Monday, May 22, 2006

detachable prefixes

Those two words explain why I will be very unhappy in German tomorrow. For those of you unfamiliar with this grammatical mechanism, it is a cruel and unusual sundering by which poor unsuspecting verb prefixes are torn from their verbs and placed at the end of the sentence. So a sentence like "I conversed with my cat while dangling a sardine in front of its nose" might become "With my cat versed I while in front of its nose dangling a sardine con." No shit. If anyone can explain why detachable prefixes have survived up to the present day, please let me know, although I doubt it'll ease the pain.

4 comments:

Terminaldegree said...

I have no idea why those verbs come apart. But they shouldn't, I agree.

I always learned them as "seperable verbs." The concept of split infinitives in English has never seemed odd to me after learning about German verbs.

But prepositions were always worse for me. I never knew which ones to use where. By the way, you can sing the dativ preposition list to "Tales of the Vienna Woods" -- "aus ausser bei mit, nach seit, von zu..."

Terminaldegree said...

Oops, that should have been "Blue Danube."

kermitthefrog said...

My German teacher just sang that to us yesterday!

luckybuzz said...

Verbs should not come apart. I feel your pain.