Around the 2000s, the German language was estimated to have 300,000 to 400,000 words. However, a recent analysis of the Dudenkorpus, an electronic collection of texts, counted no less than 17.4 million base forms (different words in uninflected form).
Nevertheless, German is known for its very long, compound words. A compound word is formed when two words (or sometimes even more) are used together to create a new meaning. Knowing this, it’s safe to say that the number of German words is virtually infinite, as German can always create new words out of its existing ones. Thus, there will never exist a complete dictionary of the German language.
Here are a few things you should remember about German words – most of which are nouns.
● Nouns can refer to a person, a location, an object or a concept.
● Nouns are capitalized – even in the middle of a sentence.
● Nouns can be singular or plural.
● Nouns can be combined to form one single long word known as a compound word.
When you know the most common 100 German words
You can understand 50% of the texts written in German
Let's naturally start with "Hallo" which means "Hello" in German. This is one of the most known words in German and a great way to start a conversation with someone from Germany. Click play below to listen to the actual pronunciation:
Love is a universal feeling and we definitely had to talk about it here. German people have a lovely way of saying they love someone or something through the word "Liebe". Hear it in action here:
When there's love, there's definitely happiness. We are all chasing "Glück" as German-speaking people would say. Listen closely and you might just get some “Happiness” in your life today:
Let's talk pets. There are two types of people in the world: cat people and dog people. We are going to talk about cats first or how people in Austria would say: "Katze". Listen to how it sounds like:
But let's not forget our lovely and loyal companions, dogs. A dog in German is "Hund", a really useful word for dog lovers worldwide. Here is how you would pronounce it:
Now it is time to smile. Or how someone from Germany would say: "lächeln". Smiling makes us happy and helps us stay healthy, so that's why we all need to smile every day. Here's the German pronunciation:
Next, let’s see how people in Germany say “German”. The correct answer is "Deutscher". Listen to how a German speaker would pronounce it:
German speakers say “yes” by simply saying “Ja”. Enhance your understanding by listening to how a person from Austria would pronounce this word:
A single “thank you” is all you need to make people smile everywhere you go. Here’s a native speaker thanking you in German:
No polite conversation can end without a proper goodbye or “Tschüss” – how German people usually say. Here's how to correctly pronounce it:
What’s more, the app also features a unique spaced repetition system that improves your ability to memorize new words fast. This way, the smart vocabulary builders within Mondly will adapt the content to help cement your knowledge and refresh fading words as you go.
It was never as easy to improve your German vocabulary online as it is today! You’ll be amazed at how high your retention rate becomes after practicing with Mondly!
● Learn new German words every day. While you do that, don’t forget to also refresh fading words. This way, you’ll make sure previously learned words are well-cemented in your brain before moving on to new words.
● Learn German words using context. Words lacking context are often hard to remember. Allow your brain to make the connections by learning words within sentences that make sense.
● Take notes and make a habit of reviewing them.
● Consume diverse types of German content. From books in German to movies or TV series – everything can help you expand your vocabulary.
● Have a dictionary handy to check the meaning of unknown words.
● Practice regularly without overdoing it. J. Howard, the author of The Owner’s Manual for the Brain, explains that “Work involving higher mental functions, such as analysis and synthesis, needs to be spaced out to allow new neural connections to solidify. New learning drives out old learning when insufficient time intervenes.
Truth be told, German really does sound harsh compared to other languages. But however harsh it may sound, there is one thing that German doesn’t lack: beautiful words.
● Sehnsucht – to yearn for, to crave
● Torschlusspanik – last-minute panic
● Zeitgeist – the defining spirit or mood of a particular period of history as shown by the ideas and beliefs of the time
● Reisefieber – travel fever
● Wanderlust – the desire to travel the world; similar to Reisefieber
● Luftkuss – an air kiss, blown kiss, or thrown kiss
● Augenblick – a super short moment
● Vorfreude– joyful anticipation
● Waldeinsamkeit – sublime and peaceful feeling you get while being alone in the woods
● Vergangenheitsbewältigung – coping with the past
Starting with the German basics means you will begin by learning the easiest words first and gradually increase difficulty. This way you will feel great while learning and see how your language knowledge broadens.
You'll be able to speak to someone from Berlin or Vienna about regular topics like weather, politics or family. This will make you confident in your German skills and eager to learn more.
By learning the most common German words first you are learning the smart way. Why learn the most unusual words in German when you might never use them in real life?
Each new German word you learn piles up until your vocabulary builds stronger and stronger. Each lesson gets you one step closer to fluency.
Related PagesGerman wordsGerman phrases and expressionsHow to speak GermanGerman grammarGerman lessons
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