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Predication of APs

A predication may involve an adjective phrase (AP) that is predicated of an argument, which (unlike an adjunct) is a necessary component of the relevant clause. The relation between predicate and argument may be modified by the outer structure containing them. An example of a predication is provided below:

Ek vind hom interessant.
I find him interesting.

In the example below, the outer structure of a predication has been bracketed:

[Ek vind] hom interessant.

Predications can be classified according to the syntactic and semantic type of their outer structure:


Predications can be classified according to the syntactic category of the argument and according to the syntactic category of the predicate. In the example below, the argument of the predication, Jan, has been bracketed:

Sy vind [Jan] gaaf.
she find [Jan] friendly
She finds Jan likeable.

There are three types of predicative constructions providing an outer structure, and an example of each of them is provided below.

  • Complementive:

    In a complementive construction, the presence of the predicate is required by the larger structure in which it occurs. This larger structure generally involves a main verb. The verb in the outer structure cannot occur without the AP. Examples containing copulas occur below:

    Die kind is sopnat.
    the child be.PRS soup.wet
    The child is sopping wet.
    Martie bly kwaad vir my.
    Martie stay cross for me
    Martie remains cross with me.
    Jy het die antwoord verkeerd.
    you have.AUX the answer wrong
    You have got the answer wrong.
  • Supplementive:

    In supplementive and appositive constructions, the predication is an optional addition to the outer structure and to a nominal argument in it, for example dronk drunk in example (7) below.

    Gert het dronk by die deur ingestrompel.
    Gert have.AUX drunk stumbled by the door in
    Gert stumbled in through the door, drunk.
  • Appositive:

    In appositive structures, the predication is not integrated in the syntactic structure, as signalled by the comma intonation.

    Toe gaan Jesus, uitgeput van die reis, by die fontein van Jakob sit.
    then go Jesus, exhausted from the journey, by the fountain of Jacob sit
    Then Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by Jacob's well.

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