1. Education
Send to a Friend via Email

The German Top 1000

The Most-Used German Words

German Word Frequency List

 More of this Feature
• Top 1000 Words
• Top 100 Words (edited)
• Top 30 Words (Speaking)
 
 Related Resources
• German Words of the Year
• German Glossaries
• German Word of the Day
 

Have you ever wondered what the top 500, 1,000 or 10,000 German words were? If you need to learn German vocabulary, which words should you learn first? Which ones are most frequently used?

That question is not as easy to answer as you might think. First of all, you need to determine what kind of vocabulary to rank—spoken, written, business, day-to-day, or what? If you choose to analyze spoken language, that's rather difficult to do. If you choose text, what kind of text?

The German word frequency list that we have here is a computer analysis of selected German text sources (books, magazines, newspapers, etc.) done by the Projekt Deutscher Wortschatz at the Universität Leipzig. The project scanned texts and included variations of the same word, including capitalization versus lower case, declined endings (eine, einen, ein) and other possible forms of any particular word. The definite article ("the") appears in all of its German variations: der/Der, die/Die, den, etc. The verb "to be" appears in all of its conjugated forms: ist, sind, war, sei, etc. Even the new and old spellings of dass/daß are considered two different words. So this is not actually a list of the top 1,000 words that a German student should know, although it can be very helpful in that regard. (See our Top 100 German Words for that kind of a list.)

The Top 10 Words
in English
of
to
and
a
in
for
is
the
that
on
Source: Projekt Deutscher Wortschatz
Uni Leipzig
What do you think the
top 10 German words are?

As the Uni Leipzig researchers themselves point out, if one were to select different text sources for analysis, one would get different results. An analysis of the vocabulary found in a novel versus that in a comic book or a newspaper would not be similar. Obviously, an analysis of spoken German would also yield different results. This list is provided merely as a guideline and an indication of the German words you are most likely to find in reading an "average" German publication. I think you'll find it to be quite revealing.

NEXT > Words 1-100 (of 1000)
MORE > Top 100 German Words that a student should know
MORE > Top 30 German Words for speaking

German for Beginners
Our free online German course.


German Newsletters
Subscribe to a free newsletter!

OUR GERMAN FORUMS

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.