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Clause adverbs

Clause adverbs can be used in the syntactic frame that is given below, accompanied by an example.

Syntactic frame: Dit is it is ADVERB dat that CLAUSE.


Gelukkig het ons onthou.
fortunate have.AUX we remembered
Fortunately we remembered.
Dit is gelukkig so dat ons onthou het.
it is fortunate so that.COMP we remember have.AUX
It is fortunately so that we remembered.

Verb phrase (VP) adverbs fail this test, as shown below:

Ons het betyds onthou.
we have.AUX remembered in time
We remembered in time.
*Dit is betyds so dat ons onthou het.
it be.PRS in.time so that.COMP we remembered have.AUX
It is in time so that we remembered.

Five types of clause adverbs can be semantically distinguished, as below. The syntactic position of the various adverbs when occurring together in a sentence follows a certain pattern, corresponding more or less to the sequence as indicated below:

  1. Modal blykbaar apparently
  2. Subjective gelukkig fortunately
  3. Frequency altyd always
  4. Time gister yesterday
  5. Emphasis werklik really


Modal adverbs

Modal clause adverbs express modalities such as necessity, possibility, probability, certainty, etc.

Table 1
blykbaar apparently
beslis definitely
miskien maybe
dalk possibly
natuurlik of course, naturally
waarskynlik probably
klaarblyklik evidently

In some cases, there are semantic equivalents belonging to a different syntactic category. Thus, the adjectival adverb klaarblyklik evidently is roughly equivalent to the PPvoor die hand liggend obviously. At the same time, some modal adverbs also function as adjectives, such as beslis definite, natuurlik natural and waarskynlik probable. Here are some examples of adverbial use:

Miskien gaan dit duur·der kos.
maybe goes it expensive·CMPR cost
Maybe it will become more expensive.
Dit is klaarblyklik baie ingewikkeld.
it be.PRS evidently very complicated
It is evidently very complicated.

Subjective adverbs

Subjective clause adverbs express the speaker's subjective emotion or evaluation concerning the denotation of the clause, such as hope or happiness. They include the following:

Table 2
gelukkig fortunately
ongelukkig unfortunately
hopelik hopefully

While the last example, hopelik hopefully can only operate as a subjective adverb, the first two, which can also be used as adjectives, differ not only syntactically from the adjective counterparts, but also semantically. If used as adjectives or VP adverbs, gelukkig and ongelukkig can also mean happy or happily and unhappy and unhappily, respectively. The threefold applications are illustrated below:

Hulle het gelukkig net betyds opgedaag.
they have.AUX fortunately just in.time arrived
Fortunately, they arrived just in time.
My jare in die Kaap was baie gelukkig.
my years in the Cape be.PST very happy
My years in the Cape were very happy.
Hulle het lank gelukkig saamgewoon.
they have.AUX long happily lived.together
They lived happily together for a long time.

Frequency adverbs

Frequency adverbs provide information about the frequency of occurrence of events, and are distinguished from time adverbs, which indicate duration or point of time. Examples of frequency adverbs incluce weekliks weekly and jaarliks annually:

Die kabinetsvergadering vind weekliks plaas.
the cabinet.meeting takes weekly place
The cabinet meeting takes place weekly.
Die wingerde word jaarliks gesnoei.
the vineyards be.AUX.PASS.PRS annually prune.PASS
The vineyards are pruned annually.

Frequency adverbs are often NPs rather than APs, such as below. This type of frequency expression is built on the quantifier elke every:

'n Kanonskoot word elke middag om twaalfuur afgeskiet.
a canon.shot be.AUX.PASS.PRS every midday at twelve.o'clock down.shoot.PASS
A cannon shot is fired every day at noon.

In addition, PPs are often used, especially in idiomatic expressions, to express similar content as adverbs, for example

Table 3
al om die hawerklap time and again
met elke nuwemaan with every new moon

Some more frequency adverbs include the following:

Table 4
heeltyd continually, all the time
dikwels often
soms, somtyds sometimes
meestal mostly
gereeld regularly
selde rarely
eenkeer once

Time adverbs

Time adverbs provide information about the time at which an event occurred.

Time adverbs include the following:

Table 5
nou now
toe then
vandag today
deesdae today the day > in these days
môre tomorrow
gister yesterday
al already
vroeër in the past, earlier, previously
uiteindelik eventually
oplaas finally
destyds in the past, formerly
net just
laas, onlangs lately, recently
later later
sedertdien since
gou soon
nog still
nog yet


Adverbs of emphasis add emotional emphasis to the utterance, and include examples such as

Table 6
regtig really
absoluut absolutely
veral especially
spesifiek specifically

As in the case of frequency adverbs, PPs such as in die besonder in particular also occur to provide emphasis to clauses, as in

Ons verwelkom in die besonder die besoekers uit die buiteland.
we welcome in the particular the visitors out.of the foreign.country
We welcome in particular the visitors from abroad.
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