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Deletion discussion[edit]

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The following discussion has been moved from Wiktionary:Requests for verification.

Please do not re-nominate for verification without comprehensive reasons for doing so.


Not a real prefix, per WT:RFC#zurück-. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 18:08, 23 December 2012 (UTC)

It is very common among the Indo-European languages for words to be prepositions, adverbs and prefixes at the same time, often with the same or similar meaning. At what point can you consider a word a prefix rather than a compound of an adverb and another word? How do you tell the difference? —CodeCat 18:49, 23 December 2012 (UTC)
Tentatively delete. The Duden has it as a prefix, but the Duden also has herbei- as a prefix, and see Talk:herbei-. de.Wikt has neither de:herbei- nor de:zurück-. - -sche (discuss) 19:46, 23 December 2012 (UTC)
@CodeCat: It's not metaphysics. It's a decision we make about whether to have definitions that essentially duplicate each other. If we have something to say about zurück-, useful for users, that would be less confusing if presented at a distinct entry, we should have the distinct entry, I suppose. In this case, the zurück- is defined as "back (adverb)". That doesn't seem especially helpful and might be a bit confusing. As it stands, Delete DCDuring TALK 21:03, 23 December 2012 (UTC)
  • Keep, if it's "not a real prefix", what is it? —Angr 21:10, 23 December 2012 (UTC)
    An adverb used in combination, much like back (back-). DCDuring TALK 21:35, 23 December 2012 (UTC)
    But back- is listed as a prefix. If it's one, why isn't zurück- one? —Angr 21:47, 23 December 2012 (UTC)
  • Keep. I was the one who raised the question in the first place, but then I remembered its role as a separable prefix. These are linked in a seemingly very loose, flexible way to the verb, but linked nonetheless- and paradoxically more closely than their English counterparts. They're all adverbial/prepositional in origin, but they're also an integral part of the meaning of the verb. Chuck Entz (talk) 22:24, 23 December 2012 (UTC)
    I'm not sure if that is really a valid reasoning in the case of Dutch and German. In Dutch, at least, a separable verb is completely indistinguishable from a verb combined with an adverb. As far as I know there is no difference between zurück geben and zurückgeben in German, they are the same collocation spelled differently (much as the kind of thing WT:COALMINE is about). In many cases it's not even sure whether to write such combinations with a space or not, and both variations are found without any discernable difference in meaning. I am not saying that such combinations could not be idiomatic, of course; give up is obviously not give up. But I don't know if it is actually possible to distinguish the meaning of zurück as an adverb and zurück- as a separable prefix, because there is no clear-cut way to distinguish them in actual usage. Is "ich gebe es zurück" formed from zurück (verb) + geben (adverb) or zurückgeben? I think even a native German speaker would not know how to tell. —CodeCat 22:39, 23 December 2012 (UTC)
    Also, delete unless it can be demonstrated that this is clearly not an adverb that is written together with the verb. —CodeCat 21:06, 28 December 2012 (UTC)
    Just to clarify: are you saying that ab-, auf-, an-, and zu- should be deleted unless it can be demonstrated that they are clearly not prepositions written together with verbs? --Dan Polansky (talk) 12:34, 1 January 2013 (UTC)
    Yes. For the same reason I treat Dutch words formed with the equivalents as compounds rather than prefixed verbs. I have done that in the past for all etymologies. In fact there are even a few Dutch verbs where there is a distinction between prefixed and compounded, like voorkomen or doorzoeken. They are two distinct words, both formed with the same two roots, but one is prefixed while the other is compounded, and they have distinct meanings, conjugations and stress patterns. —CodeCat 13:40, 1 January 2013 (UTC)
    So do I get you right in that you suggest that all separable verbs are compounds of an adverb/preposition and a verb and that all inseparable verbs are results of prefixation? This approach might work for adverbs such as herbei and zurück (which would mean that herbei- and zurück- should indeed by deleted), but I can't see how it could work for prepositions because that would mean that a preposition occurs without a noun. But prepositions need nouns to complement them. Longtrend (talk) 16:25, 1 January 2013 (UTC)
    Do you have any examples of separable verbs that use prepositions? —CodeCat 17:09, 1 January 2013 (UTC)
    Possibly umgehen? - -sche (discuss) 17:17, 1 January 2013 (UTC)
    Isn't um an adverb? In "ich gehe um" it certainly seems like one. Also, umgehen seems like a perfect example of the difference between a prefixed and compounded verb, like Dutch voorkomen! —CodeCat 17:24, 1 January 2013 (UTC)
    It's definitely not an adverb, because the separable variant of umgehen ("to treat", as in Ich gehe mit ihm gut um) is not at all compositionally derived from um and gehen. It's very different to the herbei- and zurück- cases which don't seem to be idiomatic as you explained above. To give other examples for separable verbs that use the "prepositions" mentioned by Dan Polansky above: abarbeiten, auflösen, ansehen, zuschlagen. Longtrend (talk) 18:52, 1 January 2013 (UTC)
    I think you are confusing compounding with SoPness. Collocations of a verb and an adverb such as umgehen can certainly be idiomatic. English has many examples of this too, like give up (aufgeben), come out, fall through, hand over and so on. However, that doesn't make the particle that the verb is compounded with any less of an adverb. I don't think there is really much doubt that in the phrase they handed the money over the word "over" is anything but an adverb, yet "hand over" is clearly an idiomatic collocation. In the same way umgehen is an idiomatic collocation of the verb gehen and the adverb um. Also, I don't see why ab, auf, an and zu are not adverbs. —CodeCat 19:04, 1 January 2013 (UTC)
    Well, I just guessed what your criteria to distinguish between adverbs and prepositions on the one hand and between prefixation and composition on the other hand are, because you haven't said that anywhere, AFAICS. You only claimed that Dutch voorkomen and German umgehen are ambiguous between prefixation/composition. What makes you think so? Also, what makes you think the first parts of umgehen, abarbeiten etc. are adverbs rather than prepositions (and prefixes, in the latter case)? Are there any preposition+verb compounds at all in your opinion? I really fail to see your logic (which doesn't necessarily mean that there is none ;) Longtrend (talk) 19:23, 1 January 2013 (UTC)
    I don't think there are verbs that are compounds of prepositions and verbs, both historically and currently. Historically, the current "separable verbs" are however compounds of adverbs and verbs. In Middle Dutch (and presumably Middle High German), a space was still often written between the two words: vorecomen could also be encountered as vore comen. Syntactically, the separable part appears in exactly the same place that you'd expect an adverb to be, and that is what is found in even older forms of the languages, which had no separable verbs at all (but they did have prefixed verbs; those are already in Proto-Germanic). Even today in Dutch there is still often confusion on whether to write, say omhoog gaan or omhooggaan. As for voorkomen, it's not ambiguous. Rather, it is two distinct verbs that have different meanings, pronunciations and conjugations, and happen to be written the same in the infinitive. voorkomen (to prevent) is composed of the prefix voor- (pre-) and the verb komen (to come) (compare Latin praevenire), while voorkomen (to occur) is composed of the adverb voor (before) and the verb komen (to come). —CodeCat 19:51, 1 January 2013 (UTC)
    How do you know that there exists prefix voor- rather than its derivations being compounds of voor + verb? Furthermore, entry voor currently lists voordoen as a derivation of a preposition together with couple of others; do you agree with that treatment? Thus, is voordoen derived from preposition voor or is there an adverb voor currently missing in Wiktionary? --Dan Polansky (talk) 20:05, 1 January 2013 (UTC)
    Because of the difference in stress. Verbal prefixes are unstressed and have been since Proto-Germanic times. voordoen is a separable verb so it is a compound of the adverb voor and the verb doen, and the adverb remains stressed as an adverb would. So yes, voor is missing an adverb sense. If it helps for the preposition issue, there are also some cases where there is a difference in form between a preposition and its corresponding adverb. tot and met are prepositions only, while toe and mee are adverbs only. There are no verbs anywhere at all that are compounds of tot or met and a verb, but there are plenty with toe and mee. —CodeCat 20:16, 1 January 2013 (UTC)
  • (Not really wanting to interrupt; please proceed with the convo above.) A seemingly perfect analogue of Dutch voorkomen is German vorkommen, which is currently marked up as a prefixed verb rather than as a compound verb. If we decide to treat German vorkommen as a compound verb, and to delete vor-, then there is going to be a consistent treatment of German prefixes, according to which neither zurück- nor vor- are German prefixes. However, I wonder how common it is in German grammar works to avoid treating vor- as a prefix. --Dan Polansky (talk) 19:37, 1 January 2013 (UTC)

-sche already pointed at the discussion at Talk:herbei-. This entry was deleted. I'm not sure I agree with this decision (please see the arguments brought forward on the talk page); however, as a logical consequence we probably should delete zurück- too, since there's no real difference between the two. Longtrend (talk) 11:01, 25 December 2012 (UTC)

  • Keep. Matthias Buchmeier (talk) 10:21, 27 December 2012 (UTC)
  • delete as per the herbei- case -- Liliana 21:02, 28 December 2012 (UTC)
  • Keep. My keep is actually tentative, but I am giving a full "keep" anyway, as I find most of the pro-deletion reasoning unconvincing. I still do not see why "auf" in "aufmachen" should be considered a prefix while "zurück" in "zurücksetzen" not. As regards processes and people: I am the one who defended "herbei-" as a prefix in Talk:herbei-. To use Talk:herbei- as a predecedent is tricky, as there was only one boldfaced "delete" there, coming from Lucifer, an editor noted for shoddy lexicography. Talk:herbei- was closed as deleted by the nominator: Prince Kassad AKA Liliana-60. As regards the discussed substance: If it is true that Duden has "zurück-" as a prefix (as pointed out by -sche), that is a thing to consider. Those who want to keep ab-, auf-, an-, zu-, bei-, vor-, ein-, unter-, über-, um- and the like as prefixes while wanting to delete herbei- and the like should explain how ab- etc. differ from herbei- and zurück- for the purpose of prefixhood; the would-be prefixes listed have a corresponding preposition, adverb or particle: ab, auf, an, zu, bei, vor, ein, unter, über, um. Furthermore, it would be worthwhile to collect an extensive list of would-be prefixes to be considered for deletion, including perhaps herbei-, hervor-, herab-, heran-, heraus-, herein-, herum-, herunter-, but also weg-, and possibly others. --Dan Polansky (talk) 12:34, 1 January 2013 (UTC)
  • Keep per Dan Polansky's well-thought out reasoning. bd2412 T 16:06, 1 January 2013 (UTC)
    Yet Dan hasn't explained why it is a prefix rather than an adverb compounded to a verb. I have shown above that in Dutch this distinction is semantically and grammatically meaningful, and presumably there are a few German examples of this too. And even if there are not, you still have to consider that German, like Dutch, distinguishes adverbial compounds ("separable verbs") from prefixed verbs, in conjugation and in pronunciation. —CodeCat 16:18, 1 January 2013 (UTC)

Kept for lack of consensus to delete. bd2412 T 13:02, 8 August 2013 (UTC)