this week I’m having a guest on here :). Her name is Slavica, and a while back, she reached out to me about something relating to her final paper in linguistics. She has since graduated, but she obviously didn’t stop studying and being fascinated by languages. And not so long ago she reached out again and asked if I was interested in a guest post. Usually, when people ask if one is interested in guest posts it’s because they want to place text links to their own websites in there. And the posts are usually super generic and boring, because the author doesn’t really care about the material. That’s why I don’t usually take guest posts. But with Slavica it’s different. She REALLY loves languages and she just wanted to share her passion with you, not a link. That’s why I have decided to give it a try. Also… I have done quite a bit of work behind the scenes these past weeks. Specifically, I am giving old articles a much needed do over… I just got done editing the one about “sondern” and I have to say… that was a mess. Like… what was I even thinking :D. It’s MUCH better now. Anyway, so … the topic Slavica is going to talk about is
And if you’re now like “Cool… uh… collo-what?” then you’re just like me. I didn’t know what it was either. But we all use them literally everyday. So… Slavica, I pass the mic on to you…
and welcome to our German Word of the Day. Today, with a look at the meaning and the family of
It’s the German brother of the English stem and many of you have probably seen it in context of language and grammar. But that’s also the most boringest context. There’s much more to discover about the German Stammand its related words, including a really really handy German use for the … but I’m not gonna spoil it. So, are you ready to learn some words? Then let’s jump right in.
and welcome to the third and final part of our general look at prefix verbs. In part one (which you can find here) we found out that the concept of adding a syllable to the beginning of a verb goes all the way back to Indo-European and we’ve learned that the grand theme of prefixes across most European languages is adding a sense of goal or destination. In the second part (which you can find here), we then talked about the infamous German separable prefix verbs and learned about their close relations to English phrasal verbs. And today, we’ll focus on
In part two, we actually already mentioned a few non-separable prefix verbs like understand, overcome or bypass, where the prefix is basically a preopistion that got stuck to the verb. But unless you’re a complete beginner in German, you’ll know that there’s another kind of prefixes, which we could call pure prefixes. I’m talking of course about ver- and be- and the like; the ones that are not a word on their own. That’s where we’ll start our journey today. And just to make sure… it’s really a journey. Because as usual in this series, it’s meant as a nice little stroll through the fascinating world of language in general. We’ll get off the path here and there and enjoy the (in)sights. It’s not a straight to the point practical prefix survival guide. Just felt like mentioning that so you don’t have wrong expectations :). Anway, so let’s start our journey with the German “pure prefixes” and their big secret, which is…
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 →