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David Marjanović

I see your mess and raise you a trainwreck: the German past participle recycelt.

(We recognize re- as a prefix, so we don't add ge- to it, unlike what's done in Dutch.)


Nice. Yeah we write gerecycled Neat that German considers re- as a prefix. I did not know that!

googelen is an unusual exception to our spelling rules. That is the correct spelling not googlen presumably because we pronounce it trisyllabic, but that spelling looks bisyllabic (although the other way around apparently doesn't bother us...)

By extension the passive participle is gegoogeld, which looks like it should be pronounced the same as gegoocheld "having performed a magic trick", but sounds nothing like it. Interestingly, especially older speakers don't have access to [g], and will say ['kukələn], which always sounds incredibly funny to me.

David Marjanović
Neat that German considers re- as a prefix. I did not know that!

...Actually, ge- just doesn't go on obvious loanwords at all, prefix or no prefix. Sorry for my confusion.

Googeln, two syllables, syllabic /l/, as in Gugel.

David Marjanović

"That, too, is incorrect.

By almost a quarter of an hour."

ge- often goes on English loanwords (gescannt, eingeloggt), just never on Greek, Latin or French ones (systematisiert, klassifiziert, serviert...). Evidently recycled is considered Latin for this purpose, even though it's pronounced à l'anglaise (...rezykliert does have no less than 33,300 ghits to my surprise, but the first 9 of them are dictionary entries).

Maybe stress plays a role here: maybe ge- only goes on roots with initial stress...!

David Marjanović

Stems, obviously, not roots.

David Marjanović

"Shocked" was borrowed twice, first as schockiert (final stress), then as geschockt... same for blockiert/geblockt (with somewhat differentiated meanings).


The stress thing sounds like something I learned once.... So maybe that's correct.

It's interesting how many parallel developments German and Dutch undergo. We have, just like you doulbets:

gechockeerd/gechoqueerd "shocked"
geshockt "shocked"

I don't think there's much semantic differentiation between the two, the former is a bit more formal.

geblokkeerd "blocked" (of roads/hallways etc., but also people on Facebook or something)
geblokt "blocked" (exclusively the virtual form of blocking)

Both of these examples are oexamples where the first word is a loanword from French, rather than English (hence the -eren/-ieren suffix, which is the french infinitive ending -er + Germanic infinitive ending -en), and the second one is a loanword from English, which subsequently borrowed it from French as well.

Avis Shane Smith


I wonder, do all dialects of Dutch pretty much realize -d and -t in non-suffixed environments as voiceless [t]? I mean even down there in Aruba and Suriname.

Second, given the 'democratization' of spelling afforded by the internet, that Dutch speakers retain the original English spelling of words with silent letters AND requiring vowel value exceptions ('a' for 'ee' in 'skate', e.g.) and creating the demonstrated past tense ambiguity is strong anecdotal evidence (if anyone needed anymore) that English so predominates the internet the average user has decided it's simpler to create a whole new category of spelling rules and special cases than to risk the confusion that would result from trying to adapt forms used so often to the language they actually speak on a daily basis. And that's in Dutch, pretty close to English. The rewiring required of a Hebrew or Cantonese speaker must be that much more expansive.

I taught in South Korea for a few years, and something similar happens with the plural marker -들(-deul). When an English word is adopted and this word is most often seen in the plural in English (like, say, human rights or school grades) Korean speakers will pronounce it in the plural form but suffix -들 to it. Korean orthography also makes certain consonant combinations difficult to spell even if speakers pronounce it as the English original. The classic example in my mind is 'kids' which is a very common word in Korea's education-oriented children's institutions, spelled often with the Latin alphabet but having the Korean plural marker attached. (As in 'kids들')



I wonder, do all dialects of Dutch pretty much realize -d and -t in non-suffixed environments as voiceless [t]? I mean even down there in Aruba and Suriname.

Yes, word-final devoicing (and thus the merger of d/t in this position) has been part of Dutch since the Middle ages, so all dialects and even Afrikaans has it.

Thanks for the nice Korean example :-)

David Marjanović

Even Old Dutch a thousand years ago already had final devoicing (which we know because it was spelled out), while contemporary Old High German lacked the corresponding fortition that reached Middle High German a bit later (and may never have reached the Bavarian dialects – hard to tell).

David Marjanović

Further evidence for the stress hypothesis in German: the minimal pair umgehen. With initial stress, it has a separable prefix (3sg geht um), means either "handle" or describes what ghosts and rumors intransitively do, and takes -ge- (umgegangen). With root stress, it has an inseparable prefix (3sg umgeht), means "circumvent", and does not take -ge- (umgangen).


I wasn't quite aware that Old Dutch was already devoicing its final consonants. But I'm not surprised :-)

David Marjanović

I spent the last... crap, several hours burrowing through Wikipedia and some of its sources to find details on that. The only certain occurrence I've found is a mit ("with") in the Wachtendonck Psalms, dating from around 900 when Old Saxon and OHG still lacked the fortition.

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