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NP modification by relative clauses
quickinfo

Relative clauses are introduced by relative pronouns, as in the example below:

Example 1

Die meisie wat hulle gesien het.
the girl that.REL they see.PST have.AUX
The girl that they saw.

Relative clauses can be restrictive or non-restrictive. A restrictive relative clause takes the noun phrase (NP) following a quantifier as its antecedent (compare the first example below), while a non-restrictive relative clause takes the NP including the quantifier as its antecedent (as in the second example below). The relative clauses are indicated in brackets.

Example 2

geen leerling [wat gesond is], hoef na 'n dokter te gaan nie.
no pupil that.REL healthy be.PRS need.AUX.MOD to a doctor PTCL.INF go.INF PTCL.NEG
No pupil who is healthy needs to see a doctor.
Example 3

[Die twee leerlinge, van wie hy baie gehou het,] het vir sy grappies gelag.
the two pupils of who.REL he very of like.PST have.AUX have.AUX for his jokes laugh.PST
The two pupils, that he liked a lot, laughed at his jokes.

Relative clauses may be separated from their antecedent. In the example below, the first bracketed element contains the antecedent, and the second bracketed element contains the relative clause:

Example 4

Hulle het [die man] gesien [wat die hond laat uitgaan het].
they have.AUX the man see.PST that.REL the dog let.LINK out.go have.AUX
They saw the man who let the dog out.

Relative clauses may have a personal pronoun as their antecedent, like hy he in the example below

Example 5

Hy wie die wêreld lief het, het God nie lief nie.
he who.REL the world love have.PRS have.PRS God not love PTCL.NEG
He who loves the world, does not love God.
VivA-KPO

Relative clauses may have a dummy antecedent as their antecedent, as in die the in the first example below, and dit it in the second example:

Example 6

Onthou die wat die vinger wys kry drie terug.
remember those that.REL the finger show get three back
Remember the one that throws one finger, gets three fingers back.
VivA-KPO
Example 7

Dit wat jy gister gedink het, is waar jy vandag staan.
it that.REL you.SG yesterday think.PST have.AUX be.PRS where you.SG today stand
Remember what you thought yesterday, is where you are today.
VivA-KPO
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