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ge-/xə/is an unproductive prefix attaching to verbs without changing their category. An example is geleidento guide, accompany, conduct, derived from leidento lead. In many cases, the base verb no longer exists in Dutch. The verb gebruikento use, for example, lacks the counterpart *bruiken (a word that still exists as brauchento use, needin closely related German).

The meaning contribution of the prefix to the verb is no longer apparent (compare dragento carry and gedragento behave or lovento praise and gelovento believe). Historically, the prefix had an intensifying function. Nowadays, some of the ge-verbs carry a connotation of solemnity, as in getroostento bear.

Other commonly used ge-verbs are gebeurento happen, genezento heal, genietento enjoy, gedogento tolerate, gedenkento commemorate, gelovento believe, getuigento testify, geschiedento happen.

[+]Morphosyntactic properties

ge- is an inseparable verbal prefix.


As far as can be concluded from the few verb pairs with and without the prefix, ge- does not influence the transitivity of the base. Some ge-verbs are obligatorily reflexive, e.g. zich gedragento behave (oneself).

[+]Stratum, input restrictions and productivity

The verbal roots that ge- attaches to are Germanic. Due to the limited number of ge-verbs and to the unproductivity of the process, further restrictions on the input cannot be ascertained.

[+]Phonological properties

ge- is always unstressed.

[+]Morphological potential

Many ge-verbs form the basis for nominalizations. The commonest pattern is derivation with the suffix -nis: geschiedenishistory, gelijkenisresemblance, gebeurtenisevent, getuigenistestimony. In other cases, we find suffixless nominalizations such as geloofbelief or gebruikuse, sometimes with a stem vowel change as in genotpleasure, derived from genietento enjoy.