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Finite declarative complement clauses: lexical and semantic associations

The use of finite declarative verb complement clauses is associated with specific sets of lexical and semantic options in the three syntactic positions of the clause – object, subject and predicate positions, the latter being the complementive in a copular clause. In the object position, verbs that denote a process of communication (as in (1)), a mental process (as in (2)), or a process of causation (as in (3)) are most frequently found.

Beyers sy ore is al skoon seer.
Beyers say.PRS his ears be.PRS already quite sore
Beyers says that his ears are already quite sore.
Ek dink daar steek 'n groot waarheid in.
I think.PRS there stick.PRS a great truth in
I think there is a great deal of truth in that.
Wanbetaling deur hul huurders het veroorsaak dat die eienaars se verbandbetaling nie op datum was nie.
Mis.payment by their tenants have.AUX cause.PST that.COMP the owners PTCL.GEN bond.payment not on date be.PRT PTCL.NEG
Non-payment by their tenants caused the owners' bond payments to fall behind schedule.

Certain verbs in this set, especially high-frequency verbs among the communication and mental subclasses, typically associate with the variant Ø+[SVX], while the causative verbs in general, and the lower-frequency verbs among the mental and communication verbs, are more frequently associated with the variant dat+[SXV].

The verb in the matrix clause that takes a subject clause is a copular verb, usually is be.PRS or its past-tense form was be.PRT, although verbs like bly to remain or word to become are also found. More characteristic of subject clause use are the restrictions on the complementive. Adjectives that denote epistemic meanings, such as duidelik clear, waar true or noodsaaklik necessary; or evaluative meanings, such as belangrik important or goed good, are the most common, as illustrated by (4) and (5), but a few abstract noun phrase complements are also found, as illustrated by (6).

Dis duidelik dat die Suid-Afrikaanse produk oorsee gesog is.
It=be.PRS clear that.COMP the South-African product overseas seek.PST.PTCP be.PRS
It's clear that the South African product is much sought after overseas.
Volgens De Lille is dit belangrik dat ouers hul kinders vry van enige stereotipering moet grootmaak.
according De Lille be.PRS it important that.COMP parents their children free of any stereotyping must.AUX.MOD raise.INF
According to De Lille it is important that parents should raise their children free of any stereotyping .
Vir Juan is dit 'n groot terugslag dat hy nie in die Super14-reeks kan speel nie.
for Juan be.PRS it a big back.blow that.COMP he not in the Super 14-series can.AUX.MOD play.INF PTCL.NEG
For Juan it is a great setback that he cannot play in the Super 14 series.

When declarative complement clauses are used as complementives to copular verbs, the copular verb is be.PRS, and to a lesser degree was be.PRT, combines with a subject noun phrase that contains a range of abstract nouns (Ponelis 1979"453). While the complementive clause construction is relatively less frequent than the object or subject clause (see the section on the syntactic positions of the declarative complement clause), a number of nouns can be identified that are typically used with complementive clauses. A number of coherent subsets can be identified among these nouns:

  • descriptions of steps in an argument, such as probleem problem, gevolg consequence or gevolgtrekking conclusion (illustrated in (7))
  • nouns that convey an epistemic meaning, such as feit fact or waarheid truth (illustrated in (8))
  • nouns that convey an evaluative meaning, such as ironie irony, tragedie tragedy or geneuk mess (illustrated in (9)).

Die probleem is dat hierdie werkswyse tydrowend is.
the problem be.PRS that.COMP here.this work.way time.stealing be.PRS
The problem is that this method is time-consuming.
Maar die objektiewe waarheid is dat hy tyd gekoop het.
but the objective truth be.PRS that.COMP he time buy.PST have.AUX
But the objective truth is that he bought time.
Die enigste geneuk is dat jy dit moet loop terugvra wanneer jy dit self nodig het.
the only mess be.PRS that.COMP you it must.AUX.MOD go.LINK back.ask.INF when you it self needed have.PRS
The only trouble is that you have to go ask for it back when you need it yourself.
TK, adapted

A second, smaller subset uses the verb blyk to appear/emerge and the expletive subject dit it, as in (10). The use of blyk with declarative complement clauses contrasts with a number of other copular verbs that take interrogative complement clauses (see the section on semantic and lexical associations of interrogative complement clauses), such as lyk to seem/appear, voorkom to appear, voel to feel, smaak to taste, and klink to sound(Ponelis 1979:219,453).

Dit blyk dat die Bok-slot wel beskikbaar was vir die toets teen Wallis.
it appear.PRS that.COMP the Bok-lock indeed available be.PRT for the test against Wales
It appears that the Bok forward was available for the test against Wales after all.
TK, adapted
[+]Lexical and semantic associations of declarative complement clauses as object clauses

Declarative complement clauses are used as object clauses to a number of verbs, which have been studied in some detail by Van Rooy and Kruger (2016) and Colleman et al. (2016). Some of these verbs are very frequent in Afrikaans and also occur extremely frequently as complement-taking verbs: to say, weet to know, dink to think and glo to believe. Based on an analysis of the Taalkommissiekorpus, their frequency as verbs with declarative complement clauses ranges from 1,100 to 200 per million words. Other verbs associated with declarative complement clauses in object position occur at a frequency below 100 per million words.

The four high-frequency verbs occur most frequently with a complement clause in the form Ø+[SVX], although the variant dat+[SXV] is attested in approximately 45% of instances in the case of weet to know, and just below 5% in the case of the other three verbs (Van Rooy and Kruger 2016). These four verbs are also the ones most commonly found with the non-standard form of the complement clause dat+[SVX] in spoken Afrikaans. Examples (11), (12), (13) and (14) illustrate their use without ((a) examples) and with ((b) examples) complementisers.

a. Sy haar ma is baie swak en word vinnig moeg.
she say.PRS her mother be.PRS very weak and become.PRS quickly tired
She says her mother is very weak and tires quickly.
b. Die adjunkminister het egter reeds gesê dat wat gebeur het, onaanvaarbaar is.
the deputy.minister have.AUX however already say.PST that.COMP what happen.PST have.AUX unacceptable be.PRS
The adjunct minister has, however, already said that what happened is unacceptable.
TK, adapted
a. Misdadigers weet hulle kan met alles wegkom.
criminals know.PRS they can.AUX.MOD with everything away.get.INF
Criminals know they can get away with everything.
b. Daarby moet die dader ook weet dat die wegneem van die minderjarige wederregtelik is.
there.to must.AUX.MOD the doer also know.INF that.COMP the take.away of the minor against.law be.PRS
In addition, the transgressor should also know that it is against the law to take a minor away.
a. Hulle dink dit spook.
they think.PRS it haunt.PRS
They think it is haunted.
TK, adapted
b. Sommige aspirant-digters lees glad nie poësie nie, maar dink dat elke enkele teks wat hulle skryf, iewers gepubliseer moet word.
some aspirant-poets read.PRS wholly not poetry PTCL.NEG but think.PRS that.COMP every single text that.REL they write.PRS somewhere publish.PASS must.AUX.MOD be.AUX.PASS.INF
Some aspiring poets don't read any poetry at all, but think that each and every text they write should be published somewhere.
TK, adapted
a. Ek glo al die WP-ondersteuners in Gauteng sal ons die naweek op Loftus kom ondersteun.
I believe.PRS all the WP-supporters in Gauteng will.AUX.MOD us the weekend on Loftus come.LINK support.INF
I believe all the WP supporters in Gauteng will come and support us this weekend at Loftus.
TK, adapted
b. Voorheen het sterrekundiges geglo dat hierdie kolle nie bekwame broeiplekke vir sterre was nie.
before have.AUX astronomers believe.PST that.COMP these spots not able breeding.places for stars be.PRT PTCL.NEG
Before astronomers believed that these spots were not viable breeding places for stars.

The factors that are important to the choice between the variants of the complement clause are discussed in the section on the construction forms of the declarative complement clause. In this discussion, the focus is on the lexical verbs and semantic classes that typically take finite declarative complement clauses, irrespective of the form of the complement clause, drawing on the findings of Van Rooy and Kruger (2016) and Colleman et al. (2016).

Verbs taking declarative complement clauses represent four semantic classes in the main. Communication verbs, beside to say, include verbs like erken to admit, stel to state, waarsku to warn, verduidelik to explain, skryf to write, aanbeveel to recommend, ontken to deny, byvoeg to add, belowe to promise, meedeel to inform, argumenteer to argue, and bespiegel to speculate.

These verbs represent the act of communication with a range of more specific senses beyond what is contained in to say. Some are speech acts other than representatives, such as directives (waarsku to warn, aanbeveel to recommend; illustrated in (15)), commissives (belowe to promise, beloof to promise, sweer to swear; illustrated in (16)) or declarations (verklaar to declare; illustrated in (17)).

Die ondersoekbeampte beveel aan dat die ondersoek na ander koshuise uitgebrei moet word.
the investigating.official recommend.PRS on.PREP.PTCL that.COMP the investigation to other residences out.PREP.PTCL.extend.PASS must.AUX.MOD be.AUX.PASS.PRS
The investigative officer recommends that the investigation be extended to other residences.
TK, adapted
Ek belowe ek sal nooit weer drink nie.
I promise.PRS I will.AUX.MOD never again drink.INF PTCL.NEG
I promise I'll never drink again.
Die kommissaris het verklaar dat die geskil nie deur konsiliasie opgelos kan word nie.
the commisioner have.AUX declare.PST that.COMP the disagreement not through conciliation up.PREP.PTCL.solve.PASS can.AUX.MOD be.AUX.PASS.INF PTCL.NEG
The commissioner declared that the disagreement could not be resolved by conciliation.
TK, adapted

Some verbs profile the mode of communication (skryf to write, e-pos to e-mail), or the manner in which the communication is presented (skerts to joke, skimp to hint, rondvertel to blab, uitblaker to blab), as in (18) and (19), respectively.

In 'n brief aan die polishouers, skryf die kurators dat die versekeraar die risiko vir die diefstal moet dra.
in a letter to the policy.holders write.PRS the curators that.COMP the insurer the risk for the theft must.AUX.MOD carry.INF
In a letter to the policyholders, the curators write that the insurer must carry the risk of the theft.
TK, adapted
Die inwoners van Henley-on-Klip is in rep en roer nadat Amerikaanse koerante dit uitgeblaker het dat Brangelina op Kersdag in hul dorpie wil afhaak.
the inhabitants of Henley-on-Klip be.PRS in move and stir after American newspapers it out.PREP.PTCL.blab.PST have.AUX that.COMP Brangelina on Christmas.day in their town.DIM will.AUX.MOD off.PREP.PTCL.hook.INF
The residents of Henley-on-Klip are all abuzz after American newspapers told the world that Brangelina want to get hitched in their little town on Christmas day.
TK, adapted

Other verbs embed the representation in a larger discourse of argumentation (verduidelik to explain, argumenteer to argue, byvoeg to add), or add the sense that a proposition is revealed to the reader/listener (onthul to reveal, bieg to confess, bekendmaak to reveal), as in (20) and (21), respectively.

Ook McHale argumenteer dat daar geen vaste grens tussen die modernisme en die postmodernisme bestaan nie.
also McHale argue.PRS that.COMP there no fixed boundary between the modernism and the postmodernism exist.PRS PTCL.NEG
McHale, too, argues that there exists no fixed boundary between modernism and postmodernism.
Die koerant kan vandag onthul dat raadslede die toelaes voortydig gevat het.
the newspaper can.AUX.MOD today reveal.INF that.COMP council.members the allowances prematurely take.PST have.AUX
The newspaper can today reveal that council members accepted the allowances prematurely.
TK, adapted

Yet other verbs amplify (stel to state, konstateer to state, herbevestig to re-emphasise) or hedge the certainty of the statement in the complement clause (bespiegel to speculate, gis to speculate), as in (22) and (23), or deny it (ontken to deny), as in (24).

Ek wil dit kategories stel dat die komitee nie enige vertraging gaan duld nie.
I want.to.AUX.MOD it categorical state.INF that.COMP the committee not any delay go.LINK tolerate.INF PTCL.NEG
I want to state categorically that the committee wil not tolerate any delay.
Daar word bespiegel dat hy die huis vanaand al sal verlaat.
there be.AUX.PASS.PRS speculate.PASS that.COMP he the house tonight already will.AUX.MOD leave.INF
It is speculated that he will leave the house tonight already.
TK, adapted
Die koerant ontken dat hy die mediese rekords gekoop het.
the newspaper deny.PRS that.COMP he the medical records buy.PST have.AUX
The newspaper denies that he bought the medical records.
TK, adapted

A second semantic class, which is related to communication processes but also shows some semantic similarity with copular verbs that combine with complementive rather than object clauses, are verbs of signification, including beteken to mean, impliseer to imply, behels to involve, bewys to prove, verklaar to explain, veronderstel to presuppose, beklemtoon to emphasise, bevestig to confirm, bepaal to determine, volg to follow, benadruk to emphasise and suggereer to suggest. These verbs tend to take an inanimate subject, often the pronoun dit it, which refers anaphorically to some prior piece of information, and usually take the variant dat+[SXV] of the complement clause (Colleman et al. 2016:116). These verbs postulate relations between propositions, rather than report what some human agent has said. Typical examples of such usage are illustrated in (25), (26) and (27).

Dit beteken dat ons net vyf tot nege dinge op 'n slag kan dink.
it mean.PRS that.COMP we just five to nine things on a time can.AUX.MOD think.INF
It means that we can only think five to nine things at a time.
Dit impliseer dat duisende sprinkane op 'n klein stukkie grond kan uitbroei.
it imply.PRS that.COMP thousands grasshoppers on a small piece.DIM land can out.PREP.PTCL.hatch .INF
It implies that thousands of grasshoppers can hatch on a small piece of land.
Dit behels dat maatskappye verslag doen oor hulle werksaamheid.
it involve.PRS that.COMP companies report do.PRS over their activity
It involves that companies report on their activities.

Mental verbs, the third semantic class, introduce the content of an idea, a thought or a realisation. They attribute beliefs to their subjects when combined with declarative complement clauses. Apart from the three highly frequent mental verbs, dink to think, weet to know and glo to believe, other mental verbs that frequently combine with declarative complement clauses are (in order of decreasing frequency in the Taalkommissiekorpus): onthou to remember, sien to see, voel to feel, hoor to hear, besluit to decide, vind to find, vermoed to suspect, verstaan to understand, wens to wish, ontdek to discover, uitvind to find out, vergeet forget, begryp to comprehend, skat to guess/estimate, raai to guess, wis to know, bemerk to notice, and ontgaan to elude.

A first subgroup of these verbs attribute a state of knowledge to the subject of the main clause, such as verstaan to understand, begryp to comprehend and wis to know, as in (28).

Hulle verstaan dat daar faktore buite hulle beheer is.
they understand.PRS that.COMP there factors outside their control be.PRS
They understand that there are factors beyond their control.
TK, adapted

A second subgroup of mental verbs are sensory verbs in their primary sense (sien to see, voel to feel, hoor to hear), as illustrated in (29), but these are also used to attribute a mental state rather than a sensory perception to their subjects through metaphoric extension of the sensory verb to a mental state, as in (30).

Sy sien dat sy een ooglid begin spring.
she see.PRS that.COMP his one eyelid start.LINK jump.INF
She sees that his one eyelid is beginning to twitch.
TK, adapted
Sy sien dat sy gedagtes nou agter daardie klipplaat is.
she see.PRS that.COMP his thoughts now behind that rock.slab be.PRS
She sees that his thoughts are on the other side of the rocks over there.
TK, adapted

A third subgroup of mental verbs relate to the onset of a state of knowledge, either by deciding something (besluit to decide; see (31)), recalling something (onthou to remember; see (32)) or discovering something (vind to find, ontdek to discover, uitvind to find out, bemerk to notice; see (33)).

Ek het besluit my heil lê nie in rugby nie.
I have.AUX decide.PST my salvation lie.PRS not in rugby PTCL.NEG
I have decided that my salvation does not lie in rugby.
Ek kan nie onthou dat ek so iets gesê het nie.
I can.AUX.MOD not remember.INF that.COMP I such something say.PST have.AUX PTCL.NEG
I cannot remember having said something like that.
Sedert die 1970’s het navorsers en afrigters ontdek dat sterkte- en kragoefening vir byna alle sportsoorte en -aktiwiteite belangrik is.
since the 1970s have.AUX researchers and coaches discover.PST that.COMP strength- and power.excercise for nearly all sport.types and -activities important be.PRS
Since the 1970s, researchers and coaches have discovered that strength and power exercises are important for nearly all kinds of sports types and activities.

Conversely, it can also be attributed to the subject that he/she loses a piece of information (vergeet to forget; see (34)) or fails to recall it (ontgaan to elude; see (35)). Various degrees of uncertainty can also be expressed if a piece of information is guessed (raai to guess, skat to guess/estimate; see (36)), or a particular state of affairs is desired (wens to wish, hoop to hope; see (37)).

Hy het skoon vergeet dat sy laai nie gesluit was nie.
he have.AUX clean forgot.PST that.COMP his drawer not lock.PASS be.AUX.PASS.PST PTCL.NEG
He clean forgot that his drawer wasn't locked.
TK, adapted
Dit ontgaan Charlotta nie dat hy oom Petrus nie eens noem nie.
it elude.PRS Charlotta not that.COMP he uncle Petrus not even mention.PRS PTCL.NEG
It doesn't escape Charlotta's notice that he doesn't even mention uncle Petrus.
Wie sou kon raai dat dit so koud gaan wees?
who will.AUX.MOD.PRT can.AUX.MOD.PRT guess.INF that.COMP it so cold go.LINK be.INF
Who would have guessed that it would be so cold?
TK, adapted
Ek wens alles was nog dieselfde.
I wish.PRS everything be.PRT still the.same
I wish everything was still the same.

The final group of verbs that often combine with declarative complement clauses are causative verbs(Colleman et al. 2016:127-128). The matrix clause reports on an initial event that causes a second event, where the second event is reported is the complement clause. These verbs include sorg to ensure, keer to prevent, veroorsaak to cause, toelaat to allow, verhoed to prevent, voorkom to prevent, toesien to ensure, meebring to entail, and bydra to contribute. Certain uses of the much higher frequency verbs maak to make and help to help also fall in this category. Typical examples are presented in (38), (39), (40) and (41).

Moegheid maak dat sy gelukkig ook droomloos slaap.
tiredness make.PRS that.COMP she happily also dreamless sleep.PRS
Tiredness fortunately induces a dreamless sleep in her.
Stormweer sorg dat bome sterk hout oplewer.
storm.weather ensure.PRS that.COMP trees strong wood yield.PRS
Stormy weather ensures that trees yield strong wood.
Hulle moet betrokke raak en probeer keer dat nog ou geboue gesloop word.
they must.AUX.MOD involved get.INF and try.LINK prevent.INF that.COMP more old buildings demolish.PASS be.AUX.PASS.PRS
They must become involved and try to prevent that more old buildings are demolished.
Verskeie faktore veroorsaak dat bejaardes meer blootgestel is aan depressie as andere.
various factors cause.PRS that.COMP elderly.PL more expose.PASS be.AUX.PASS.PST to depression than others
Various factors cause the elderly to be more exposed to depression than others.

Afrikaans often expresses causation with a causative verb complemented by a bare infinitive verb, with verbs such as laat to let, help to help, and maak to make, as illustrated by (42a), (42b) and (46c). If the second clause requires a subject, i.e. the agent of the second verb, the Accusativus-cum-Infinitivo construction is used, as illustrated specifically by (42b) and (46c).

a. Dit het my geloof in ons demokrasie laat wankel.
it have.AUX my faith in our democracy let.LINK shake.INF
It made my faith in our democracy falter.
TK, adapted
b. Die stres daarvan laat nou sy huweliksbootjie wankel.
the stress there.of let.LINK now his marriage.boat.DIM shake.INF
The stress from that has now made his marriage boat rock.

Some verbs, such as dwing to force (illustrated in (43)), verplig to compel and certain senses of kry to get, combine with full infinitive complement clauses, alongside some of the verbs listed above such as toelaat to allow (illustrated in (44)), keer to prevent, and verhoed to prevent. The choice between a declarative and infinitive complement to express causation is in part conventionalised: some causative verbs combine only with one type of complement clause, such as laat to let in (42) that always takes a bare infinitive, dwing to force in (43) that always takes a full infinitive, and veroorsaak to cause in (45) that always takes a finite declarative complement clause.

Selfoonoperateurs dwing jou om 'n SIM-kaart te koop.
cellphone.operators force.PRS you for.COMP a SIM-card PTCL.INF buy.INF
Cellphone operators force you to buy a SIM-card.
TK, adapted
Gaan die predikant toelaat dat hy uit die plaaslike kerk begrawe word?
go.LINK the minister allow.INF that.COMP he out the local church bury.PASS be.AUX.PASS.PRS
Is the minister going to allow that he be buried from the local church?
TK, adapted
Die ophoping van uitstaande skuld kan veroorsaak dat mense hul huise verkoop.
the accomulation of outstanding debt can.AUX.MOD cause.INF that.COMP people their houses sell.PRS
The accumulation of debt can cause people to sell their houses.
TK, adjusted

There are, however, causative verbs that combine with more than one type of complement clause. In such cases, there are slight differences in the construal of the relationship between the two events expressed by the two verbs (initial causation and eventual outcome). The selection of the finite declarative complement clause serves to separate the two events into two clearly separate processes, often consecutive rather than concurrent, as in (46a). With infinitive complement clauses, as in (46b) and (46c), the entire event is construed in one step. If the full infinitive is selected, however, it is often the case that the causation is of an indirect nature, as in (46b), whereas the construal is of a more direct kind with bare infinitives, as in (46c). However, this account, while in keeping with similar accounts in the literature on other Germanic languages (see Egan (2008:204-214) for analysis and discussion of the verb help in English), has not yet been investigated in any depth for Afrikaans and should be treated as speculative at this stage.

a. Die oorwinning sal help dat die land weer kop optel.
the victory will.AUX help.INF that.COMP the country again head up.PREP.PTCL.lift.PRS
The victory will help that the country lifts its head again.
TK, adapted
b. Ek help hom om 'n stok te kies by sommige putjies.
I help.PRS him for.COMP a club PTCL.INF choose.INF at some holes
I help him to choose a club at some holes.
TK, adapted
c. Wie help die kind kersies doodblaas op die verjaarsdagkoek?
who help.PRS the child candles dead.blow.INF on the birthday.cake
Who helps the child blow out candles on the birthday cake?
TK, adapted
[+]Declarative subject clauses

Subject clauses that occur in sentence-initial position are rare, which poses difficulties for determining any lexical associations of this subject-clause construction. The examples discovered in the Taalkomissiekorpus show that the copular verb wees to be is used alongside a number of other verbs, while a wide range of possible complements (including complementives and direct objects) combine with the subject clause. This is a highly schematic construction without strong lexical associations. It is restricted to the more formal, written registers, while it is extremely unlikely to occur in spoken language. A few examples illustrating the diversity of subject clause usage are presented in (47), (48) and (49).

Dat Nieu-Seeland steeds van nêrens af kan punte aanteken, was duidelik en dat die Wallaby-verdedigingspatroon meer aandag verg as om bloot aanhoudend in hulle vas te hardloop, ditto.
[(SUB) [(CC) dat Nieu-Seeland steeds van nêrens af kan punte aanteken]], [(V2) was] [(COMPLM) duidelik] en [(SUB) [(CC) dat die Wallaby-verdedigingspatroon meer aandag verg as om bloot aanhoudend in hulle vas te hardloop]], ditto
That New Zealand can still score points from nowhere was clear and that the Wallaby defensive pattern requires more attention than simply running into them all the time, ditto.
Dat ons nie almal uit een mond kon praat nie en oor bepaalde sake soms selfs teenoorgestelde standpunte ingeneem het, het ons persoonlike geloofwaardigheid by die oorsese kerke versterk.
[(SUB) [(CC) dat ons nie almal uit een mond kon praat nie en oor bepaalde sake soms selfs teenoorgestelde standpunte ingeneem het]], [(V2) het] [(OBJ) ons persoonlike geloofwaardigheid] [(ADV) by die oorsese kerke] [(VF) versterk]
That we did not all tell the same story and even took opposing viewpoints on some issues, did increase our personal credibility with the international churches.
Dat hierdie haat-liefde-verhouding ook 'n vorm van liefhê is, dat "liefde" meer is as "... and they lived happily ever after", is beslis 'n troos in dié land met sy problematiese verhoudinge.
[(SUB) [(CC) dat hierdie haat-liefde-verhouding ook 'n vorm van liefhê is], [(CC) dat “liefde” meer is as “... and they lived happily ever after”]], [(V2) is] [(ADV) beslis] [(COMPLM) 'n troos] [(ADV) in dié land met sy problematiese verhoudinge]
That this hate-love-relationship is also a form of loving, that "love" is more than "... and they lived happily ever after", is certainly a consolation in this country with its problematic relationships.

The alternative formal variant of the declarative complement clause as subject clause, with initial empty subject dit it and extraposition of the subject clause, is considerably more frequent in writing and is attested in speech, although at much lower frequency. A number of adjectives can be identified that frequently function as complementive. One set of adjectives denote epistemic meanings and assess the degree of certainty or truthfulness associated with the complement clause. These adjectives, in order of decreasing frequency in the Taalkommissiekorpus, include: duidelik clear, noodsaaklik essential, moontlik possible, bekend known, onwaarskynlik unlikely, waar true, and waarskynlik likely.

Apart from duidelik clear, which sometimes (about 10% of the time) occurs with a complement clause without complementiser dat that, as in (50), all other adjectives combine with complement clauses that take the complement clause with the variant dat+[SXV] almost without exception, as in (51) and (52). It is also only duidelik clear that combines with some regularity with the past tense copular verb was be.PRT, as in (53), while most other adjectives are almost completely restricted to the present tense.

Dit is duidelik hy kry voorkeurbehandeling.
[(EXPL) dit] [(V2) is] [(COMPLM) duidelik] [(CC) hy kry voorkeurbehandeling]
it be.PRS clear he get.PRS preference.treatment
It is clear he gets preferential treatment.
Dit is moontlik dat sy aansoek iewers verlore geraak het.
[(EXPL) dit] [(V2) is] [(COMPLM) moontlik] [(CC) [(Comp) dat] sy aansoek iewers verlore geraak het]
it be.PRS possible that.COMP his application somewhere lost.PST.PTCP get.PST have.AUX
It is possible that his application got lost somewhere.
TK, adapted
Dit is onwaarskynlik dat nog oorlewendes gevind sal word.
[(EXPL) dit] [(V2) is] [(COMPLM) onwaarskynlik] [(CC) [(Comp) dat] nog oorlewendes gevind sal word]
it be.PRS unlikely that.COMP more surviors find.PASS will.AUX.MOD be.AUX.PASS.PRS
It is unlikely that more survivors will be found.
TK, adapted
Dit was duidelik dat verskeie boere dit moeilik vind om binne die voorgeskrewe tydperk te dip.
[(EXPL) dit] [(V2) was] [(COMPLM) duidelik] [(CC) [(Comp) dat] verskeie boere dit moeilik vind om binne die voorgeskrewe tydperk te dip]
it be.PRT clear that.COMP several farmers it difficult find.PRS for.COMP in the prescribed timeframe PTCL.INF dip.INF
It was clear that several farmers found it difficult to dip within the prescribed period.
PCSA, adjusted

The other set of adjective complements that combine with extraposed subject clauses are evaluative adjectives, which offer a subjective assessment of a state of affairs that is expressed by the subject clause. Examples of these are: belangrik important, nodig essential, jammer regrettable, opvallend noticeable, interessant interesting, ironies ironic, goed good, opmerklik noticeable, onaanvaarbaar unacceptable, and kommerwekkend worrying.

These adjectives combine with subject clauses that almost invariably take the form dat+[SXV], and a present-tense copular verb, as in (54), (55) and (56).

Dit is interessant dat die meeste van hierdie instrumente nie as outentieke barok-instrumente ingespan word nie.
it be.PRS interesting that.COMP the most of these instruments not as authentic baroque-instruments harness.PASS be.AUX.PASS.PRS PTCL.NEG
It is interesting that most of these instruments are not used as authentic baroque instuments.
TK, adapted
Dit is jammer dat so iets gebeur het.
it be.PRS regrettable that.COMP such something happen.PST have.AUX
It is a pity that something like this happened.
TK, adapted
Dit is ironies dat sommige streke van die wêreld 'n afname in temperatuur as gevolg van aardverhitting ervaar.
it be.PRS ironic that.COMP some regions of the world a decrease in temperature as consequence of earth.heating experience.PRS
It is ironic that certain regions in the world experience a decrease in temperature as a consequence of global warming.
TK, adapted

Ponelis (1979:451) notes that abstract nouns also combine with subject clauses, and lists the example in (57).

Dis g'n wonder dat jy laat is nie.
it=be.PRS no wonder that.COMP you.SG late be.PRS PTCL.NEG
It's no wonder that you are late.
(Ponelis 1979:451)

In the Taalkommissiekorpus, abstract nouns do occur with subject clauses, but with such a low frequency that apart from the prepositional phrase van ADJ belang of ADJ importance and the noun phrase uitgemaakte saak forgone conclusion, exemplified by (58), no other nouns achieve a noticeable frequency in the data.

Dit is nie 'n uitgemaakte saak dat 'n nuwe afrigter met dieselfde span dieselfde sukses sal behaal nie.
it be.PRS not a forgone matter that.COMP a new coach with the.same team the.same success will.AUX.MOD achieve.INF PTCL.NEG
It is not a forgone conclusion that a new coach will achieve the same success with the same team.

Ponelis (1979:452) lists experiential verbs such as the following pas to suit, baat to benefit, aangaan to concern and interesseer to interest, as well as other verbs and verb complement groups such as saakmaak