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New verbs can be formed by means of the derivational processes prefixation and suffixation, but also by means of conversion and compounding.


New Dutch verbs can be formed by a number of derivational processes:

  • Verbal prefixation, e.g. the verb vergelen to become yellow is derived from the adjective geel yellow by means of the prefix ver-.
  • Verbal suffixation, e.g. the verb moderniseer modernize is derived from the adjective modern modern by means of the suffix -iseer.
  • conversion, e.g. the verbs voetbal play football and computer to work with the computer are derived from the nouns voetbal football and computer computer, respectively, but the difference in word class does not correspond to a difference in form.
  • There are no verbalising circumfixes; forms such as destaliniseren remove the effects of Stalin's politics (< Stalin) (where *destalin and *staliniseren are not attested) are best analyzed as the result of conflation of two word formation processes (Booij 2010)

New verbs entering the language may also have other sources, e.g.

  • borrowing: e.g. the verb componeren to compose is a loan from Latin where the original infinitive suffix -ere is re-interpreted as a verbalising suffix (see Etymologiebank).
  • compounding: e.g. the verb plankzeilen to windsurf is a combination of the noun plank plank, board and the verb zeilen to sail. An important subclass of the verbal compounds is formed by the separable complex verbs or SVCs: a verb like pianospelen piano-play to play the piano sometimes behaves as one word (ik wil kunnen pianospelen I want can piano.play I want to be able to play the piano) and sometimes as two (speel jij piano? play you piano do you play the piano?). particle verbs, such as voorgaan before-go to precede, to lead (in prayer), are a major subcategory of the SVCs.
  • univerbation: e.g. several complex inseparable verbs, such as omsingelen to encircle, derive from particle verbs but are no longer separable.
  • Many verbs, especially from the learned parts of the vocabulary, are the product of neoclassical wordformation, e.g. pacificeren to pacify.

  • Booij, Geert2010Construction morphologyOxford/New YorkOxford University Press