Skip to main content

Full text of "The Loom Of Language"

See other formats

Bird's-Eye View of Teutonic Grammar   303

(&) Der Jungs schreibt den Bnef ab
The boy is copying the letter
Der Junge* der den Brief abgeschneben hat., ist sehr begabt
The boy who has copied the letter is very talented
The ge- prefix of the past participle of a separate verb is
inserted between the root and the preposition-^re/b;, e g angebrannt
(burnt), beigepfiichtet (agreed), zttgelassen (admitted) After the verb
werden expressing future time the prefix sticks to the root of the infini-
tive, e g .
idi werde ihm mcht nachlaufen
I shall not run after him.
When the preposition zu accompanies the infinitive it comes between
the prefix and the root, e g
Der Kndbe hat die Absickt es abzuschreiben
The boy intends to copy it
Sie bat rmch zuruckzukommen
She asked me to come back
In the spoken language verbs which always conform to these rules
are recognizable by the stress on the prefix., i e. any one of the follow-
ing. an-9 auf-s atis-> bet-, em- (== in), nach^ vor-y zu-. Unfortunately,
another set of verbal prefixes belong to verbs with separable or insepa-
rable forms which do not mean the same thing, or are inseparable
when attached to one root and separable when attached to another
Thus durchi etsen, a separable verb (with stress on the first syllable)
means to travel through without stopping, but durchreisen as an in-
separable verb (with the stress on the second syllable), means to travel
all over. Of such pairs, another example is the separable unterstehen (seek
shelter) and its inseparable co-twin unterstehen (dare) In unterscheiden
(distinguish) the prefix is inseparable. In untergehen (sink) it is separable.
These capricious prefixes are durch-, hinter-^ uber, urn-, unter-, z>0//-,
wteder-. The inseparable verbs are usually transitive and form compound
tenses with haben, the separable ones intransitive, forming compound
tenses with sein (be).
One great stumbling-block of German syntax to the English-speaking
beginner is the profusion of particles arbitrarily allocated to particular
situations. The single English word before can be a conjunction in a
temporal sense, a prepositional directive in a spatial or temporal sense,