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Full text of "The Loom Of Language"

Bird*s-Eye View of Teutonic Grammar   307
The prefix ver- attached to many verbs which can stand on their own
legs may have a perfective meaning, e g .
brennen      (burn)             verbrennen      (burn up)
arbeiten     (work)             verarbeiten     (work up)
schiessen     (shoot)            verschiessen     (shoot away)
innken      (drink)            vertnnken      (dnnk away)
In another group of such pairs, the same prefix indicates that the action
went awry> e g
biegen        (bend)           verbiegen        (spoil by bending)
legen          (put)              verlegen          (misplace)
sprechen     (speak)    sick versprechen     (commit a slip of the tongue)
horen         (hear)     sich verhoren         (hear what has not been said)
schreiben    (write)    sich verschreiben     (commit a slip of the pen)
The older Teutonic languages had subjunctive verb forms, past and
present. In English the only traces of this are (a) the use of were in
conditional clauses, when the condition is rejected (i e hypothetical or
untrue), as in if I were richer> I could buy it> (4) in diffident statements
such as lest it be lost. As we might expect, the German subjunctive
has been more resistant. The verb sein has present (ich or er sei> mr or
sie seien) and past (ich or er ware3 wr or sie wareri) subjunctive forms
So has werden in the 3rd sing er werde of the present, and throughout
the past, wurde-wurden If we exclude the intimate forms (with du and
ihr) the only distinct present subjunctive form of most other verbs is
the 3rd person singular It ends in <~e instead of ~t, e g mache for macht
(make) oifinde fozfindet* The weak verb has no special past subjunc-
tive form. That of strong verbs is formed from the ordinary past by
vowel change and the addition of -^ e g gdb—gdbe (gave), flog—fioge
(flew) The subjunctive of the present of strong verbs of the nehmen-
geben class is formed without the modification of the stem vowel
(p 208) Its use in conditional clauses, as in English, is illustrated by:
Wenn ich etwas mehr Geld hatte> wurde ich zufnedener sem
If I had a httle more money I should be happier.
Wenn ich etwas mehr Geld gehabt hatte, ware ich zufnedener gewesen
If I had had a little bit more money I should have been happier
The German subjunctive is also used in reported speech, e g .
In seiner Reichstagsrede erklarte Hitler^ er zuerde bis zum htzten Bluts-
tropfen kampfen, dieser Kneg entscheide uber das Schicksal Deutschlands
auf tausend Jahre hmausy etc
The subjunctive is also used in indirect questions, e g ichfragte ihn, ob