Story and Characters
The story takes place at the Hotel Europa in Aachen. Andreas is a journalism student and works as a door attendant at the hotel. He is always accompanied by Ex, a female elf that came out of a book. Strange, I know, but Ex is a lovely character! Other secondary characters are Frau Berger, the hotel manager; Dr. Thürmann, a regular hotel guest and Hanna, the housekeeper.
The first series takes place mostly in the Hotel Europe, where we get the chance to know the characters and their personalities; as well as some guests. The vocabulary and situations are most often simple, especially at the beginning of the course. Despite the simplicity of the dialogues, they are interesting.
In the second series, we know the parents of Andreas and the city of Aachen. In addition, we learn a little more of German literature. Overall, grammar and vocabulary are still easy to follow. Unfortunately, the voice of Ex changes and becomes robotic.
In the third series, Ex and Andreas are during some time apart, but we continue to follow the life of Andreas in the Hotel and we learn more about the origin of Ex. In the series finale, Andreas and Ex visit Berlin and we get to know better the city and its history. Vocabulary and grammar are a little more complicated.
In the fourth and last series of Deutsch – Warum nicht?, Andreas and Ex travel through East Germany, visiting the states that were part of the GDR. Thus, we know the problems and qualities of these places, in addition to their histories. This series is much harder than the others, both in terms of grammar and vocabulary.
The course and its structure
As the Radio D course, each series of the course Deutsch – Warum nicht? has 26 lessons. Each lesson lasts about 15 minutes. On the site, the manuscripts of all episodes are available as well the exercises. I got the books, the only one I could not get, I printed to better follow the course. As stated before, in the course we follow the routine Andreas and Ex at the Hotel Europa. We also learn a lot about the cities of Aachen and Berlin, besides the states that were part of East Germany.
Most lessons have the same structure: First, we review the previous lesson, then we hear the dialogues (2 or 3 per lesson) that are explained in detail by the narrator. Later, the narrator addresses the grammar points and at the end, the dialogue is repeated. Some lessons have no grammar, just dialogues.
The focus of the course is to learn German by context and as the stories are quite interesting and engaging, the method works. In the first two series, I learned new words very quickly. In the last two series, especially in the fourth, it has become more difficult, since there are more narratives than dialogues.
As stated before, the focus of the fourth grade is to better understand the culture and the history of East Germany and in this series, the story does not focus much on the relationship between Andreas and Ex. However, the texts are still interesting, but slightly less compelling.
- The course is free
- The story is interesting and engaging
- Available in multiple languages
- In the second series, they changed for the worse the voice of Ex.
- There is not follow up
- The course a little old fashioned (the early 90s), so some information is outdated
This is the German course that I liked the most so far. As the characters are always the same, the story becomes engaging. I was curious to know more about the characters and what would happen to them. How Andreas met Ex? How the others characters will react when finding out about Ex? What is the proposal that Dr. Thurmann does to Andreas?
The curiosity worked as motivation to continue the course. I finished the four series in just one month. I recommend the course to anyone who just started to learn German, or is in the early intermediate level. The course is intuitive, easy and effective.
Try it out and you will not regret it.
You can find the books on Amazon, but I think there are too expensive since the files are available on the DW website.