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Preposition + PP as its complement

An adposition phrase (indicated in square brackets) may combine with a preposition and form its complement, as in this example:

Kennis kom van [buite die intellek of denke].
Knowledge comes from outside the intellect or thought.

It can be shown that a restricted number of prepositions, such as van from, tot until; to, and tussen between can be complemented by adposition phrases.


The prepositions van from and tot until can be combined with a nominal complement, as in the first example, or with an adposition complement, as in the second example below:

a. van die Eerste Wêreldoorlog tot die Tweede
from the first world.war until the second
From World War 1 until World War 2
b. van voor die Eerste Wêreldoorlog tot ná die Tweede
from before the first world.war until after the second
From before World War 1 until after World War 2

These prepositions denote the starting point and the end point of an interval, usually a temporal or a spatial interval; that is, they usually refer to time or space. The preposition tussen between is used to denote a subpart of an interval.

In the following examples, the interval to which the prepositions refer is temporal. The prepositional complement is built, respectively, on the prepositions after and voor after:

a. Ons het wakker gebly tot [ná die tenniseindstryd].
we have.AUX awake stay.PST until after the tennis.final
We stayed up until after the tennis final
b. Dit dagteken van [voor die 1994-verkiesing].
it date.sign from before the 1994 election
It dates from before the 1994 elections.

If the prepositional complement contains a locative preposition, then tot until denotes the end point of a locative interval, that is, a path. Some examples are given below:

a. van Kaap Agulhas tot verby Kaïro
from Cape Agulhas until past Cairo
b. Op die bedrywige pad van die Paarl tot anderkant Malmesbury kon hierdie tas afgeval het.
on the busy road from the Paarl until beyond Malmesburg can.AUX.MOD.PRT this suitcase off.fallen.PST have.AUX
On the busy road from the Paarl until beyond Malmesburg this suitcase could have fallen off.

An interval which is closed at both ends is referred to by the preposition tussen between. This preposition may take a coordination of NPs or PPs as its argument. The two conjuncts refer to the two endpoints of the interval:

a. tussen Durban en Pietermaritzburg
between Durban and Pietermaritzburg
b. tussen Durban en 'n paar kilometer voor Pietermaritzburg
between Durban and a couple kilometer before Pietermaritzburg
between Durban and a few kilometers before Pietermaritzburg

It may also take a plural NP as its complement that is not a coordinate structure, as illustrated below:

tussen twee plekke
between two places
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