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Clause complements of adjectives

Adjectives may combine with clauses, such as the subordinate clause in this sentence:

Dit is gaaf dat jy jou tesis klaargemaak het.
it be.PRS nice that.COMP you your thesis completed have
It is nice that you have completed your thesis.

A further way of linking a clause to an adjective is by introducing the subordinate clause by an anticipatory PP, consisting of daar there it + PREP as in:

Sy is seker daar+van dat sy droom.
she be.PRS certain there.of (PN+of) that.COM she dreams
She is sure that she is dreaming.

Combination with NP and clause complements

While adjectives may combine with NP complements, either directly, as in

as ek jou raad verskuldig is
if I you advice owing be.PRS
if I owe you advice

or via a PP (expressing the indirect object), as in

Ek is dit aan hom verskuldig.
I be.PRS it to him owing
I owe it to him.

clauses may also be selected as complements. There are various ways in which such clauses are linked to the relative adjective, for example by means of a conjunction, such as dat that or of whether/if:

Dit is verrassend dat Kasrils die saak kan ondersteun.
it be.PRS surprising dat.COMP Kasrils the matter can support
It is surprising that Kasrils can support the matter.
Sy is nie seker of hy net terg nie.
she be.PRS not sure if he only teases PTCL.NEG
She is not sure if he is only pulling her leg.

PP constructions

The clause may also be introduced by an anticipatory PP, consisting of daar + PREP, followed by the conjunction dat, as in

Sy is seker daar+van  dat sy droom.
she be.PRS certain PN+of that.COMP she dreams
She is sure that she is dreaming.

While the PP construction occurs frequently, e.g. in a sentence such as

Hulle is keelvol daar+voor dat leerders altyd die spit moet afbyt.
they be.PRS fed.up PN+for that.COMP learners always the spit must.AUX.MOD bite.off
They are fed up that learners always have to bear the brunt.

the PP is often dropped, possibly as a corollary of an informal style, as daarvoor, indicated by the square brackets, in in the slang expression:

Hulle is gatvol [...] dat ander voor hulle huise kry.
they be.PRS pissed off that.COMP others before them houses get
They are pissed off that others get houses before them.

A comparable structural simplification, which is independent of stylistic considerations, occurs when an adjective combines with the PP, consisting of daar + PREPoor over, followed by the conjunction of whether, as in

nie bekommerd daar+oor of hy alles verstaan nie
not concerned PN·about whether he everything understand PTCL.NEG
not concerned about the question whether he understands everything

What is different about this structure is that only the component daar is dropped, resulting in sentences such as

14 miljoen mense is onseker oor of daar genoeg voedsel in die land is.
14 million people be.PRS uncertain about whether there enough food in the country is
14 million people are uncertain about the question whether there is enough food in the country.


ANC-leiers was verdeeld oor of die agente die registrasie kon hanteer.
ANC leaders be.PRT divided about whether the agents the registration could handle
ANC leaders were divided about the question whether the agents could handle the registration.

Finite and infinitive clauses

Both finite and infinitive clauses can combine with adjectives, as in the following two examples:

Hulle is ongelukkig dat hulle nou die stelsel moet vervang.
they be.PRS unhappy that.COMP they now the system must replace
They are unhappy that they must now replace the system.
Van Zyl is bitter ongelukkig om nie die span te haal nie.
Van Zyl be.PRS bitterly unfortunate for.COMP not the team to reach PTCL.NEG
Van Zyl is terribly unfortunate not to have reached the team.

Preposed clauses

If a clause is preposed, the (compound) topic pronoun daar there it + PREP introduces the main clause. However, left dislocation of this nature is not very common in Afrikaans:

?Dat jy heeltyd al daardie dinge koop, daarvan is ek keelvol.
that.COMP you continually all those things buy, of.that be.PRS I fed.up
You continually buying all those things, that is what I am fed up with.
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