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Posted: 15 January 2008 12:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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Is the German ge- the same as the Dutch and Afrikaans ge- as I mentioned in this thread:

Afrikaans uses the ge- prefix in two ways*: one - to form the gerund, where English would use “-ing” as in “bundling” from the verb “bundle” (which may or may not be related to “boedel"); and two - to denote a (slightly irritating) continuous action, as in “gewarrel”, meaning commotion.

*apart from denoting the past tense, that is.

Or are you referring to the past tense?  Or are they essentially the same?

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Posted: 15 January 2008 07:39 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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Or are you referring to the past tense?  Or are they essentially the same?

I’m not that familiar with Afrikaans (or Dutch), but in German, ge- is is regularly used to form the past participle (Partizip Perfekt) of a verb: kommen, gekommt. The less frequent use is in parallel with Latin’s use of com- ‘together, with’ with a kind of collective meaning, e.g., Bruder ‘brother’, Gebrüder ‘brothers’, Berg ‘mountain’, Gebrige ‘mountain range’, Pack ‘pack’, Gepäck ‘luggage’. In German, the present participle (Partizip Präsens) (and a nominalized version of it which is sometimes called the gerund) is -end, e.g., kommen, kommend ‘coming’, Kommende ‘comer’.

In the earlier thread, I find I’ve said pretty much the same thing. What you call a gerund in Afrikaans, I have been calling a collective prefix to form nomina collectiva (collective nouns). A common way, in English that such collective nouns were formed is borrowed from Latin (via French): the suffix -accium (French -age), luggage, baggage, garbage, orphanage. Your “(slightly irritating) continuous action” example (gewarrel ‘commotion’ which Latin form has the com- prefix I was talking about) has a parallel in German: wirr ‘confused’, Wirren ‘commotion’, Gewirr ‘entanglement’. I’m not sure what it might be called, but it is interesting.

[Addendum: I looked around at some online German grammars and see that German has a similar construction (sometimes called a gerund) that prefixes ge- to a verbal root and suffixes -e, el, or -er and has a disapproving tone: Gefahre ‘silly driving’, Gelächel ‘silly laughing’.]

[ Edited: 15 January 2008 02:00 PM by jheem ]
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Posted: 15 January 2008 11:37 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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I can only give details on how it works in Dutch, so we would need someone else to get more details for German if jheem’s post wouldn’t cover what we need to know.

WNT has a 5000 word article on ge- which I dare note paraphrase here. Still quite comprehensive but also more comprehendible is the article in EWN. They distinguish 6 different uses of ge-.  Much is in accordance with what jheem wrote, but I’ll give a condensed version anyway.

Primarily it is used to create a past particle. Its basic meaning is ‘with, together’ and corresponds to L ‘com-‘.  In other Germanic languages the prefix was less productive. As examples in NE of words were the prefix got “eroded” they mention ‘enough’, ‘everywhere’ and ‘handicraft’.

The most important uses are:
a) To form a past particle; geven > gegeven (given)
b) To form a nomina actionis (a sort of noun); bidden > gebed (prayer). I think jheem’s “gewirr” falls in that category.
c) To form a collective noun in combination with the suffix –te; berg > gebergte (mountain).
d) To form a collective noun from verbs; bouwen > gebouw (building).
e) To form an adjective from a noun (meaning ‘provided with’); bloem > gebloemd (flowery). Wouldn’t this be a gerund?
f) To form a verb from another verb, adding a sense of ‘multi’, later becoming an intensifier; bieden (obs. ‘desire’) > gebieden (summon)
g) To express ‘completeness, whole’ in adjectives; trouw (faithful) > getrouw (faithful).

And coming back to the OP, the Dutch cognate aan- is still alive and kicking.
Jan komt lopen(d) = John comes walking
Jan komt aanlopen = John comes awalking

Neither would raise an eyebrow.

Its counterpart is af- and corresponds to NE off-.

[ Edited: 15 January 2008 11:39 AM by Dutchtoo ]
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Posted: 15 January 2008 03:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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disapproving tone

Very interesting, because that corresponds with the sense of ‘gewarrel’ I was referring to.

Thanks for the comprehensive replies from both jheem and dutchtoo.  Afrikaans has all the senses of ge- prefix that you list, dutchtoo.  The ‘aan’ prefix is also illustrated by ‘kom’ = come; ‘aankom’ = arrive.

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