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Modification of substantive nouns: Genitive forms

Possession is expressed in Afrikaans by means of genitive constructions (Afrikaans: besitskonstruksies (cf. (Kirsten 2016))(or, simply formulated: genitive forms. Four genitive forms are traditionally distinguished in Afrikaans:

( a) the genitive formPossessive pronoun + Substantive (head of a NP) (or abbreviated to: pronoun genitive)(e.g. my/julle/ons boekemy/your/our books));

( b) the genitive formX+ SE + Substantive (head of an NP) (where se's is termed the genitive particle) (e.g. Karel se beveleKarel's orders, vyf jaar se verhoudingfive year's relationship, die rugbyspeler se oefensakthe rugby player's kitbag(or abbreviated to's-genitive) (Cf. Kirsten (2016: 245) for a historical account of se's (the genitive particle) in Standard Afrikaans language use.)

c) the genitive formX +VAN+ Substantive (head of an NP) (wherevanof is a genitive particle (e.g.die man van my susterthe husband of my sisterdie toring van Babilonthe tower of Babylon and die tak van die boomthe branch of the tree

(d) the genitive formdes/der-genitive. These are currently restricted to idioms and fixed expression, for example,

kind des doodsa child of deathdead andin der waarheidtrue(ly) . These idioms and fixed expressions are not discussed any further. (Cf. Kirsten (2016:247-249) for a diachronic and synchronic overview.)

(Cf. Ponelis (1979:126) and Kirsten (2016:239-271)).

The term genitive particle is borrowed from Van Rooy (1984:39) and Feinauer and Ponelis (2014) (cf. also Kirsten (2016:244)) and it refers to these's and vanof.

As numerous authors have pointed out, a genitive particle, such as vanof should not be seen as a preposition when it occurs in genitives (of which the substantive head is the second NP).In these cases it is a genitive particle. It is a preposition, however, if the first NP is die substantive head of a construction and the second NP is a postmodifier of the first, substantive head. Ponelis (1979:151) gives the followig eample of such a case:[die tas] van [die arme kêrel][the suitcase] of [the poor fellow].

There is no concensus as to whether the category of pronoun genitives should be seen as on par with the other two subcategories with a genitive particle (i.e.'s-genitives and of-gentives) or whether it should be simply treated as subcategory of one of the categories of genitives that Nikiforidou (1991) distinguishes for all (or: almost all ) languages. In the discussion below, this problem is not further explored, but simply accepted that three subcategories of genitives are sinchronically distinguished in Afrikaans. This would be in line with Ponelis (1979) (who accepts pronoun genitives, but makes no distinction between 's-genitives and of-genitives for Afrikaans) and Kirstin (2016) (who does not acknowledge a seperate category of pronoun genitives but makes a distinction between 's-genitives and of-genitives for Afrikaans).

The prototypcal semantic feature of all genitives is that the possessor is human, the possed is a concrete object, the possessor and possesed are close to each other and the possessive relation between them is not bound to any specific period (cf. Kirsten (2016: chapter 6 and the discussion below). However, genitive forms can express a number of closely associated meanings, especially the closely asociated with the prototypical meaning (cf. Kirsten (2016: 239)), as discussed by Nikiforidou (1991).

The category of substantives are traditionally subcategorised as common nouns andmass nouns . In the 's-genitive and the of-genitveX represents all the syntactic/semantic structures that precede a genitive particle (e.g. a semantic heading is used for the syntactic category of adverbs of time in labelling gister se optog yesterday's march as 'Expression of Time or NP+SE+Substantive' (cf. Ponelis, F.A. (1979:126).)

In this section the focus falls on genitive forms.

[+] Overview

Three genitive forms are distinguished in Afrikaans:

(a) the pronoun genitive of the general formX (= (possessive pronoun) + Y (=Substantive (head of a NP)), for example,

Example 1

my/jou/haar/ons/julle wyn
my/you+SG+POSS/she+SG+POSS/we+POSS/you+PL+POSS wine
my/your/her/your wine

(b) the se-'s genitive of the general form X+ SE + Y (= Substantive (head of an NP)) for example,

Example 2

a. Siena se rok
Siena+SG+POSS dress
Siena's dress
b. Karel se bevele
Karel+SG+POSS order+PL
Karel's orders
c. vyf jaar se verhouding
five year+PL+POSS relationship
five year's relationship/a relationship of five years
d. die rugbyspeler se oefensak
the rugby player+SG+POSS kitbag
the rugby player's kitbag

and thevan-of genitive of the general formX+ VAN + Y (= Substantive (head of an NP)) , for example

Example 3

a. die voorregte van die skema
VivA Korpusportaal
the advantage+PL of the scheme
the advantages of the scheme
b. die datum van ondertekening
VivA Korpusportaal
the date of signature
the date of signature
c. verdere toestemming van my en my afhanklikes
VivA Korpusportaal
further consent of me and my dependent+PL
further consent from me and my dependents
d. 'n verbreking van vetroulikheid
VivA Korpusportaal
a breech of trust
a breech of trust

The category of substantives are traditionally subcategorised as common nouns andmass nouns .X in the construction of 's-genitives and of-genitives represents all the syntactic/semantic structures that precede thegenitive particle ('sse orvanof ) in the genitive forms. Note that Ponelis (1979:126 uses semantic and syntactic headings for X, for example, he uses a semantic label for the syntactic category of adverbs of time in labelling gister se optog yesterday's march as 'Expression of Time or NP+SE+Substantive' (cf. Ponelis, F.A. (1979:126).)

Some (but not all) pronoun genitives and se/ 's genitive forms have a van/of genitive (semantic) correlate, just as some (but not all) van/of genitives have a pronoun/'s-genitive correlate, as illustrated by the examples in (4) and (5)):

Example 4

a. Jou aansoek lê nog in die pos./Die aansoek van jou lê nog in die pos.
Adapted from VivA Korpusportaal
you+POSS+SG application lies still in the post/?the application of yours+SG is still in the post
Your application is still in the post/
b. sy besluit om getoets te word/die besluit van hom om getoets te word
Adapted from VivA Korpusportaal.
his decision to get tested/(*)the decision by/of him to get tested
his decision to get tested
c. ons webtuiste by www.gems.gov.za/die webtuiste van ons by www.gems.gov.za
Adapted from VivA Korpusportaal.
we+POSS website at www.gems.gov.za/?the website of we+PL+POSS at www.gems.gov.za
our website at at www.gems.gov.za.
d. ons lede kom van regoor die land/die lede van ons kom van regoor die land
Adapted from VivA Korpusportaal.
we+POSS member+PL come from across the country/?the member+PL of we+PL+POSS come from across the country
our members come from across the country
Example 5

a. ons werknemers se maandelikse bydraes/die maandelikse bydraes van ons werknemers
VivA Korposportaal
employee+POSS+PL(=s') monthly contribution+PL/the monthly contribution+PL of our employee+PL
employees' monthly contributions/the monthly contributions of employees
b. GEM se reëls en protokolle/die reëls en protokolle van GEM 
Adapted from VivA Korpusportaal.
GEM+POSS+SG (='s) rule+PL and protocol+PL/ the rule+PL and protocol+PL of GEM
GEM's rules and protocols/the rules and protocols of GEM
c. die kind se van /die van van die kind
Adapted from VivA Korpusportaal
the child+POSS+SG surname/the surname of the child+SG
the child's surname/ the surname of the child
d. jou vorige mediese skema se briefhoof/die briefhoof van jou vorige mediese skema
Adapted from VivA Korpusportaal
you+POSS+SG previous medical scheme+POSS+SG (='s) letter head/ the letter head of you+POSS previous medical scheme
your previous medical scheme's letter head/the letter head of your previous medical scheme

Switching from one genitive form to another often leads to a change of foregrounding, and therefore focus, of a part of or the whole genitive form (cf., for example, (4a) and (5a), the compulsory insertion of the definite articledie the(in the of-genitive) and, where applicable, a change (sometimes only in the English translation of the Afrikaans examples) of form of the possessive pronoun (cf., for example, (4c)).

Table 1: Subcategories of pronouns
Personal Pronouns - Possessive Pronouns/Attributive Pronouns Independent Pronouns
- 's-Genitive form of-Genitive form -
ek (eet)/I (eat) my (kos)/my food - (die kos is) myne/(the food is) mine
hy (eet)/he (is eating) (die man) se (kos)/(the man's food) (die kos ) van (die man)/(the food) of (the man) (Die kos is) syne/(the food is ) his.
hulle (eet)/they (eat/are eating) hulle (kos)/their (food) (die kos is) hulle s'n/the food is theirs

Given the discussion of genitives in Ponelis (1979), three subcategories of pronouns have to be distinguished in Afrikaans, as indicated in Tabel 1. Alhough all three of them can be used to express the possesive relation in Afrikaans, the focus will fall below only on Possesive pronouns in the N/NP+N/NP genitive.

[+] Possessive pronoun + Substantive (head of a NP)

In the pronoun genitive the full range of Afrikaans possessive pronouns attributively modify the substantive nouns that function as the head of a pronoun/possessive NP (cf.Ponelis, F.A. (1979:126)), for example:

Example 6

a. my maandelikese bydraes
VivA Korpusportaal
my monthly contribution+PL
my monthly contributions
b. jou handtekening
VivA Korpusportaal
you+SG+POSS signature
your signature
sy afhanklikes
VivA Korpusportaal
he+SG+POSS dependants
his dependants
c. haar heerlike ervaring
VivA Korpusportaal
she+SG+POSS enjoyable experience
her enjoyable experience
d. ons groter produsente
Gesproke Afrikaans
we+PL+POSS big+COMP producer+PL
our bigger producers
e. ons versoek
Gesproke Afrikaans
we+PL+POSS request
our request
f. julle dosente
Gesproke Afrikaans
you+PL+POSS lecturer+PL
your lecturers
g. u mening
Ponelis (1979:126)
you+PL+POSS opinion
your opinion
h. hulle glukosevlakke
VivA Korpusportaal
they+POSS glocose level+PL
their glucose levels

In the following examples from Ponelis (l979) (cf. Ponelis, F.A.(1979:127) the first Pronoun jy/julleyou/you (+PL and the substantive head of the genitive construction is used emphatically as part of an exclamation:

Example 7

a. jou skaap!
you+SG+POSS sheep
(?you) fool
b. jou vark!
you+SG+POSS pig
(?you) pig
c. jou skelm!
you+SG+POSS thief/vaguebond
(?you) thief/vaguebond
d. julle duiwels!
you+PL+POSS devil+PL
(?you) devils

In these examples a name of an animal or the name of negative entity is used metaphorically to refer to a human being.

[+] X+SE/'s-genitive+ substantive

As noted above, X in the 's-genitive construction (cf, the title of section IV above) represents a variety of syntactic categories. Ponelis (1979:126) provides the following examples: .

Example 8

a. [Adv vandag] se weer]NP
today+POSS weather
today's weather
b. [[ gister Adv] se optog]NP
yesterday+POSS march
yesterday's march
c. [[twee jaar gelede Adv ] se afskeidspartyjie]NP
two year+POSS ago party
two year's ago party
d. [[JanName] se bevele]NP
Jan+POSS order+PL
Jan's orders
e. [[die predikantNP ] se motor]NP
the minister+POSS car
the minister's car
f. [[WieInterrogative pronoun] se gedagte]NP is dit?
g. die ou [[wieRelative pronoun] se gedagte]NP (dit is)
the guy who+POSS idea is that
the guy whose idea that is

As Ponelis (1979:126-128) indicates, a variety of semantic relations can hold between the syntactic categories which are indicated by the umbrella abbreviation X and the substantive head of an NP, linked by se's (SG)/s'(PL).He lists and exemplifies nine such categories, discussed below.

(i) Possession(POSS)

Example 9

a. Jan se geld/huis/kar/sigarette/hoed/klere
Jan+POSS money/home/car/sigarette+PL/hat/clothes
Jan's money/home/car/cigarettes/hat/clothes
b. Jan se eie geld (moes daarvoor betaal)
Jan+POSS own money had therefore to pay
Jan's own money (was used to pay)
c. Jan se eie broek (het 'n paar gate gehad)
Jan+POSS own pants(had a few holes)
Jan's own pants (had a few holes)

eieown is used in (8b) and (8c) to set up a contrast with some entity already introduced in the discourse domain. In the case of 8(b), for example, the contrast is set up with Jan's own money, and it is accentuated (with eieown) that Jan's money was used to pay (not that of somebody else). In (8c) a contrast is set up with the pants of somebody else (which has no holes) and it is accentuated that Jan wore his own pants (with holes) and not that of somebody else (which has no holes).Of course, further inferences and deductions can be made, the larger the discourse domain gets (e.g. if further cultural assumptions and norms are assumed), but they will not be discussed here.

(ii) Whole-part

In these genitive NP's, the whole-part relation holds between the first NP (which refers to the whole entity) of the construction and the substantive head (which refers to a part (of the whole)0. Ponelis, F.A.(1979:127) provides five examples of genitive NP's in which the whole-part (semantic) relation holds between the first NP and the substantive head. Included in these examples are also pronoun genitives of which the first NP is a possessive pronoun (referring to the whole) and the substantive (which refers to the part) without being linked by se's( cf. Section 111 above and (10a) and (10b) below. Examples of the s-genitives are provided in (11):

Example 10

a. [[die boek] se [omslag]]
the book+SG+POSS cover
the book's cover
b. die stoel se leuning
the chair+SG+POSS armrest
the chair's (arm) rest
c. die fiets se voorwiel
the bicyle+SG+POSS front wheel
the bicycle's front wheel
d. die ketting se skakels
the cain+SG+POSS link+PL
the chain's links

Examples of the pronoun genitives are those provided in (11). Note, however, that in the case of the whole-part relation this semantic type of genitive construction is not restricted (as the Ponelis, F.A. (1979:127) examples would suggest, to those in which the pronoun refers to a (whole) body and the substantive refers to a part of that body/entity (cf. 11(c)). In the examples provide in (11), the semantics of whole and part are given a broader interpretation:

Example 11

a. [[myNP/PRO][ begunstigdesNP]]NP
VivA Korpusportaal
me+SG+POSS beneficiary+PL
my benificiaries
b. haar heerlike ervaring
VivA Korpusportaal
her enjoyable/wonderful experience
her wonderful experience
c. ons hande
VivA Korpusportaal
we+POSS hand+PL
our hands

(iii) The subject genitive form

Ponelis, F.A.(1979:127) reserves the label subject genitive form for possessive genitives and 's-genitives which have a correlate sentence in which the derived genitive corresponds to the subject of the correlating sentence (cf. (12a)). Although there seems to be a semantic correspondence between the genitive and the subject of the correlate sentence, this view is based on a transformational point of view that genitives are transformationally derived from the subjects of correlational sentences. In a nontransformational account, the transformational derivation of a 'surface form/(part of a) sentence' (i.e. a genitive form) from a 'deep form/(part of a) sentence is not accepted. According to the transformational account a syntactic explanation/motivation is given for semantic relations (labelling, and as motivation for semantic categories/relations). According to a nontransformational account of the various semantic relations that hold between the syntactic constituents of genitives, the distinction of a separate category of subject genitives would not be supported.

Semantically, what is illustrated, is merely that there is a possessive link between between the first and second NP of a genitive construction, irrespective of the final subclassification of the genitive form as a s'-genitive), or as a pronoun gentive.

The 's-genitive

Example 12

a. [die haelstorm] se [skade] Die haelstorm het skade aangerig.
Ponelis (1979:127)
the hailstom+SG+POSS
the hailstorm's damage <----->The haelstorm caused damage.
b. die amptenare se verslag
Ponelis (1979:127)
the official+PL+POSS report
the officials' report
c. almal se geloof
Ponelis (1979:127)
everybodys' belief

The pronoun genitive

Example 13

a. my foute <---> Ek het foute begaan.
Ponelis (1979:127)
me+POSS mistake+PL <---> I have mistakes made
my mistakes <---> I have made mistakes
b. sy gewilligheid <---> Hy is gewillig
he+POSS willingness <---> He is willing.
his willingness <---> He is willing.

(iv) Relational genitives

Ponelis (l979:127-128) reserves the term relational genitivevaste relasies for genitives where the first N/NP and the substantive N both refer to humans and se's/s', or possessive genitives, to the fact that there is some (permanent) relation between the referents of the two Ns/NPs of the genitive construction (cf. (14a) and (14b):

Example 14

a. Hy is [[sy pa] se [kind]]
he is his dad+SG+POSS child
He looks like his dad
b. Anna se sekretaresse
Anna+SG+POSS secretary
Anna's secretary

Other examples of the (traditional, culturely determined, Western) relationships between the two Ns/NPs of the genitives in Afrikaans, are the following:

Example 15

a. [[die ouersNP] van [die kindNP]]
Adapted from VivAkorpusportaal
the parent+PL+POSS of the child
the parents of the child
b. [[my paNP] se [eerste vrouNP]]
Adapted from VivA korpusportaal.
my father/dad+SG+POSS first wife
my father's/dad's first wife
c. my ma se familielede
Adapted from VivA korpusportaal.
me+POSS mother+SG+POSS family
my mother's family
d. my oupa se kleinseun
Adapted from VivA korpusportaal.
me+POSS grandpa+SG+POSS grandson
my grandpa's grandson
e. my broer se vrou
Adapted from VivA korpusportaal.
me+POSS brother+POSS wife
my brother's wife
f. [[die susterNP] van ['n hooflidNP]]
VivA Korpusportaal
the sister of a main member
the sister of a main member
g. [[neef NP] van [die Toerien-sustersNP]]
VivA Korpusportaal
nephew of the Toerien sister+PL
nephew of the Toerien sisters
h. [[die niggieNP] van [die WinterbachsNP]]
Adapted from VivA korpusportaal.
the niece of the Winterbach+PL
the niece of the Winterbachs
i. [[die manNP] se [familieNP]]
VivA Korpusportaal
the man+SG+POSS family
the man's family
j. [[die vrouNP] van [die oorlede werkerNP]]
VivA Korpusportaal
the wife of the deceased worker
the wife of the deceased employee
k. [[SAFENP ]se [baas, mnr. Anton de VriesNP]]
VivA Korpusportaal
SAFE+SG+POSS boss, Mr. Anton de Vries
SAFE's boss, Mr. Anton de Vries

(vi) Place and Time genitives

The term place Genitive is used by Ponelis (1979) (cf. (Ponelis, F.A. 1979:128) to refer to genitive constructions in which the first NP refers to a place and the second NP refers to an entity, object, event, 'that belongs to', is associated with,or is typical of the place referred to by the first NP. In genitives in which the first NP refers to a time (period) and the second NP to an event, or entity associated with the time period specified by the first NP, is called a time genitive The following examples illustrate the two (separate) relations:

Example 16

(Place genitive)
a. [[[Johannesburg ]se [elektrisiteitsrekeninge]] (is altyd laat)
Johannesburg+SG+POSS electricity accont+PL (is always late)
Johannesburg's electricity accounts are always late
(Time genitive)
b. [[vandag] se [denkers]] (glo die wêreld gaan more vergaan)
today+POSS phlosopher+PL (believe the world will end tomorrow)
today's philosophers' (believe the world will end tomorrow)

Other examples can be added to those provided in (16):

Example 17

(Place genitive)
a. Stellenbosch se druiwe
Stellenbosch+POSS grapes
Stellenbosch's grapes
(Place genitive)
b. Parys se modes
Parys+POSS fashion+PL
Parisian/Parys' fashions
(Time genitive)
c. vandag se weer
today+POSS wheather
today's weather
(Time genitive)
d. volgende week se optog
next week+POSS march+SG
next week's march

Of course, there is a place or time relation between the two NPs of a genitve form that are not always that easy to deduce, especially if the first NP refers with a (possessive) pronoun and there is no specific marking of the relationship between the NPs, each NP is ambiguous, or refers to a place/domain that is normally not associated with the object/event referred to. The following of Ponelis' examples I would categorise as such difficult cases (cf.(Ponelis, F.A. 1979):

Example 18

a. sy graf
he+POSS grave
his grave
b. die wêreld se puikste lem
the world+POSS fine+SUPL knife
the world's finest knife

(vii) Reciprocal genitives

Ponelis (1979:128)(cf.(Ponelis, F.A. 1979) uses the term reciprocal genitive formto refer to genitives in which the anaphor and its antecedent have the same reference. The following are examples of reciprocal genitives:

Example 19

a. [Die akteurNP1/antesedent] het na [syNP2/anaphor asem] gesnak.
the actor+SG+POSS groped for air
the actor groped for air
b. Sy soek haar bril.
she is looking for she+POSS glasses
she is looking for her glasses
c. Die hond waai sy stert.
the dog+SG is waving he+POSS tail
the dog is waving his tail

Ponelis (1979:229-230) (cf. (Ponelis, F.A. 1979)), however, uses this term with a more restricted meaning. Besides reciprocal chains of antesedent-anaphor in reciprocal constructions (the 'canonical' form), he also allows for various additional reciprocal constructions in which the antesedent is missing, and the anaphor is a relative pronoun: the object genitive and the prepositional genitive of which various subcategories are distinguished (e.g. prepositional genitve as an idiomatic expression, adjectival copula and adjuncts (of manner)). Whether or not the constructions of the second case have to be recognised as independent subcategories is a matter for further research as most of them express the same semantic relation between possessive pronoun and possessed (as in the genitve forms discussed in Section (iii) under the title 'Possessive pronoun + Substantive (head of a NP)'. Examples are given of each of the subcategories Ponelis (1979:229-230) (cf. (Ponelis, F.A. 1979)) distinguishes:

Example 20

(sny af sy eie keel)(Object construction) (cut off his own throat)
a. jou eie keel afsny
you+SG+POSS own throat cut
cut one's own throat
(eis sy tol)(Object construction)
b. sy tol eis
he+POSS claim make
make your claim
(kan nie jou lag hou nie)(Object constructions) (cannot hold his laugh)
c. jou lag nie kan hou nie
he+POSS laugh not hold
cannot hold your laugh
(verloor jou bewussyn)(Object construction) (lose your conscience)
d. jou bewussyn verloor
you+SG+POSS conscious lose
lose your conscious
Example 21

(PP-object, Idiom)
a. op [[jouNP1 ][tandeNP2 ] kners
on you+SG+POSS teeth gnash
gnash (on)your teeth
(PP-object, Idiom)
b. al staan jy op  jou kop
even if you stand on you+SG+POSS head
even if you stand on your head
(PP-object, Idiom)
c. iemand nie voor jou oë verdrae nie
somebody not bear in front of you+SG+POSS sight
not bear the sight of somebody
(PP-object, Idiom)
d. voor jou siel weet
in front of you+SG+POSS soul know
know very well

Note that in idioms the genitive form is mostly used metaphorically. In the examples provided in (22) a reciprocal PP (e.g. op jou perdtjie-(cf. the translation in (22a) below) combines with a copula verb (e.g. weesto be/is:

Example 22

(reciprocal PP as adjectival copula predicate)
a. gou [op jou perdjie] [wees]
quickly on you+SG+POSS horse be
quickly get on your high horse
(reciprocal PP as adjectival copula predicate)
in you+SG+POSS pleased be
totally pleased (as Punch)
(reciprocal PP as adjectival copula predicate)
by you+SG+POSS positive be
be/do something with full consciousness
(reciprocal PP as adjectival copula predicate)
d. by jou bewussyn wees
by you+SG+POSS knowlede be
do something/ be at (your) full consciousness

In the examples provided in (23), the PP genitive functions as an adjunct (of manner) of the verbdoen(to) do :

Example 23

a. op jou beste wees
on you+SG+POSS best be
be at your best
b. uit jou eie doen
out of you+SG+POSS own do
do (something) on your own
c. op jou eentjie doen
on you+SG+POSS own do
do on your own
d. teen jou beterwete doen
against you+SG+POSS conviction do
do it against your conviction

(vii) The generic (jouyour)

Ponelis (1979:128) (cf. ) points out that die and jouthe/your often replace each other in the construction (24) and, although, jou + Nyour + N looks like a genitive, the jouyour is in fact not a possessive pronoun (which would have made it a genitive) but a generic determiner. Ponelis (1979:128) gives the following two examples to illustrate the point:

Example 24

a. Die/Jou publiek val natuurlik nie vir so 'n argument nie.
the/you+SG+POSS public falls of course not for such an argument
The/?Your public falls of course not for such an argument
Van staatsinmenging
b. Van staatsinmenging wil die/jou sakeman nie hoor nie.
of goverment interference will the/you+SG+POSS business man not hear
Government interference the /?your business man does not tolerate

The data from VivA Korpusportaal shows that thedie/jouthe/your alternation often occurs in informal Afrikaans and suggests that this alternation semantically corresponds to an alternating individual point of view (with diethe) and a generic point of view on objects and events. It also suggests an alternation/code switching between informal variants (with use of jouyour and formal variants of Afrikaans (with the use of dietheThese, however, are matters for further research.

Example 25

a. As jou/die aansoek suksesvol was,...
VivA Korpusportaal
if the/you+SG+POSS application success was
If the/your application was successful,...
b. Die vorige mediese skema moet bevestig wat jou/die einddatum was.
VivA Korpusportaal
the previous medical scheme must confirm what the/you+SG+POSS
the previous medical scheme has to certify what the/your termination date was.

(xviii) Calls/Exclamations

Only the possessive pronoun mymy can be used. Ponelis (1979:128) gives the following examples to illustrate the emphatic and tender (and sometimes compulsory) nature of mymy in such constructions:

Example 26

a. (my) friend
my friend
b. my liewe vriend
my dear(est) friend
c. my liewe ou vrou
my dearest (*old) wife
d. my liefling
(my) sweetheart

Note, however, that lexical items such as vriendfriend and lieflingsweetheart also have a positive connotation.

(ix) Exclamations

The possessive pronouns mymy,jouyour, and sy/haarshe/her combine with other categories to form idioms that are used as exclamations. Ponelis (1979:128-129) gives the following examples of exclamations :

Example 27

...well I never!
good Lord!/ goodness gracious!/great Scott!
(my) Heavens!

The lack of direct language equivalents between Afrikaans and English for the functional category of exclamations, could be due to the idiomatic status of the exclamations, we would guess, or ascribed to the fact that the headword of the idioms have lost there meaning (to some degree) and the construction as a whole express the feelings of surprise or anger of speakers. The same would hold for jou- exclamations:

Example 28

Example 29

a. haar voet (in 'n visblik)
Forget it!/She can forget it!
b. sy voet (in 'n visblik)
he can forget it!
[+] The meaning ofof's andvanof genitives

The concept of 'possession' is central to all genitives (the protype meaning of genitives), but a plus semantic componenent is always added to that of possession, giving rise to numorous meanings of genitives. Kirstin (2016: 241-242) mentions the following: experiencer, agent, objective, relationship, partitive, and attribute (cf. the discussion below).

s' and of genitives share a numer of semantic relations, others they express individualy. These are discussed in detail by Kirsten (2016: 245-247), and in the following we keep to Kirsten's discussion.Where these semantic relations overlap with Ponelis's (1979:126-129), it has been idicated. Occasionally Kirsten (2016) reverts to the examples given by De Stadler (1989) or other resources. Where applicable or relevant, these sources are given. Kirsten (2016:245-247) analyses the semantic relations into those that can be expressed by 's- and of-genitives, and then those that only can be expressed by 's or of genitives'. The examples are taken from Ponelis (1979:126-129), Kirsten (2016:245-247) and other resources, and the presence/absence of a 's-or of-genitive is indicative of what semantic relation either can express.

Possession (= X belongs to Y) (Ponelis, 1979:126 )

Example 30

a. Jan se geld
Jan+SG+POSS money
Jan's money
b. die huis van my pa
the house+SG of my father
the house of my father

Whole and part or unalienable possession (= X belongs to/forms part of Y)(Ponelis 1979:127)

Example 31

(='n omslag is deel van 'n boek)
a. die boek se omslag
the book+SG+POSS cover
the book's cover
(='n liggaamsdeel is deel van die liggaam)
b. Ketiet se voet
Ketiet+SG+POSS foot
Ketiet's foot
(= 'n vertrek is deel van 'n gebou) .
c. die melkkamer van 'n pragtige plaas
the diary of a beautiful farm
the diary of a beautiful farm
d. die vensters van die huis
the window+PLof the house
the windows of the house

Relationships (= Family ties or relationships) (Ponelis 1979: 127)

Example 32

a. Sarie se baas
Sarie+SG+POSS boss
Sarie's boss
b. die pleegmoeder se eie kinders
the foster mother+SG+POSS own child+PL
the foster mother's own cihldren
c. die baas van Sarie
the boss of Sarie
the boss of Sarie
d. die kinders van die pleegmoeder
the child+PL of the foster mother
the children of the foster mother

Place and Time (Ponelis 1979:127)

Example 33

a. Verwoerdburg se belasting;
Verwoerdburg+POSS tax
Verwoerdburg's tax
b. môre se jongmense
tomorrow+POSS youth
tomorrow's youth
c. 'n pelgrim van ver
a pilgrim from afar
a pilgrim from afar

Partitive (= X is a part/proprtion of Y)(De Stadler, 1989:142) (Only expressed by thevanof genitive.)

Example 34

a. party van sy vriende
some of he+POSS friend+PL
some of his friends
b. drie van die kinders
three of the child+PL
three of the children
c. die helfte van die 900 000
the half of the 90000
half of the 900 000
d. sowat die helfte van die 900 000
about the half of the 900 000
about half of the 900 000

Subjective (= X is produced or experienced by Y) (Ponelis 1979:127 )

Example 35

a. die haelstorm se skade
the hailstorm+POSS damage
the hailstorm's damage
(=liefde op 'n manier deur God geproduseer, of gaan dit van hom uit)
b. God se liefde
God+POSS love
God's love
c. die skade van die haelstorm
the damage of the hailstorm
the damage of the hailstorm
(=Oom Andries produseer die gedagte)
d. 'n gedagte van oom Andries
Uncle Andries+POSS plan/thought
Uncle Andries's plan

Duration (Ponelis 1979:128)

Example 36

a. tien uur se reis.
ten hour+PL+POSS travel
ten hours' travel
b. 'n reis van tien uur
a journey of ten hours
a journey of ten hours

Objective (=X is directed toward or applies to Y)

Example 37

(= death applies to his wife)
a. sy vrou se dood
he+POSS wife+POSS death
his wife's death
(=his usual disdain applies to the Khoikhoi)
b. sy gebruiklike afkeer van die Khoikho
he+POSS usual disdain for the Khoikhoi
his usual disdain of the Khoikhoi

Attribute (= X is known by Y)

Example 38

(=reis word gekenmerk deur 'n paar dae)
a. 'n paar dae se reis
a few day+PL+POSS travel
a few days' travel
Example 39

(=gevoelens word gekenmerk deur minderwaardigheid
a. gevoelens van minderwaardigheid
feeling+PL of insecurity
feelings of insecurity

Attributive (= X is a feature of Y; attributive is the reverse of an attibute) .

Example 40

(skerpsinnigheid is 'n eienskap van Pienaar)
a. Pienaar se skerpsinnigheid.
Pienaar+POSS sharpness
Pienaar's sharpness
(snelheid is 'n eienskap van groei)
b. die snelheid van groei:
the speed of growth
the speed of growth

The following meanings can only be expressed by vanof genitives: partitives and appositions (cf.above) and the following:

Example 41

(= misdaad is die daad)
a. die daad van misdaad
the deed of crime
the deed of crime

Material or contents (= X consists of/ is made of/contains)

Example 42

(='n plaat bestaan uit Bosveld-granofier) (
a. 'n plaat van Bosveld-granofier

Source or origin (= X comes from Y)

Example 43

(= Mnr. Krebser is afkomstig van Kroonstad)
a. Mnr. Krebser, van Kroonstad,:
Mr. Krebser, of Kroonstad
Mr.Krebser, of Kroonstad

From Kirstin' analysis of usage data (cf'. Kirsten (2016: 2251 ff.) it becomes clear thatvanof genitives (in the third period/in recent use) are preferred in formal contexts but that se's is preffered above vanof when they can be substituted for each other. However, the formality of the context is only one of the variables that determine the choice of vanof and se's as genitive particle. Just as important is the weight of the NPs of a gentive, whether the possessor is deemed to have a 'soul' or not, the syntactic environment that the genitive has te be inserted and considerations of what NP of the genitive construction the user wants to place the focus. The increase and preference for 's-genitives follow from consideration of language internal variables.

As indicated above, genitives have the general structure NP(1)+ (genitive particle +) NP (2), and it is accepted that in the basic, prototypical meaning of the genitive, NP(1) refers to a human possessor, NP(2) refers to a concrete object (the possesed), that the possessor and possesed are close to each other and that the possessive relation between them is not bound to any specific period (cf. Kirstin (2016) as defined above). Based on these assumptions, Nikifridou (l991) postlates (and presents supporting arguments for) the hypothesis that the denotative meanings of the genitives (in all languages) present a case of structured polisemy (as defined in prototype semantics; cf. Nikiforidou (1991) for references) and that all the meanings associated with the genitve construction are derived as metaphorical extensions from each other. Nikiforidou (1991) provides for two kinds of metaphoric extensions to supprt the hypothesis: the metaphoric derivation of the abstract from the concrete meaning of a genitive (where applicable), and the derivation of polysemous meanings with the well-known metaphors of the type X ARE Y (where one domain X (of experience) -the target domain - is cognitively understood in terms of another domain Y - the source domain..Another way of fomulating the latter, is that the lexical items and syntactic constructions of one domain (the source domain) is used in understanding another domain (the target domain). As will become evident from the examples provided below, that in understanding the two domains as in Afrikaans, like most languages in the world, other lexial items and constructions than the two genitive particles and the genitive construction are used to express our experience(s) and understanding(s) of any domain. The radial structure of the meaning of the genitive construction and the genitive particles (in Afrikaans ) can be read of Nikiforidou's (1991:198) schematic representation of the basic and derived meaings of the genitive conbstruction. In die explanation below, we depart from Nikiforidou's (1991) schema and examples and focus on the meaning and derivation of genitives in Afrikaans.

Starting from the prototypical, concrete meaning of the genitive, the following five meanings as formed by metaforic extensions. Note that in the examples from Afrikaans al three genitive constructions plus some of the lexical items and construction (which differ from the meaning of the two gentive particles se used to refer to the source domain are given:

(i) the concrete the meaning between the whole and its parts of a genitive, for example,

Example 44

Metaphor: Parts are Possessions (concrete and abstract) (sy (Possessor; whole) (het=possessess) bene en arms (possessed; parts)( Pronoun genitive: [[ haar][bene en arms]] (idiom)
a. Sy het arms en bene, laat sy (haarself) gaan
she has arms and legs, let her go
She has arms and legs, let her go
(jou hand= groet; pronoun genitve; idiomatic expression)
b. Gee jou hand vir die professor
give your hand for the professor(
Greet the professor
(=[[die/daardie boom] se [tak]]/[[die tak] van [die/daardie boom]])
c. Hierdie tak lyk of dit by daardie boom pas.
this branch looks like it that tree fits
This branch looks like it fits/belongs to/is part of that tree./the tree's branch; the branch of that tree
d. Hy het sy hand in die ongeluk verloor.
he lost his hand in the accident
He lost his hand in the accident.
(hy kan sien (met sy oë); genitve: sy oë) (idiomatic expression)
e. Ek het oë/ Ek kan sien./Ek het my oë verloor.
I have eyes./ I can see./ I have lost my eyes
I can see/am blind
(apposition; genitive: [[lede] van [die komitee van buitelandse sake]]/[[die komitee van buitelandse sake] se [lede]]
f. Hy behoort aan/is lid van die komitee vir buitelandse sake/ Die komitee van buitelandse sake, waarvan hy lid is,..
he belongs to/is member of the committee on foreingn affairs/ the committee on foreign affairs, of which he is a member
He is a member of the committee on foreign affairs

(Cf. Nikiforidou (1991:170-171).)

(ii) the concrete meaning between experiencer(s) and his/her/their experience(s)/agent and its product(s), for example:

Example 45

Metaphor: Experiences are Possessions (concrete and abstract) (sy (Possessor; experiencer) (het=possessess) (geen) gevoelens/bewondering (possessed; experiences)( Pronoun genitive: [[ haar][gevoelens/bewondering]]
a. Sy het geen gevoelens /bewondering vir enigiemand nie.
she have no feelings/ admiration for anyone
She has no feelings/admiration for anyone
(my bangheid/jaloesie)
b. Ek is bang/jaloers.
I am afraid/jealous.my fear/jealousy
I am afraide/jealous
(haar gevoelens/ die gevoelens van Jan/Jan se gevoelens) (her feelings/ the feelings of Jan/Jan's feelings)
c. Sy het geen gevoelens vir enigiemand die afgelope tyd nie
she has had no feelings for anybody the last time
She has had no feelings for anybody lately
(my haat/ my haat vir hom/sy haat) (my hate/my hate for him/his hate)
d. Ek haat hom.
I hate him
I hate him.

(Cf. Nikiforidou (1991:177-178).)

(iii) the concrete meaning between patient(s) and his/her/their adventure(s) , for example:

Example 46

Metaphor: Things that happen to us are Possessions (concrete and abstract) (Jan (Patient/Possessor; ) (het gehad=possesses) ongeluk (Adventure)(s'/of-/pronoun-genitive: [[Jan] se [ongeluk]]/[[die ongeluk] van [Jan]][[sy] [ongeluk]]) (Jan's accident/the accident of Jan/his accident)
a. Jan het 'n ongeluk gehad verlede week
Jan had an accident last week
Jan had an accident last week.
(sy siekte) (his illnes)
b. Hy het die siekte opgedoen/gekry/aangesteek deur in dieselde kamer te bly as die pasient
he got/contracted the disease by in the same room sleep as the patient
He got the disease by staying in the same room as the pasient.
(sy ongeluk) (his death/accident)
c. Hy het homself (laat) verongeluk.
he himself got killed
He got himself killed/He caused his own death.
(sy hou) (his blow)
d. Hy het 'n hou gekry/opgedoen
he has/got a blow
He got a blow against the head.
(ons oorwinning/verloor) (our win/loss)
e. Ons het gewen/verloor.
our winnig/lost
We have won/lost

(Cf. Nikiforidou (1991:177-178).)

(iv) the concrete meaning between holder(s) and his/her/their attributes(s) , for example:

Example 47

Metaphor: Attributes are Possessions (sy (Patient/Possessor; ) (het=possesses) 'n pragtige bou/lyf (Attibute)(s'/of-/pronoun-genitive: [[haar] [bou/lyf]]/[[die lyf/bou] van [haar]/ [[die vrou] se [lyf]] (her figure)
a. Sy het 'n pragtige bou/lyf
she has a pretty/stunning/fabulouse body
She has a pretty figure.
b. Hy het nie sensiwiteit/waagmoed/respek
he has not got sensitivity/courage/respect
He has no sensitivety/courage/respect.
c. Ek word oud/mooi.
I am getting old/beautiful
I am getting old beautiful (by the day).
d. Ek is oud/braaf.
I am old/brave
I am old/brave.
e. Ek raak nou oud.
I am getting now old
I am getting old now.

(Cf. Nikiforidou (1991:177-178).)

(v) the meaning between person(s) and his/her/their kin , for example:

Example 48

Metaphor: Kin are Possessions (sy (Patient/Possessor; ) (het verloor=possesses) (Kin)(s'/of-/pronoun-genitive: [[haar] [kinders]]/[[die kinders] van [haar]/ [[die vrou] se [lkinders]]
a. Sy het al haar kinders verloor.
she lost all her cildren
She lost/has lost all her children
(her child)/(the mother's child) (the child of the mother)
b. Sy sal sekerlik nie haar kind weggee nie.
she will definitely not her child away
She will definitely not give her child away.
c. Sy het nie kinders/familie nie,
she does not have children/family
She has no children/family.
(haar huishulp) (haar buurman) (her maid)(her neighbour)
d. Sy het die huishulp van haar vorige buurman geërf.
she the house maid of her previous neighbour inherited
She inherited her house maid from her previous neighbour.
e. Hy het nog 'n suster bygekry.
he another sister acquired
He got/required

(Cf. Nikiforidou (1991:185).)

Besides these five primary, metaphorically meanings directly derived from the the main genitive Possessor-Possessed/Possessions, Nikiforidou (1991) also postulates concrete and abstract meanings derived from the genitives already derived from the basic Possessor-Possessed relations. These are considered the result of metaphoric extensions from those already derived from the basic genitive (Possessor-Possessed).The longest of these deviations are those meanings derived via the basic metaphor (of Possessor- Possessions) to the Whole (concrete and abstract) : Part: Origin-Originating element (concrete and abstract), Constituent Material -Entity Constituted, Distinctive Property-Holder of a Property:

(vi) the meaning between origin(s) and its/their originating element(s) are interpreted in terms of the relationship between a whole and its part(s), for example:

Example 49

Metaphor: Constituent Material is Origin ((staal) (Origin ) (word gemaak van = possesses) genitive: [[staal] [yster]]/[[ die staal] van [yster]]
a. Staal word gemaak van yster.
steel is made of iron
Staal is made of iron
b. Hy koop graag standbeelde van/uit hout/ivoor/koper.
he buys statues of wood/ivory/copper
He preferably buys statues of /out of wood/ivory/copper

(Cf. Nikiforidou (1991:181).)

(vii) the meaning between constituent material (concrete and abstract) and thing/entity that is constituted are interpreted in terms of the relationship between a whole and its part(s), for example:

Example 50

Metaphor: Distinctive property is a Constituent part ((Property/Attribute (kenmerke ) (bestaan uit/opgemaak)(sy karakter) genitive: [[kenmerke] van [sy karakter]/[[sy karakter ] se [kenmerke]]
a. Uit watter kenmerke bestaan sy/word sy karakter (opgemaak)?
out of what is he made
What are the features of his character?
b. Hy is pure Suid-Afrikaner!
he is pure South African
He is pure South African. /He is South African in marrow and bone.

(Cf. Nikiforidou (1991:183).)

Two metaphorical extension from Origin-Originating element is that of Causes-Effects and Standard of comparison-Thing compared:

(vii) the meaning between cause (concrete and abstract) and event/thing caused are interpreted in terms of the relationship between origin and originating element, for example:

Example 51

Metaphor: Causes are Origins (Concrete and abstract) Effect (doodgaan) relationship (aan) Cause (bloeding)
a. Hy kon doodgegaan het aan die bloeding.
he could have died by/caused by/of/as a result of the bleeding
He could have died from the bleeding.
Effect (his misery), the cause/origin is being questioned.
b. Wat is die bron/oorsaak van sy treurigheid?
what is the source/cause of his misery
Wat causes his misery?
c. Waar kom hierdie negatiwiteit vandaan?/ Wat is die bron/oorsaak van hierdie negatiwiteit?
where come this negativity from. what is the source of this negativity
Where does this negativity come from?/What is the source of this negativity?

(Cf. Nikiforidou (1991:176).)

The last one we consider is the metaphorical extension of the meaning of the Standard of comparison - Thing compared genitive.

(ix) The meaning between Standard of comparison (concrete and abstract) and the thing compared are interpreted in terms of the relationship between origin and originating element, for example:

Example 52

Metaphor The standard of comparison is an Origin (i.e. these theories have different sources ('come out of different sources' = philospohical frameworks) and these sources, as well as the two theories that originate from them, are far apart)
a. Hierdie twee teorieë is ver van mekaar verwyderd.
these two theories are far apart
These two theories are far apart.
(The things compared are the two houses, but the standard of comparison is not specified, at most it is assumed that the hearer/reader knows what the standard of comparison for theories and house are.)
b. Hierdie huis lyk heeltemal anders as ons s'n.
this house looks completely different than ours
This house looks completely different from ours.

The above is not meant as an exhaustive analysis of the uses of the genitive of Afrikaans or the way in which other lexical items and construction (besides the three genitives) can be used in Afrikaans (as in a number of languages) to express the genitive relation between the NPs (and genitive particles, where applicable). The grammaticality of the examples do, however, lend support this hypothesis, and indicates that this might be a plausible hypothesis to explore systematically (with a far more extensive database of the use of Afrikaans usage as worked with (and cited) here). Further analysis is also required of the radial structured polysemy of the lexical meaning of genitives (i. that they are the product of metaphorical derivation from more 'basic' genitives, the metaphorical relations/rules of derivation involved in genitives, etc -Afrikaans comprehensive explanatory dictionaries, like the WAT, could be consulted with extensive usage corpora.)

  • Dijk, Teun A. van1979Pragmatic ConnectivesJournal of Pragmatics3447-456
  • Gold, David L1998An instance of convergence: Frisian witte and Yiddish mideyeLeuvense Bijdragen87151-153
  • Gold, David L1998An instance of convergence: Frisian witte and Yiddish mideyeLeuvense Bijdragen87151-153
  • Gold, David L1998An instance of convergence: Frisian witte and Yiddish mideyeLeuvense Bijdragen87151-153
  • Klooster, Wim1986Problemen met complementenTabu16122-132
  • Stampe, David1979A Dissertation on Natural Phonology: Including The Acquisition of Phonetic RepresentationIndiana UniversityThesis
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