Improve German Vocabulary With Short Stories and Audio CD

By: Kathy Steinemann

It is always a challenge to find new and interesting ways to increase your German vocabulary. You will find it easier to learn in small chunks, and the 'Kurz und bÃ?ndig' book/audio CD combo can help.

Diogenes Verlag from Zurich, Switzerland has gathered a selection of short stories from authors as diverse as Robert Walser, W. Somerset Maugham, Bertolt Brecht, Doris Dorrie, Mark Twain, the Bible, the Brothers Grimm, and many others from several countries around the world.

The book contains 100 stories, some as short as 20 words, up to a maximum of 4 1/2 pages. Subject matter ranges from funny to ridiculous to sad to perplexing, with several emotions in between. Diogenes introduces the reader to postal workers, fleas, mice, and ex-lovers. You will read about wishes and murders, watchmen and slippers. You will laugh and frown, and sometimes be left hanging without an answer.

Although the stories are in German, if you really need to find the English versions, you should be able to locate them on the Internet.

The CD package contains 65 stories, 45 of which are from the book. Of these 45, three have slightly different translations, but are still useful for learning purposes. Anna Konig and Hans Korte, who have slightly different accents, narrate the CD-based stories. Use the differences in enunciation as an opportunity for your ear to adjust to what is common with just about every foreign language - regional accents.

To utilize these German productions as learning tools, I recommend the following:

  • Start with the stories that are both on the CD and in the book.

  • Begin with the shortest story, learn the vocabulary, and then progress to the next.

  • Work your way through all 45 stories on the CD.

  • Now tackle the 55 stories out of the book that have no audio version.

  • Once again, begin with the shortest story and work up to the largest. You can estimate size by going to the 'Inhalt' (table of contents) and looking at the page numbers.

  • After you have completed the stories in the book, go through the remaining 20 stories on the CD. This part will be the most difficult, as you will be relying purely on your auditory language skills. However, you will already be familiar with the narrators' voices, so the experience should be relatively painless.

    The learning process will take you through a total of 120 stories. By the time you have completed the book and audio presentation, your German vocabulary should have improved dramatically, and you will have had some fun to boot!

    For a list of the 45 stories that are common to both CD and book, see the link in the author's resource box. There are two versions of the list:

  • Sorted by story size

  • Sorted by CD track

    Kurz und bÃ?ndig: Diogenes Verlag AG ZÃ?rich

    Pocketbook: 213 Pages
    Published: October, 2007
    Language: German
    ISBN-10: 3257236808
    ISBN-13: 978-3257236804
    Dimensions: 17.8x11.2x1.4 cm.

    Audio book: 2 CDs
    Published: October, 2007
    Language: German
    ISBN-10: 3257801661
    ISBN-13: 978-3257801668
    Dimensions: 14x12.4x1.4 cm.

    (c) Copyright Kathy Steinemann: This article is free to publish only if this copyright notice, the byline, and the author's note below (with active links) are included.

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