Rod Decker (
Tue, 22 Oct 1996 12:33:05 -0400

Yes, I spelled it right: "preverbs"!

Some months ago we had a discussion here (I don't remember the topic!) in
which the term "preverb" was used by one of the participants--I think by
one of our European fellows. After some discussion on the matter of
preverbs I finally asked what they were (having never heard the term!). If
I remember correctly, Carl confessed to have guessed at the meaning, but
admitted he had not encountered the term either.

I just encountered it in print and thought that I'd pass along the ref. for
any who might have been curious at the time (probably not very many!). In
Roch Valin's essay, "Les aspects du verbe franc,ais," (Bucarest: Melanges
Rossetti, 1965), he comments that:

"... whereas in German, Greek and Latin the addition of a preverb has only
a lexical influence on the verb, in the Slavic languages the same process
always brings about, besides the lexical change, a change of a grammatical
sort. Thus, if we add to the Russian verb _delat'_, which means 'to make,
to do', one of the preverbs _pere-, do-, za-_, etc., not only do we get a
series of derived compound verbs whose meanings are respectively 'to
remake, redo' (_perelat'_), ..., but each of these compounds also takes on
an impression of _perfectivity_ (that is to say of completeness)...."

(Cited from the English translation of the article in the appendix (pp.
131-45) to W. H. Hirtle, _Time, Aspect and the Verb_ (Quebec: Les Presses
De L'Universite Laval, 1975), 132-33.)

I surmise from this that our guess that it referred to a verbal prefix is


Rodney J. Decker, Asst. Prof./NT Baptist Bible Seminary Clarks Summit, PA