Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Show Summary Details
More options …



Journal of English Philology

Ed. by Kornexl, Lucia / Lenker, Ursula / Middeke, Martin / Rippl, Gabriele / Stein, Daniel Thomas

CiteScore 2018: 0.22

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2018: 0.130
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2018: 0.336

See all formats and pricing
More options …
Volume 122, Issue 4


Die altenglischen Präfixbildungen und ihre Charakteristik

Klaus Dietz
Published Online: 2007-12-11 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ANGL.2004.561


As a systematic study of the Old English prefixes is still lacking, this article focuses on the fundamental formal, functional and semantic aspects of the Old English prefix system. The first part (chs. I–IV) furnishes an overview of the characteristics of the Germanic prefixes. It includes a discussion of the stress patterns and their Old English consequences in order to establish the principles on which the Old English system of primary and secondary prefixes should be analysed. The validity of these principles is then tested by comparing the primary prefixes in Gothic with their Old English equivalents. The second part of the article (chs.V–IX) deals with semantic questions. Since most of the prefixes in Old English and its Germanic sisters go back to local-deictic particles, their basic meanings can be seen as essentially rooted in a few semantic prototypes which define the position of an object or the direction of a process. Four exemplary case studies (chs. VI–IX) refer to the semantic bleaching of on-, to the interaction of two antonymous prefixes (op- ‘off, away’ and æt- ‘at, on’), to the distribution of (on)3ē (a)n- ‘toward(s), against’ and to the semantic development of be- e. g. in verbs like behorsian ‘to deprive of horses’. The last part (chs. XI–XV), which follows an examination of the phenomenon of double prefixation (ch. X), prepares the ground for the inventory (ch. XVI). Several alleged prefixes such as a-, of-dūne ‘down’, æl- ‘all’, el(e)- ‘strange’, twī- ‘double’ or wan- ‘missing, lacking’ turned out to be determinants of compounds, whereas ful(l)-, sam- ‘half’, sam- ‘together’ proved to be prefixes. The yet unsolved problem of the separability of certain verbal prefixes and the criteria for distinguishing verbal prefixations from so-called prefix- or particle-compounds are discussed in chs. XIII–XV with the result that e. g. of-, ofer- and ymb- ‘around’ must be analysed as separable prefixes, while the status of others, such as æfter- ‘after’ and forp- ‘forth’, remains morphologically opaque, since they mostly or exclusively occur in loan translations of Latin prefixed verbs. Finally (ch. XVI) an annotated list of 50 primary and secondary prefixes is supplied. Since not all potential prefixes could be analysed in detail, the inventory includes elements whose status may be open to further discussion.

About the article

Published Online: 2007-12-11

Published in Print: 2005-06-23

Citation Information: Anglia - Zeitschrift für englische Philologie, Volume 122, Issue 4, Pages 561–613, ISSN (Print) 0340-5222, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ANGL.2004.561.

Export Citation

Citing Articles

Here you can find all Crossref-listed publications in which this article is cited. If you would like to receive automatic email messages as soon as this article is cited in other publications, simply activate the “Citation Alert” on the top of this page.

English Language and Linguistics, 2008, Volume 12, Number 02

Comments (0)

Please log in or register to comment.
Log in