Vocabulary

Vocabulary Module 4: fahren

In this module, you will learn some vocabulary to talk about the verb ‘to drive’ (fahren) 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 fahren. Go to the DWDS main page and type fahren in the search box. Do NOT capitalize the word fahren! (If you capitalize it, you will get results for the noun Fahren, ‘driving’). 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 an image similar to this one:

fahren word cloud

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

Activity 1

After looking at the words in this word cloud, you most likely recognized that some of them are nouns (and are, therefore, capitalized).

A.

First, let’s review the meaning of these nouns 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. Can you find 3 nouns that go with the article der, 2 nouns that go with die, and 2 nouns that go with das?

Drag the words below into the correct columns.

C.

Click on the square with the letter B (it stands for Beispiele) next to each of these nouns in the word cloud for fahren (you can get to it at this link by scrolling down the page) to read example sentences. After that, complete the following sentences in German. Pay attention to the prepositions and articles!

Activity 2

Look again at the words in the cloud. You can see that a lot of them are verbs that are modifications of the verb fahren. They describe a similar meaning to fahren but identify different types of driving / riding / going and have different (separable) prefixes.

A.

Review the meaning of some of these verbs by matching them with their English equivalents. If needed, you can consult the online dictionary LEO.

Drag the answers to the appropriate blanks.

B.

Complete the following sentences in German with the correct separable prefix. E.g., Er fuhr los. (‘He set off.’)

You can click on the square with the letter B (it stands for Beispiele) next to these and other verbs in the word cloud for fahren  to read example sentences.

Activity 3

Look through the exercises you have just completed and choose the correct statement to make sure you understand what you have noticed thus far.

Activity 4

A.

Read the sentences with the word fortfahren from the DWDS corpus below.

Da sie nichts weiter sagte, fuhr ich fort zu lesen.
Rinser, Luise: Mitte des Lebens, Frankfurt a. M.: S. Fischer 1952 [1950], S. 33

Mit einem Schaumlöffel herausnehmen und gut abtropfen lassen. So fortfahren, bis alle Gnocchi fertig gegart sind. Die beiseite gestellten Beten in kleine Würfel schneiden.
Zeit Magazin, 23.10.2017 (online)

Die guten Momente einer Beziehung im Gedächtnis zu behalten hilft, mit dem Leben fortzufahren.
Zeit Magazin, 28.09.2017, Nr. 40

What is the closest English meaning for fortfahren in these sentences?

B.

Read the sentences with the expression der Zug ist abgefahren from the DWDS corpus below.

Ich wollte immer Profi-Fußballer werden, aber ich fürchte, mit 51 ist der Zug für mich abgefahren.
Berliner Zeitung, 07.07.2005

Bis wir zu Entscheidungen kommen, ist der Zug längst abgefahren.
Die Welt, 30.03.2005

What is the closest English meaning for der Zug ist abgefahren in these sentences?

Activity 5

Click on the word Bus in the word cloud for fahren (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. Look at the word cloud for Bus and find five nouns that describe other means of public transportation.

You can click on the square with the letter B (it stands for Beispiele) next to each of these words in the word cloud for Bus to read example sentences.

Activity 6

Now open the DWDS pages for the words Auto and Zug in two separate tabs and scroll down to the word clouds for these words. Look at the word cloud for Auto and find the three words from the list below that you see there because they are associated with Auto. Then, look at the word cloud for Zug and find the three words from the list below that you see there because they are associated with Zug. You can consult the online dictionary LEO for their meaning.

Drag the words below into the correct columns.

You can click on the square with the letter B (it stands for Beispiele) next to each of these words in the word clouds for Auto and Zug to read example sentences.

Activity 7

Click on the word Autobahn (freeway) in the word cloud for fahren (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.

Look at the word cloud for Autobahn and find the four words from the list below that you see there because they are associated with Autobahn. You can consult the online dictionary LEO for their meaning.

B.

In the word cloud for Autobahn, three different types of streets are mentioned. Match them with their English equivalents.

You can click on the square with the letter B (it stands for Beispiele) next to each of these words in the word cloud for Autobahn to read example sentences.

Activity 8

Click on the word Urlaub (vacation) in the word cloud for fahren (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.

A.

Look at the word cloud for Urlaub and find three words that describe popular vacation destinations. If needed, you can consult the online dictionary LEO.

B.

Look at the word cloud for Urlaub and find four verbs and four adjectives that are frequently used to describe vacations. For their meaning, consult the online dictionary LEO.

Drag the words into the correct column.

You can click on the square with the letter B (it stands for Beispiele) next to each of these words in the word cloud for Urlaub to read example sentences.

Activity 9

On your own. Explore the usage of a few other words in the mentioned word clouds!

Activity 10

On your own. Using 3-5 verbs and 3-5 nouns from this module, write three sentences describing driving, using public transportation, or going on vacation.

For example:

Ich fahre ein Auto. Ich parke es auf der Straße.
Ich buche einen zweiwöchigen Urlaub in der Karibik.