Vocabulary

Vocabulary Module 2: Das Essen

In this module, you will learn some vocabulary to talk about the topic ‘food’ (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 food. Go to the DWDS main page and type Essen in the search box. Don’t forget to capitalize the word Essen! (If you don’t capitalize it, you will get results for the verb essen, ‘to eat’). You will be taken to a site that gives you a lot of information about this word, but we will focus on the so-called ‘word cloud’.  Scroll down the page to see this image:

essen word cloud

This word cloud shows the words that commonly occur with the word Essen. The larger the word in the image is, the more often it co-occurs with Essen.

Activity 1

First, let’s review the meaning of German adjectives and verbs from this word cloud by matching them with their English equivalents. If needed, you can consult the online dictionary LEO.

Activity 2

After matching the words above with their English equivalents, you most likely recognized that a lot of them are adjectives. Can you identify seven adjectives from the word cloud that describe food? Can you also find four verbs in the word cloud that describe activities associated with eating?

Drag the words below into the correct columns.

Now let’s explore some nouns with the help of the DWDS corpus.

Activity 3

Look at the word cloud for Essen again (you can get to it at this link) and find the five nouns that you see there because they are associated with Essen.

Activity 4

A.

Which two of the nouns below describe places where you can eat?

B.

Now read the examples below for Restaurant and Kantine. Can you guess the difference between those two places? You can click on the arrows next to the words in the word cloud for Essen to read example sentences.

E.g.:

Ein schlichtes Leben: Einzimmer-Appartements, mittags und abends gemeinsames Essen in der Kantine, dazu meist zweimal am Tag Training.

– Zum Relaunch der Zeitschrift gibt es ein Essen in einem schicken Restaurant.

Activity 5

Click on the word Restaurant in the word cloud for Essen (you can get to it at this link) to be taken to its own DWDS page. When you get there, scroll down to the word cloud. Keep the word cloud open in a separate tab in your browser and refer to it to complete the following activities.

Which nouns are types of restaurant? Check all that apply.

You can click on the arrow next to each of these words in the word cloud for Restaurant to read example sentences and learn more about these places.

Activity 6

Click on the word kochen in the word cloud for Essen (you can get to it at this link) to be taken to its own DWDS page. When you get there, scroll down to the word cloud. Keep the word cloud open in a separate tab in your browser and refer to it to complete the following activities.

A.

Divide the following nouns from the word cloud into two different categories according to their meaning.

B.

Click on the arrow next to Kaffee to read sentences with the expression Kaffee kochen. For example:

Er kocht Kaffee und Tee, bietet an, Eier zu braten.
Die Zeit, 25.03.2013, Nr. 12

Ich gehe auf mein Zimmer und koche mir einen ordentlichen türkischen Kaffee.
Die Zeit, 13.08.2012, Nr. 33

Die Zeit, 26.05.2017 (online)
Indem sie der Software, zum Beispiel über eine App, sagen, dass sie jetzt Kaffee kochen und ihr später mitteilen, wann er fertig ist.

What is the closest English meaning for Kaffee kochen?

Activity 7

Click on the word schmecken in the word cloud for Essen (you can get to it at this link) to be taken to its own DWDS page. When you get there, scroll down to the word cloud. Keep the word cloud open in a separate tab in your browser and refer to it to complete the following activities.

A.

Among the words from this word cloud, which is not an adjective?

B.

Among the adjectives from the schmecken word cloud, which one describes an unpleasant taste?

Activity 8

Click on the word bitter in the word cloud for schmecken (you can get to it at this link) to be taken to its own DWDS page. When you get there, scroll down to the word cloud. Keep the word cloud open in a separate tab in your browser and refer to it to complete the following activities. If needed, you can consult the online dictionary LEO.

A.

Among the words from this word cloud, which one is used with bitter in its direct meaning?

Here are some DWDS example sentences. To see more, click on the arrow next to these nouns in the word cloud for bitter.

Bittere Medizin schluckt man am besten schnell!
Die Zeit, 04.02.2013, Nr. 05

Doch noch mehr bittere Pillen haben wir Deutschen nicht verdient.
Die Zeit, 15.03.2006, Nr. 11

Für ihren Patriotismus, das ist die bittere Ironie, hat die SPD stets bezahlt.
Die Zeit, 05.12.2011, Nr. 49

Er kennt den Geschmack des süßen Sieges ebenso wie den der bitteren Niederlage.
Die Zeit, 31.05.2011 (online)

Das ist eine bittere politische Wahrheit, aber so ist es nun mal.
Die Zeit, 07.01.2013, Nr. 01

Allein in der Ukraine kostete die bittere Kälte mindestens 135 Menschen das Leben.
Die Zeit, 06.02.2012 (online)

Für den englischen Fußball-Meister Manchester United hat das neue Jahr mit einer weiteren bitteren Enttäuschung begonnen.
Die Zeit, 04.01.2012 (online)

Durch das späte Gegentor hatte der süße Sieg für Barcelona einen bitteren Beigeschmack.
Die Zeit, 24.08.2012 (online)

B.

What is the best translation for the following German saying?
Eine gute Medizin schmeckt dem Gaumen bitter.

Activity 9

On your own. Explore the usage of a few other adjectives by clicking on them in the word cloud for Essen and scrolling down to their own word clouds!

Activity 10

On your own. Using 3-5 adjectives and 3-5 nouns from this module, write three sentences describing what you like to eat and your favorite place to eat. Please pay attention to which nouns and adjectives frequently go together! If you want, you may add an idiomatic expression that you learned.

For example:

Ich esse gern gesundes Essen. Mein Lieblingsrestaurant ist Panera Bread.

Ich esse nicht gern Fisch.