Idea for Card Type

I've been reading Hammer's German Grammar and Usage, and the book talks about "verb valency," which is the idea that many verbs have other required (or common, optional) parts that aren't considered part of the verb that it recommends you learn with the verb. In my own studies I've been calling these "verb shapes."

For example, it's nice to know that stammen glosses to something like "to originate." However, it's even nicer to know that stammen commonly pairs with von etwas (dat.) to complete the thought. Mein Großvater stammt von Frankreich. Coming from English, it's often very counterintuitive which prepositional complement is required, and I imagine it's even worse coming from a non-Germanic language with a much more restricted set of prepositions that don't map onto the German ones well at all.

I'm about to start making an Anki deck specifically for this because remembering this type of thing (along with which ones take dativ rather than akkusativ objects, which change when you make it reflexive) is not coming naturally.

So maybe instead of having a card like Mein Großvater _____ von Frankreich LV could have a card like Mein Großvaer _____ ___ Frankreich instead.

last edited by Kyle Goetz


Hi Kyle, if I could +5 on your post, I would! I totally and completely agree.

It is much more meaningful to learn many German verbs (and other phrases in general) as larger entities along with their prepositions and cases. I will once again push for it on the technical side but, at least in the near future, don't hold your breath for it. I find this list one of the most helpful ones and wish we could incorporate it into the guess game. Anyway, I will keep you posted if I have news on this.

The good thing however is, that most of our example sentences use the most common collocations to go with the word that is taught. We have an amazing computational linguist who does provide us with detailed information on the most common left and right words, collocations, skip grams, semantically similar words etc (see screenshot). It helps us to create meaningful sentences that are useful to the learner.
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last edited by Lisa-Lingvist

Ah and regarding your example above, stammen von etwas is used more in a biological sense, i.e. with people or animals or if something is derived from something else. Stammen ausis used in a geographical and temporal sense.

So you would say Mein Großvater stammt aus Frankreich. but Mein Großvater stammt von den Wikingern (ab) (sorry cannot think of a better example at the moment. ;-).

Diese Avocado stammt aus Spanien.
Diese Milch stammt von der Kuh.
Dieses Zitat stammt von Anna Karenina.

Danke für den Link, @Lisa-Lingvist! Hammer's auch hat viele Listen von Verb-Präposition-Verbindungen (??), und sie werden gemäß Präposition organisiert. Aber das Buch enthält nur zwei oder drei Beispiele pro Präposition.

Ich habe die Karte ...bezieht sich... gesehen und das Konzept gedacht.

And because some of this is me experimenting with tougher grammar:

Thanks for the link! Hammers also has a lot of lists of verb-preposition connections, and they're organized by preposition. However the book only has 2 or 3 examples per preposition. I just saw the "bezieht sich" card and thought about this. I was surprised by the blank having both the sich and the beziehen because normally the sich is already there in a card.

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