• Dutch
  • Frisian
  • Afrikaans
Show full table of contents
Type of relative pronoun
quickinfo

The pronoun watwhat is characteristically used for non-restrictive relative clauses for which syntactic categories other than Noun Phrase (NP) function as antecedent. The pronoun dat cannot be used with a clausal antecedent. As a result, the use of the relative pronoun datthat triggers a restrictive reading in which the object NP is the antecedent for the relative clause. In the nineteenth-century and earlier, this pronoun could also be used for non-restrictive readings.

readmore

In the example below, the pronoun datthat triggers a restrictive reading:

Example 1

Hy woe neat sizze dat de plysje kûgelsk makke
he wanted nothing say that the police very.angry made
He did not want to say things that would make the police very angry

The pronoun watwhat, in contrast, triggers a non-restrictive reading:

Example 2

Hy woe neat sizze, wat de plysje kûgelsk makke
he wanted nothing say what the police very.angry made
He did not want to say things, which made the police very angry

The pronoun watwhat refers to an antecedent Adjective Phrase (AP) in the example below:

Example 3

Hja wie benaud, wat hy ek west ha soe
she was afraid which he also been have would
She was afraid, which he would also have been

However, the intended meaning would normally be expressed in a coordinate structure involving a topic pronoun, and that is clearly preferred in spoken language:

Example 4

Hja wie benaud, en dat soe hy ek west ha
she was afraid and that would he also been have
She was afraid, which he would also have been
References:
    Suggestions for further reading ▼
    phonology
    • Dutch
    • Frisian
    • Afrikaans
    Show more ▼
    morphology
    • Dutch
    • Frisian
    • Afrikaans
    Show more ▼
    syntax
    • Dutch
    • Frisian
    • Afrikaans
    Show more ▼
    cite
    print