Richard Valovics ricsi at MAIL1.STOFANET.DK
Mon Aug 18 13:09:59 UTC 2003

The Danish gen- prefix is very similar to the English re-, both in
meaning and in combinatorial behaviour. It is productive, yet
restricted. It's not quite clear (to me) what the rules governing its
use are. It can be combined with transitive verbs (genopbygge =
rebuild) and also with intransitive ones (genopstå = resurrect, lit.
reupstand), but not with all (*gengå = rego). Yet, nouns derived
from intransitive verbs that do not combine with gen- can combine
with it: genganger = regoer, e.g. a person who attends a course
As default, gen- is interpreted as denoting a single repetition, but it
can readily combine with adverbs denoting several repetitions.

Speaking about Hungarian, Hungarian too has suffixes that are
often labelled as iterative. However, they do not usually express an
action being repeated, rather an action that is split up in several
(identical) subactions. E.g. eszik means to eat, eszeget does not
mean to eat several times, it rather envisages a person that takes
a bite of food repeatedly with some time elapsing between the
bites. Often such iterative verbs convey the idea that the action is
not fulfilled, e.g. the food is not consumed fully.

Richard Valovics

> Frans is correct about the title of Haj Ross' paper. I don’t believe Haj
> ever published this paper, though he often gave it as a presentation.
> Semanticists (Kenny, Mourelatos, etc) love examples like "We rang the
> doorbell three times" (gave it three rings/rang it on three occasions).
> Since any semelfactive can take adverbs, it still seems that re- is
> understood as a  single repetition unless this meaning is overridden by an
> adverb.
> Typologically there is something more happening here. It does seem that
> Haj’s "worded up" forms like re- (mis-, etc.) prefer transitive verbs,
> though we must be careful not to be guided solely by intuitions. Just a
> few minutes ago I heard someone say on the phone "No, we’re not
> re-subscribing this year." The object of "Robin wants to hire a Belgian"
> is ambiguous between referential and nonreferential readings, but the
> object of "Robin wants to re-hire a Belgian" is only referential. In
> "Leslie wrote a poem" the object is effected (=less transitive), but in
> "Leslie re-wrote a poem" it is affected (=more transitive). And perfective
> aspect, which tends to go along with transitivity, is often associated
> with verbal prefixes (there are Indo-European, and, I think, Hungarian and
> Georgian examples).
> - Paul Hopper
> >> At 14:36 18.08.2003 -0700, Dan I. Slobin wrote:
> >>
> >>
> >>English re- is exceptionally productive, but I don't know if anyone has
> >>figured out the constraints.
> >
> > Haj Ross has, a while ago.   I can't remember the reference, but I
> > believe the title was "Wording Up". And there is a vast (formal)
> > semantics literature on 'again', 're-', and such, though typically
> > limiting itself to the L1 of formal semanticists (German).
> >
> > Incidentally, to add to the terminological embarrass de richesse, I'm
> > using PROLONGATIVE as a cover term for (forms or constructions for) the
> > continuation of a process or state beyond their normal temporal
> > extension, or also their prolongation through reiteration, with the
> > participants remaining the same throughout.  So far as I know,
> > PROLONGATIVE is a term coined for an aspectual form of Navajo by Young &
> > Morgan (The Navajo Language: A Grammar and Colloquial Dictionary.
> > Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press,1980: 325-326).  However,
> > the semantics of that particular form for unintentional action or
> > suppressed initiator control ('doing something excessively or
> > incorrectly and being unable to stop') seems to me and others to better
> > captured by the term ERRATIVE, commonly used elsewhere in Athapaskan.
> >
> > Obviously, there ought to be an ISA -- if, who knows?, there isn't one
> > already.
> >
> >
> > Frans Plank
> >
> >
> --
> Paul J. Hopper
> Paul Mellon Distinguished Professor of the Humanities
> Department of English
> College of Humanities and Social Sciences
> Carnegie Mellon University
> Pittsburgh, PA 15232, USA
> Tel. 412-683-1109
> Fax 412-268-7989

Richard Valovics
Department of Scandinavian Studies
University of Aarhus

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