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 this image:

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

First, let’s review the meaning of German nouns 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 looking at the words in this word cloud you most likely recognized that a lot of them are verbs that are modifications of the verb fahren. They describe a similar meaning to fahren but have different (separable) prefixes. Can you identify six verbs from the word cloud that identify different types of driving? Can you also find six nouns in the word cloud that describe means of transportation or driving destinations?

Drag the words below into the correct columns.

Activity 3

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 Beispiel) next to each of these words in the word cloud for Bus to read example sentences.

Activity 4

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 Beispiel) next to each of these words in the word clouds for Auto and Zug to read example sentences.

Activity 5

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 Beispiel) next to each of the words in the word cloud for Autobahn to read example sentences.

Activity 6

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 Beispiel) next to each of the words in the word cloud for Urlaub to read example sentences.

Activity 7

A.

Click on the word abfahren (to leave/depart) 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 abfahren and find the five nouns that you see there because they are associated with abfahren.

You can click on the square with the letter B (it stands for Beispiel) next to each of these words in the word cloud for abfahren to read example 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 8

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

Activity 9

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.