German Vocabulary: Activities and Resources
Trying to speak German without knowing the words is like trying to build a lego house without legos. Learning words requires memorization, but practicing the words in different contexts and media, such as flashcards, powerpoints, online exercises etc., makes it easier to remember them. This page lists general German vocabulary resources for thematic units that are not tied to a specific textbook, but the two vocabulary practice pages for Kontakte and Deutsch Heute also offer many additional resources, such as quizlet flashcard sets for grammar and thematic vocabulary used in those two textbooks. If you are a visual learner, make sure you check out our Learn German with Pictures page, which offers a lot of visual vocabulary and idioms.
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>> Also make sure to check out our online exercises page for “Vocab” <<
ABC: German alphabet activity. One German noun for each letter. Particularly suitable for children.
Adjektive: quizlet flashcards for some common German adjectives with -isch and -lich suffixes.
Adjektive: Adjektiv-Wortwolken der großen deutschen Parteien beim Bundestagswahlkampf 2013. Online match-up exercises:
CDU/CSU FDP SPD Die Linke Adjektive: Synonyme für das Wort “gut”. Welche Synonyme passen oder passen nicht für bestimmte Situationen?
Adjektive: adjectives/descriptions for people. Wer findet den Dieb/die Diebin? Beginner-level online exercise.
Adjektive: random, mostly intermediate-/advanced-level adjectives. Online exercise.
Adjektive: adjective synonyms. The adjective “nett” is the most boring word ever. Here’s an online match-up exercise to practice more advanced synonyms for basic German adjectives.
Adjektive: intermediate-level online exercise on adjective suffixes
Adjektive: implied comparisons as an alternative for the use of “sehr.” Online exercise available.
Adjektive: Some compound adjectives that express “very” or a heightened degree of the given quality. Online exercise.
Ausländer: Einbürgerungstest: ein Mustertest des deutschen Bundesinnenministeriums. Was müssen Sie wissen, damit Sie Deutscher/Deutsche werden können? Zum Thema “Ausländer”: yahoo Diskussion; quizlet flashcards for vocab. An example of the German language test for immigrants in Germany.
Auto: Autoteile: powerpoint about parts of the car; Autovokabular: online exercise, car/traffic vocab definitions; Verkehrszeichen: Exercise about German road signs. You can find all of the German traffic regulations at http://www.sicherestrassen.de/_VKZ.htm (traffic signs are covered in paragraphs 40-42); Autofahren: virtual driving test by the Auto Club of Switzerland. A history of German cars (listening and text).
Beruf (profession): quizlet flashcard set for vocab relating to jobs; Berufe: online match-up exercise for some job titles; Berufe: Berufe-Lexikon with many different jobs and descriptions; Job Search Vocab: online quiz for vocab related to jobs. Great graphic for common mistakes during job interview. Berufe: picture flashcards and exercises (most suitable for children). Wer bin ich? Fun powerpoint for different jobs. Great for classroom use. Whatchado: great collection of short videos where people talk about their jobs. More than 1500 videos available. Definitely intermediate level and up though.
Conjugation practice tools: http://german.about.com/library/verbs/blverb_Conjug1.htm; http://www.vocabulix.com/; http://www.verbix.com/languages/german.shtml
Descriptive German nouns: When it isn’t content with simply assimilating English words, German can come up with some very creative and fun nouns. Worksheet to expand vocabulary for advanced beginners and up. I mean seriously–what other language would call a turtle a “shield toad” (Schildkröte)?? Einkaufen (shopping at different stores): partner activity to practice correct prepositions/articles for going to vs. shopping at a specific store. Copy Einkaufen Handout for students. Put up stores ppt. Students ask each other “Wohin gehst du für die Wurst?” (“Ich gehe in die Metzgerei”) or “Wo kaufst du die Wurst” (“Ich kaufe sie in der Metzgerei”) etc.
Emotionen: quizlet set with over 60 adjectives; powerpoint with emoticons about the same adjectives for classroom use or to check your knowledge. Tierkreiszeichen: worksheet about qualities associated with specific zodiac signs; includes many adjectives for human qualities.
False friends: some common German words that look like English words, but have different meanings.
Familie: online practice with family tree;
Hausarbeit: partner activity (oral and written part) to practice vocab for chores around the house. Goes beyond regular textbook vocab. You may want to do the following Hausarbeiten online exercise first (includes most of the terms in the oral activity). Arbeiten im Haushalt (chores around the house): powerpoint for appropriate verbs for chores, very basic. Pictures courtesy of CAPL (see link below).
Lebensmittel (Quizlet flashcard set); Lebensmittel: Quiz. Obst und Gemüse (fruits and vegetables): picture flashcards, most suitable for children/visual learners. Obst und Gemüse: worksheet for classroom use. Obst: online crossword puzzle. Gesund essen: online exercise (mostly fruits and vegetables).
Möbel und Zimmer: Quizlet flashcards for furniture/rooms. Im Haus (rooms/furniture): picture flashcards, most suitable for children. Online exercises: Wohnzimmermöbel (living room furniture); Schlafzimmermöbel (bedroom furniture). Very simple online picture quiz about a bedroom, based on Van Gogh painting (this one is a little tricky because the zones to click on are not very sensitive. Just keep trying). Easy multiple-choice online exercise about Möbel. Identifying objects in a room: online exercise. Das Badezimmer: objects in the bathroom (online exercise).
Reime: Vocabulary game. Students have to think of nouns that rhyme with given words and get points for their words. Fun, but more difficult than it seems.
Tiere: online animal quiz. Second online quiz about Tiere und ihre Jungen. Third online animal quiz about animals used in German as terms of endearment. Another online exercise: which animal is being described? Auf dem Bauernhof (easy video on farm animals; pdf worksheet). Some unusual animals are used in Reinhard Mey’s German version of the “Twelve Days of Christmas”. Die 12 Weihnachtstage worksheet with links. German idioms with animals(worksheet). More German idioms that use animals: part 1; part 2; part 3. Vocab flashcards for farm animals (most suitable for children).
Umwelt: worksheet for reading comprehension and vocab building. Topic: environment/environmental protection/”green” living
Verben mit -ern Endungen (z.B. wandern, jammern, donnern, lagern etc.). Online exercise available.
Verben: online exercise. Find some of the most common German verbs in a word cloud.
Verben: Synonyme für häufig gebrauchte Verben. Online match-up.
Verben: common verbs used in expressions. Which verbs are missing in the expressions? Online exercise.
Verben: common verbs used in German idioms. Online exercise.
—Verb Collection: blank pattern to “collect” verbs and practice their conjugation and use
Vocabulary expansion/practice: simple vocabulary practice/expansion activities. A great mental exercise for vocabulary recall.
Vocabulary expansion: Filmtitel (a very early beginner worksheet, matching up German and English movie titles; can be completed even without prior knowledge of German.
Vocabulary expansion: Nouns with suffixes.
Vocabulary expansion: Adjectives with the suffix –bar. Online exercise with additional –bar adjectives.
Vocabulary expansion: Der Wort-Igel. Students find words related to a given word and pin them to the “word hedgehog.”
Vocabulary: some words that can be made from the word “Osterhasen” (great for Easter unit)
Vocabulary flashcards: nice vocabulary flashcards on different topics with simple sentences to show the use of the given word.
“Werkzeuge” (tools/instruments): What do you do with the following “tools”? Online exercise.
Wetter-Vokabular (Quizlet flashcard set).
Winter vocabulary (weather, clothing etc.). Nice flashcards with pictures. Most suitable for children.
A great collection of vocabulary WITH AUDIO. Click on “Hallo” and it will take you to the German options.
Study German vocab and feed the world while you’re at it: Limited German vocab available at http://www.freerice.com/index.php?&t=17945481266&s=German. Best suited for beginner/intermediate level. The first ones are very easy.
Deutsch, Na Klar (4th ed.)/Kap.5-8: flashcards from flashcard exchange.
Thematic vocab: foods, furniture, clothes, numbers etc. Huge number of vocab practice exercises specific to certain topics. (Caveat: some words may be presented with spelling common in Switzerland, such as “ss” instead of “ß”, but still a very useful site.)
CAPL (Culturally Authentic Pictorial Lexicon): Great for visual learners. Large number of pictures with German and English vocabulary. Goes beyond regular textbook vocab.
Quizlet: In my opinion, quizlet is by far the most helpful resource to study German vocabulary. You can input your own sets or you can use the sets other users have created (word of caution: many of the user-generated sets contain errors, but they can still be helpful in creating your own sets). Quizlet also has a rather amazing audio function that will read the German words for you. Each flashcard set offers various ways to study, including randomly generated mini-tests. It’s an amazing resource!!