe’s speaking section. This is the most beautiful part. She then asked us to rate the answers of the students in the video. We then discussed the strengths and weakness of each student’s response.

Finally, to pass the exam, you need:

1) Get at least 45/75 in the written section (Reading, listening, and writing). Regardless of whether or not you passed each section. For example, a student who got 20, 20, and 5 can pass the exam.
2) Pass the speaking section with at least 15/25.

If you failed in any of above two, you should repeat the WHOLE TEST. You cannot only repeat individual sections.

The experience was great. It provides you with a very important feedback and allows you to live almost the real exam. Most importantly, it is only for 10 JD. I highly recommend it.

German Channels on Hotbird (13°E): Learning German via Satellite?

One way to learn and improve your skills in a new language is to imitate children when they learn their mother languages. Children do not go to schools or institutes to learn their mother languages; they simply listen to the language spoken around them. With time, they acquire it.

I knew the above technique of “simply listening to the language spoken” when I was approximately in the ninth grade. Before that, it did not turn to me to start watching TV programs that are aired in English without translation. Yes, I used to watch a lot of Hollywood movie and series on satellites. But, I benefited so little from that because I entirely depended on the Arabic subtitles. “I watch movies without subtitles” I heard this sentence from four of the most proficient and American-accent speaking Jordanians I know. They all advised me to watch movies without subtitles. A friend of mine also believed in the above technique. He told me about an uncle of his who stuck a plaster on the lower aspect of his LCD TV screen in order to hide the Arabic translation; very interesting!

After beginning to hide the subtitles and watching English-only channels, I could easily notice that I started to significantly improve my English . I started paying more attention to what is said in movies. I think that helped me a lot in improving my English, mainly in listening and speaking. Yes, speaking. Although I am just listening, but I am listening to the correct pronunciation again and again. I believe that with time, you will start noticing the flaws in your pronunciation. Hence, you will feel the need to modify how you say things.

Since early July, I started learning the German language. From the first days of my starting to learn the German language, I began downloading German videos, mainly videos and movies. Now, I have more than 75 GB of such material.

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I watched a lot of these German videos and movies. I did that on my laptop and mobile phone. It was a great experience! Especially the German movies! Have you ever watched the German movie Das Leben der Anderen (The Lives of Others)?

To listen also to German, I searched the internet for German radios. I discovered many websites and a program that offers this service for free:

TuneIn: A radio stations website: A few days ago, in its facebook page, I read that the number of stations in this website is now more than 100,000. Their service is great. The sound is very clear, and it is easy to explore the stations based on language, country, genre, and bitrate. Moreover, you can download a mobile application of this website and start listening to the radio on your phone. How much data can this consume? Please continue reading below before deciding to listen to a radio on your mobile phone:
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=tunein.player

RarmaRadio: This program is like the TuneIn radio website. You can explore stations based on country. I could roughly calculate that this program has 700+ German Radio stations. Below is the interface of the program. This program is totally free. You can record what you listen to for later hearing offline. Notice the selected station “Bayern 5 Aktuell”. I like it the best and listened to it almost 95% of the time.

 

RarmaRadio

RarmaRadio

All in all, listening to German radio stations over the internet is certainly a great help. The sound is crystal-clear and you have many options for listening. Nonetheless, the only thing that I did not like was that radio listening consumes a lot of bandwidth. For example, if you listened for 10 hours for a radio station airing at a bitrate of 56 kbps, this mean at least 246+ MB of bandwidth consumed (you can see how the calculations are made in the screenshot next). This is a great disadvantage because I do not have an ADSL connection and the 3G internet prices in Jordan are extremely high. For example, Zain gives me 2 GB of monthly download in return for 6 JD ($8.46).  These are not enough for 7 days! How come I listen to a radio!

A post in a forum explaining how to calculate exactly how much data can listening to the radio over the internet consume.


A post in a forum explaining how to calculate exactly how much data can listening to the radio over the internet consume. Source: http://forums.digitalspy.co.uk/showthread.php?t=1429504

Secondly, and most importantly, with time, I discovered that it would be much more interesting and beneficial to both watch and listen to German at the same time. I searched the internet for German TV channels. The outcome was not encouraging. Firstly, of course, the data usage that will be required. If 10 hours of radio hearing can consume 250+ MB, how about TV watching? Secondly, and as well importantly, if you are using your computer, then naturally, you cannot both watch the channel and do anything else on your TV.

The solution? I bought a satellite receiver and its appliances. It coasted my “father”, with installation fees, 58 JDs. I had to buy a 90-cm diameter satellite dish.

My G-Guard satellite dish. It costed me, with insatllation fees, 28 JD ($39.48). In the far backgroud at the left appears the Baqa’a refugee camp. I wanted to show the camp in my photo. This is why I did not put the satellite in the center of the photo.

My G-Guard satellite dish. It costed me, with insatllation fees, 28 JD ($39.48). In the far backgroud at the left appears the Baqa’a refugee camp. I wanted to show the camp in my photo. This is why I did not put the satellite in the center of the photo.

Tiger G99 Satellite Receiver – 15 JD

Tiger G99 Satellite Receiver – 15 JD

Isn’t a smaller one good enough? Well, the Arab satellites (Nilesat and Arabsat), do not have German-speaking channels at ALL. To receive transmission from European satellites, you need larger dishes as large as 3 meter and more. I searched the internet for the satellites that air German channels. It turned out that German channels, both free and scrambled, are aired most commonly on a satellite called “Astra 1H @ 19.2°E”. This satellite contains at least 100 German channels. You can see this very useful page that summarizes the German channels on different satellites including Astra 1 H @ 19.2 E: http://www.satage.com/en/list/GermanChannels.php

Unfortunately, the coverage of this satellite does not reach Jordan and virtually any other Arab country. The following is a coverage map of the Astra 1H satellite.

ASTRA 1H geograpical coverage.

ASTRA 1H geograpical coverage.
Source: http://www.ddelec.com/internet/two_way.htm

As a result, this left me only with the Hotbird satellite. It turned out that there are multiple Hotbird satellites. The one that we have in Jordan is called “Hotbird 13°East”. Or at least, this is the one which the satellite men installed for us here in Amman and in Karak and which I saw in Jordanian homes. The above 90-cm satellite dish I bought was enough to secure for me a signal quality of up to 60%. The satellite man promised that this is enough to avoid signal problems even during the winter months.

I downloaded all the free channels (FTA) in this satellite. They turned out to be a little bit more than 500. How many German channels (not German-speaking) are out of these 500+? The German channels transmitting 24/7 in German are, after much search, only 2. Yes, two:
1) Das Erste.

2) Das Zweite Deutsche Fernsehen (ZDF)

Now, I will come to details. The third and last Hotbird channel that airs German 24/7 is Euronews. However, it is only the sound that is in German. The writing in this channel is in English. By default, you listen to this channel in English. However, if you change the audio settings of this channel, then you can listen to it in 2 languages other than English: German and French. I do not like this channel at all because the writing is in English. Reading the writing in German on Das Erste and ZDF is a great help. This is one main reason that makes watching TV better than listening to the radio: You can read the language!

There are three other German channels airing in German. However, they do not do that 24/7:
1) The Deutsche Welle: It airs most of the day in English. From the morning time, since about 7:00 AM GMT, until slightly after midday, I noticed that its airs in German.

2) S.Neu Jerusalem: It is a Christian channel. S.Neu Jerusalem airs in German, English, and Italian. I did not establish the times in which it airs in German. This channel puts huge emphasis on Animal protection. This is the first Christian channel in my life to see with such an obsession about animal rights and animal protection.

3) Erde und Mensch: Again, it does not transmit only in German. I am now watching it airing in French.

Finally, there are two other German-speaking non-German channels that I know of. They are from Switzerland. They are the RTL 2 Channel and SRF info. However, many told me that because I am a beginner (even if I am an advanced German language learner), then the dialect of German spoken in Switzerland is very hard to understand. Therefore, it is better to stick only with German channels.

Am I sure of the above number of channels? I think so. I searched all the channels on Hotbird for German channels. Also, I googled a lot for “German Channels on Hotbird”. I hope a website proved my list wrong. On the contrary, all the top search results support my conclusion. This is a great website that lists all the German channels on the Hotbird satellite (click here please). The frequencies in it were last updated not less 27-10-2013. I tried downloading all of the frequencies it mentions. My list above did not change.

JN1 – Jewish news one: This channel always airs in English.

Bundeswehr TV: It did not download with me!

My final list of the German channels on Hotbird 13 E:

My final list of the German channels on Hotbird 13 E

58 JD ($81.78) = Two German German-Speaking TV Channels on Hotbird 13 degrees E

All in all, I ended up now most of the time only watching Das Erste and ZDF. At the beginning, I was sad because in return of my 58 JD ($81.78) investment, I got only two German channels airing in German 24/7. Nonetheless, I am now very happy with them. I never felt bored by both of them ending up not watching any thing at all. These channels are really diverse. They air news, movies, talk shows, and a hell lot number of series. You do not expect how many series are aired on these two channels! I could count at least 6.

The frequencies of these channels as of today 1/11/2013:

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