Vocabulary

Vocabulary Module 15: essen

In this module, you will learn some vocabulary to talk about eating (essen) using Das Digitale Wörterbuch der Deutschen Sprache (DWDS), a large electronic collection of German texts known as a corpus.  Let’s explore what words German speakers use to talk about eating. Go to DWDS homepage and type essen 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 so-called ‘word cloud’ which is available in the Typische Verbindungen section.

essen
DWDS word profile for “essen” retrieved June 1, 2022.

The word cloud above shows words that commonly occur with the word essen. They are called collocates of essen. The larger the word is in the cloud, the more frequently it co-occurs with essen. You can also see a numerical representation of the frequency of co-occurrence by looking at the Überblick table for essen accessible through the Wortprofil link below the word cloud.

Activity 1

A.

First, let’s review the meaning of some German nouns which are frequently used with the verb essen from this word cloud by matching them with their English equivalents. If needed, you can consult the online dictionary LEO.

B.

It is important to learn the German nouns together with their articles. Look at the 23 nouns that you learned in Activity 1A in the list below and identify 6 nouns that go with der, 9 nouns that go with die, and 8 nouns that go with das.

Activity 2

A.

Let`s explore more the noun Vorspeise. Click on the word and scroll down to the word cloud. You can see many different adjectives that are frequently used to describe Vorspeise. Some of these adjectives are listed below; match them with their English equivalents. If needed, you can consult the online dictionary LEO.

B.

Now, click on the correct English equivalents for these nouns below. If needed, you can consult the online dictionary LEO.

C.

Vorspeise, Hauptspeise and Nachspeise can be called differently. Look at synonyms under Thesaurus (located right above the word clouds) for the above-mentioned nouns.

Now, put the correct words with their synonyms together.

D.

Read the examples below with the noun Speise and adjectives that are frequently used to describe dishes. Click on the adjectives for Speise.

E.

Next, let’s review the meaning of those adjectives mentioned in 2D by matching them with their English equivalents. If needed, you can consult the online dictionary LEO.

Activity 3

Next, let`s analyze examples taken from the DWDS corpus with some adjectives mentioned in Activity 2D.

A.

Read the sentences below, which contain examples with landestypisch taken from the DWDS corpus. What can be landestypisch?

B.

Next, read the sentences below, which contain examples with süß taken from the DWDS corpus. What else can be süß?

Click on the correct nouns. You need to find 6 nouns. Consult the online dictionary LEO to find their meaning.

C.

It is important to learn the German nouns together with their articles. Look at the 15 nouns that you learned in Activity 3A and 3B in the list below and identify 4 nouns that go with der, 6 nouns that go with die, and 5 nouns that go with das.

Activity 4

Now let’s try to find out more about the use of süß, a collocate of SpeiseDo a search in the DWDS for the word süß and then scroll down to its word cloud.

A.

As you could see in examples to 3B, süß is frequently used to describe taste or smell. However, it can also be used metaphorically. Among the words from the word cloud for süß, which five words are NOT used with süß in its literal meaning? Consult the online dictionary LEO to find the meaning of these words.

B.

Read the sentences below, which contain examples of the expression süßes Gift taken from the DWDS corpus and try to figure out its meaning.

  • “Gegen das süße Gift der Staatsverschuldung, das mit Sicherheit zum Tode führt, setzt die Koalition die bittere Medizin der Reformen.”
    Berliner Zeitung, 25.06.1999
  • Immer wieder erliegen Personen in herausragenden Positionen dem süßen Gift der Macht.
    Die Zeit, 07.02.2012, Nr. 6
  • Thibault Pucken warnt: “Politische Intervention ist ein süßes Gift, da sie letztlich den Markt beeinflusst und verzerrt.”
    Henrik Mortsiefer: Hätte, hätte, Lieferkette. Der Tagesspiegel, 06.02.2021

Activity 5

On your own. Using the word clouds from this module, write 4-5 sentences about essen and your favorite food. Pay attention to adjective endings.

For example:

Ich esse oft exotische Hauptspeisen.
Ich esse auch gern vegetarisches Essen.
Ich koche nicht gern süße Nachspeisen.