German particle and prefix verbs at the syntax phonology interface

Petr Biskup, Michael Putnam, Laura Catharine Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


In this paper we provide a derivational, minimalist account of the construction of particle and prefix verbs in German. In particular, we focus on the different stress patterns associated with particle and prefix verbs and on the positioning of the bound morpheme zu 'to' in particle and prefix verbs. Building upon an earlier proposal put forward by Biskup & Putnam (to appear), we assume that particle and prefix verbs are derived from similar derivational mechanisms. They differ only with respect to whether or not the preposition incorporates into the root. This distinction is the base for the different behavior of prefix and particle verbs with respect to the stress pattern and the position of the infinitival marker zu. Since German particles are prepositions that remain in the prepositional phrase, they allow zu to intervene between them and the verb. For this reason, they constitute a strong prosodic word and bear the primary stress in the particle verb. In contrast, verbal prefixes are incorporated prepositions, hence zn cannot be inserted between the prefix and the verb later in the derivation. Consequently, verbal.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)106-135
Number of pages30
JournalLeuvense Bijdragen
StatePublished - 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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