5000 words sorted by frequency (strict typing) + extra material

I start this forum to handle the following four courses:

1- 5000 words sorted by frequency (strict typing)

This course is an invaluable resource for anyone wishing to learn the most frequent German words by decreasing order of frequency. It is based on an excellent corpus, contains very few errors, and includes audio, gender, plural, and declension information.

2 - Overflow - 5000 words by frequency (strict typing)

This course includes common words and sentences (A1-A2-B1-B2 levels) that do not appear in the original 5000 words above. More precisely, it includes:

I suggest to start learning this course after learning the first ~2000 of the 5000 words of the original list, and then to learn both courses in parallel.

3 - Common German verb + preposition idioms

This course includes the most common verb + preposition idioms in German along with their English equivalents. They are organised by preposition. Each example includes the declension as well as a sample sentence, in German and English. It is more comprehensive and/or contains fewer errors than the equivalent courses available on Memrise.

4 - All Irregular and Strong Verbs by Frequency of Use

Hi @huguesm,

You mentioned, when describing the course, that “It is based on an excellent corpus”

Please could you let me know which corpus?

Thank you.

I am not sure. What I can say, however, is that I had a look at many corpora before I started learning, and it was by far the best and the most general. For instance, I considered the 2020 “A Frequency Dictionary of German: Core Vocabulary for Learners”, for which there is a new Anki deck. This corpus has many words appearing early that seem rare and out of place. I went through the first 1500 words from that corpus, and found 200 words not included in the 5000 list, which I added in the “overflow” course I am creating in parallel as I learn. I do not plan to go further. One more thing: the 5000 list is very clean. It contains very few “slang” / “dirty” words.

Thank you for the description of your approach, which is somewhat similar to my own.

I created my first German course based on the vocabulary in the official AQA GCSE syllabus along with additional vocabulary from the most popular textbook (for a total of ~2900 items).

I followed this by making a supplemental course (of ~1000 items total) drawn from vocabulary in the Wiktionary subtitles frequency list (first 1000 dictionary form words), the 2020 “A Frequency Dictionary of German” (first 1000 words), and the Goethe Inst. A2 list.

There is a lot of free, downloadable material (especially audio files) available at the GCSE level, which was my main reason for taking this approach. The emphasis is on day-to-day vocabulary, which is my learning priority right now.

This course is perfect for those who take learning languages seriously. categorical vocavulary lists were never useful to me. I reach a basic level in the language i want to learn and then learn as many frequent words as possible, I also learn grammar from books. after reaching about 2000 words (in about a month), I start texting natives in groups and reading. That’s what I did with French and it proved incredibly successful.

Hey @huguesm,

In the course “5000 words sorted by frequency (strict typing)”, there’s an error in level 60 with the word Pfand.

It says: das Pfand, -e

But this is a very rare plural. The modern form is: das Pfand, -"er

Would you be able to update it?


Good remark; thanks. It is fixed.

I have never ever heard of “Pfander” (I am a German native).
I would agree that “(die) Pfande” is a very rarely used plural, but the plural form is still “Pfande”.

What the “Duden” article you linked suggests is “(der) Pfänder” which I suppose is what you stumbled over. But this refers to a person who actually carries out a distraint.

From Pons: Pfand - Translation from German into English | PONS
das Pfand, die Pfänder

Well, I found a declination table on the Duden website which also supports your statement, even though I don’t see any evidence for “Pfänder” being “the modern form”.

FWIW, being a native doesn’t mean I know all correct forms and meanings. The opposite is the case - German has some very weird dialects and Schwitzerdütsch and Austrian German consistently make me frown. :slight_smile:

That said, for a learner, I’d still recommend learning “das Pfand” und “die Pfände”.
Do a → Google search for “Pfänder” and see whether you can find it there (I gave up after a few pages).
→ Searching for “Pfande” is a completely different story though.

Thanks again for the comments. I left the “official” plural Pfänder even if it might not be the most common.

In the Duden article, I wasn’t looking at the definition translated as “a person who actually carries out a distraint”, but rather definition 1b:
Geldbetrag, der für das Leergut berechnet bzw. erstattet wird
and the corresponding inflection listed under Grammatik:
das Pfand; Genitiv: des Pfand[e]s, Pfänder

Duden only lists Pfande later in the inflection table as a second option for the plural, and then DWDS doesn’t even include Pfande at all (Pfand – Schreibung, Definition, Bedeutung, Etymologie, Synonyme, Beispiele | DWDS), which is why I thought Pfänder was the more modern version.

However, when I googled Pfänder vs. Pfande, it seems that (in this context) both plurals are indeed rare.

Guys, I’ve got a question regarding two plural forms of the words, strictly speaking - what do they actually mean? For example:

der Herr, -n, -en

Singular form is der Herr. Plural is die Herren, then what’s that ‘-n’ for? Could anybody explain it to me?

Hi, the word “der Herr” is classified as a weak noun in grammar books, but doesn’t exactly follow the normal pattern.

It needs the -n ending when singular (except for the nominative singular which is just “der Herr”), and the -en ending when plural.

This article contains a more detailed explanation:-
*German Grammar: Weak Masculine -n Nouns, Adjectival Nouns, Infinitive Nouns - Grammatik der deutschen Sprache: Schwache Substantive, Adjektivnomen