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Ellipsis of nouns after quantifiers
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Quantifiers are normally used as determiners in conjunction with a noun phrase. Depending on the syntactic function of the noun phrase, be it adverbial, forming part of a prepositional phrase, or as subject or object of a sentence, the quantifier may or may not support ellipsis of a noun that is right adjacent to it. If the noun phrase functions as subject or object of the sentence, ellipsis is normally supported, as illustrated in the following examples, in which the quantifier beide both occurs as part of a noun phrase that functions as subject/object::

Example 1

Maar in dié sin bly beide godsdiens en intelligensie ongedefinieerde begrippe.
but in this sense remain both religion and intelligence undefined concepts
But in this sense, both religion and intelligence remain undefined concepts.

The application of ellipsis results in the following sentence, so that beide both now operates as the nominalised subject in the copular predicate:

Example 2

Maar in dié sin bly beide ongedefinieerde begrippe.
but in this sense remain both undefined concepts
But in this sense, both remain undefined concepts.

If the construction with beide forms part of a prepositional phrase, however, ellipsis will render the sentence opaque and is not supported:

Example 3

Maak ook 'n merk op die vaste lyne aan beide kante van die stippellyn.
make also a mark on the fixed lines to both sides of the dotted.line
Also make a mark on the fixed line on both sides of the dotted line.

After ellipsis:

Example 4

*Maak ook 'n merk op die vaste lyne aan beide van die stippellyn.
make also a mark on the fixed lines to both of the dotted.line
*Also make a mark on the fixed lines on both of the dotted.line

Another quantifier, elk each, which receives the suffix -e when used attributively, requires a so-called float structure after elision of the noun, in the form of the independent equivalent elkeen each (one), as illustrated in this example:

Example 5

Maar in dié sin bly elkeen 'n ongedefinieerde begrip.
but in this sense remains each.one an undefined concept
But in this sense, each remains an undefined concept.

It is also possible, however, to employ the uninflected form of the quantifier, viz elk each, as nominalised form, i.e. the grammatical subject of the sentence:

Example 6

Maar in dié sin bly elk 'n ongedefinieerde begrip.
but in this sense remains each an undefined concept
But in this sense, each remains an undefined concept.

In the case of the noun phrase being used adverbially, ellipsis is also not supported. This is clear from the following two examples:

Example 7

Dit het elke keer gebeur.
this have.AUX each time happened
This happened every time.
Example 8

*Dit het elkeen/elk gebeur.
this have.AUX each happened.
*This happened each.
Example 9

Matilda het elke aand op die verhoog gehuil.
Matilda have.AUX each evening on the stage cried
Matilda cried every night on stage.
Example 10

*Matilda het elkeen/elk op die verhoog gehuil.
Matilda have.AUX each on the stage cried
*Matilda cried every on stage.
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[+]Noun ellipsis after particular quantifiers

Quantifiers either support noun ellipsis or not, dependiing on its syntactic characteristics, or the syntactic function of the noun which it determines. Various quantifiers will be discussed below against the background of this observation.

Al(le)all, alleseverything, almaleveryone

The quantifier al all, when followed by the definite article die the or alle all, when used without the article, is unable to support noun ellipsis in subject position, in object posision, or as a prepositional complement. Let us use the example of a construction in subject position by way of illustration:

Example 11

Al die mense was bang vir die mamba.
all the people be.PST afraid for the mamba
Everybody was afraid of the mamba.

When alle (without the definite article die) is used, a semantic difference can be observed as well:

Example 12

Alle mense is bang vir die mamba.
all people be.PRS afraid for the mamba
All people are afraid of the mamba.

If noun ellipsis is attempted in the case of the example above, an ungrammatical structure results:

Example 13

*Alle is bang vir die mamba.
all be.PRS afraid for the mamba
All are afraid of the mamba.

Instead, a quantifier float structure is required, that is, a structure in which the quantifier appears as an adverb accompanying a coreferring pronoun. The quantifier alle all shows up in its adverbial form as almal everybody:

Example 14

Hulle was almal bang vir die mamba.
they be.PST all afraid for the mamba
Everybody was afraid of the mamba.

The form almal everybody occasionally takes on the function of a pronoun, or shows up without an accompanying pronoun as in above, for example:

Example 15

By my geboorte is ek geweeg, soos dit met almal gebeur.
at my birth be.AUX.PASS.PST I weigh.PASS, as it with everybody happen
At my birth, I was weighed, as happens to everybody.
Example 16

Ek sterf, en almal wat my ken, sterf eenmaal.
I die, and everybody that.REL me knows, dies one.time
I die, and everybody who knows me, dies one day

Forming part of a natural class with definite articles and demonstratives, alle all can itself precede mass nouns, but cannot be used elliptically with mass nouns, unless the special nominal form alles everything is used, with a concomitant reduction in referential clarity, as can be seen from these examples:

Example 17

Alle vleis word op dié manier gepreserveer.
all meat be.AUX.PASS.PRS on this manner preserve.PASS
All meat is (being) preserved in this way.
Example 18

*Alle word op dié manier gepreserveer.
all be.AUX.PASS.PRS on this manner preserve.PASS
*All is preserved in this way,
Example 19

Alles word op dié manier gepreserveer.
everything be.AUX.PASS.PRS on this manner preserve.PASS
everything is preserved in this way

Syntactically, it represents another float structure, as illustrated in example (14), and its adverbial application is clear from this formulation:

Example 20

Dit word alles op dié manier gepreserveer.
it be.AUX.PASS.PRS everything on this manner preserve.PASS
It is all preserved in this way.

Beideboth

Unlike the quantifier alle all, the quantifier beide both is able to support noun ellipsis in subject and object positions. However, it is often replaced, in less formal contexts, by either albei both or altwee both. Some examples illustrating its syntactic distribution follow:

Example 21

Beide / albei / altwee het goed gelyk.
both have.AUX good looked
Both looked fine.
Example 22

Hulle het beide / albei / altwee goed gelyk.
they have.AUX both looked good
They both looked fine.
Example 23

Ek het beide / albei / altwee gesien.
I have.AUX both seen
I have seen both.
Example 24

Ek het hulle beide / albei / altwee gesien.
I have.AUX them both seen
I have seen them both.
Example 25

Daar word oor beide / albei / altwee gepraat.
there be.AUX.PASS.PRS over both talk.PASS
There is being talked about both.
Example 26

Daar word oor hulle beide / albei / altwee gepraat.
there be.AUX.PASS.PRS over them both talk.PASS
There is being talked about both of them.

As can be inferred from the introductory remark, the form beide both occurs proportionately more often in formal contexts than the forms albei or altwee.

Elkeach

The quantifier elk each, which is inherently singular, may display attributive inflection, like some adjectives, by means of the suffix -e. Some examples illustrating its syntactic distribution follow:

Example 27

Maak die beste van elke dag.
Make the best of each day.

As in the case of alle all and alles everything (examples 17 to 19 above), a special nominal form for elk each, the float structure elkeen each one, may be used, but with the comparable reduction in referential clarity:

Example 28

Maak die beste van elkeen.
Make the best of each one.

However, elk each may also support noun ellipsis on its own, but then without the suffix -e, and is used as a nominalised form, as in the case of elkeen above:

Example 29

Elk het vyf jaar tronkstraf ontvang.
each have.AUX five year imprisonment received
Each received a sentence of five years' imprisonment.

In such cases, anaphoric reference is required to interpret the quantifier after elision of the noun, as would also be the case with adverbial use, as in this example:

Example 30

Hulle het elk vyf jaar tronkstraf ontvang.
they have.AUX each five year imprisonment received
They each received a sentence of five years' imprisonment.

Other quantifiers
Several inherently plural quantifiers are able to support noun ellipsis by nominalisation and either zero or plural inflection.

Two categories of non-numerical quantifiers can be broadly distinguished, namely

  • Those used as plural determiners, and also as pronouns i.e. as a result of noun ellipsis; and
  • Those which can be used with reference to singular or plural nouns, and also both as determiners and pronouns. When nominalised to refer to plural nouns, the second category requires a plural suffix.

  • First category: – as determiners

    In this category, the use of the plural quantifiers baie many, vele many, verskeie various, talle numerous, sommige some, and etlike several as determiners will be illustrated, as follows:

    Example 31

    Baie mense het omgekom.
    many people have.AUX perished
    Many people perished.
    Example 32

    Sy lewe is in vele opsigte 'n misterie.
    his life be.PRS in many respects a mystery
    His life is a mystery in many respects.
    Example 33

    Sy het verskeie kere in die tronk beland.
    she have.AUX various times in the prison landed
    She ended up in prison on various occasions.
    Example 34

    Daar is talle tekeninge teen die rotse.
    There be.PRS numerous drawings against the rocks,
    Example 35

    Etlike sekondes het verbygegaan.
    several seconds have.AUX passed
    Several seconds passed.
  • Second category: as pronouns

    In this category, the use of the plural quantifiers in this category (glossed and translated above) as pronouns will be illustrated, as follows:

    Example 36

    Daar is nie baie wat so dink nie.
    there be.PRS not many that.REL think so PTCL.NEG
    There are not many who think so.
    Example 37

    Vele het nie waardering vir wat hy skryf nie.
    many have not appreciation for that.REL he writes PTCL.NEG
    Many do no appreciate what he writes.
    Example 38

    verskeie van die kleiner safaribesighede
    several of the smaller safari.companies
    several smaller safari companies
    Example 39

    Verskeie het weer misdade gepleeg.
    several have.AUX again crimes committed
    Several have again commited crimes.

    As a pronoun, the quantifier talle numerous is best translated as many, as in this example:

    Example 40

    Talle wou weet wanneer hulle weer gaan ry.
    many want.to.AUX.MOD.PRT know when they again go ride
    Many wanted to know when they are going to ride again.
    Example 41

    Sommige van hierdie slawe was bedrewe in die kookkuns.
    some of these slaves be.PST skilled in the cooking.art
    Some of these slaves were skilled in the art of cooking
    Example 42

    Sommige het onder hulle eie name reeds roem verwerf.
    some have.AUX under their own names already fame gained
    Some had won fame already under their own names.
    Example 43

    Etlike van die inisiante se geslagsorgane moes verwyder word.
    several of the initiates' genitals must.AUX.MOD.PRT remove be.AUX.PASS.PRS
    Several of the initiates' genitals had to be removed.
  • Second category: as determiners which can combine with either singular or plural nouns

    In this category, the use of the quantifiers enigste only and enkele a single / a few as determiners in combination with both singular and plural nouns will be illustrated, as follows:

    Example 44

    die enigste mens wat dit gewaag het
    the only human.being that.REL it dared have.AUX
    the only human being who dared to do it
    Example 45

    die enigste kere wat ons dit kon doen
    the only times that.REL we it can.AUX.MOD.PRT do
    the only times we could do it
    Example 46

    by die lig van 'n enkele kers
    by the light of a single candle
    Example 47

    enkele skepe uit Nederland
    a few ships from Netherland
    a few ships from the Netherlands
  • Second category: as pronouns (plural)

    In this category, the use of the quantifiers enigstes only ones and enkeles a few / some as plural pronouns will be illustrated, as follows:

    Example 48

    Hulle was die enigstes wat bly sit het.
    they be.PST the only.ones that.REL remained sit have.AUX
    They were the only ones who remained sitting.
    Example 49

    Enkeles het nog aan die bome bly hang.
    some have.AUX still to the trees remained hang
    A few were still hanging on the trees.

    In unedited usage, pleonastic plural forms of sommige some and etlike several, namely sommiges and etlikes are sometimes found, possibly by analogy with signifiers from the second category.

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