Hiking has been an escape for me throughout the pandemic, and I like to imagine where I might go hiking once this is over. I suppose we’re at the “sanguine tourism fantasies” stage of covid-19… Anyways, all that daydreaming inspired this free Anki deck of German hiking vocabulary. Even though travel restrictions mean most of us won’t be flying off to hike in the Alps anytime soon, we can at least upgrade our pandemic daydreams with a dose of linguistic authenticity!
The deck uses my secret-sauce German Anki flashcard template to do things like automatically generate cloze deletions, color-code nouns by gender, and highlight irregular verb forms, and you can re-use the template for your own Anki cards! So I guess it’s not such secret secret-sauce after all… Anyways. If you like the decks, you can throw me a bit of coffee change and pay-what-you-want. Otherwise just take the deck. I won’t judge.
And unlike my last booster pack, which consisted entirely of different German words for drunk, this deck contains vocabulary whose use I can actually endorse.
Most hikes in Germany aren’t as alpine as you imagine
Hiking is a a very popular tourist attraction in Germany, and there are a few well-known routes like the Mittelweg that are definitely on my bucket list. I think a lot of us think of mountains when we think of Germany—of dark, hilly forests and prestine lakes flanked by snowy peaks. Which is why you might be surprsied to learn that, despite its famous hilltop Disney castles and alpine waterfalls so instagrammable they are literally to die for, Germany is mostly not a mountain country.
Germany’s topography is about a 50/50 split between flat, lowlying country to the north and higher hills and plateus to the south (this is interestingly also where the High/Low German division in linguistics comes from: High German dialects were literally higher in altitude than Low German dialects). Most people live in the flat lowlands in the north.
There are of course mountains in Germany, namely a few ranges in the interior of the country and in the southwest, and mountains extending into Saxony from the Czech border in the east. The latter are actually pretty impressive, and sometimes get called “Bohemian-Saxon Switzerland.” But when it comes to the German Alps… they start to rise just about where Austria begins. Most of those beautiful pictures of mountain lakes and valleys in Germany are from the fringes of the Alps that extend into Bavaria from across the southeast border to Austria. Germany’s highest mountain, the Zugspitze, actually lies on the Austrian border and is divided between the two countries at its western summit. That must have been complicated pre-Schengen… the summit border wasn’t opened until 1995.
The alps begin about where Germany ends.
I learned all this while living in Denmark, an even more mountain-less country where people expect even more mountains. Denmark looks more like the Netherlands than it does Scandinavia—more flat, idyllic countryside and painted cottages than dramatic fjords, snow-capped mountains, and forests haunted by the ghosts of long-dead Vikings. A German friend of mine actually showed up for her study abroad in Denmark with skis… needless to say, the skis ended up going home to Munich within a few months.
Similarly, my stereotypes of Germany generally went something along the lines of beer, lederhosen, little hats with feathers, and mountains. As I have now been helpfully informed by my boyfriend (who is Austrian and provided the Austrian usage notes for the “drunk” booster pack), that is actually a mostly Austrian stereotype. So I guess… Germany just pulled off a really good marketing campaign when it comes to alpine tourism, successfully convincing foreign tourists that mostly Austrian and Swiss mountain imagery is quintessentially German.
…Or at least so my completely unbiased source would have me believe. Really, sometimes I feel like he’s a bit like Chekov from those old Star Trek episodes claiming everything good in the universe was invented in Russia, except with him it’s Austria.
Ahem. Anyways, that’s it for this week’s booster pack preamble. On with the German hiking vocabulary! I hope you enjoy, and let me know in the comments if you liked this deck, if I missed anything, or if you have suggestions for booster packs in the future.
Ah, and a quick Anki note: there’s a good deal of overlap in hiking vocabulary and vocabulary related to nature generally and outdoor sports, and that means of these words might show up in multiple decks I post here. Anki doesn’t like duplicate cards, so if you do end up downloading a second copy of a card, I reccomend that you consolidate the duplicates. I’ll write a post soon about how to handle this.
German hiking vocabulary
- wandern (wandert/wanderte/ist gewandert) - to hike
- gehen (geht/ging/ist gegangen) - to walk, to go
- sich verlaufen (verläuft sich/verlief sich /hat sich verlaufen) - to get lost on foot
- die Wanderung (-en) - hike
- der Wanderweg (-e) - hiking trail
- der Treck (-s) - trek
- der Pfad (-e) - path
- der Aussichtspunkt (-e) - scenic point
- der Wegweiser (-) - trail marker, signpost
- die Ausschilderung - signage
- die Genehmigung (-en) - permit, approval
- die Karte (-n) - map
- die Höhe - altitude
- die Navigationsgerät (-e) - GPS device
- das GPS - GPS (technology, can also mean GPS device)
- die Ausrüstung (-en) - gear, equiptment
- der Wanderschuh (-e) - hiking boots
- das Wanderstock (ö -e) - hiking pole, walking stick
- die Wasserflasche (-n) - water bottle
- der Wanderrucksack (ä -e) - hiking backpack
- der Trinkrucksack (ä -e) - hydration pack
- der Kompass (-e) - compass
- das Lagerfeuer (-) - campfire
- das Zelt (-e) - tent
- der Schlafsack (ä -e) - sleeping bag
- der Rucksack (ä -e) - backpack
- die Natur - nature, the outdoors
- der Naturpark (-s) - nature park (plurals in -e and -en also seen)
- der See (-n) - lake
- der Berg (-e) - mountain
- das Gebirge - mountainous region
- der Wald (ä -e) - forest
About “booster packs”
I worked part-time in a board game shop a few summers ago, and like many board game shops this one made most of its income selling Magic the Gathering booster packs. While you might not need them to play the game, booster packs what make it fun (or addictive?).
Learning vocabulary isn’t so different. You can get by with just the necessary words and should definitely focus on high-frequency vocabulary to start. But it’s the unnecessary words that make learning the necessary ones worth it.
The idea behind these vocabulary booster packs is to compile words that you wouldn’t usually find in vocabulary list but that are fun, important in certain specific contexts, or actually useful but too charged or taboo for a typical German course to cover—think words like “tampon” or “hiking pole."
I make these booster packs into free Anki decks with images, example sentences, plural forms, verb conjugations with highlighted irregular forms, and cloze deletions for each word. They use a special card format that automatically generates clozes and color-codes based on example sentences (a bit like this one except it works for verbs, too) that can be reused for your own cards as well!
A new booster pack appears on the first friday of every month.