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Easy German Words       3/3/06

    For many of us native English speakers, German is a much more difficult language to learn than Spanish or Italian. Pronunciation, inflection, forming plurals, and word order are among the things that make butchered Italian or Spanish more easily understood than German.  But there is a huge missed opportunity in the teaching of German and that is the long list of words that are identical or similar to their English counterparts. Review these word lists periodically as you are learning your traveler's German from another source and almost instantly expand your vocabulary by over 200 words.
    Granted, not all of these words will come up in your conversations or reading, but the more words you know you know, the more attention you can devote to the ones that you don't know. And communicating is like putting the pieces of a puzzle together--unlikely pieces will often help you see the big picture even when it is incomplete.
    Pronunciation is critical in German, so focus your attention on it above all else. It seems that more than in some languages, a slight miss-pronunciation will leave your word totally unrecognized.  And if you are embarking on your first effort with German, try hard to start your studies at least 6 months before you travel. When one is learning a brand new skill involving muscles, as with pronouncing new sounds, your nervous system needs 6 months to lay down new pathways for the job. So even a little effort spread out over 6 months will likely be more effective than the same amount of study in the last month before you travel. 
    As is proper in German, the nouns are capitalized and given with their gender-based article for those who are more motivated. Let us know if you spot any mistakes and enjoy watching for the words that should have been on these lists.

German Words You Likely Already Know
achtung (attention)

Angst, der (fear)
Kindergarten, der
Kirsche, die (cherry)
Konditerei, die (pastry shop)
Kraut, das (sauerkraut)
Rucksack, der (backpack)
schnell (quickly)
Verboten (prohibited)
Wurst, die (sausage)

Words Spelled Identically
Alarm, der
Album, das
Arm, der
Asphalt, der
Auto, das

Baby, das
Ball, der
Bank, die
Bar, die
Bonbons, das (candy)
Bungalow, der
Bunker, der
Bus, der

Couch, die
Clown, der
Computer, der

Delta, das

E-Mail, das
fair (just)
Film, der (movie)
Finger, der

Garage, die
Gold, das

Hand, die
Handlotion, die
Hotel, das
Humor, der
Hunger, der

Inflation, die
Internet, das
Interpretation, der

Land, das (country)
Liter, der


Marathon, der
Massage, die
Maximum, das
Million, die
Museum, das

Nation, die
Nest, das

Pass, der (mountain)
Pause, die
Person, die
Pilot, der
Poncho, der

Radio, das
Rose, die
Sack, der
Sand, der
Sex, der
Stall, der (stable)

Taxi, das
Ticket, das
Tip, der (hint)
Toast, der
Tour, die

wild (adjective)
Wind, der
Winter, der

Zone, die
Zoo, der


Words with the Same Meaning but Slightly Different Spelling
Adresse, die
Afrika, das
Amerika, das
Apotheke, die
Armee, die

Balkon, der (balcony)
besser (better)
Bett, das (bed)
Blume, die (bloom, flower)
Bluse, die (blouse)

Demokratie, die
Diamant, der (diamond)

Ende, das
Europa, das

falsch (false)
Familie, die
Feld, das (field)
Fest, das (festival)
Foto, das
frisch (fresh)
für (for)
frisch (fresh)
für (for)

Garten, der
Gitarre, die
Glas, das
Gott, der (God)
Grammatik, die

Haare, das (hair)
Halt, der (stop)
hart (hard)
Haus, das (house)
hier (here)
Hund, der (hound/dog)

Infomationen, die
Insekt, das

Jackett, das

Kamel, das
Kamera, die
Kanal, der
Karton, der

Keramik, die
Klasse, die
Kliff, das
Klima, das (climate)
Kloster, das (cloister)
Konzert, das
Kopie,  die
Korruption, die
Krater, der
Kreditkarte, die

Lamm, das
Lampe, die
Laxativ, das
Leinen, das (linen)
learnen (learn)
Lippe, die
Liste, die

Mann, der
Markt, der
Mechaniker, der
Metall, das
Musik, die

oft (often)
Ofen, der (oven)
offen (open)

Parken, das (parking)
Papier, das
Picknick, das
Pionier, der (pioneer)
Plastik, das
pressen (press)
Programm, das
Pyramide, die

Qualität, die (characteristic)

Sandale, die
Schmuggler, der
selten (seldom)

Tablette, die
Telephon, das
Toilette, die

und (and)

Wagen, der

zirka (circa-about)


The Months (all with "der")

  Food Words
Alcohol, der
Apfel, der
Banane, die
Bier, das (beer)
Brokkoli, die
Butter, die
Dill, der
Fisch, der
frisch (fresh)
Gas, das (carbonated)
gross (big)
halb (half)
Hering, der
Karamel, der
Karaffe, die
Kalorie, die
Salat, der
Salz, das (salt)
Tomate, die
  The Basic Colors Are Easy
blau (blue)
braun (brown)
gelb (yellow)
grau (gray)
grün (green)
rosa (pink)
rot (red)
weiss (white)

Words with Possibly Useful Associations
Brief, der (letter)
Gaudi, das (fun)
Geld, das (money)
Post, die (letter)


  And Words That Aren't What They Seem
Ananas, die (pineapple)
Boot, das (boat)
Box, die (loud speaker)
Email, das (enamel)
Fabrik, die (factory)
Gas, das (carbonation)
Hut, der (hat)
Krabbe, die (shrimp)
Paprika (bell pepper)
Police, die (insurance policy)
Rock, der (shirt)
Sonne, die (sun)
war (form of  'to be')
was (what)

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