In part one (click hereif you haven’t read it yet), we learned that unlike the bill of rights, vodka, Buddhism and soccer, prefix verbs are not a German invention. Leave a comment if you just felt triggered XD.
The concept of adding a syllable to the beginning of a verb already existed in Indo-European and just like the idea of ending, adding a prefix became one of the core features of the language family. That’s why most European languages don’t merely have prefix verbs – they’re actually rife with them. Yes, including English. And while there’s a wide variety of prefixes and meanings, they all share a common theme :
They add a notion of end point or direction to a verb.
What we’ll do today – and in part three, because I’m totes gonna makes this a trilogy now – we’ll look at prefix verbs across languages, see how they work, how they evolved and if we can find this grand theme in them. And what I said last time still holds. The goal of this is not to learn lots of German prefix verbs or get a secret hack to guessing their meanings. The goal is to get a deeper understanding of them so they’re less scary and less confusing. And today, we’ll focus on what might be the weirdest kinds of prefix verbs… the German separable prefix verbs. So are you ready for some mind-blowing insights? Then let’s jump right in. Continue reading →
Big news, I have actually read out the episode so you can listen to it. This is an experiment and I am not sure, if this actually works or if it is helpful. Also, I am not a trainer reader and English is not my native language so you can listen to me trying to fight off my German accent :D. But yeah… I’ve ben wanting to try this for a long time and this theory-heavy episode felt like a good fit. So if you want to give it a try, you can download/listen to the mp3 here. (near the end I say “ancestors of Indo-European”… I mean, “offsprinsg”)
and welcome to … well… I don’t really know what to call this… topic of the Day, I guess. It’s not about one word in particular, nor is it about a grammar rule. Rather, I want to talk a bit about one quite general and essential aspect of language:
Verb prefixes are a very prominent part of the German language and many learners find them very confusing. Understandably so. There’s the verb kommen and then there are dozens of variations like auskommen, einkommen, reinkommen or bekommen and their meanings are really all over the place and random. But verb prefixes are not a German thing. Many languages have them and English is no exception. In fact, English is just as full of prefix verbs as German. They’re just a little more covert because… but we’ll get to that later.
So …today, I want to talk a bit about verb prefixes in general and explore where they come from and if there’s actually a common function that they all share. That’s not gonna make us masters of German prefix verbs. But it’s like with pictures… having a bit of background puts the foreground in perspective. Wow, that was kind of deep for one beer. So yeah, if you like theorizing a bit about languages, then follow me. And if you don’t like it, follow me anyway, because it will help you make peace with prefix verbs.
and welcome to our German Word of the Day, this time, we’ll take a look at the meaning of
Imagine you and a few people are at a friend’s place. You’re chatting and it’s great fun, but then you notice that your beer is empty. What’s the natural thing to do? Exactly, you go home, do some Kundalini Yoga and then you go to bed in order to rise early and study. Or in one word: holen. So wholesome. Just kidding. Of course you’d go to the fridge and get another beer. And THAT’S what holen is … to go get, to fetch.