Vocabulary

Vocabulary Module 7: Schule and Universität

In this module, you will learn some vocabulary to talk about school (die Schule) and university (die Universität) 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 school. Go to the DWDS homepage and type Schule 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.

DWDS word profile for “Schule” retrieved June 13, 2021.

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

You probably noticed that one of the collocates of Schule is Universität. Right-click on the word Universität in the word cloud for Schule and open the page for Universität in a new window (or, you can open a new window and search for Universität from the DWDS main page). Scroll down to the word cloud for Universität. Keep both windows (one with the word cloud for Schule and one with the word cloud for Universität) open to complete the following activities.

Activity 1

You probably noticed that many collocates of both Schule and Universität are nouns (capitalized words). Let’s explore them further. Drag the words into the correct boxes.

A.

Decide which nouns are associated with Schule, and which nouns with Universität.

You can click on the superscripted B next to any word in the word cloud to read example sentences with that word. E.g.: Sie vermuteten noch etwa 400 Kinder und Lehrer in der Schule.

You can see even more examples by clicking a word in the Überblick table accessible through the Wortprofil link below the word cloud.

B.

Now, let’s review the meaning of the nouns from both word clouds by matching them with their English equivalents. If needed, you can consult the online dictionary LEO.

C.

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

D.

It is important to learn the German nouns together with their articles. Look at the 18 nouns that you learned in this module in the list below and identify 11 nouns that go with der, 3 nouns that go with die, and 3 nouns that go with das.

Drag the words below into the correct columns.

E.

You probably noticed that many collocates of Schule and Universität are der-words and refer to male persons. This reflects the fact that male academics and students are mentioned more frequently in German texts than their female counterparts. However, please keep in mind that there ARE words to refer to females in the scholarly world. Click on the words Dozent, Lehrer, Schüler, and Student in the word clouds for Schule and Universität, scroll down to the word clouds for each of these words, and find the die-word counterpart of each word.

You can click on the superscripted B next to these words in the word clouds to read example sentences with both words. E.g.: Hier sind auch persönliche Gespräche mit den Dozentinnen und Dozenten möglich.

Please also note that gender-neutral terms like Studierende, Lernende, and Lehrende are being used more and more frequently. E.g.:

Auch habe sich durch die Gebühren eine neue Kultur des Dialogs zwischen Lehrenden und Lernenden entwickelt.
Die Zeit, 06.09.2010, Nr. 36

Activity 2

Let’s now look at the verb collocates of Schule and Universität, namely those referring to teaching and learning.

A.

Let`s review the verbs lehren and unterrichten which both mean to teach. Read the examples from DWDS corpus die ZEIT below and try to find the difference between the two verbs.

  1. “Meine Freunde sagen, ich übertreibe, aber die Situation war sehr zugespitzt”, sagt der 32-Jährige, der in Barcelona studierte und nun in Madrid an der Universität lehrt.
    Die Zeit, 21.12.2017 (online)
  2. Es heißtStraight Talk on Trade, geschrieben von Dani Rodrik, einem Ökonomen, der in Harvard lehrt.
    Die Zeit, 03.11.2017, Nr. 45
  3. Der deutsche Professor für Wahrnehmung lehrt an der Universität von Indiana im amerikanischen Bloomington.
    Die Zeit, 28.10.2017, Nr. 44
  4. Seit Kurzem unterrichtet er allerdings nicht mehr an der Jungenschule in Stellenbosch, 50 Kilometer östlich von Kapstadt.
    Die Zeit, 26.01.2018, Nr. 02
  5. Auf wenigen Quadratmetern unterrichten drei Lehrer gleichzeitig drei Klassen.
    Die Zeit, 18.01.2018, Nr. 01
  6. Manche Lehrerinnen unterrichten ohne Gehalt in ihrer Freizeit.
    Die Zeit, 18.01.2018, Nr. 01

B.

Next, let`s review the verbs lernen and studieren, both of which can mean in English to learn / to study. Read the examples from DWDS corpus die ZEIT below. What is the difference between the verbs lernen and studieren?

  1. Zunächst einmal sollten möglichst alle südsudanesischen Kinder Schreiben, Lesen und Mathe lernen.
    Die Zeit, 24.03.2010, Nr. 12
  2. Sie will tanzen lernen, aber eigentlich möchte sie nicht allein sein.
    Die Zeit, 11.02.2004, Nr. 08
  3. Wer etwa Deutsch spricht, der kann zwar Englisch lernen – Spanisch gibt es allerdings bislang nur für Englischsprachige.
    Die Zeit, 15.02.2014, Nr. 8
  4. “Ich möchte später Jura studieren, um Richterin zu werden”, erzählt Ghiamuddin.
    Die Zeit, 18.01.2018, Nr. 01
  5. Fateme studiert Architektur und ist Vertreterin einer kritischen Uni-Gruppe, die 2009 eine zentrale Rolle für die Mobilisierung der Studierenden spielte.
    Die Zeit, 05.01.2018 (online)
  6. Ich mache nächstes Jahr mein Abitur und möchte Medizin studieren.
    Die Zeit, 19.12.2017 (online)

Activity 3

Next, let`s review the meaning of some majors. Click on the word cloud studieren from the word cloud for Universität and scroll down to its word cloud. Match all majors with their English equivalents. If needed, you can consult the online dictionary LEO.

Activity 4

Now let’s explore different types of schools (Schulen) in Germany.

Search for the word Gymnasium on the DWDS page and scroll down to its word cloud. You will see that the words which most co-occur with Gymnasium are Grundschule, Hauptschule, Realschule, and Gesamtschule. Can you match their meaning?

You can click on the superscripted B next to any word in the word cloud to read example sentences with that word. E.g.: Auf dem Campus sind eine Grundschule, eine Hauptschule, eine Realschule und ein Gymnasium verteilt.

You can see even more examples by clicking a word in the Überblick table accessible through the Wortprofil link below the word cloud.

Activity 5

Next, let`s explore the types of higher education institutions in Germany. Search for the word Dozent on the DWDS page and scroll down to its word cloud. You will see that many collocates are compounds with the word Hochschule. Note that Hochschule does NOT mean “high school” in German. It refers to specialized universities and colleges. Also note that they are stand alone institutions (unlike colleges that can be part of a university in the US). Can you match the German institutions with their English equivalents?

You can click on the superscripted B next to any word in the word cloud to read example sentences with that word. E.g.: Arne Wolf, Dozent der Lübecker Musikhochschule, begleitet die Lesung auf der Gitarre. You can see even more examples by clicking a word in the Überblick table accessible through the Wortprofil link below the word cloud.

Activity 6

On your own. Using the word clouds from this module, write 4-5 sentences about school and university. While writing the sentences, please pay attention to the different nouns and verbs used with each category.

For example:

Ich studiere Germanistik und Geschichte.
Die Schüler gehen um 8 Uhr in die Schule.
Die Professorin lehrt Klavier an der Musikhochschule.