Falling in Love with the German Language: Plankalkül by Vorsprung durch Technik

Check out my new video creation below!

Listen up, this song is without a doubt, very special to me, because it was 5 years ago this month that I decided to learn German and THIS is THE VERY song that inspired… no, more like pushed… me, RIGHT over the edge!

Back in 2009 I was already a fan of Vorsprung durch Technik from some Yello remixes they did on the Hardfloor vs. Yello – Vicious Games EP. And then I had a listen to their other albums and was forever hooked!

One song from their first album in particular tweaked me and I listened to it repeatedly even though it was sung in German. Now keep in mind in early 2009 I, as a native Californian, knew only a handful of German words. You know, the basic ones most english speaking people already know by default:

Auf Wiedersehen
Das Boot (film)
Guten Tag


Plankalkül Album Cover Art

So of course I’ve not a clue what this enchanting-sounding song, Plankalkül, sung so beautifully by Andreas Betten is about. The only words I recognized were entirely romantic and idealistic city names…for example: Rome, Paris, Madrid and London.

Hey, this must certainly be a World-Traveler’s Love Song! Right?

Wrong… by a computer data mile!!

So rather than bug the artist himself (surely he needs to keep busy making more great music instead!), I asked my lovely friend, Silke from Lüneburg, Germany, to translate this mysterious song for me because I simply HAD to know what it was all about.

Well, thankfully she responded rather quickly with 3 things: 1) that the song was an ear-worm, 2) she provided the english translation, and 3) she also provided the lyrics in German text.

I eagerly and quickly read the english translation, only to discover that this song was anything but a Romantic Ode.

Unless of course you happen to be a nerdy, computer geek of the highest order!

Yep, ‘Plankalkül’ or “Plan Calculus” is a song all about the first computer language from 1946.

So color me crushed… This “Romantic Song” was nowhere near what I’d imagined.

But I couldn’t give up on Plankalkül now that I knew what it was about, so I had another listen again, only THIS time while looking and following along to the German lyrics that Silke provided…

And would you believe, that is when I officially fell in love with the German language.


I learned within a 6 minute song over a dry topic about computer languages, that German is absolutely nothing like the harsh, loud and shouted language that is portrayed in German war movies and TV sitcoms.

German has a surprising soft side that I think is truly exemplified here in Plankalkül.

So have a listen now to my video featuring ‘The Voice’ (aka Andreas Betten) and his band mate Olaf Wollschläger and hopefully you will see what I mean about the German language’s soft side.

I specifically included the german lyrics so that you can HEAR the language and SEE it, which I hope will forever DISPEL the MYTH Of German being a harsh language.

Hope you enjoy!

And in closing, according to the premier learning language service Duolingo, I now know over 1,700 German words…and counting daily! 🙂

Special thanks to my wonderful and inspirational musician and friend, Andreas Betten for endorsing my video with this feedback,

“You perfectly hit the spirit of the first album.”

Yep. That’s Rock and Roll for nerds like me. 🙂