• Dutch
  • Frisian
  • Afrikaans
Show full table of contents

her- /hɛr/ is a productive prefix that combines with verbs without changing their category. Examples are: herhalen to repeat, herzien to revise, herkauwen to ruminate, hervormen to reform. The general meaning of the prefix is iterative or reversive: it expresses a repetition or reversal of the action denoted by the verb. Clear cases are lezen to read > herlezen to reread and roepen to call > herroepen to revoke. In some instances the repetition involves change, e.g. in schrijven write > herschrijven to rewrite. In others, there is a continuation of an interrupted action (ademen to breathe > herademen to breathe again) In still other instances, the relation between the base verb and the derived verb is not entirely clear, for example in zien to see > herzien to revise or halen to get, fetch > herhalen to repeat. Occasionally, the base for a her-verb is no longer an independent verb in present day Dutch (herinneren to remember).

her- appears in a stressed and an unstressed variant. The stressed variant combines with prefixed verbs, verbs with the suffix -eer and separable complex verbs. The difference has consequences for the form of the past participle: unstressed her-verbs do not take the participial prefix ge- (herschreven rewritten instead of *hergeschreven or *geherschreven), while stressed her-verbs do. There is occasional variation with regard to the place of the prefix (geherformuleerd reformulated is sometimes replaced by hergeformuleerd reformulated). Moreover, the stressed variant very rarely appears separated from the verb stem in infinitival constructions with teto: her te formuleren to reformulate exceptionally replaces the more common te herformuleren to reformulate.

[+]Stratum, input restrictions and productivity

Unstressed her- combines with underived Germanic verbs such as zien to see or leiden lead and with denominal or deadjectival verbs such as ademen to breathe or openen to open. The process is not productive. If her- is combined with a verb that has the prefix ver-, it sometimes replaces this prefix (veroveren to conquer > heroveren to reconquer).

Stressed her-occurs with prefixed verbs, verbs with the suffix -eer and separable complex verbs. Examples are heroverwegen to reconsider, herinterpreteren to reinterpret and herindelen to redivide, to reclassify. This process is productive to a very limited extent.

[+]Phonological properties

her- can be stressed or unstressed, depending on the base verb..

[+]Morphosyntactic, morphological and syntactic properties

Normally her- is an inseparable verbal prefix (very rarely, the prefix appears separated in infinitival constructions with teto: her te formuleren to reformulate, a usage widely considered incorrect). The addition of her- has no consequences for the transitivity of the base.

Separable complex verbs prefixed by her- pose problems when used as finite verbs in main clauses as her- disturbs the expected separation of verb and preverb. In (1), example a) shows the normal separable complex verb, b) a variant with unseparated her- (dispreferred) and c) a variant with separated her- (ungrammatical). In subordinate clauses (1d)), however, no separation of the complex verb is expected, and the her-variant is unproblematic.

Example 1

a. Florida voer-t de doodstraf in.
Florida lead-3SG.PRS DEF.C.SG death-penalty.C in
Florida introduces the death penalty
b. ?Florida herinvoer-t de doodstraf.
Florida reintroduce-3SG.PRS DEF.C.SG death-penalty.C
Florida reintroduces the death penalty
c. *Florida voer-t de doodstraf her in.
Florida lead-3SG.PRS DEF.C.SG death-penalty.C her- in
Florida reintroduces the death penalty
d. ... dat Florida de doodstraf herinvoert.
that Florida DEF.C.SG death-penalty.C reintroduce-3SG.PRS
...that Florida reintroduces the death penalty

Syntactically, her-verbs behave similarly to separable complex verbs. Compare the following examples, where the her-verbs herformuleren to reformulate and herbewapenen to rearm are contrasted with the separable complex verbs uitvoeren to export and afbetalen pay off.

Example 2

a. hij heeft zijn bijdrage her-ge-formuleer-d/ge-her-formuleer-d
3SG.M have.3SG.PRS POSS.SG.M contribution.C her-PTCP-formulate-PTCP/PTCP-her-formulate-PTCP
he has reformulated his contribution
b. hij heeft Irak her-be-wapen-d/*ge-her-be-wapen-d
3SG.M have.3SG.PRS Iraq her-appl-weapon-PTCP/*PTCP-her-appl-weapen-PTCP
he has rearmed Iraq
c. hij heeft de wapen-s uit-ge-voer-d/*ge-uit-voer-d
3SG.M have.3SG.PRS DEF.PL weapon-PL out-PTCP-lead-PTCP/*PTCP-out-lead-PTCP
he has exported the arms
d. hij heeft zijn schuld-en af-betaal-d/*ge-af-betaal-d
3SG.M have.3SG.PRS POSS.SG.M debt-PL off-pay-PTCP/*PTCP-off-pay-PTCP
he has paid off his debts
Example 3

a. hij probeer-t zijn bijdrage her te formuler-en/te her-formuler-en
3SG.M try-3SG.PRS POSS.SG.M contribution.C her to formulate-INF/to her-formulate-INF
he is trying to reformulate his contribution
b. hij probeer-t Irak her te be-wapen-en/te her-be-wapen-en
3SG.M try-3SG.PRS Iraq her to APPL-weapon-INF/to her-APPL-weapon-INF
he is trying to rearm Iraq
c. hij probeer-t de wapen-s uit te voer-en/*te uit-voer-en
3SG.M try-3SG.PRS DEF.PL weapon-PL out to lead-INF/*to out-lead-INF
he is trying to export the arms
d. hij probeer-t zijn schuld-en af te betal-en/*te af-betal-en
3SG.M try-3SG.PRS POSS.SG.M debt-PL off to pay-INF/*to off-pay-INF
he is trying to pay off his debts
Example 4

a. hij her-formuleer-t zijn bijdrage/*hij formuleer-t zijn bijdrage her
3SG.M her-formulate-3SG.PRS POSS.SG.M contribution.C/*3SG.M formulate-3SG.M POSS.SG.M contribution.C her
he reformulates his contribution
b. hij betaal-t zijn schuld-en af/*hij af-betaal-t zijn schuld-en
3SG.M pay-3SG.PRS POSS.SG.M debt-PL off/*3SG.M off-pay-3SG.PRS POSS.SG.M debt-PL
he pays off his debts
[+]Morphological potential

Verbs with the suffix her- can be input for nouns, e.g. herziening revision and adjectives, e.g. onherroepelijk irrevocable. Nouns formed by means of her- and a verb stem normally belong to the common gender (de herbouw the rebuilding, de herdruk the reprint), an exception is het herstel the renovation, the recovery (this word also differs from other her-nominalizations in that it is stressed on the stem rather than on the prefix).

Her- nouns that do not have a corresponding verb from which they can be derived constitute an interesting group. Since this group is very small (herdisconto rediscount, herdiagnose rediagnosis, herexamen resit (also: hertentamen resit) and hereditie reprint), these might be formed analogically from other her-nouns (for example, hereditie reprint might be modelled after herdruk reprint). Alternatively, the base verb may be lost or the noun may be a loanword (e.g. herkomst origin, either formed from extinct *herkomen to come from or borrowed or formed in analogy to German Herkunft origin).