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 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.

Word cloud for fahren. Accessible link provided below.
DWDS word profile for “fahren” retrieved May 13, 2021.

This word cloud shows the words that commonly occur with the verb fahren; such words are known as collocates. The larger the word in the image is, the more often it co-occurs with fahren. You can also see a numerical representation of the frequency of co-occurrence by looking at the Überblick table for fahren  accessible through the Wortprofil link below the word cloud.

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 superscripted letter B  next to any of the nouns in the word cloud for fahren to read example sentences. You can access the same information by clicking a word in the Überblick table.

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 the collocates are verbs that are modifications of the verb fahren. They describe a similar meaning to fahren but identify different types of driving, riding, or 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 superscripted letter B next to any 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 and then scroll down to its word cloud. Find five nouns that describe other means of public transportation.

You can click on the superscripted letter B next to any of the 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 their word clouds. Look at the word cloud for Auto and find the three words from the list below that you see. Then, look at the word cloud for Zug and find the three words from the list below that you see there. You can consult the online dictionary LEO for their meaning.

Drag the words below into the correct columns.

Activity 7

Click on the word Autobahn (‘freeway’) in the word cloud for fahren and then scroll down to its 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. 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.

Activity 8

Click on the word Urlaub (‘vacation’) in the word cloud for fahren and then scroll down to its word cloud.

A.

Look at the word cloud for Urlaub and find three words that describe popular vacation destinations.

B.

Now find four verbs and four adjectives that are frequently used to describe vacations.

Drag the words into the correct column.

C.

Activity 9

On your own. Explore the usage of a few other words you discover in the 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.