Vocabulary

Vocabulary Module 8: wohnen

In this module, you will learn some vocabulary to talk about living (wohnen = to live) 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 wohnen. Go to the DWDS main page and type wohnen 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 cloud for “wohnen” retrieved January 25, 2023.

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

Activity 1

After looking at the words in this word cloud, you most likely recognized that many of them are nouns (and are, therefore, capitalized).

A .

You probably noticed that some of the words frequently used with wohnen refer to persons. In the list below, what two words do NOT refer to family members?

B.

Looking at the word cloud for wohnen, you probably noticed that several words describe living locations and arrangements. Can you guess their meaning?

C.

Let’s explore how collocates of wohnen are used in context. Click the Detailliertere Informationen link above the word cloud for wohnen and scroll down to the table hat Präpositionalgruppe. Click (in turn) the following prepositional phrases, to see sentence examples: bei Eltern, in Nähe, zur Miete, in Wohnung, um Ecke, in Zimmer.

Activity 2

Now, let`s further explore the noun Zimmer, a collocate of wohnen. Search for Zimmer from the DWDS main page and scroll down to its word cloud. Some verbs frequently used with Zimmer are listed below. Can you guess their meaning?

You can see more collocates of Zimmer by clicking the Detailliertere Informationen link above the word cloud. Click on words in different tables to see sentence usage examples of Zimmer with these words. E.g.: Mein kleines, krummes Zimmer mietete ich von einer pensionierten Schullehrerin.

Activity 3

A.

One of the collocates of Zimmer ist Küche. Search for this word from the DWDS main page and scroll down to its word cloud. You can see many adjectives, for example, französisch, asiatischitalienischmediterranregional and traditionell. What do you think italienische Küche means?

B.

Let’s explore more collocates of Küche. Go to the Detailliertere Informationen link above its word cloud. Then, scroll down to the hat in Koordination mit table. You can see different rooms / areas of a Haus or Wohnung that are frequently mentioned along with Küche. Match areas listed below with their English equivalents.

Click on these words in the table to see their usage examples with Küche. E.g.: Die beiden Frauen teilen sich Küche, Wohnzimmer und Bad.

C.

It is important to learn the German nouns together with their articles. Look at the nouns from 3B in the list below and identify 3 nouns that go with der, 3 nouns that go with die, and 6 nouns that go with das.

Activity 4

A.

Another collocate of Zimmer is Bett (Zimmer und Bett). Search for Bett from the DWDS main page and scroll down to its word cloud. Then, scroll down to the hat in Koordination mit table. You can see different items of furniture that are frequently mentioned along with Bett. Match items listed below with their English equivalents.

Click on these words in the table to see their usage examples with Bett. E.g.: Bett oder Sofa sind die idealen Unterlagen für den Körper, wenn man ein Buch in Händen hält und liest.

B.

To learn more words describing furniture, find the DWDS page for the word Sofa. Then, scroll down to the hat in Koordination mit table. You can see some words repeating those from the list in 4A and some that are new. Match the new items listed below with their English equivalents.

Click on these words in the table to see their usage examples with Sofa. E.g.: Die Betten sind bezogen, die Wohnzimmer mit Sofas und Teppichen ausgestattet.

C.

It is important to learn the German nouns together with their articles. Look at the nouns from 4A and 4B in the list below and identify 9 nouns that go with der and 5 nouns that go with das.

Activity 5

The words Studentenwohnheim and Wohngemeinschaft both describe living situations.

Below you see example sentences taken from the DWDS corpus die Zeit. Can you identify the difference in the meaning of these two words by reading these examples?

  1. Die günstigste Lösung für Studenten, die nicht bei den Eltern wohnen, ist in der Regel ein Zimmer in einem Studentenwohnheim.
    Die Zeit, 16.07.2017 (online)
  2. Beim International Office der Auslands-Uni kann man sich drei Monate vor Beginn des Auslandssemesters nach einem Platz im Studentenwohnheim erkundigen.
    Die Zeit, 28.04.2017, Nr. 03
  3. Mein Studentenwohnheim in Bonn habe ich nach einem Semester fluchtartig verlassen.
    Die Zeit, 28.07.2016 (online)
  4. “In Kommune leben heißt auch in Wohngemeinschaften leben”, ein anderer.
    Die Zeit, 24.10.2017, Nr. 43
  5. Jeder, der überlegt, in die Kommune einzuziehen, muss mit jeder der zwölf Wohngemeinschaften ein Gespräch führen.
    Die Zeit, 24.10.2017, Nr. 43
  6. Sie versucht es noch einmal, nachdem sie nach Chicago gezogen ist, in eine christliche Wohngemeinschaft, um neu anzufangen.
    Die Zeit, 14.10.2017, Nr. 05

Activity 6

A.

Now, let`s review the gender of the nouns that describe living locations.

B.

Next, read the sentences below, which contain examples with the nouns Wohnung, Haus, Villa and Wohngemeinschaft used with the verb wohnen taken from the DWDS corpus die Zeit.

What changes do you see in their articles?

  1. Der junge Mann wohnte in der Wohnung seines wohlhabenden Vaters, eines ehemaliger Ministers und Bankenchefs in Nigeria.
    Die Zeit, 27.12.2009, Nr. 53
  2. Zhang Xianling ist pensionierte Ingenieurin und wohnt in einer Wohnung im Norden Pekings.
    Die Zeit, 03.06.2009, Nr. 23
  3. Niemand von ihnen wohnt in dem Haus und ist auf die Flora angewiesen.
    Die Zeit, 19.12.2013, Nr. 51
  4. Sechs, sieben Spieler wohnen in einem Haus zusammen”, verriet Bierhoff.
    Die Zeit, 13.12.2013 (online)
  5. Sie wohnt in der Villa Strohbund.
    Die Zeit, 01.06.2011, Nr. 23
  6. “Ich wohne in einer Villa mit Franzosen und Schweizern”
    Die Zeit, 07.11.2013, Nr. 46
  7. Er wohnt in einer Wohngemeinschaft in Övelgönne, nur wenige Hundert Meter vom Fundort entfernt.
    Zeit Magazin, 28.11.2013, Nr. 49

C.

Now it is your turn. Complete the following sentences in German. Pay attention to the preposition “in” and the articles!

Activity 7

A.

Now open the DWDS pages for the verbs mieten and kaufen in two separate tabs and scroll down to their word clouds. Find the nouns that are frequently used with each verb. You can consult the online dictionary LEO for their meaning.

You probably recognized that mieten and kaufen collocate with different nouns. This means that people more frequently rent rooms and vacation homes but buy houses and plots.

B.

In the word cloud for mieten you can see the acronym Qm. What do you think that means and why is it frequently used with renting a place?

To see sentence usage examples, go to the Detailliertere Informationen links above the word clouds for mieten and kaufen and click on collocates listed in different tables. For example:

  • Die neue Kanzlei mietet 1200 qm mit Sahne-Blick auf die Elbe.
  • Für rund 5,7 Billionen Dollar kauften die Unternehmen eigene Aktien zurück.

Activity 8

Next, read the sentences below, which contain examples of expressions with Teppich and Tisch taken from the DWDS corpus die ZEIT. What is the closest English meaning for those expressions?  Select the correct answers.

You probably recognized that all examples above contain idiomatic expressions with furniture items. Some of them can have similar equivalent expressions in English (e.g., ‘to sweep something under the carpet’).

Activity 9

On your own. Using the word clouds from this module, write 5-6 sentences about where you live and what furniture you have. You may also include with whom you live.

Note: As mentioned before, please pay attention to using wohnen in always with the dative case. For example: Er wohnt in einem/dem Haus. Sie wohnt in einer/der Wohnung.

For example:

Ich wohne in einer Wohnung.
Mein Zimmer ist 25 qm groß.
Ich habe eine Couch und einen Teppich.