Daliah Lavi – Oh wann kommst Du? (Learning German through music)

One way of learning to understand German (or any other language) is through the use of music.

The melody of any song will help you to memorise certain words and phrases nearly instinctively. Just make sure to follow those steps:

1. Listen to the song and try and understand the lyrics

2. Listen to the song again, but this time also read the lyrics. (You will notice that this time you are already starting to understand more than the first time.)

3. Slowly read the lyrics without listening to the song and translate the passages that you don’t understand.

4. Listen to the song again without the lyrics.

At this stage you should have a good understanding of what the song is about. From now on you can occasionally listen to the song again whenever you feel like it or even have it play in the background, so that certain words and phrases will sink into your consciousness. Learning German through songs is a fun way to quickly gain a good active knowledge of the language.

Have a look at the YouTube video below. Yes, it is not the most sophisticated song ever written and feel free to have a snigger at some of the 1970s décor, but once you have followed this exercise I bet you will have at least mastered the days of week. You will also have mastered one simple question (Wann kommst Du?) as well as some of the most common second person singular forms (Du kommst, Du willst, Du kannst, Du glaubst) and got a feel for the usage of “wenn…. dann…”.

Incidentally, you will also have noticed how many of the lyrics are part of the most commonly used words of the German language.

Not bad for just one simple little song, eh?

Daliah Lavi – Oh, wann kommst Du (Lyrics)

Montag, Dienstag, Mittwoch, Donnerstag,
Freitag, Samstag, Sonntag jeder Tag
vergeht ohne Ziel

Für mich sieht der Sonntag wie Montag aus
der Alltag ist überall zu Haus
jeden Tag das selbe Spiel

Vielleicht gibt es irgendwo einen Sinn
und irgendwer weiß den Weg dorthin
wo Liebe wohnt

Weil Montag, Dienstag, Mittwoch, Donnerstag,
Freitag, Samstag, Sonntag weil kein Tag
ohne Liebe sich lohnt

OOh, oh oh oh oh oh wann kommst du (uhhh)
OOh, oh oh oh oh oh wann kommst du (uhhh)

Wenn du gehn willst, lass ich dich gehen
woran du glaubst, werd ich verstehn
du kannst fragen, was du nie fragst
alles sagen, was du nie sagst
du kannst träumen, wovon du gern träumst
und versäumen, was du gern versäumst
wenn du treu sein willst, dann sei doch treu
wenn du frei sein willst, dann bist du frei

OOh, oh oh oh oh oh wann kommst du (kommst du)
da dei da dei da dei da dam da di da da dei da dam da di di di dum la da di da da dadadam
da dei da dei da dam da dei da di da dei da dam da di di di dam la da di da da dadadam

Vielleicht gibt es irgendwo einen Sinn
und irgendwer weiß den Weg dorthin
wo Liebe wohnt

Weil Montag, Dienstag, Mittwoch, Donnerstag,
Freitag, Samstag, Sonntag weil kein Tag
ohne Liebe sich lohnt

OOh, oh oh oh oh oh wann kommst du (uhhh)
OOh, oh oh oh oh oh wann kommst du (uhhh)

Wenn du gehn willst, lass ich dich gehen
woran du glaubst, werd ich verstehn
du kannst fragen, was du nie fragst
alles sagen, was du nie sagst
du kannst träumen, wovon du gern träumst
und versäumen, was du gern versäumst
wenn du treu sein willst, dann sei doch treu
wenn du frei sein willst, dann bist du frei

OOh, oh oh oh oh oh wann kommst du (kommst du)
OOh, oh oh oh oh oh wann kommst du (kommst du)
OOh, oh oh oh oh oh wann kommst

How to quickly learn the most important German words

One of my main focuses is to make sure that the learning is fun and easy. When it comes to easy nothing ever beats the old 80/20 principle of focusing on the small number of areas that promise the biggest improvements.

Learn just 500 words to understand 70-80% of all basic German texts

This also works for learning basic German vocabulary quickly. Being familiar with the most common 500 words of any language generally assures that 70-80% of basic, non-specialised texts can be understood. So the focus should always be to quickly acquire a good knowledge of those terms.

If you already have a general grasp of German, familiarise yourself with those 500 words.

Some words of advice about that list:

You will notice that only the German words are listed in that link, not their translations. This may at first appear awkward, but will ultimately work to your advantage as you will need to find the translations yourself and while doing so will be able to absorb them into your memory much faster.

For those of you, however, who prefer to have the translations right away I have also uploaded the most common words with translations in the area with the training materials.

Use index cards to help you memorise lists of words

When learning vocabulary don’t compile long lists of words, but instead invest in a set of index cards. Write one German term on one card, and the translation on the reverse side. You can now mix and match those cards and memorise the words randomly, and both focus on learning the English translation of German words and the German translation of English terms. If you know certain terms by heart you can even simply put those index cards aside and focus only on the ones that you haven’t learnt yet. The main advantage of learning vocabulary that way is that it is more efficient than the traditional way of memorising them by compiled lists. With those lists you often memorise the order in which the words appear rather than the meaning of the words themselves. Of course, nothing beats learning new words by simply using them in discussions, by reading texts or writing messages, but it is important to be aware of the relatively small number of key words necessary to already obtain a good standard of basic German.

Always memorise the right gender from the start

When learning vocabulary ALWAYS also learn the gender of the nouns right from the start, e.g. “DER Mann”, “DIE Frau”, “DAS Mädchen”. If you learn the correct gender right from the beginning it’ll save you the trouble of having to do so at a later stage when it will be much harder to unlearn previous errors.

Also, if you are just starting up, you may want to focus on first of all learning the Top 100 German words (don’t worry about the additional numbers and abbreviations on that list and just focus on the actual key words), then progress to the Top 200 words, before finally tackling the Top 500. All those lists have also been translated and left in the training material area of this site.