German Participle Formation Essay

840 Words2 Pages

German participle and complex word formation German participle formation through affixation is generally predictable, but not foreseeable by the surface structure of the verb. For monomorphemic verbs, a German participle is formed by attaching the participle marker ge- and a participle suffix to the verb stem. Depending on the verb, the participle suffix can either be -t (e.g. saugen - gesaugt ‘vacuum – vacuumed’) or -en (e.g. geben - gegeben ‘to give-gave’). -t participles are considered productive (or regular) and –en participles unproductive (or irregular) forms. Both forms can legally occur with a vowel change in the stem, as in reiten - geritten ‘to ride- ridden’ or brennen - gebrannt ‘to burn- burned’ (Smolka, Zwitserlood et al., 2007). …show more content…

These are generally subdivided into prefix, particle, and composite verbs (Eisenberg, 1998), which utilize mostly the same mechanism for participle formation. Particle verbs (e.g. aufmachen ‘to open sth.’, wegbringen ‘to take sth. away’) consist of a separable verb particle and a verb stem. The participle marker ge- is inserted between the separable verb particle and the stem. Verbs like aufmachen follow ‘regular’ aufmachen- aufgemacht ‘to open sth. - opened sth.’, wegbringen- weggebracht ‘to take sth. away- took sth. away’ ‘irregular 3’ class rules. The only type of verbs with no ge- in participle formation are prefix verbs (e.g. verstehen ‘to understand’, überarbeiten ‘to revise’). Due to their inseparable stem, no ge-infix operation is possible (*vergestanden ‘understood’). As German in general does not allow multible prefixes, *geverstanden ‘understood’ does not constitute a viable participle. Therefore inseparable verbs, strictly speaking, are not categorized in the above categories. Typical prefixes are: ge-,um-, hinter-, wider-, be-, ent-, er-, miss-, ver-, zer-, über- and, durch (Kunkel-Razum, 2009). Just as for monomorphemic verbs, participle formation for polymorphemic verbs can also involve stem changes (e.g. verstehen -verstanden ‘to understand – understood’, überarbeiten – überarbeitet ‘to revise …show more content…

In the present study, I will therefore refer to polymorphemic verbs as complex verbs, with no further distinction. While the majority of German verbs possesses only one participle form, there are a few cases of doubt: For some complex verbs, more than one correct participle form exists (e.g. notlanden ‘to ditch’, staubsaugen ‘to vacuum’). This particular group of verbs, classified as non-V2-verbs (Freywald & Simon, 2007) or immobile verbs ‘bewegungsresistente verben’ (Fortmann, 2007), is able to produce at least two legal participle forms (e.g. genotlandet – notgelandet ‘ditched’). Some, like staubsaugen ‘to vaccum’, are decomposable into noun plus verb, which creates a third possibility for participle formation:
(1) Peter hat Staub

More about German Participle Formation Essay

Open Document