INSTANT GERMAN–using German Cognates to inspire and learn


INSTANT GERMAN

 

This work‑sheet should give you access to a large German vocabulary and relieve some of the stress of confronting German.

 

You already know a significant amount of German. This is because English and German are sister languages which come from closely related Germanic dialects of fifteen centuries ago. Although both languages have greatly changed since then, they still have a large stock of words in common, words which not only look very similar but also have virtually the same meaning. This is very obvious when you look at words which have not changed in either language, as for example English finger and German Finger. It gets less obvious when you compare words like death and TodSuch related words are called COGNATES.

 

These cognates are of enormous advantage when learning German. From the start, there are hundreds of German words more or less familiar to an English speaker. Their number increases greatly when one knows a bit about the evolution of the sounds of English and German. The following outline will introduce you to some of the principles and will help you expand your German vocabulary very rapidly.

 

A. GERMAN AND ENGLISH IDENTICAL CONSONANTS

 

Most German consonants correspond directly to English consonants.

 

The list below compares the German consonants with their English counter­parts. Please note that we are dealing here with the letters only and not with their pronunciation. The pronunciation of two identical letters in German and English may be a bit different (e.g. German Japan is pronounced like “yapan”).

 

1.          b – b                           Bank                  ‑        bank

2.          d – d                           Drama               ‑      drama

3.          f – f                            Form                  ‑        form

4.          g – g                           Gold                   ‑         gold

5.          h – h                           Hand                  ‑        hand

6.          j – j                             Jaguar               ‑        jaguar

7.          k – k                           Kilo                   ‑            kilo

            k –c                            Kredit                ‑        credit

8.          l – l                             Land                  ‑           land

9.         m – m                         Million                ‑       million

10.        n – n                           Name                 –        name

11.        p – p                           Park                   ‑          park

12.        s – s                            Sand                  ‑         sand

13.        t – t                             Tempo               ‑       tempo

14.        w – w                         Wind                  ‑         wind

15.        z – z                            Zoo                    ‑           zoo

 

Exercises

 

1.     The following German words have English cognates which are virtually identical in spelling (except for German capitalization of nouns). There are some differences in pronunciation which should not concern you now. Find the English cognates.

 

Arm                                    Fall                                                 mild

Ball                                     Film                                                Plan

Bar                                     Form                                               Rest

Bier                                    Gas                                                 Ring

bitter                                   Glas                                                so

blind                                    Golf                                                Sport

blond                                   Gras                                               Stand

Bus                                     Hammer                                         still

Butter                                 Horn                                               warm

Dung                                  Hunger                                           wild

England                               in                                                    Winter

 

2.     German words frequently take endings that we do not use in English. Verbs, for instance, end with –en in their infinitive forms. However, despite the German endings (here: -e or -en), you should be able to easily determine the cognates.

 

alle                                      hindern                                           singen

backen                                Kanne                                            sinken

beginnen                              Knoten                                           Sorte

binden                                 korken                                            starren

bringen                                kosten                                            stinken

Bulle                                   Lampe                                            trinken

drillen                                  lernen                                             wandern

Ende                                   Lippe                                              warnen

finden                                  Liste                                               waschen

Flamme                               packen                                           winden

hängen                                Rolle                                              spinnen

 

 

3.       The following cognates differ a bit in spelling but are of similar pronunci­ation.

NB German “ei” is pronounced similarly to English “eye” (long i sound).  German “ie” is pronounced similarly to English long e sound. German “au” is pronounced similarly to English “ow.” Write what you think are the most likely cognates to each word listed below.

 

Amerika                              Haus                                               sauer

bei                                      hier                                                 scheinen

bevor                                  Kanada                                           Schuh

brauen                                 kauen                                              Schwein

Eis                                      Maus                                              Staat

faul                                     mein                                               strikt

fein                                     Preis                                               Suppe

fett                                      Reis                                                Wein

Gruppe                                Sack                                               wenn

 

4.       The following words are mostly derived from Latin and Greek roots.

Apart from some spelling differences, some endings and pronunciation they are almost identical with their English cognates. (NB ß = ss). Write the cognates of fifteen words.

 

Adresse                              Kritik                                              Prozeß

aktiv                                    Kultur                                             Qualität

Auto                                   Liter                                               Religion

direkt                                  Maschine                                        reparieren

Diskussion                           Medizin                                           Restaurant

Doktor                                Metall                                             Resultat

Droge                                 Meter                                             Rezept

elektrisch                             Minute                                            Sekunde

Familie                                modern                                           Semester

Funktion                              Moment                                          Sofa

Gramm                                Motor                                             Stil

gratulieren                           Museum                                          Student

Hotel                                   Musik                                             Summe

Humor                                nervös                                             Taxi

ideal                                    Nummer                                         Technik

intelligent                             Papier                                             Temperatur

interessant                           passiv                                             Text

Kabel                                  Patient                                            Theater

Kaff ee                               Pause                                             Theorie

Kamera                               Person                                            Titel

komisch                               Politik                                             Tradition

kompliziert                           Polizei                                             Typ

Konzert                               produzieren                                     Universität

 

5.     Many words have been borrowed directly from English. Here are some examples:

 

Baby                                   Jazz                                                Start

Bar                                     Jeans                                              stoppen

boxen                                  Job                                                 Streik

Computer                            Picknick                                          Streß

fair                                      Smog                                              Tip

Hobby                                 Star                                                Trend

 

 

B.    GERMAN AND ENGLISH VOWELS

 

German and English vowels do not correspond as simply as most consonants do. Compare the German au with its English cognates in these pairs: blue and blau, grey and grau, room and Raum, dream and Traum, sow and SauFor our purposes here it is enough if you assume that virtually any German vowel may correspond to any English vowel (e.g. Kuß ‑ kiss, und ‑ and, wohl ‑ well), although in most cases the corresponding vowels will be somewhat similar (e.g. frisch ‑ fresh, kühl ‑ cool, rund ‑ round).

 

Exercises

 

6.     Find an English cognate by changing the stressed vowel of the German word. (You may notice some patterns here.) The consonants are the same.

 

lang                                     bersten                                            Brust

an                                       frisch                                              Hut

Nase                                   irren                                                Wunde

mager                                 Onkel                                              wundern

Nadel                                  Sommer                                          Kuß

Stahl                                   Sohn                                               für

Gast                                    kommen                                          Küste

Stamm                                stottern                                           Faust

wann                                   lose                                                 Stein

Feld                                    Stroh                                               Geist

nett                                     roh                                                  Heim

See                                     wohl                                               meist

sehen                                  Ohr                                                 allein

stehlen                                hören                                              fein

Tee                                     Öl                                                   steif

gehen                                  rund                                                Feuer

mehr                                   Grund                                             neu

Werk                                  Bluse                                              Freund

 

C.           GERMAN AND ENGLISH SHIFTED CONSONANTS

 

Due to reasons like the sound‑shifts mentioned above, the German consonants above (1 ‑ 13) can also correspond to other, different English consonants. Some of these shifted correspondences are very common and are therefore worth know­ing:

 

1.         d                      th               Bad            ‑           bath

 

2.         t                       d                Garten        ‑           garden

 

3.         Z/tz                  t                 Salz            ‑           salt

4.         s/ss/B                                 Wasser       ‑           water

 

5.         f                       p                Seife           ‑           soap

 

6.          k                      ch               Kinn                       chin

 

7.         ch                     k                Milch          ‑           milk

 

8.         ch                     gh               Nacht         ‑           night

 

9.          b                      v                 Silber          ‑           silver

 

10.        g                      y                 Garn           ‑           yarn

 

11.        sch                   sh               Fisch          ‑           fish

 

12.        sch                   s                 Schnee       ‑           snow

 

Exercises

 

7. The following cognate pairs show the indirect correspondences of the patterns above. Write the cognate for at least four words in each pattern.

 

 

Pattern 1: d – th

Pattern 2: t – d

Pattern 3: z/tz – t

Pattern 4: s/ss/ß – t

beide

alt

laut

Herz

aus

Bruder

Bart

leiten

Hitz

beißen

danken

Bett

Mitte

Katze

besser

dann

Blut

Schatten

Netz

es

dünn

breit

Seite

setzen

Fuß

Durst

Brot

tanzen

Sitz

groß

Erde

falten

Tat

zehn

grüßen

Kleidung

Gott

tot

zu

hassen

Leder

gut

tun

 

heiß

 

halten

Tür

 

lassen

 

hart

unter

 

was

 

kalt

weit

 

weiß

 

Karte

Wort

 

 

 

 

Pattern 5: f – p

Pattern 6: k – ch

Pattern 7: ch – k

Pattern 8: ch – gh

Griff

kauen

Becher

acht

helfen

Kirche

brechen

hoch

hoffen

Kiste

Buch

lachen

offen

 

machen

leicht

reif

 

suchen

Nachbar

scharf

 

wach

Nacht

Schiff

 

Woche

recht

 

Pattern 9: b – v

Pattern 10: g – y/i/ow

Pattern 11: sch – sh

Pattern 12: sch – s

eben

betrügen

schaudern

Schliem

haben

fliegen

Schulter

schmieren

halb

folgen

schier

schmuggeln

heben

legen

Schauer

schnüffeln

leben

liegen

schimmern

Schwan

lieben

mögen

 

schwimmen

schieben

morgen

 

schwindeln

sieben

Nagel

 

 

übel

Regen

 

 

über

sagen

 

 

 

Sorge

 

 

 

Weg

 

 

 

 

8.     In the following cognates, the correspondences practiced in the previous exercise occur in random order; the German words are given alphabetically. Many words also show vowel changes ‑ you should therefore play around with the vowels. Some words contain more than one changed phoneme.

 

anstatt                                 kochen                                            Tag

Blatt                                    Küche                                            taub

dass                                    lügen                                              tausend

denken                                Pfennig                                           tief

Dieb                                    Pflanze                                           Tochter

doch                                    Schlaf                                             Tropfen

Feder                                  schwitzen                                        wecken

gähnen                                stechen                                           wert

geben                                  stecken                                           Zange

gelb                                     Straße                                            Zunge

Käse                                   Streifen                                           zwanzig

Kasten                                süss                                                Zweig

 

9.     The correspondences in the following cognates are less regular or less common and have not been included in the table above. One occasional phe­nomenon, for instance, is that English has dropped consonants which German has kept: Wunsch ‑ wish, selber ‑ ‑self Some words have the German prefix ge‑, which does not occur in the English cognate.

 

Flasche                                   gewinnen                                    welch

schlau                                     gleich                                          wir

Schrift                                     Glück                                          Wunsch

Schule

Schwester                               als                                              ernst

                                               andere                                        hohl

brennen                                   der                                              Jacke

dritt‑                                        Donner                                       Sinn

durch                                      Gans                                           Welt

frieren                                     Insel

Furcht                                     Jugend                                        Daumen

verlieren                                  Mund                                          taumeln

                                               solch                                           selten

Geburt                                     Stern                                           Boden

Gesicht                                    uns                                             namlich

gesund                                    unser

Gewicht                                  warten

 

10.   You should now be able to recognize many German cognates on first sight, especially when they occur in a context in which logic and coherence of meaning will help. Such contexts may be groups of words like these:

 

Januar                                 blau                                                eins

Februar                               rot                                                  zwei

März                                   gelb                                                drei

April                                   grün                                                vier

Mai                                     weiß                                               funf

Juni                                     schwarz                                          sechs

Juli                                      grau                                                sieben

August                                rosa                                                acht

September                           violett                                              neun

Oktober                                                                                     zehn

November                           sehen                                              elf

Dezember                           horen                                              zwölf

                                          riechen                                            dreizehn

Montag                               schmecken                                      zwanzig

Dienstag                             fuhlen                                             hundert

Mittwoch                                                                                   tausend

Donnerstag                         Norden

Freitag                                Osten

Samstag                              Suden

Sonntag                               Westen

 

 

D.        READING GERMAN

 

Using your new knowledge of etymology, perhaps remembering many of the words from the exercises, and using the context with the sentence and paragraph, you should be able to read some German now. Here are a few sentences and paragraphs from which, by the way, you will gain much wisdom.

 

I.      Let us assume, for instance, that a man came to your door and said:

 

“Guten Morgen! Mein Name ist Professor Kurt Butterball. Ich komme direkt aus Berlin. Ich habe Hunger. Bring mir eine kalte Platte mit Brot, Butter, Käse und eine Bratwurst mit Sauerkraut. Und dann Apfelkuchen und Kaffee oder Tee mit ein bißchen Milch!”

 

Do you know what he said?

 

II.    Now read the following sentences (the last two of which are common idiomatic expressions in German, meaning ” You must swallow the pill” and “That’s not my problem”):

 

1.       Der Winter war bitter kalt dieses Jahr.

 

2.       Thomas hat eine rote Nase, einen weiten Mund, enorme Ohren, dunne Lippen und lange Haare.

 

3.       Deutsches Bier macht man aus Wasser, Hopfen und Malz.

 

4.       Die dumme Katze hat mich gekratzt!

 

5.       Steck deinen Finger nicht in meine Nase!

 

6.       Da rennt ein nackter Mann über die Straße!

 

7.       Du mußt in den sauren Apfel beißen.

 

8.       Das ist nicht mein Bier!

 

III.       And here is the beginning of a heart‑stirring novel written especially for this purpose:

 

Es war eine phantastische Nacht, der Mond und die Sterne schienen und gaben ein silbernes Licht. Der Wind war still und es war kühl. Der Kapitän des mächtigen, neuen, unsinkbaren Schiffes lugte über die See. Was war das??? Er starrte auf das Wasser vor dem Boot. Was sah er? O weh! Es war einEisberg!

 

IV.   And finally, learn something about Germany in this text was adapted from a travel brochure.

 

Deutschland ist ein moderner, produktiver und reicher Industriestaat. In diesem Land leben achtzig Millionen Menschen. Solche Menschenmassen bringen natürlich große Probleme: volle Autobahnen, Naturverschmutzung und so weiter.

 

Doch Deutschland ist mehr als all das. Die Natur in Deutschland ist wundervoll und faszinierend. Die deutsche Landschaft ist ein großer Garten, er reicht von Italien im Süden zur Nordsee bei Dänemark.

 

Im Süden liegen die Alpen: hohe Berge mit Eis und Schnee, ein Paradies für Skiläufer. Dann kommt das relativ ebene Alpenvorland mit der Metropole München. Zwischen München im Süden und Hannover im Norden finden wir das Mittelgebirge, ein weltes Land mit Bergen, Hügeln und Tälern. Dies ist das romantische Herz Deutschlands. Hier kann man wunderbar wandern und in kleinen Gasthäusern gut essen, trinken und schlafen. Und zuletzt im Norden haben wir die norddeutsche Tiefebene, ein meist flaches Land mit Feldern und Wäldern. Es endet am Meer, an der Nordsee und der Ostsee mit ihren sandigen Küsten und Inseln, ideal zum Schwimmen und Segeln.

 

Deutschland ist ein Touristenland. Alle Menschen sollten in Deutschland Urlaub machen!

 

If you were able to figure out these German texts ‑ congratulations! Your German is not bad, after only a few hours of study!!

 

 

From:  https://www.google.com.om/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=3&cad=rja&ved=0CEQQFjAC&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.aug.edu%2F~lngrsb%2Fcourses%2FGRMN1001%2Fgermancognates.htm&ei=hU1qUeuEBIfwrQf44YH4AQ&usg=AFQjCNEIz8RKwbFpfaEIO4wHE95QEsVaBA

 

 

About eslkevin

I am a peace educator who has taken time to teach and work in countries such as the USA, Germany, Japan, Nicaragua, Mexico, the UAE, Kuwait, Oman over the past 4 decades.
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2 Responses to INSTANT GERMAN–using German Cognates to inspire and learn

  1. eslkevin says:

    If you wish to learn Dutch (Holland/Netherlands) using English and German cognates, you can try:

    http://www.heardutchhere.net/duengero.html

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