• Connectors

    Connectors 3: before and after in German

    The words bevor and vorher (‘before’) and nachdem and danach (‘after’) were among the connectors that we reviewed in the module Connectors 1. Additionally, vor can also mean ‘before’, and nachher and nach can also mean ‘after’. It is important to know that all these vor-words and nach-words cannot be used interchangeably. They are used in distinct contexts, perform distinct functions, and express slightly different meanings. Activity 1 bevor – vorher – vor Read corpus examples (a), (b), and (c) below. Pay attention to what words follow the bolded connectors, and to the position of the bolded verb. A. B. C. Which rules best reflect the difference between the sentence…

  • Connectors

    Connectors 2: doch

    In the module Connectors 1, you have learned that there are three main types of words that connect German clauses: coordinating conjunctions, subordinating conjunctions, and connecting adverbs. The connector type affects the word order in the German sentence, especially the position of the verb. One of the frequently used connectors is doch (‘still, but, however, yet’). Let’s explore examples with doch using Das Digitale Wörterbuch der Deutschen Sprache (DWDS), a large electronic collection of German texts known as a corpus.  Below you will see two images that show example sentences. It is presented in form of a concordance – stacked lines of examples with the search words bolded and centered.  If you find the…

  • Vocabulary

    Vocabulary Module 5: behaglich

    In this module, you will learn how to use the adjective behaglich (‘cosy’, ‘comfortable’, ‘snug’) using Das Digitale Wörterbuch der Deutschen Sprache (DWDS), a large electronic collection of German texts known as a corpus. Go to the DWDS homepage and type behaglich in the search box. You will be taken to a page that gives you a lot of information about this word, but we will focus on the word cloud, which is available in the Typische Verbindungen section. The word cloud above shows words that commonly occur with the word behaglich; such words are known as collocates. The larger the word in the image is, the more often it…

  • Collocations with Prepositions

    Verb-Preposition Collocations 3

    In the previous modules, you practiced using VPCs with nouns. In this module, we focus on how VPCs are used with personal pronouns and the so-called da-compounds (pronominal adverbs). Note that da-compounds (davon, dabei…) are extremely frequent in German, unlike their English counterparts (‘thereof’, ‘thereby’…). For example, daran appears more than 120,000 times in the Die Zeit corpus, whereas its English counterpart ‘thereon’ appears only 88 times in the Contemporary Corpus of American English, which is approximately the same size as the Die Zeit corpus (ca. 560 million words).