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sub-
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sub-/søp/ is an international category-neutral stress-bearing prefix of Latin origin found with bases of native (e.g. subvraagsubquestion) or non-native (e.g. subtropischsubtropical) origin. The basic meaning is under.

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sub-/søp/ is an international category-neutral stress-bearing prefix going back to the Latin adverb, preposition and prefix sub. The oldest attestations in Dutch date from the middle ages, e.g. subdiakensub-dean (1240) (Philippa 2003-2009). It combines with native and non-native nouns and adjectives to form nouns and adjectives, respectively. Many derivations with sub- are complete loans from Latin or from French (e.g. subjectiefsubjective) or English (subversiefsubversive).

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It is unclear whether the few verbs with sub- (e.g. sublimerento sublimate, suggererento suggest) are deverbal, verbalizations of the pertinent adjective (subliemsublime) and noun suggestiesuggestion), or direct loans.

In nouns with sub-, the prefix bears stress ('subgroepsubgroup), in adjectives the prefix usually has secondary stress (e.g. "subopti'maalsuboptimal). In older sub- formations, the final consonant of the often has assimilated to the first consonant of the stem, e.g. successiesuccession (< subcedere), suggestiesuggestion (< subgerere) and surreëelsurreal (< subrealis); this assimilation is a reflex of the assimilation patterns of the language of origin, Latin. In many loans (subietimmediately, subliemsublime, successuccess, suppoostattendant, surrogaatsurrogate, suffixsuffix), the original meaning of the prefix under is hard to recognize (Etymologiebank), and is it therefore also hard to recognize the first syllable of these words as a prefix.

The prefix is less productive than it is the Romance languages and in English: many scientific neologisms have been borrowed from the neighboring languages, but in the common language, native onderunder is much more common, yielding separable complex verbs like onderverhurenso sublet, nonseparable verbs such as ondertitelento subtitle, and complex nouns and adjectives like onderafdelingsubdepartment and onderontwikkeldunderdeveloped. Etymologiebank sees a rise in productivitity in the second half of the 20th century, resulting in new formations such as subcontinentsubcontinent, subtotaalsubtotal, subgroepsubgroup, subcultuursubculture, subhoofdsub-heading.

References:
  • Philippa, Marlies, Debrabandere, Frans, Quak, Arend, Schoonheim, Tanneke & Sijs, Nicoline van der2003-2009Etymologisch Woordenboek van het NederlandsAmsterdam University Press
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