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The NP as prepositional complement

The noun phrase can be used as complement to the adposition in an adposition phrase. In the case of prepositions, the use of a noun phrase complement is usually obligatory for the preposition phrase to come into being. Without the complement NP, there is no PP, except for a few cases where a clause or another PP is selected as complement of the preposition. NP complements of the preposition are illustrated by the examples in (1).

a. As ek vat wat ek vir 'n koei betaal...
if I take.PRS that.REL I for a cow pay.PRS
If I consider what a pay for a cow
a.' *As ek vat wat ek vir betaal...
if I take.PRS that.REL I for pay.PRS
If I consider what a pay for
b. Ek loop met twee kunsbene.
I walk.PRS with two prosthetic.legs
I walk with two prostheses.
b.' *Ek loop met.
I walk.PRS with
I walk with.

Postpositions in Afrikaans usually take a PP with a preposition as its complement, but there are cases where the postposition can take an NP complement too. The condition is that the PP coming into existence must express a directional meaning, as is illustrated by the examples in (2).

a. Ek soek eers gang op en gang af na die spesifieke fênsie winkel.
I search.PRS first corridor up and corridor down after the specific fancy shop
I look passage up and down for the specific fancy shop.
b. ...is ons weer verder die berg af na Wolwehok waar ons sou kamp.
be.PRS we again further the mountain down to Wolwehoek where we want.to.AUX.MOD.PRT camp.INF
we went further down the mountain to Wolwehoek where we would camp.
[+]Grammatical relation between NP and PP

The adposition phrase, headed by a preposition (or occasionally a postposition) has an NP complement, whose only role is in relation to the preposition. The preposition phrase itself has a range of possible functions, including adverbial, complementive, and postmodifier to another NP. The syntactic constituency is made explicit by the analysis in (3).

a. op die berg
[(PP) [(P) op] [(NP) die berg]
on the mountain
b. die berg op
[(PP) [(NP) die berg] [(P) op]]
the mountain up
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