Learn German / Radio D

Learn German with DW Radio D (Series 1)

Episode 26 – Saying Goodbye to Ayhan

It's a sad day in the Radio D office. Ayhan is saying goodbye and moving back to Turkey. Although his co-workers have prepared a surprise for him, the farewell party can't lift the blue mood. Paula comes to work in the morning to find everyone is preparing for a party. But she doesn't like the occasion at all: Ayhan is leaving Radio D and going back to Turkey to help his father. To say goodbye, his co-workers have prepared a little speech and a gift to remind him of his friend Eulalia. In honor of the farewell party, the professor leaves out the grammar portion. But he still manages to get in a few words about noun compounds.

Episode 25 – Greeting the Ships

The journalists try to understand the term "getürkt" and visit an unusual port where every ship is greeted in a particular way. At Port Willkomm-Höft, each ship is greeted with the national anthem of the country whose flag it's flying under. In their radio play, Paula and Philipp examine the origins of this tradition -- which may be associated with the meaning of the word "getürkt." Meanwhile, Ayhan kills time at the office by reading a book about owls. Since Eulalia can't read, Ayhan reads to her. This episode focuses on verb prefixes and the ways a verb's meaning can change when its prefix is altered.

Episode 24 – The Editor's Desk

Eulalia the owl helps get Paula and Philipp on the right track. They discover that their co-workers from the Hamburg newspaper are in on the game. Paula, Philipp and Eulalia find out that the Hamburg newspaper thought up the shark in the port basin and staged the whole thing in order to sell more copies. Later, Philipp and Paula get in a fight over the use of a particular word. Philipp hopes that his invitation to Port Willkomm-Höft will calm Paula down. If Philipp had paid closer attention to his word choice, Paula wouldn't have gotten upset with him. A verb prefix may be short, but it can alter the whole meaning of the word. It's also important to note that some verb prefixes are separated from the infinitive.

Episode 23 – The Shark Fin

Paula and Philipp solve the mystery of the shark sighting and once again uncover a fraud. However, the reason for the staged incident is unclear at first. While looking for the missing surfer, Paula and Philipp meet a diver and discover a clue. With a shark fin on his back, the diver had scared half of Hamburg. But why? Meanwhile, Eulalia has shown up in Hamburg ready to help. She's made a discovery, too. Eulalia just found a clue that might help Paula and Philipp -- a perfect opportunity to use the perfect tense. Pay close attention to forming the past participle.

Episode 22 – The Missing Surfer

Philipp and Paula search for traces of the shark and make a peculiar discovery. A surfboard without a surfer in the port basin and a confusing newspaper article peak their interest. Away from the chaos of the crowd, the two journalists investigate the shark sighting. When they find a broken surfboard, they start to fear the worst. Then, in a Hamburg newspaper, they see a picture of the shark -- and their co-workers Laura and Paul with a look of fear on their faces. But how does all that fit together? This episode emphasizes the pronouns "sie" and "er," which can also be used to refer to feminine or masculine nouns, respectively, that have already been mentioned.

Episode 21 – A Shark in Hamburg

When the temperature in the Radio D office becomes unbearable, Paula and Philipp are glad to get an assignment that takes them to the coast, where a shark has been spotted in the port basin. Paula, Philipp and Ayhan don't have it easy. The heat in the office is insufferable and they don't even have a fan. Paula wishes she could go to the sea and, fortunately, Compu is able to make this possible. The journalists have to go to Hamburg because a shark has allegedly been sighted at the port. Due to the crowd of people who have already turned out to catch a glimpse of the big fish, Paula and Philipp can't get through. Things also get complicated for the professor, who is tackling the accusative ending of masculine articles. The negative "kein" follows the same pattern of endings.

Episode 20 – Listener Survey

Paula and Philipp ask the listeners for their opinion. The topic of the program is, "Is lying a sin?" The listeners can express their thoughts on the fake crop circles and the farmers' behavior. "Is lying a sin?" Paula and Philipp ask the listeners. The question is spurred by the events in the corn fields, which the two journalists reported on. Are the farmers' actions reprehensible, or is it the tourists' own fault for being so gullible? The listeners are unambiguous in their response. Unlike the journalists, who ask the listeners a "yes" or "no" question, the professor presents a task with three possibilities. German nouns can have one of three genders: masculine, feminine or neutral. This is explained in this episode in conjunction with the articles "der," "die" and "das."

Episode 19 – Getting to the Bottom of It

Although the crop circles were made by the farmers, Eulalia still believes that UFOs exist. Philipp and Paula's investigation into the fraud takes them to the local pub, where they talk with the villagers. Paula and Philipp have solved the mystery of the crop circles, but they're still not sure if UFOs exist or not. And what does U-F-O mean anyway? Eulalia insists that she has seen one. Finally, the journalists ask the guests in a village pub what they think about the fake crop circles. The pub visit is a good opportunity to introduce the past tense, especially with the irregular verb "sein" (to be). The modal verb "können" (to be able to) is also reviewed in this episode. Pay close attention to vowel changes when conjugating the verb.

Episode 18 – Nighttime Investigation

Paula and Philipp want to get to the bottom of the crop circles and go at night to investigate. But what they find doesn't appear to be the work of aliens. The owner of the field with the mysterious circles is charging tourists 5 euros to take pictures of it. Meanwhile, Philipp and Paula camp out in the forest at night to wait for UFOs. Instead, two men turn up with a machine. Did they make the crop circles to attract tourists? In the end, a UFO does seem to turn up, which adds more confusion to the mix. The versatile verb "machen" is less confusing than the events in the corn field. In this episode, the professor shows you numerous ways to use the word.

Episode 17 - Crop Circles

When mysterious circles are discovered in a corn field, Paula and Philipp go to investigate. Did a UFO land here, or is somebody trying to pull a prank? As Ayhan arrives at the Radio D office, Paula and Philipp are rushing out. Enigmatic circles have been discovered in a corn field and no one can explain how they got there. The two journalists aren't the only ones interested in the unusual attraction; many tourists come to check it out as well. The residents of the village soon find ways to profit from the mysterious event. In the turmoil, many people with different interests come together. The tourists want to satisfy their curiosity, the journalists want to solve the mystery and the farmers apparently want to make money. Take a closer look at modal verbs in this episode.

Episode 16 – Icarus

Both journalists are fascinated with Icarus, the tragic hero from Greek mythology. But do the listeners know who Icarus was? Paula and Philipp tell his story. Seeing a little boy in an Icarus costume gives Paula and Philipp an idea: They decide to present the Greek saga in one of their radio plays. The story is about a youth who doesn't heed the advice of his father Dädalus and falls while trying to fly. He can't resist the temptation to get close to the sun, but he gets so close that the wax in his wings starts to melt. "Don't fly too high, don't fly too low," Dädalus tells his son Icarus. The imperative, which is covered in this episode, can be used to make a request, a demand, a warning or an order. If Icarus had listened to his father's warning, maybe he wouldn't have fallen.

Episode 15 – Carnival Costumes

From the streets, Paula and Philipp report on Carnival once again. They discover different kinds of costumes and even learn a few German dialects along the way. Back in the office, Paula takes revenge on Ayhan -- ironically by means of a Carnival custom. Then, amidst the celebration in the streets, Philipp and Paula report on the original costumes they see. They come across Papageno from Mozart's opera "The Magic Flute" and Icarus, a hero from Greek mythology. Philipp and Paula meet people from different regions in Germany, who speak in their local dialects. Click on the link below to open DW-WORLD.DE's Dialect Atlas.

Episode 14 – Witches in the Black Forest

Despite difficulties, Philipp manages to report safely from the Black Forest and gets into the Carnival spirit himself. Paula, on the other hand, has some problems with the customs. Philipp enjoys the Carnival atmosphere, while Paula finds it chaotic. Not only does she search for Philipp, she also has to find his stolen car. Masquerade games make this task a bit more difficult for her. Even Ayhan plays a dirty trick on poor Paula. The functions of the verb "sein" (to be) are just as diverse as the costumes you see at a Carnival party. In this episode, you will take a look at various verb compliments.

Episode 13 – Carnival Monday

Not everyone at Radio D is excited about Carnival. Compu's assignment takes the two journalists to the Black Forest, where the Carnival spirit is strong. In certain regions of Germany, Carnival is celebrated with gusto. In the Radio D office, the traditional party causes a rift. Paula can't share Philipp's enthusiasm and she thinks his witch costume is ridiculous. To Philipp's delight, their investigation takes them to the Black Forest, where people in witch costumes are stealing cars in the midst of the Carnival madness. The journalists try to do a live program, but to no avail. The witches drag Philipp out of the car and kidnap him. Word order in German is somewhat less chaotic than Carnival. This episode focuses on the position of the subject and the predicate.

Episode 12 - Mail from Listeners

If there's something you don't understand, it's always good to ask. The professor answers the questions about past episodes that Radio D listeners have sent in. The listeners ask and the professor answers, getting to the root of every question. It's a good opportunity for the listeners to review information, expand their knowledge, or just ask something they always wanted to know. Listen for these question from the listeners -- and the professor's answers to each of them: Which address is suitable for which situation? When can I use "du" or "Sie"? How do I introduce myself? When do I know when to use first or last names? What do modal particles like "denn," "doch," and "eigentlich" mean? What is the difference between "nicht" and "nichts"?

Episode 11 – The Talking Owl

Where does the name Eulalia come from? Compu, Ayhan and Josefine look into the meaning and come up with several different answers. A Spanish co-worker helps them out. Eulalia the owl wants to know what her name means. The team in the Radio D office goes to work and finds out that the name comes from the Greek. Carlos from the Spanish department has interesting information on the topic: He knows a saint with the same name. Yet again, the team has plenty of questions to answer. In this episode you will hear questions posed with and without question words. Intonation is particularly important.

Episode 10 – An Interview with King Ludwig

Philipp meets the actor playing the role of King Ludwig in the musical and asks him to do an interview. Suddenly he recognizes the man's voice. Meanwhile, an unexpected visitor turns up at the Radio D office. At Neuschwanstein Castle, Philipp manages to solve the pretender's identity, even without Paula's help: it's the actor from the King Ludwig musical. Philipp uses the opportunity to conduct an interview with the man. When he returns to the Radio D office in Berlin, he is surprised to find a talking owl there. This episode holds many surprises for Philipp. You will hear him say "Das glaube ich nicht" (I don't believe it) and "Das weiß ich nicht" (I don't know) several times. This is a chance to take a closer look at the negation "nicht."

Episode 09 – Music for Ludwig

Philipp also finds a clue to the stranger's identity. He sees an ad in the newspaper for a musical about King Ludwig. On the way there, he interviews tourists visiting from all over the world. While Paula sits in her office in Berlin, Philipp is running around Munich. He doesn't know anything about Paula's discoveries, but is on the right track himself. A newspaper ad for a musical about King Ludwig sparks his interest. In the bus on the way there, he speaks with tourists about their expectations for the musical. Practice your listening comprehension in this episode. In the bus, you will hear many languages being spoken. Try to recognize the German words. The negation "nichts" and its position after the verb will also be introduced.

Episode 08 – Uncovering a Stranger

At Neuschwanstein Castle, Paula and Philipp question the would-be King Ludwig. Paula stumbles on an interesting discovery and finds a clue as to who the mysterious stranger really is. The two journalists talk the allegedly resurrected King Ludwig into doing a live interview. His real identity remains a mystery, however. When Paula returns to the office, she sees a television commercial that tips her off. The voice in the ad sounds strangely familiar. You can't express preferences without saying what or whom you like. The verb "lieben" takes an accusative object. In this episode you will be introduced to the accusative case.

Episode 07 – Ludwig the Fairytale King

Paula and Philipp introduce King Ludwig to their listeners in the radio play. Night-time sledding, wild parties and strange inventions make for a first impression of Ludwig and his time. The two journalists take their listeners back in time to the 19th century. They get to know the fantastical King Ludwig, his love of nature and Richard Wagner's music and his connection to his cousin, the legendary Empress Sissi. Everyone is amazed by an original table that Ludwig himself had invented. This episode is all about King Ludwig's preferences, which lends itself to learning the verb "lieben" (to love). The same endings apply to the verb "kommen" (to come), which you will also hear.

Episode 06 - How Did King Ludwig Die?

In Neuschwanstein Castle, Paula and Philipp meet a secretive stranger who is wearing King Ludwig's cloak. They do some research on the mysterious circumstances surrounding Ludwig's death. A man with King Ludwig's majestic cloak around his shoulders wants to make Paula and Philipp believe that he is the late monarch. How did Ludwig actually die? The two journalists create a radio play to illuminate for their listeners the various theories on King Ludwig's unresolved death at Lake Starnberg. No one knows for sure if it was murder or suicide. The meeting with the mysterious man is an opportunity to hear the customary differences when speaking with a friend or a stranger. Listen for the formal "Sie" and the informal "du." The infinitive of the verb "sein" (to be) is.

Episode 05 – King Ludwig Lives!

Paula and Ayhan welcome their new co-worker to Radio D. They already have a pressing assignment: The late King Ludwig of Bavaria is supposedly still alive and the teams wants to investigate. Philipp meets his new co-workers Paula and Ayhan, as well as the eccentric Josefine, who is responsible for order in the office. There's not much time, though, since Philipp and Ayhan already have their first story. It is rumored that the legendary King Ludwig II of Bavaria is alive, even though he was supposed to have died under mysterious circumstances in 1886. The two journalists go to Neuschwanstein Castle to investigate and make a spooky acquaintance. Mysterious matters raise plenty of questions. In this episode, you can take a closer look at question words and responses.

Episode 04 – Waiting For a New Co-Worker

The editorial staff at Radio D is waiting for Philipp. Paula and Ayhan, his future co-workers, are killing time. But there's no sign of Philipp and the telephone lines are down. Due to bad weather, Philipp is very late. He tries to call Paula to let her know, but he cannot reach her. Paula and Ayhan finally leave the office. A call from Philipp's mother only adds to the confusion. Philipp apologizes for the delay. In this episode, you will hear various forms of apology and excuse.

Episode 03 – A Trip to Berlin

Philipp heads for Berlin. Due to the unfriendly weather, getting there is easier said than done. Along the way, Philipp makes a few acquaintances. Philipp drives to Munich, where he is planning to catch a flight to Berlin. Thanks to a heavy rainstorm, the trip takes longer than expected. In this episode, the Radio D staff, Philipp and his mother introduce themselves more thoroughly. You will hear both formal and informal introductions.

Episode 02 – A Call From Radio D

Philipp still doesn't have any peace and quiet. After fighting off the bothersome bugs, he has to deal with the loud neighbors. When he receives an unexpected phone call from Berlin, he makes a hasty departure. If the annoying insects weren't enough for Philipp, who is at the end of wits at this point, a chain saw and amateur trumpet player are the last straw. When Paula from Radio D in Berlin calls, he is glad for the excuse to cut his countryside visit short. To the disappointment of his mother, Philipp says goodbye and rushes off to the German capital. Even if your vocabulary is limited, you'll still be able to follow the episode. International words and intonation will help you understand the plot and practice listening comprehension.

Episode 01 – A Visit to the Countryside

Philipp, a young man, drives to the countryside to visit his mother Hanne. He plans to relax there, but soon finds out that the idyllic country landscape has its down-sides as well. "Nature, how nice!" says Philipp as he arrives at his mother's home in the countryside, where he would like to spend some time away from it all. Cats and cows aren't the only creatures he finds, however. While he innocently drinks a cup of coffee in the garden, annoying insects rob Philipp of the peace and quiet he'd been hoping for -- and then things get a bit more painful for poor Philipp. Even if your German vocabulary isn't very extensive yet, you will still be able to understand the episode. The background noises make it clear where Philipp is. In this episode, you'll learn greetings and farewells.