Von vs Aus
Unlike English, the prepositions "von" and "aus" in German can take on multiple meanings depending on the context they are embedded in. In the following sentence "Er fliegt heute von hier aus zurück," why is "von" used to mean "from" a physical place? And why "aus" is used here when the intended meaning is to go back rather than to come from somewhere? Can we simply get rid of "aus" here?
Here 'aus' is not a preposition, but a prefix. "ausfliegen" -> "fliegt aus".
Such prefixes are related to English phrasal verbs: "The family took off for Florida". Here "take off", too, doesn't mean "take" something "off" something, it has its own distinct meaning. Incidentally, it changes the preposition, too: "The family went to Florida", but "The family took off for Florida".
Ah, the dreadful German separable prefixes, as Mark Twain famously put it: "The German grammar is blistered all over with separable verbs; and the wider the two portions of one of them are spread apart, the better the author of the crime is pleased with his performance” (https://www.fluentu.com/blog/german/german-prefixes/). Now not only does it make perfect sense to me, but also I feel good about not being alone in my struggle with the German grammar. :)
The question is very good. Here is the "von hier aus" is ONE PHRASE. It is necessary to notice the whole one in one. An example (from DUDEN): "von hier aus haben Sie einen Schönen Blick / you have a nice view from here." So its the meaning: from here / von hier aus. Hereupon we can translate the original sentence. :) This is "just" a specific problem. The general proposal: we have to use: https://www.duden.de (Duden ist DIE Instanz für alle Fragen zur deutschen Sprache und Rechtschreibung und bietet Wörterbücher, Lernhilfen und Ratgeber. / Duden is THE !!! authority for all questions about German language and spelling and offers dictionaries, learning aids and advice.) Good learning.
Hmm, this makes a lot of sense to me too. So I guess "aus" can be considered a preposition or a prefix in this context. If considered a preposition, then it would suggest that the verb "fliegen" can stand alone without the prefix. This seems to be correct based on the Duden website you mentioned (https://www.duden.de/suchen/dudenonline/fliegen). Unfortunately, I don't know enough German to understand its explanation.
Interesting question Leigh. I think that they do sometimes do take on different meanings. There are words that do this in English. Now the sentence you said ''Er fliegt heute von hier aus zurück''. I'm not a native German speaking person so the way I would understand that is 'Today he is flying from here and then back'. I'm not sure what the 'aus' really means there. 'aus' Does sertainly take on different meanings some examples are 'Ich komme aus Australien' which means 'I come from Australia'. Also 'Das seiht aus wie Feuer' which means 'That looks like a fire'. So I think it's best just to learn the different meanings of the words in all the different contexts. I hope that helps
I'm sorry I didn't provide the complete context of the sentence in question because of space limitation. This sentence appears in the film "Im Labyrinth des Schweigens," which got me interested in learning the German language in the first place, even though I have visited Germany three times as a tourist. In the film, the sentence is meant to say "Today he is flying back from here," which is why I was so confused by the "aus" in the sentence. I didn't even dare to venture into the other meanings of "aus." After my initial exposure to German, I have the utmost respect for the German people because it takes an intellect to master the language. I have a PhD but feel so humbled by the complexity of the German language.
'Aus' is connected to the verb 'fliegen' - ausfliegen. The 'aus' here is directed at von hier, as in * flying away (aus) from here*. It's not directed at 'zurück', which is the destination.
Today he is flying back (away) from here. Sort of. The whole sentence gets doppelt gemoppelt which tend to happen in German.