Vocabulary

Vocabulary Module 5: behaglich

In this module, you will learn how to use the adjective behaglich ‘cosy, comfortable, snug’ 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 behaglich. Go to the DWDS main page and type behaglich in the search box. 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:

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

Activity 1

First, let’s review the meaning of some German words 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 some of them are nouns (and are, therefore, capitalized).

A.

It is important to learn the German nouns together with their articles. Most of the nouns in the word cloud for behaglich go with the article das. Can you identify 9 of them in the list below, as well as 1 noun that goes with der and 3 nouns that go with die?

Drag the words below into the correct columns.

B.

When using the adjective behaglich with these nouns, don’t forget to use the appropriate ending. E.g., behaglicher Gasthof, behagliche Atmosphäre, behagliches Nest.

Click on the square with the letter B (it stands for Beispiele) next to each of these nouns in the word cloud for behaglich (you can get to it by clicking this link and scrolling down the page) to read example sentences. After that, add the correct adjective endings to complete the following sentences. Before that, you may want to review the modules under the topic Adjective Endings.

Activity 3

Some other words in the word cloud for behaglich (again, you can get to it by clicking this link and scrolling down the page) are verbs. Many of these verbs are reflexive (i.e., they are used with the reflexive particle sich, ‘oneself’). Click on the square with the letter B (it stands for Beispiele) in the word cloud next to each of the verbs to read example sentences. After that, decide whether the verbs in the sentences below are reflexive or not.

Choose whether the blank should be filled with the reflexive particle sich or not.

Note that there are more reflexive verbs in German than in English. In particular, the English equivalents of many reflexive German verbs that go together with behaglich are non-reflexive: ‘to lean back, stretch, sprawl, lounge’.

Activity 4

One of the verbs that frequently appears with behaglich is schnurren (‘to purr’). Click on the word schnurren in the word cloud for behaglich (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. Some of the words in this cloud for schnurren are nouns. Can you identify the nouns that refer to animate and inanimate entities? If needed, you can consult the online dictionary LEO.

Drag the nouns into the correct columns.

Since Katze and Kater are the largest nouns in the word cloud, we can conclude that the German verb schnurren is primarily associated with cats (just its English equivalent ‘to purr’). However, and again similar to English, it can be also used in its transferred meaning to refer to the sound machinery makes. Note that schnurren can be used with both types of nouns together with behaglich:

Unter dem bunt geschmückten Weihnachtsbaum stapeln sich Geschenke für die Töchter Nadine (17) und Mareike (14), der neun Jahre alte Kater Mohrchen schnurrt behaglich vor dem Sofa.
Berliner Zeitung, 29.12.1995

Läßt man einen wie den Crossmaker nur machen, so tüftelt er Tag und Nacht ohne Unterlaß, so daß wir uns zurücklehnen dürfen, während behaglich der Rechner schnurrt.
Die Zeit, 04.12.1995, Nr. 49

You can click on the square with the letter B (it stands for Beispiele) next to each of these nouns in the word cloud for schnurren (you can get to it by clicking this link and scrolling down the page) to read more example sentences.

Activity 5

Another word that frequently appears with behaglich ist eingerichtet. It is a past participle (‘arranged’) of the verb einrichten (‘to arrange’). Click on the square with the letter B (it stands for Beispiele) next to eingerichtet in the word cloud for behaglich (you can get to it by clicking this link and scrolling down the page) to read example sentences.

You can see that in these examples, behaglich is used as an adverb, without an ending, that modifies eingerichtet, which is used as an adjective, which takes on adjective endings when modifying a noun. E.g., in einer behaglich eingerichteten Wohnung; eine behaglich eingerichtete Höhle (‚in a comfortably arranged apartment; a comfortably arranged cave‘).

Add the correct adjective endings to the following sentences in German. Before completing this activity, you may want to review the modules under the topic Adjective Endings.

Activity 6

Another word that frequently appears with behaglich is gemütlich. Both words are adjectives, and both have a similar meaning: ‘comfortable, cozy’. They can be used together in a sentence, e.g.:

Deutschland ist eine gemütliche, behagliche Gesellschaft.
Der Tagesspiegel, 13.05.2003

Click on the square with the letter B (it stands for Beispiele) next to gemütlich in the word cloud for behaglich (you can get to it by clicking this link and scrolling down the page) to read more example sentences with both adjectives.

A.

Open the DWDS pages for the words behaglich and gemütlich in two separate tabs and scroll down to the word clouds for these words. You can see that both clouds share some of the words (e.g., Ambiente, Atmosphäre, Gasthaus, Zuhause). However, there are some nouns that are more strongly associated with one adjective than the other. Look at the word cloud for behaglich and find the six nouns from the list below. Then, look at the word cloud for gemütlich and find the six nouns from the list below. You can consult the online dictionary LEO for their meaning and articles (der, die, das).

Drag the words below into the correct columns.

B.

What commonalities did you notice in the meaning of the nouns that go together with behaglich and those that go together with gemütlich?

C.

Complete the sentences with appropriate adjectives (behaglich or gemütlich). Pay attention to the adjective endings.

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

Activity 7

On your own. Using words that you learned in this module, describe in 6-8 sentences what you associate with comfort. Pay attention to which words go together and which do not!