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 profile for “wohnen” retrieved June 22, 2021.

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 Wortprofil link below 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 .

First, let`s find all places/locations in this word cloud that someone can live in.

B.

Next, find people you can live together with at a place.

You can click on the superscripted B next to any word in the word cloud to read example sentences with that word. E.g.: Mit seiner Familie wohnt er auch heute nicht weit von hier.
You can see even more examples by clicking a word in the Überblick table accessible through the Wortprofil link below the word cloud.

If you would like to learn more about “Familie” and its collocates, see Vocabulary module 9: Familie.

Activity 2

Now, let`s go back to the word cloud for wohnen and click on the noun Zimmer and scroll down to its word cloud. The verbs below are mainly used with Zimmer. Can you guess 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.: Mein kleines, krummes Zimmer mietete ich von einer pensionierten Schullehrerin.

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

Activity 3

A.

Now, in the word cloud for Zimmer, click on the word Küche and identify eight more areas of a Haus or Wohnung.

B.

In the word cloud for Küche, you can see many adjectives. Some examples are französisch, asiatisch, italienisch, mediterran, regional and traditionell. What do you think italienische Küche means?

You can click on the superscripted B next to any word in the word cloud to read example sentences with that word. E.g.: Als Kind habe ich oft meinem Vater beim Kochen geholfen, ich liebe die texanische, mexikanische und italienische Küche.

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

Activity 4

A.

Now open the DWDS page for the noun Esszimmer in the word cloud for Küche. Scroll down to the word cloud and drag the words to the “room” and “furniture” categories. You can consult the online dictionary LEO for their meaning.

B.

It is important to learn the German nouns together with their articles. Look at the 19 nouns in the list below and identify 6 nouns that go with der, 6 nouns that go with die, and 7 nouns that go with das.

Activity 5

A.

Now let`s try to find out more about the word Wohnzimmer. Click on its word cloud and identify four furniture items in this word cloud that you didn’t see in the word cloud for Esszimmer.

B.

Next, match the furniture with their English equivalents. If needed, you can consult the online dictionary LEO.

You can click on the superscripted B next to any word in the word cloud to read example sentences with that word. E.g.: Ich schlafe nicht mehr im Schlafzimmer, nur noch im Wohnzimmer auf der Couch.

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

Next, click on the word Sofa, a collocate of Wohnzimmer, and match the below mentioned furniture with their English equivalents.

If you are interested in vocabulary for electric and electronic devices, you may click on Fernseher in the same word cloud.

Activity 7

So far you learned many words to describe furniture. It is important to learn the German nouns together with their articles. Look at the 13 nouns in the list below and identify 7 nouns that go with der, 2 nouns that go with die, and 4 nouns that go with das.

Activity 8

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?

    • 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)
    • 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
    • Mein Studentenwohnheim in Bonn habe ich nach einem Semester fluchtartig verlassen.
      Die Zeit, 28.07.2016 (online)
    • “In Kommune leben heißt auch in Wohngemeinschaften leben”, ein anderer.
      Die Zeit, 24.10.2017, Nr. 43
    • Jeder, der überlegt, in die Kommune einzuziehen, muss mit jeder der zwölf Wohngemeinschaften ein Gespräch führen.
      Die Zeit, 24.10.2017, Nr. 43
    • 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 9

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?

      • Der junge Mann wohnte in der Wohnung seines wohlhabenden Vaters, eines ehemaliger Ministers und Bankenchefs in Nigeria.
        Die Zeit, 27.12.2009, Nr. 53
      • Zhang Xianling ist pensionierte Ingenieurin und wohnt in einer Wohnung im Norden Pekings.
        Die Zeit, 03.06.2009, Nr. 23
      • Niemand von ihnen wohnt in dem Haus und ist auf die Flora angewiesen.
        Die Zeit, 19.12.2013, Nr. 51
      • Sechs, sieben Spieler wohnen in einem Haus zusammen”, verriet Bierhoff.
        Die Zeit, 13.12.2013 (online)
      • Sie wohnt in der Villa Strohbund.
        Die Zeit, 01.06.2011, Nr. 23
      • “Ich wohne in einer Villa mit Franzosen und Schweizern”
        Die Zeit, 07.11.2013, Nr. 46
      • 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 10

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?

You can click on the superscripted B next to Qm (or any word in the word cloud) to read example sentences with that word. E.g.: Die neue Kanzlei mietet 1200 qm mit Sahne-Blick auf die Elbe.

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

Activity 11

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 12

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.