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Syntactic uses of the noun phrase

The noun phrase is used in a number of syntactic roles within the clause, but can also be used within other phrases. At clause level, noun phrases are the most typical ways of encoding the argument roles of subject, direct object and indirect object, as illustrated by example (1).

Die goewerment gee ons niks.
[(SUB) die goewerment] [(V) gee] [(IO) ons] [(DO) niks]
the government give us nothing
The government gives us nothing.
[Argument roles]

Also at clause level, noun phrases can encode the complementive (predicate), as shown by example (2), and a small number of adverbials, especially temporal adverbials, as illustrated by example (3) as well.

Daardie koek is die inkomste wat gegenereer word uit ons belasting.
[(SUB) daardie koek] [(V) is] [(COMPLM) die inkomste wat gegenereer word uit ons belasting]
that cake be.PRS the income that.REL generate.PASS be.AUX.PASS.PRS out our tax
That cake is the income that is generated from our taxes.
Verlede jaar het ek so 'n pienk linnepak gekoop.
[(ADV) verlede jaar] [(V2) het] [(SUB) ek] [(DO) so 'n pienk linnepak] [(VF) gekoop]
last year have.AUX I PTCL.REL a pink linen.suit buy.PST
Last year, I bought such a pink linen suit.
[Temporal adverbial]

Beside clause level roles, the typical complement of the adposition phrase is a noun phrase, as shown in example (4), and in the possessive construction, one noun phrase encodes the possessor as part of another noun phrase within which it is embedded, as shown in example (5).

a. op dié stadium
[(PP) [(P) op] [(NP) dié stadium]]
on this stage
at this stage
b. agter elke man
[(PP) [(P) agter] [(NP) elke man]]
behind every man
behind every man
c. met haar fiets
[(PP) [(P) met] [(NP) haar fiets]]
with her bicycle
with her bicycle
d. die klowe deur
[(PP) [(NP) die klowe] [(P) deur]]
the ravines through
through the ravines
a. jou pa se bakkie
[(NP) [(DET) [(NP) jou pa] [(POSS) se]] [(N) bakkie]]
you dad PTCL.GEN truck
your dad's bakkie
b. die regering se beleid
[(NP) [(DET) [(NP) die regering] [(POSS) se]] [(N) beleid]]
the government PTCL.GEN policy
the government's policy

The syntactic uses of the Noun Phrase (NP) will be discussed in these following sections:

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