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Word Frequency in German: Speaking

Worthäufigkeit - gesprochenes Deutsch

The Top 30 German Words

German Vocabulary Words Ranked
by Frequency of Use in Spoken German

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  Introduction > Reading Words 1-50 > Words 51-100 > Spoken Top 30

About This List
The 30 words ranked here for spoken German are excerpted from the Rangwörterbuch hochdeutscher Umgangssprache by Hans-Heinrich Wängler (N.G. Elwert, Marburg, 1963). The words are ranked by frequency of use in everyday, spoken German. For more about German word frequency, see the Introduction to The German Top 1000 (reading).

Top 30 Words - Spoken German
Ranked by frequency of use
German Speaking Vocabulary
Rank Word Comment/Link
1 ich "I" - personal pronoun
See Personal Pronouns
2 das "the; that (one)" neuter - definite article or demonstrative pronoun)
See Nouns and Gender
3 die "the" f. - definite article
See Nouns and Gender
4 ist "is" - form of "to be" (sein)
See Verbs: sein
5 nicht "not"
6 ja "yes" - See Essential German
7 du "you" familiar - See Sie und du
8 der "the" m. - definite article
See Nouns and Gender
9 und "and"
10 sie "she, they"
11 so "so, thus"
12 wir "we" - personal pronoun
See Personal Pronouns
13 was "what"
14 noch "still, yet"
15 da "there, here; since, because"
16 mal "times; once" - particle
17 mit "with" - See Dative Prepositions
18 auch "also, too"
19 in "in, into" - See 2-Way Prepositions
20 es "it" - personal pronoun
See Personal Pronouns
21 zu "to; at; too" preposition or adverb
See Dative Prepositions
22 aber "but" - See Coordinating/Subordinating Conjunctions
23 habe / hab' "(I) have" - Verbs: haben
24 den "the" - (form of der or dative plural) See Accusative Case and Dative Case
25 eine "a, an" fem. indefinite article
See Nouns and Gender
26 schon "already"
27 man "one, they"
Personal Pronouns
28 doch "but, nevertheless, after all" particle
See 'Doch' ...and Other Tricky German Words
29 war "was" - past tense of "to be" (sein)
30 dann "then"
See comments below.
Introduction - German Word Frequency
WEB > Word Frequencies (TU Wien)
Also see the (unedited) Top 1000 German Words.

MORE > German Words 1-100 (reading)

Comments: A few observations about the Top 30 Spoken German Words:

  • In this list of the top 30 spoken German words, there are no nouns, but lots of pronouns and articles.
  • Prepositions are important in spoken (and reading) German. In the top 30 spoken words there are three prepositions (all dative or dual): mit, in, and zu.
  • The rank for spoken words can vary greatly from that for reading vocabulary. Examples: ich (spoken 1 / reading 51), ist (4/12), da (15/75), doch (28/69).
  • All the top 30 words are "small words." None has more than five letters; most have only two or three! Zipf's Law seems to hold true: There is an inverse relationship between the length of a word and its frequency.

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An introduction to our reading word-frequency list.

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