Study this video as a lesson on LingQ: https://bit.ly/3EqOs3a
Hello everyone and welcome to the LingQ podcast with Me Elle.
Today I’ll be joined by the amazing Katja who runs the website and
YouTube channel Deutsch für Euch.
Please excuse my German pronunciation there.
It’s a fantastic resource for anyone learning German or interested
in starting to learn German.
Before we get into it, let me remind you that all episodes of
this podcast are available as LingQ lessons, so you can listen and go
through the transcript, translating words and phrases that don’t know.
The course is called English LingQ Podcast 2.0, and the lesson link will always be
in the description, so go checked out.
LingQ allows you to learn from content you love: podcasts, Netflix
shows, movies, YouTube videos, blog posts, news articles, music lyrics.
Whatever you’re into, you can create a lesson with it on lingQ and have
fun on your language learning journey.
So Katja runs this wonderful resource for German learners, and
you may also recognize her as the host of the German LingQ podcast.
Katja, thank you so much for joining me today.
How are you?
Of course, I’m good.
Thank you for having me.
I’m, uh, I, I, I am sweaty, but I think that’s just, we’re gonna have
to suffer through that together now.
We were talking, we’re both in heatwaves, so in Germany.
How’s it looking, like today what’s the high, for example?
Let me check, because I am in the south, so of course, ooh, of course I get it
worse than other people, even, even still.
Well, it’s saying that it’s 27 Celsius right now, but the humidity…
that’s pretty hot.
…is constantly at 60%.
It’s, it’s, it’s tropical.
That’s the worst.
I didn’t ask for this.
. I didn’t sign up for this.
The humidity is what gets you, you know?
You’re just like dripping in sweat as you…
I don’t mind the heat or cold.
It’s all good, but the humidity.
Yeah, I have to agree.
But besides that, I’m good.
And I’m glad to be here.
we’re gonna hit, my watch tells me we’re gonna hit 34 degrees today in Vancouver,
Canada, which is not normal for us.
Uh, it’s the hottest day of this heat wave.
So, I’m just in my cave here.
All the lights off, fans, but…
which we’ve turned off for recording, so Yes.
We’re gonna look Dewey.
So it’s all good.
So Katja, your channel, uh, Deutsch für Euch uh, was founded uh, almost
10 years ago now, and it’s a wonderful resource for, I guess mostly, uh, English
native speakers who would like to learn German and learn about German culture.
So tell us what made you start the channel.
Um, Yeah, no, you got that exactly right.
I would, I would correct it is to say anyone who speaks English well,
of course can, can use the videos.
But I did, uh, start it and I do make a lot of videos still with, um, native
speakers in particular in mind because I use a lot of, and this is partly because
of me just, you know, English as the language I speak best besides German.
And I think a lot in English, and I think a lot about how they’re
comparable or different and, uh, the challenges that especially
English speakers are gonna face.
Now that I’m also fluent in Russian, the same things happen to me with Russian.
But at the time, you know, my knowledge about other languages
really wasn’t good enough to do that.
So that was one thing.
And then what I always say is the reasons, like the collection of reasons for why
I started the channel was basically, uh, I really, really love languages.
I’ve always had a knack for languages.
Um, so that was one I, I knew that that topic interested me.
I like explaining things to people.
I like teaching.
It’s also what I’ve chosen as my field of study and I, uh, I, yeah, that might
seem like a superficial reason in that row of things, but I also really always
wanted to be a YouTuber, not even just a content creator, but mostly YouTuber
because I started exploring YouTube even with a signed up account in like 20…
no in 2006.
Yeah, so like really, really early.
And I always wanted to do something and I never had a topic and I
never had the stamina to stick with anything for like longer than a month.
And, uh, then with Deutsch für Euch it worked because I really enjoy it.
And let me just backtrack to what you said, that you’re all, so you’re
fluent in English, obviously, , and you’re also fluent in Russian now?
Not to the degree…
and how long…
yeah, not to the degree, as in, in, in German or English.
I even have days where like my English is better than my German
now, which is really weird.
Um, but it feels that way anyway, let’s say that.
And I’m definitely not there with Russian, but yeah.
when did you start learning English?
Uh, pretty standardly.
Uh, so in school I started, um, well now kids in Germany are learning
English from, I think grade one.
There it’s gonna be very like, playful and stuff, but still it’s been
integrated into elementary schools.
When I was in elementary, that wasn’t a thing yet.
Um, I remember we were taught like one or one to three words a
year and half of those were wrong.
So I remember being taught that “You’re welcome” is “please”, because
in German we say, “Bitta, please.”
And so the teacher just translated that literally, “please.
Thank you, please.”
Um, so that was the level.
I did have like an introductory English course in like third grade by, uh,
voluntary, you know, she wasn’t a teacher, but she was a native speaker.
Um, and then I started learning in fifth grade, but the main like chunk
of English that I learned started around the time that I was, you know,
started to explore the internet because yeah, this must have been like 20…
I keep saying 20 because we’re in the twenties now, 2005 ish.
5, 6, 7 around that, that time.
And I just spent a lot of time online and exploring.
And to be fair, there was definitely more German content even back then
than there was in, I don’t know, Arabic or many other languages.
But still it was very limited, right?
So you, you could explore the German internet relatively quickly and so if…
yeah and then stuff like YouTube started happening and there you had people
posting vlogs and that was mostly people doing it in English, especially
of course the, the visible ones.
So everywhere I went online, and that’s where I started spending a
lot of my time, there was English, so I didn’t really have a choice.
That was one thing.
And then the other thing was I really started getting
into anime in my early teen.
And there same thing, if you wanted to find subtitles, which were usually done by
fans who like took the shows from TV and then put subtitles and put them online,
um, that would be a subtitles in English.
So I would sit there and watch my anime and like every three
sentences there would be a word that I didn’t know and I’d look it up.
So that’s how I learned a lot of vocabulary.
So most of my English is definitely uh, internet-grown combined with,
you know, movies and stuff, Of course, but it’s mostly the internet.
And a decent chunk of it is actually standup comedy.
Oh, I love it.
Who do you, who do you like, what comedians are you enjoy?
Well, the UK hass a huge scene, right?
And then there’s also a lot of American comedians, so um, I’m a
bit embarrassed to say that I think the first standup comic I ever like
really watched a lot of was Dane Cook.
I dunno who that is.
That’s, that’s totally fine.
Dane, Dane, Dane Cook.
Dane, but I think his name is Daniel, but he just called himself Dane.
Um, he was a really big thing for a while in the mid two thousands.
It’s not that he was like hugely offensive or whatever, but it’s like I can see why
I thought it was funny at 14 and I can see why I no longer find it funny now.
You know, that kind of thing.
Um, someone I discovered back then as well, and still really love is actually
Christopher Titus, American comedian.
Not everyone’s style probably, but yeah.
One of my favorites.
As for Brits Eddie Izzard.
yes, I love Eddie Izzard.
With like Michael McIntyre.
I don’t know if he is done anything recently, but I always
circle back to Russell Howard.
I don’t know him.
No, I know.
I’m, I shouldn’t be writing a list.
I’m gonna get these names.
Some of the names I don’t know.
Cause I thought, I thought this one, like, that’s the name she’s gonna know for sure.
Cause I don’t know how much standup comedy you enjoy.
I, I mean, I dabble, but, uh yeah, russell Howard, you know, maybe…
because he has like a weekly review show, so I thought he must probably be like a
name you come across every now and then.
You know, I’ve been out in the UK for such a long time.
Maybe I just missed it.
Oh, and Sarah Milken.
I also enjoy every, She’s, she’s British.
She’s Geordie, as far as I’m aware.
I love that accent.
And there’s, yeah, and then there was that big Daniel Sloss moment a
few years ago that I really got into.
And like, there’s a lot, there’s just, there’s a lot.
There’s a few people that I discover and then I don’t remember them.
And then there’s some people I follow for a while.
But, um yeah.
I just really enjoy comedy as like, this is gonna sound so like comedy podcast, but
it’s as, as an art or rather as a craft.
I like well constructed jokes a lot, so.
Ad it is a craft, right?
Like, to be funny is, is no easy thing and like you say, yeah, to craft a, a
joke, something that is truly funny and clever or, you know, there’s inuendo.
It’s, it’s very…
and it’s so language involved maybe to like circle back to that topic.
And I think it’s no accident that I’m into it so much because if I,
for example, I’m never gonna get into a comic who doesn’t, to some
degree at least play with language.
And you will also find me laughing at moments that are mostly just like,
not even wordplay, but like using, for example, an overly technical or an overly
high register word in a weird context or stuff like that, because I just enjoy
when people have fun with language.
And that’s a huge part of good comedy because that is your medium, right?
So you should know how to use it well, and not just yell.
Just yell or just be offensive.
So to circle back to the language thing, um, and your channel, which helps people
learn German, what would you say, uh, so some of the, uh, the common issues that
people who are learning German run into?
So yeah, just so many, or well, to get, like, to get like teachery for a second.
Of course, the, the issues are gonna differ depending on like your
background, what’s your native language?
How many languages do you speak?
But let’s assume we’re speaking mostly from an English speaker per perspective.
So pronunciation is definitely one thing because we do have a lot of
sounds that English doesn’t have.
We have the reverse thing with like Germans struggling with the “th”
or the exact pronunciation of the English um, rhotic r, stuff like that.
In German, it’s gonna be the “ch” sounds, so the … and the … Right.
The, the, the cat hiss.
So there, wait, there are two, the “ch: makes two different sounds?
I didn’t know that.
Depending on the vowel that they follow, they’re gonna make different sounds.
So if it’s after an A, an O, uh, U Yeah, that’s it.
It’s … like in … which means book.
But if it’s after I, E or I think all of the dipthongs, I
don’t think I’m forgetting one.
It’s gonna be … like in … Or
… Oh, okay.
So, so those are two and there’s a bunch of different, you
know, other sounds of course.
I think that’s part of any language though.
I don’t think, you know, there’s always gonna be challenging sounds
depending on where you’re coming from.
Um, from my experience besides the obvious, in case, you know, for people who
aren’t filled in, we have three genders in German who therefore have, you know, words
have three different genders, therefore different articles and different pronouns.
And that can make it tricky because we also assign those genders,
grammatical genders randomly.
Table is male.
You go ahead and figure out why.
But that’s how it is.
Um, there’s some things where it makes sense or where you can like…
where it might be easier to remember, let’s say that.
Um, but a lot of things, just generally things, objects in the world are
gonna be male, female, or neutral.
Basically randomly, mostly dependent on how, what endings
they have and not even that always.
And then there’s syntax, I’d say is another big topic.
And so Katja, where would you suggest anyone listening who is interested
in starting to learn German or is a beginner and is looking for
some kind of uh, help, direction, where do you suggest people start?
This is gonna sound like maybe a bit of a dissatisfying answer,
but there is no definite…
and I’m sure you know this as well, uh, as, as a language, uh,
language, what do you call it?
I like that.
A person who deals with…
a language involved person.
I love it.
A member of the language learning community?
Let’s say that, let’s say that everyone’s part of all the communities now.
If you’re in the language learning bubble, uh, to make it even more content
based, you know this already, but basically there is no one size fits all.
And if anyone ever tries to tell you there is a one size
fits all, they’re lying to you.
Um, because, and I just actually talked about this, I dunno when this is gonna
be out and when that episode is gonna be out, but in episode seven of the German
podcast, I actually just talked about this to my friend Maria, that basically it’s
not about finding like the five hacks.
That’s four, five, the five hacks that like will unlock
learning languages for you.
Um, no matter what any YouTube title will tell you, um, it’s
much more about attitude and what goes into that is motivation.
So basically start where it’s fun for you if you’re starting off
learning German, and this is not at all a hit on like anyone who like
needs to learn German because they wanna move to Germany or whatever.
Um, although I would question if you have not at all had any touch or interest in
the language, maybe move to a country where you’re actually interested
in the language enough to like…
because it’s just gonna make your life harder.
Um, but find, especially in the beginning, the world is your oyster.
Like pick whatever makes the language fun for you.
Whether that be watching movies, listening to Rammstein or some other band, um, or
watching a certain person on YouTube, like I said, like a lot of, or comedy.
Um, a lot of my English was basically just, this is the barrier I need to
get past so I can enjoy the stuff that I wanna enjoy so I can get access to
the stuff that I wanna watch, that I wanna read, if I wanna communicate.
So for example, if you enjoy just chatting with people, you can also find chat
rooms if there still is such a thing.
I think there is, um, or uh, listening to podcasts, listening
to books, uh, reading books even.
Um, so basically if you’re starting out, that’s the easiest part because you get to
pick whatever the hell you think is fun.
If you’re like me and you also just enjoy exploring basic grammar
for a language, go do that.
Like whatever gets you going, that’s gonna be different for everyone, I think.
were you looking for, were you looking in that answer for like
a particular like spot in German grammar that you should start with?
No, I think this is the perfect answer actually.
Or even maybe then for the people who…
becuase It’s so, it’s so true, right?
It all comes down to why you wanna learn the language, make yourself
want to, otherwise you won’t.
You know, motivation, you know.
So, Katja, what do you have in store?
What’s, uh, what’s coming up in the future for you, your website,
your channel, what’s going on?
Um, so like I said, I, uh, went to uni to be a teacher and that took
a while and then covid hit and everything got slowed down a bit.
But I am finally hoping to now start my, like in school training, uh,
within the next half year, which means I’m then gonna be finally a
certified school teacher in Germany.
So that’s something that’s happening.
I’m also currently working on being able to teach drama as well,
so that’s the personal front.
Channel wise, I don’t really have a lot like specific stuff set up right now.
There is a project with a friend that’s like kind of waiting
in the, what do you call it?
waiting in the wings?
Um, but I’m not gonna say anything about that yet because
it’s really baby, baby shoes.
I like that, baby shoes.
On my channel right now, and this is a pretty, like, I already, I’m already doing
this, but I started this pretty recently.
I’m currently enjoying streaming.
Um, because it gives me, you know, there’s a lot more room to, um,
interact with people obviously.
Also kind of change the course of where I was going with the channel.
If I see that people wanna talk about something particular and then
I just can go back and see, okay, this was interesting to people.
I’m gonna cut this out, make it a video.
So yeah, that’s what we’re doing on DFA right now.
So if you wanna wanna learn German, I do, uh, most of those streams in English.
So if you, uh, have a burning question about, about German, catch one of my
streams and, uh, you might find an answer.
And what age will you teach when you are qualified?
Does it work like that, I assume?
Uh, so here, since we have, so since we have a, the answer isn’t quite
that simple because we don’t have the Anglo American system of like,
just, it’s K through 12 basically.
Um, but we do have a three to two, um, branches that
you go into after elementary.
And I’m basically gonna teach the, the like highest achieving branch of that,
which is the sort of school that leads up to the … which is what enables
you to go to university in Germany.
So I’m gonna be teaching fifth through 12, or depending on the school I’m
at 13th because we’re fancy and some of the schools still have 13 classes.
Well best of luck with that.
It must be so nice to be, you know, nearing the end of such a huge, huge
thing, you know, being qualified.
It’s, it’s, it’s huge.
Yeah, best of luck with that.
And I will pop, of course, uh, the link to your channel and website and all the
other stuff, Instagram and everywhere, everywhere you are in the description.
So, uh, anyone listening, watching, definitely go check out Katja’s stuff.
um, thank you.
I forgot to mention my tshirt.
Sorry, I’m being very unprofessional.
But if you, if you too love German and you love a German heart, this
is also available on my website.
I made merch last year, so buy it!
I’ll put the link into the description for that too.
Well, listen Katja, stay cool heat wise and…
Otherwise, and thank you so, so much for coming on.
Thank you so much for having me.
This was, this was a blast and it went by very fast.
I feel like we’ve been talking for like three minutes.
Thank you, Katja.