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. Go to the DWDS homepage and type behaglich in the search box. 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.
The word cloud above shows words that commonly occur with the word behaglich; such words are known as collocates. The larger the word in the image is, the more often it co-occurs with behaglich. You can also see a numerical representation of the frequency of co-occurrence by looking at the Überblick table for behaglich accessible through the Detailliertere Informationen link above the word cloud.
First, let’s review the meaning of some German words that are frequently used with behaglich by matching them with their English equivalents. If needed, you can consult the online dictionary LEO.
After looking at the words in this word cloud, you most likely recognized that some of them are nouns (and are, therefore, capitalized).
It is important to learn the German nouns together with their articles. Most of the nouns from Activity 1 go with the article das. Can you identify 9 of them in the list below, as well as the 1 noun that goes with der and the 3 nouns that go with die?
When using the adjective behaglich with these nouns, don’t forget to use the appropriate ending. E.g., behaglicher Gasthof, behagliche Atmosphäre, behagliches Nest.
Below are some DWDS examples of how these words are used with behaglich in sentences. To see more usage examples, go to the Überblick table for behaglich and click on each word. You may also want to review the modules on Adjective Endings.
Provide the correct adjective endings to complete the following sentences.
Some other collocates in the word cloud for behaglich are verbs. Many of these verbs are reflexive (i.e., they are used with the reflexive particle sich, ‘oneself’). Decide whether the blanks below 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 with behaglich are non-reflexive (‘to lean back’, ‘to stretch’, ‘to sprawl’, ‘to lounge’).
One of the verbs that frequently appears with behaglich is schnurren (‘to purr’). Click on the word schnurren in the word cloud for behaglich and then scroll down to its 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.
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 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
To see more usage examples, go to the Überblick table for schnurren and click on each word.
Another collocate of behaglich is eingerichtet. It is a past participle (‘arranged’) of the verb einrichten (‘to arrange’). Read some DWDS sentence examples with behaglich eingerichtet below.
You can see that in these examples, behaglich is used as an adverb that modifies eingerichtet, which is used as an adjective that 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.
A synonym of 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
To see usage examples of gemütlich, go to the Überblick table for gemütlich and click on each word.
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 same words (e.g., Ambiente, Atmosphäre). There are, however, some nouns that are more strongly associated with one adjective than they are with the other. Look at the word clouds for behaglich and gemütlich and find six nouns from the list below that go more commonly with each adjective . You can consult the online dictionary LEO for their meaning and articles (der, die, das).
What commonalities did you notice in the meaning of the nouns that go together with behaglich and those that go together with gemütlich?
Complete the sentences with appropriate adjectives (behaglich or gemütlich). Pay attention to the adjective endings.
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!