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The prefix (Latin praefixum from praefixus , the participle Passive of praefigere ;. Dt, before something attach '), also called prefix , is a word extension ( affix ) corresponding to the word stem is prefixed (unlike the suffix that the strain and the preposition , which is placed in front of a noun or pronoun as an independent word). The addition of prefixes (prefixing) occurs in German as a method of morphological word formation with verbs , nouns and adjectives .

Prefixes in the German language

Verbal prefixes

With verbal prefixes, a distinction must be made between prefixes in the narrower sense and particles . While real prefixes are inseparable from the verb stem (e.g. behave ), particles can be separated from the stem in certain constructions (e.g. take off : I take my hat off ). This corresponds to a different stress structure: Prefix verbs are stem stressed, the stress in particle verbs, on the other hand, is on the particle preceding the stem.

The verbal prefixes and particles are important tools for creating new verbs, as the number of simple verbs available in German is relatively low. The links are accordingly often lexicalized , i.e. That is, the structures have their own overall meaning that has moved away from the individual meanings of the parts. This applies to separable particles as well as to non-separable prefixes.

Important prefixes in German using the example of the task word lay in infinitive form:

prefix verb Prefix / particle
from- lay Particles
on- lay Particles
on- lay Particles
out- lay Particles
loading lay prefix
at- lay Particles
there- lay Particles
a- lay Particles
he- lay prefix
prefix verb Prefix / particle
to lay Particles
Behind- lay prefix
to- lay Particles
low- lay Particles
over- (u) lay prefix
over- (b) lay Particles
around- lay Particles
under- (u) lay prefix
under- (b) lay Particles
prefix verb Prefix / particle
ver lay prefix
in front- lay Particles
path- lay Particles
contrary- lay prefix
crush lay prefix
to- lay Particles
together- lay Particles
(b) = stressed
(u) = unstressed

With over- and under- the meaning of the verb changes depending on the type of prefix and the resulting stress:

  • He wondered what to do next. (Prefix)
  • He put a blanket over himself. (Particle) (Not: * He thought of a blanket .)
  • He added suitable music to the film. (Prefix)
  • He put a pillow under him. (Particle) (Not: * He put a pillow under him .)

A controversial question is whether verbal prefixes and particles can also count as word formation affixes (the problem is that prefixes usually do not otherwise act as a grammatical head ). In some cases you also have verbs in front of you which, apart from the prefix / particle, contain only a nominal root, e.g. B. Roof - roof . It has been suggested in the literature that, as an exception, a prefix can also be a word formation element that derives the derivation from the noun to the verb, or that a category change precedes without a visible indicator ( conversion ), so that a prefix then follows a finished verb (the but could not occur alone): via + V [N [roof]] - . Ascribing the change of category from N to V to the infinitive affix is systematically undesirable because inflection affixes should be kept separate from derivative affixes , and also because roofing is also used alone as a verb stem for further derivation, e.g. B. in roofable .

Prefixation and the formation of the perfect participle

The perfect participle is formed in German with a suffix -t or -en if the verb has an inseparable prefix (as well as in other cases, see the linked special article). The -en of the infinitive is to be distinguished from the -en of the participle.

  • be-setz-en  : be-setz-t
  • be-trick-en  : be-trog-en
  • over-releasing-en  : over-releasing-t (assigned as in the meaning in another language 'prefix -about is nichttrennbar and hence unstressed)

With verbs that carry no other unstressed prefix, an element also appears in the participle overall :

  • set  : ge-set-t
  • treacherous  : ge-trough-en
  • at-taking-en  : to-ge-Nomm-en (because the prefix Toggle separable and is therefore stressed)

One common analysis is added, the two parts passing overall ... -t or overall ... -en as a single affix to denote that surrounds total of the verb stem (a circumfix ). Alternatively, the partizipbildende could overall be alone regarded itself as a prefix. In this case it would be the only case of a German prefix that expresses an inflection instead of a word formation, since the participle forms in the formation of the perfect and passive count as an infinite verb form .

Separable and inseparable verbs

Connections of verb and particle are separated in German if the verb is placed in front (in V2 position or "core sentence" and V1 position or "front sentence"). Likewise enters the to of the "to-infinitive" and the overall of the participle form between particles and stem.

separable verbs inseparable verbs
to begin touch
Present I'm starting I touch …
preterite I started I touched ...
Perfect I started I have ... touched
with modal verb I want to ... start I want to ... touch
question When do you start?
Are you starting?
When do you touch ...?
Do you touch ...
imperative To start! Touch!
Infinitive with zu I think to start soon ... I think soon ... to touch.
Examples I drive ... from
I come ... to
do I ... on / to
I go ... out
I work ... together
I buy ... one
I present ... firmly
I go ... back
I emp missing
I ent distinction
I he count
I ge fall
I miss dare
I ver am
I zer disturb

Misunderstand the special case

Misunderstanding is - as opposed to distrust and the like. Ä. - a verb that combines properties of separable (a) and inseparable (b) verbs in standard German:

(a): stress on the first syllable in all shapes and insertion of -to- in misunderstand ( -Ge- deleted in the past participle because of the syllable -ver- );

(b): the prefix is ​​never completely separated and followed by: I misunderstand etc.

Particle and prefix combinations

With some verbs, there is a real (inseparable) prefix in front of the verb stem and a particle outside of it. Examples are: get up, move in, put down, etc. The forms behave regularly in that the particles carry the emphasis, the participle formation without additional -good (e.g. risen ) and the leading in the sentence only captures prefix + verb, while leaving the particle behind ( you include that ).

Prefixes of foreign language origin in German

Comparison of place-related and time-related prepositions and prefixes from the Greek, Latin, English and German languages. The scheme shows the main meaning of the lexemes using directional vectors (red).

As in many European languages, there are prefixes in German that are borrowed from classical languages; They are mainly found in foreign words, only rarely in combination with German word stems ( e.g. Ex-Freund, Supra-lleiter ):

See also

Web links

Wiktionary: Prefix  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations