Verb particles and separable prefixes

This course examines the Germanic class of verb-particles (as in _call up_) and separable prefixes (as in German _anrufen_). These items have been important in linguistic theory because of the way they combine lexical, morphological, and syntactic properties. Like lexical items, they can have idiosyncratic meanings; like morphological units, they feed derivational processes; but like syntactic constructs, they can be discontinuous.

Because of the way these elements stand at the crossroads between different components of the grammar, they give us insight into how those components function. For example, the idiosyncratic meanings of some verb-particle combinations demonstrates that they can have listed meanings, like idioms; but the syntax of the idiosyncratic combinations is not different from that of the much larger class of regular and compositional verb-particle combinations, which tells us something about syntax.

As for the putative morphological properties of verb-particle combinations, many stem from the fact that verb-particles are in a certain sense 'complex predicates'; though they consist of two pieces syntactically, the two pieces combine to produce a single argument structure.

Evidence will be drawn from English, German, Dutch, Afrikaans, Yiddish, and the Scandinavian languages.