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Prefixation
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Prefixation is the process of adding a prefix at the left edge of a base word, thus deriving a prefixed word. The prefix system of Afrikaans overlaps to a large extent with that of Dutch. The analysis of Afrikaans prefixation below is therefore based on Booij's article, illustrated with Dutch prefixation.

A substantial number of Afrikaans prefixes are category-neutral, that is, they do not change the syntactic category of their base word, as illustrated by the following examples in which the category of the base word is preserved:

Example 1

mis·daad
[[mis](CN)[daad](N)](N)
CN·deed
crime
Example 2

on·bewus
[[on](CN)[bewus](A)](A)
CN·conscious
unconscious

Verbal prefixes, however, may change the syntactic category of the base word, as in the verb ver·huis to move (to another house) which is derived from the noun huis house.

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Some category-neutral native prefixes of Afrikaans (Germanic stratum) are listed in the following table:

Table 1
Prefix Meaning Base category Example
aarts- [intense SEM(A/N)] A/N aarts·luivery lazy, aarts·skurkarrant villain
her- [again SEM(V/N/A)] V/N/A her·skryfto rewrite, her·eksamenre-examination, her·bruik·baarreusable. It is arguable that in the case of her- the nominal derivations are derived from a base verb with her-. If this is the case, her- and its derivations would belong in the next table.
nie- [negative SEM(N/A)] N/A nie·rokernon-smoker, nie·christeliknon-Christian
oer- [original SEM(N)] or [intense SEM(A)] N/A oer·mensprehistoric man, oer·oudvery old
on- [negative SEM(A/N)] A/N on·gesondunhealthy, on·mensbrute
opper- [upper SEM(N)] N opper·hoofchief
oud- [former SEM(N)] N oud·studentformer student

According to (Trommelen and Zonneveld 1986), the Righthand Head Rule claims that the rightmost constituent of a complex word is its head, and therefore determines its syntactic category. However, there are also a number of verbalizing prefixes that do change the syntactic category of the base word, and thus form a problem for the Righthand Head Rule.

Table 2
Prefix Base category Example base Example prefixed verb
be- N/A/V manman, suinigstinchy, kykto look be·manto man (a ship), be·suinigto economise, be·kykto look at
ver- N/A/V huishouse, bleekpale, koopto buy ver·huisto move (to another house), ver·bleekto become pale, ver·koopto sell
ont- N/A/V kurkcork, nugtersober, bindto bind ont·kurkto uncork, ont·nugterdisillusioned, ont·binddissolve

A number of affixoids have a specific meaning when they form part of a complex verb, especially because they have category-changing power, as illustrated by the verb deur·spekinterlard, which is derived from the noun spek bacon, lard by means of the preposition deurthrough, and has in the complex form the metaphorical meaning to fill with. In such cases the stress is on the right-hand constituent: /dørˈspɛk/, and not: */ˈdør.spɛk/, which confirms the derivational rather than compounding nature of such affixoids. Other examples are the following Germanic constituents:

Table 3
Prefix Example base Example prefixed verb
aan- bidto pray aan·bidto worship
agter- haalto fetch agter·haalto find out
deur- boorto drill deur·boorto gore (with horns)
mis- vormto form mis·vormto deform
om- sluitto lock/close, sirkelto circle om·sluitto enclose, om·sirkelto encircle
onder- breekto break, soekto search onder·breekto interrupt, onder·soekto investigate
oor- komto come, brugto bridge (something) oor·komto recover/master, oor·brugto span
vol- maakto make vol·maakto bring to perfection
voor- komto come voor·komto prevent
weer- spieëlto mirror (something) weer·spieëlto reflect

Afrikaans prefixes are always non-cohering affixes.

References:
  • Trommelen, Mieke & Zonneveld, Wim1986Dutch morphology: evidence for the right-hand head ruleLinguistic Inquiry17147-170
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