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Verb complement clauses (Overview)
quickinfo

A complement clause is a subordinate clause that functions, formally, as an argument of a main-clause verb, or else an adjective or noun. The complement clause completes the meaning of the main-clause verb, adjective or noun. In the most typical case, the complement clause is embedded in a higher clause as the direct object of a main-clause verb, as in (1), in which the lexical verb vermoedsuspect controls the complement clause. Complement clauses can also be controlled by a copular verb + adjective, as in (2). Less frequently, head nouns may take complement clauses, as in (3).

Example 1

Navorsers vermoed dat hierdie variasies onderliggend is aan mense se vatbaarheid vir siektes.
TK
researchers suspect COMP these variations underlying be.PRS to people GEN susceptibility for illnesses
Researchers suspect that these variations are underlying to people's susceptibility to illness.
Example 2

Navorsers is seker dat hierdie variasies onderliggend is aan mense se vatbaarheid vir siektes.
TK, adjusted
researchers be.PRS sure COMP these variations underlying be.PRS to people GEN susceptibility for illnesses
Researchers are sure that these variations are underlying to people's susceptibility to illness.
Example 3

Die aanname dat hierdie variasies onderliggend is aan mense se vatbaarheid vir siektes is aanvegbaar.
TK, adjusted
the assumption COMP these variations underlying be.PRS to people GEN susceptibility for illnesses be.PRS contentious
The assumption that these variations are underlying to people's susceptibility to illness is contentious.

Afrikaans has three formally distinguishable complement clause types: finite declarative complement clauses, finite interrogative complement clauses and infinitive complement clauses. Each of these complement clause types has a number of variants that hinge on the presence or absence of a complementiser and accompanying word-order alternations. Some of these variants are typical of spoken language, or are regarded as non-standard. These variants are summarised in Figure 1, with non-standard or spoken-language variants indicated with dashed rather than solid lines.


Figure 1: Diagram of Afrikaans complement clause types

[click image to enlarge]

Finite declarative clauses in Afrikaans may take the form of a complement clause introduced with the complementiserdatthat , followed by verb-final word order marking the subordinate status of the complement clause, as in (4).  In spoken language, a variant withdat, but with main-clause word order also occurs, exemplified in (5). This word order is not regarded as acceptable by all speakers of Afrikaans, but occurs quite widely in spoken language (Feinauer 1990; Biberauer 2002). The complementiser is also commonly omitted, in which case it is followed by a complement clause with main-clause (verb-second) word order, as in (6).

Example 4

Ek wens dat ek my baadjie saamgebring het.
TK, adjusted
I wish COMP I my jacket brought.along have
I wish that I had brought my jacket along.
Example 5

...so ja dis eintlik hartseer dat jou taal is nie meer wat dit was nie.
KGA
so yes it's actually sad COMP your language be.PRS not anymore what it be.PST not
...so, yes, it's actually sad that your language isn't what it was anymore.
Example 6

'n Bron by die kafee sê aan Son hul toilette is vir die afgelope twee maande buite werking.
TK
a source at the cafe say to Son their toilets be.PRS for the past two months out.of order
A source at the cafe told Son their toilets have been out of order for the past two months.

Finite interrogative clauses may be introduced by the complementiser ofif/whether or a WH-word (wanneerwhen,watwhat,waarwhere,hoekomwhy,watterwhat/which). Interrogative complement clauses introduced byof are general interrogatives (indirect yes/no questions). They typically have dependent (verb-final) word order, as in (7). However, in spoken language a variant with main-clause interrogative word order (verb in initial position) also occurs, as in (8), but the word order is not grammatically acceptable to all speakers of Afrikaans. Ifof is omitted, main-clause interrogative word-order is used, as in (9)

Example 7

Reisagentskappe en lugdienste kon gister nie sê of daar 'n toename in besprekings vir vlugte na Johannesburg is nie.
TK
travel agencies and airlines could yesterday not say COMP there a increase in bookings for flights to Johannesburg be.PRS not
Travel agencies and airlines could not say yesterday if there was an increase in bookings for flights to Johannesburg.
Example 8

O ja Pa, ek wil weet of kan ek jou staalborsel leen.
KGA
o yes Dad I want.to know.INF if can I your steel.brush borrow.INF
O yes, Dad, I'd like to know if I can borrow your steel brush.
Example 9

Ek gaan jou weer vra het jy hom onder deur die selle ingebring.
KGA, adjusted
I go you again ask have you him under through the cells in-PST.PTCP-bring
I am going to ask you again did you bring him in through the cells below.

Specific interrogatives (indirect WH-questions) have the WH-word in the initial position of the complement clause and in dependent-clause word order with the verb in final position, as shown by (10). Here, too, main-clause word order may occur in the complement clause, as in (11).

Example 10

Hy wou nie sê hoeveel geld in die saak ingeploeg is nie.
TK
he would not say how.much money in the case in-PST.PTCP-plough be.AUX.PRS.PASS not
He would not say how much money was ploughed into the case.
Example 11

Hulle vra vir jou wanneer gaan jy see toe.
KGA, adjusted
they ask for you when go you sea to
They ask you when you are going to the sea.

Afrikaans uses three different types of infinitive clauses. The full infinitive form (traditionally known as the long infinitive in the tradition of Afrikaans scholarship) makes use of the complementiseromin order and the particleteto, and is the most typical form for an object clause, as shown by (12). The bare infinitive (traditionally called the short infinitive in Afrikaans scholarship) only uses the infinitive form of the main verb, as in (13), where the governing verb probeertry and the complement clause that is the focus of the analysis are indicated in the syntactic analysis. A historical remnant from its Early Modern Dutch parent is the infinitive clause with the particlete, as shown by (14). It has restricted distribution in contemporary Afrikaans (Deumert 2004: 204-207).

Example 12

Hierdie terugkoopaksies help om die verwatering van kapitaal te keer.
TK, adjusted
these back-buy-actions help COMP the dilution of capital to stop
These buy-back actions help to stop the dilution of capital.
Example 13

Die ouers probeer verstaan hoe kleuters konflik hanteer.
TK, adjusted
Die ouers [(VP)[(V)probeer] [(CC)verstaan hoe kleuters konflik hanteer]]
the parents try understand.INF how toddlers conflict handle
The parents try to understand how toddlers handle conflict.
Example 14

Ek glo nie ek sal jou weer te siene kry voor daardie tyd nie.
TK, adjusted
I believe not I shall you again to see get before that time not
I believe I won't get to see you before then.

Related to various complement clause types, especially the finite complement clauses, Afrikaans has a number of options for reporting speech and thought. Constructions used for reporting speech and thought are direct speech and indirect speech, the latter usually realised by complement clauses.

Speech and thought can be reported directly in Afrikaans, most typically with the reporting clause following the reported clause, as shown by (15), or by means of an indirect report, where a main clause contains the reporting verb and a complement clause encodes the reported speech.

Example 15

"Wel, daar is Ewigdurende Roem," sê Adriaan terwyl hy 'n paar geklopte eiers by die mengsel in die pan roer.
TK
well there be.PRS everlasting glory say Adriaan while he a few beaten eggs to the mix in the pan stir
"Well, there is Everlasting Glory," Adriaan says while he stirs a few beaten eggs into the mix in the pan.

In indirect speech, the reporting clause functions like a syntactic main clause, while the report is conveyed in the complement clause. The complement clause is characterised by a shift in the deictic centre, which is reoriented to the main clause. Both declarative and interrogative complement clauses can be used to report speech indirectly, as shown by (16) and (17) respectively.

Example 16

Tydens die gesprek het hy gesê dat hy reeds met die koerant gepraat het.
TK, adjusted
during the conversation have he said COMP he already with the newspaper spoken have
During the conversation he said that he had already spoken to the newspaper.
Example 17

Ek vra hom toe of hy vanoggend 'n ekstra bordjie simpelgeit geëet het.
TK, adjusted
I ask him then COMP he this.morning an extra plate stupidity eaten have
I then asked him if he ate an extra plate of stupidity this morning
readmore

The three major complement clause types, with their variants, as well as direct and indirect speech, are compared along five parameters throughout this grammar. Each type of complement clause is discussed in terms of five parameters:

  • Construction forms: Which syntactic forms (categories and word order) characterise the constructions?
  • Syntactic distribution: In which syntactic positions are the constructions used?
  • Semantics and matrix verbs: With what restricted class of matrix verb predicates is a particular construction typically used?
  • Specific constructions: Which more specific variants of the more general construction emerge and are used in more restricted contexts?
  • Functions: Which functions do the constructions perform in discourse?

This section provides an overview of how the parameters operate, and presents and compares the most typical and frequent constructions in Afrikaans for the purpose of illustration. More in-depth treatment is provided in the presentation of the individual constructions..

[+] Construction forms

The first parameter is construction forms. In the various sections presenting the complement clauses in detail, a basic description of the syntactic and lexical categories involved in the construction is offered, as well as the word-order features characteristic of the specific construction.

There are two widespread word orders accepted as standard for finite declarative clauses: verb-final after the complementiserdat and verb-second if no complementiser is used. Example (4), with verb-final word order, can be analysed as follows:

Example 18

Ek wens dat ek my baadjie saamgebring het.
[(MC)ek wens [(CC) [(Comp)dat] [[(SBJ)ek] [(OBJ)my baadjie] [(V)saamgebring het]]]]
I wish COMP I my jacket brought.along have
I wish that I had brought my jacket along.

If this sentence is used without the complementiser, the syntactic structure changes to verb-second order, shown in example (19):

Example 19

Ek wens ek het my baadjie saamgebring.
[(MC)ek wens [(CC) [(SBJ)ek] [(Vaux.pst) het] [(OBJ)my baadjie] [(V)saamgebring]]]
I wish I have my jacket brought.along
I wish I had brought my jacket along.

The third, non-normative variant of finite declarative complement clauses uses the complementiserdat, but with verb-second word order, as the syntactic analysis in (20) shows.

Example 20

Ek wens dat ek het my baadjie saamgebring.
[(MC)ek wens [(CC) [(comp)dat] [(SBJ)ek] [(Vaux.pst) het] [(OBJ)my baadjie] [(V)saamgebring]]]
I wish COMP I have my jacket brought.along
I wish that I had brought my jacket along.

With finite specific-interrogative complement clauses (yes/no questions), the verb-final word order is also selected after the complementiserof, as shown in example (21).

Example 21

Ek wonder of ek my baadjie saamgebring het.
[(MC)ek wonder [(CC) [(Comp)of] [[(SBJ)ek] [(OBJ)my baadjie] [(V)saamgebring het]]]]
I wonder COMP I my jacket brought.along have
I wonder if I have brought my jacket along.

However, if no complementiser is used, then the complement clause takes a verb-first order like direct main-clause questions, with the inversion of the subject and verb, as in (22), although Feinauer (1989) points out that this variant is quite rare in her data.

Example 22

Ek wonder het ek my baadjie saamgebring.
[(MC)ek wonder [(CC) [(Vaux.pst)het] [(SBJ)ek] [(OBJ)my baadjie] [(V)saamgebring]]]
I wonder have I my jacket brought.along
I wonder if I have brought my jacket along.

The non-normative variant uses the complementiserof, combined with verb-first main order like direct main-clause questions. The form of this construction is exemplified in (23).

Example 23

Ek wonder of het ek my baadjie saamgebring.
[(MC)ek wonder [(CC) [(comp)of] [[(Vaux.pst)het] [(SBJ)ek] [(OBJ)my baadjie] [(Vlex)saamgebring]]]
I wonder COMP have I my jacket brought.along
I wonder if I have brought my jacket along.

Indirect WH-interrogatives show more variability between the normatively preferred verb-final word order, and the verb-second order that characterises main-clause WH-interrogatives. Biberauer (2002) reports that the verb-final order is by far the dominant form in written Afrikaans, as exemplified by (24), but in spoken Afrikaans the majority (70%) of indirect interrogatives have verb-second order, as exemplified by (25).

Example 24

Ons moet uitvind hoe dit presies gebeur het.
TK, adjusted
[(MC)ons moet uitvind [(CC) [(WH)hoe] [(SBJ)dit] [(ADV)presies] [(V)gebeur het]]]
we must out.find how it exactly happened have
We must find out how exactly it happened.
Example 25

Ek wonder wat het hy vandag weer aangevang?
(Biberauer 2002:37)
[(MC)ek wonder [(CC) [(WH)wat] [(Vaux.pst)het] [(SBJ)hy] [(ADV)vandag weer] [(V)aangevang]]]
I wonder what have he today done
I wonder what he has done today.

Infinitive complement clauses display limited word order variability. The full or long infinitive is always introduced by a complementiser, usuallyom, although variants withdeurby andten eindein order also occur, and the verb is always in the final position, immediately preceded by the infinitive particleteto. Other elements, such as direct objects or adjuncts are between the complementiser and the verb, as illustrated by (12) above, which is analysed as in (26):

Example 26

Hierdie terugkoopaksies help om die verwatering van kapitaal te keer.
[(MC)hierdie terugkoopaksies help[(CC) [(Comp)om] [(OBJ)die verwatering van kapitaal] [(V) [(INF)te] keer]]]
these back-buy-actions help COMP the dilution of capital to stop
These buy-back actions help to stop the dilution of capital.

Bare or short infinitive clauses have extremely limited syntactic options. According to Ponelis (1979: 431-432), apart from the infinitive verb itself, only a generic noun that functions as verb complement or a short adjunct is allowed, immediately preceding the verb as shown by example (27), where the bare infinitive functions as subject of the main clause:

Example 27

Ontbyt eet is gesond.
Ponelis (1979: 432)
[(MC) [(CC) [(OBJ)ontbyt] [(Vinf)eet]] [(V)is][(PRED)gesond]]
breakfast eat is healthy
Eating breakfast is healthy.
[+] Syntactic distribution

The second parameter is syntactic distribution, which refers to the roles of the constructions in complex sentences. Verb complement clauses of all three main structural types can occur in both post-predicate (object) and pre-predicate (subject) position (though there are some restrictions on syntactic distribution for subtypes of the various complement clauses).

The object position is most typical, and has already been illustrated in the preceding discussion. Some examples are repeated here for ease of reference. Example (28) shows a finite declarative clause in object position, while (29) and (30) demonstrate the two types of interrogative complement clauses in object position. Example (31) illustrates an infinitive complement clause in object position.

Example 28

Ek wens dat ek my baadjie saamgebring het.
[ek wens [(OBJ) dat ek my baadjie saamgebring het]]
I wish COMP I my jacket brought.along have
I wish that I have brought my jacket along.
Example 29

Reisagentskappe en lugdienste kon gister nie sê of daar 'n toename in besprekings vir vlugte na Johannesburg is nie.
[reisagentskappe en lugdienste kon gister nie sê [(OBJ)of daar 'n toename in besprekings vir vlugte na Johannesburg is nie]]
travel agencies and airlines could yesterday not say.INF COMP there a increase in bookings for flights to Johannesburg be.PRS not
Travel agencies and airlines could not say yesterday if there was an increase in bookings for flights to Johannesburg.
Example 30

Hy wou nie sê hoeveel geld in die saak ingeploeg is nie.
[hy wou nie sê [(OBJ)hoeveel geld in die saak ingeploeg is nie]]
he would not say how.much money in the case in-PST.PTCP-plough be.AUX.PRS.PASS not
He would not say how much money was ploughed into the case.
Example 31

Ek gaan tog van jou verwag om die inhoud te memoriseer.
[ek gaan tog van jou verwag [(OBJ)om die inhoud te memoriseer]]
I go indeed of you expect COMP the content to memorise
I am going to expect of you to memorise the content.

Complement clauses of all three main types may be used in subject position, as shown in the following examples. Example (32) illustrates the use of a finite declarative complement clause as subject. The two finite interrogative clause types, WH-interrogative and general interrogative, in subject position are illustrated by (33) and (34). The use of the full infinitive clause as subject is shown by (35).

Example 32

Dat voëls migrasie bo hibernasie gebruik maak logiese sin.
TK
[[(SBJ)dat voëls migrasie bo hibernasie gebruik] maak logiese sin]
COMP birds migration above hibernation use make logical sense
That birds use migration rather than hibernation makes logical sense.
Example 33

Waarom ek aan antie skryf, is om te hoor wat ek nog kan doen om dié man my true love te maak.
TK
[[(SBJ) waarom ek aan antie skryf] is om te hoor wat ek nog kan doen om dié man my true love te maak]
why I to aunty write is COMP to hear what I else can do COMP this man my true love to make
Why I write to you, Aunty, is to hear what else I can do to make this man my true love.
Example 34

Of die geld ontvang of betaal is vir die huidige boekjaar of vir die vorige of die volgende boekjaar maak nie saak nie.
TK
[[(SBJ)of die geld ontvang of betaal is vir die huidige boekjaar of vir die vorige of die volgende boekjaar] maak nie saak nie]
if the money received or paid be.PRS for the current book.year or for the previous or the following book.year make not case not
Whether the money is received or paid for the current financial year, or the previous or following year does not matter.
Example 35

Om genoteer te wees, verleen onmiddelik aansien aan jou maatskappy.
TK
[[(SBJ)om genoteer te wees] verleen onmiddelik aansien aan jou maatskappy]
COMP listed to be lend immediate esteem to your company
To be listed, immediately lends esteem to your company.

While Afrikaans allows the use of complement clauses in subject position, it is more likely to use the extraposition construction with the dummy subjectDitIt in the initial position of the main clause (Bosch 1998:121), and the complement clause in its entirety moved to the position after the main clause, as illustrated in (36)-(38) where the subject clause is moved to the final position. The examples illustrate the extraposition of a finite declarative (36), finite general interrogative (37) and infinitive (38) complement clause respectively.

Example 36

Dit blyk uit navorsing dat umbilikale bloed 'n ryk bron van stamselle is.
TK
[[dit] blyk uit navorsing [(SBJ)dat umbilikale bloed 'n ryk bron van stamselle is]]
it appear from research COMP umbilical blood a rich source of stem.cells be.PRS
It appears from research that umbilical blood is a rich source of stem cells.
Example 37

Dit maak nie saak of jy romans of draaiboeke of fokken fairy tales skryf nie.
TK, adjusted
[[dit] maak nie saak [(SBJ)of jy romans of draaiboeke of fokken fairy tales skryf] nie]
it make no matter COMP you novels or film.scripts or fucking fairy tales write not
It doesn't matter if you write novels, film scripts or fucking fairy tales.
Example 38

Dit is 'n fout om Malema bloot as 'n openbare nar te sien.
TK
[[dit] is 'n fout [(SBJ)om Malema bloot as 'n openbare nar te sien]]
it be.PRS a mistake COMP Malema simply as a public clown to see
It is a mistake to view Malema simply as a public clown.

Lastly, complement clauses may fulfil the role of complementive (or subject predicative to a copular verb), as in (39). In these cases, the complement clause provides additional information about the subject of the main clause.

Example 39

Die doel van die trust is om aan die trustbegunstigdes die inkomste van die trust beskikbaar te stel vir hulle opvoeding...
TK
[die doel van die trust is [(PRED)om aan die trustbegunstigdes die inkomste van die trust beskikbaar te stel vir hulle opvoeding]]
the purpose of the trust be.PRS COMP to the trust.beneficiaries the income of the trust available to set for their education
The purpose of the trust is to make the income of the trust available to the trust beneficiaries for their education.

Complement clauses can also function as complements to other parts of speech, particularly as noun or adjective complements, which are discussed in the relevant sections of those parts of speech.

[+] Semantics and main-clause verbs

Complement clauses are not used freely, but are constrained by the semantics of the main-clause verb. Verbs from specific semantic classes typically take specific complement constructions, but are less frequently combined with others and may even be incompatible with some complement clause types. Verbs that denote communication or mental processes typically take finite complement clauses, and are therefore often employed in the function of reporting speech indirectly. There is a further constraint, in that a number of assertive verbs usually take finite declarative clauses, as illustrated by (40), while verbs that indicate uncertainty are more likely to take finite interrogative clauses, as illustrated by (41).

Example 40

Behou Jake White, hy het al deur en deur bewys dat hy die beste afrigter vir Suid-Afrika is.
TK
keep Jake White he have already through and through proven COMP he the best coach for South Afica be.PRS
Keep Jake White, he has already proven thoroughly that he is the best coach for South Africa.
Example 41

Ons moet onsself vra of ons die regte resultate kry.
TK
we must ourselves ask COMP we the right results get
We must ask ourselves if we get the right results.

Verbs of causation often take full infinitive clauses, as shown by the verbforseerforce in example (42).

Example 42

Metaalkontakte aan die bo- en onderpunte van die sel skep 'n elektriese veld wat die vrye elektrone forseer om in 'n bepaalde rigting te beweeg.
TK
metal.contacts on the top- and bottom.ends of the cell create an electrical field which the free electrons force COMP in a determined direction to move
Metal contacts at the top and bottom ends of the cell create an electrical field which forces the free electrons to move in a specific direction.
[+] Specific constructions

The fourth parameter for description is the existence of specific variants of constructions. These specific constructions are very close associations of particular main-clause verbs and forms of complement clauses at a more specific level than the general complement constructions. Such constructions are less schematic, or productive, than the more general complement constructions (of which they form a subconstruction). They can be regarded as characteristic usage patterns in Afrikaans that have a high degree of salience in the grammar and fulfil very specific functions. In the specific sections where the various complement clause types are discussed in detail, more comprehensive quantification and an analysis of the functions of these specific constructions are offered. By way of illustrating the parameter itself, a small sample of such constructions is presented in (43) to (47), which are all based on the analysis of data from the Taalkommissiekorpus. The point is not that alternative formulations and combinations are not available to users of Afrikaans, but rather that speakers of Afrikaans use these options with considerably higher frequency than others, and they are likely to be prefabricated or idiomatic expressions that form part of the grammatical knowledge of speakers.

A number of fixed main-clause expressions can be identified among finite declarative complement clauses. Ek moet bieg (dat)I must confess that is one such salient fixed expression, as illustrated in (43). It has a strong preference for the modal moetmust, and demonstrates limited schematicity. For instance, the verbbiegconfess infrequently combines with subjects other than the first-person singular pronoun

Example 43

Die gevolg is dat ek meer preke as die meeste mense al moes aanhoor. Ek moet egter bieg dat daar in al die jare omtrent net vyf preke is wat ek kan onthou.
TK
... I must however confess COMP there in all the years about only five sermons be.PRS which I can remember.INF
The result is that I have had to listen to more sermons than most people. I must however confess that in all those years there were about only five sermons that I can remember.

The interrogative main clause WH dink jy (dat)WH do you think (that), illustrated in (44) is another specific construction that occurs very frequently, and serves a number of specialised functions. This corresponds in many ways to the Dutch construction WH denk u datWH do you think that, examined by Verhagen (2005).

Example 44

Hoekom dink jy het die Galileo-geval die paradigmatiese geval geword vir diegene wat die konflik model aanhang?
TK
why think you have the Galileo-case the paradigm case become for those who the conflict model support
Why do you think the Galileo-case became the paradigmatic case for those supporting the conflict model?

The causative verb helphelp frequently takes a full infinitive complement clause. In an analysis of the Taalkommissiekorpus, it emerges that a number of subconstructions can be identified, including the expressionSBJ kan nie help om te wonder + finite interrogative complement clauseSBJ can't help but wonder + finite interrogative complement clause, where the schematic subject is usually restricted to one of three: the generic expression'n mensone, or the first or second person singular pronouns, as illustrated by (45) and (46).

Example 45

'n Mens kan nie help om te wonder hoekom so 'n stuk grond met soveel potensiaal só moet verwaarloos nie.
TK
... a human can not help COMP to wonder why such a piece land with so.much potential so must neglect not
One cannot help but wonder why such a piece of land with so much potential must be so neglected.
Example 46

…maar ek kan nie help om te wonder of sy besef hoe goed sy werklik is nie.
TK
... but I can not help COMP to wonder if she realise how good she really be.PRS not
... but I cannot help wondering if she realises how good she really is.

However, as illustrated by (47), when the causative verbhelp is itself part of an infinitive verb phrase, it often does not take a full infinitive complement clause, but the bare infinitive alternative, as illustrated by the verbversekerensure in this case:

Example 47

Immuunonderdrukkers is toegedien om te help verseker dat haar liggaam nie die nuwe weefsel verwerp nie.
TK
... Immune.suppressors be.AUX.PASS.PST administered COMP to help ensure that her body not the new tissue reject not
Immune suppressors were administered to help ensure that her body does not reject the new tissue
[+] Discourse function

The fifth and final parameter of description is an integrated analysis of the function of each form of complement clause, which incorporates the information from the first four parameters of description.  The detail of these functions is covered in the more specific sections devoted to particular constructions. To give an overall sense of what is meant by this parameter, two illustrations are offered here.

Finite, declarative complement clauses serve two related functions, which can be distinguished in terms of which part of a particular construal of reality (encoded by the main clause and subordinate clause respectively) is presented as the central claim in discourse. The two functions are the propositional and interpersonal functions. The propositional function is exemplified by (48).

Example 48

Dit is van wesenlike belang dat u moet begryp dat hierdie remedie 'n kontrakaksie is.
TK
Dit is van wesenlike belang [dat u moet begryp [(CC)dat hierdie remedie 'n kontrakaksie is]]
it be.PRS of essential importance COMP you must understand COMP this remedy a contract.action be.PRS
It is of utmost importance that you must understand that this remedy is a contractual action.

The sentence starts with a dummy subjectditit which is expanded by an extraposed subject clausedat u moet begryp dat hierdie remedie 'n kontrakaksie isthat you must understand that this remedy is a contractual action. The embedded subject clause itself consists of a main clause and complement clause, and it is these two that illustrate the propositional use of the main clause, u moet begrypyou must understand. This clause makes a statement about the world, which is reinforced by the copula predicate of the independent main clause (van wesenlike belangof utmost importance). The complement clause within the embedded subject clause dat hierdie remedie 'n kontrakaksie isthat this remedy is a contractual action offers a subpart of the content of that statement by way of elaboration. The main clause of the embedded subject clause u moet begrypyou must understand is central to the unfolding of the discourse, and therefore performs a propositional function, rather than being backgrounded to the complement clause.

By contrast, in example (49), the complement clause ek was glad nie senuweeagtig nieI wasn't nervous at all makes the central statement, while the main clause en ek moet sêand I must say serves to ground that statement in the interpersonal interaction between the two communicative partners. The discourse centrality of the complement clause is clear from the content of the preceding sentence Hy het my gevra om 'n bal te slaanHe asked me to hit a ball, as well as the following adverbial clause al moes ek dit voor die wêreld se beste speler doeneven though I had to do it before the world's best player, which both deal with the speaker playing a tennis ball and how he was not nervous despite being watched by the world's best tennis player. There is no further continuation that relates to the speaker's saying, which in this case clearly does not denote an instance of reported speech, but simply an expression of stance.

Example 49

Hy het my gevra om 'n bal te slaan. En ek moet sê ek was glad nie senuweeagtig nie, al moes ek dit voor die wêreld se beste speler doen.
TK
... [En ek moet sê [(CC) ek was glad nie senuweeagtig nie] [(AdvC) al moes ek dit voor die wêreld se beste speler doen.]]
he have me asked COMP a ball to hit and I must say I be.PST totally not nervous not although must I it before the world GEN best player do
He asked me to hit a ball. And I must say I was not nervous at all, even though I had to do it in front of the world's best player.

The functional contrast between propositional and interpersonal uses is often accompanied by the formal contrast between complement clauses with and without the complementiser (Kruger & Van Rooy in review). Thus, in (48) the presence of the subordinatordat is a formal signal of the conceptually and formally subordinate status of the complement clause relative to the main clause. However, in (49), there is no overt subordinator, and the complement clause uses main-clause word order, as a signal of its more central contribution to the information offering in context. The relationship between form and function of the two kinds of complement clauses is explained in more detail in the section on the functions of the finite declarative complement clause.

A second illustration of the functional explanation is from the contrast between direct and indirect speech. In direct speech, a closer (or even verbatim) rendition of the original wording of a speaker is presented, which usually contributes to a more dramatic effect, but also shifts the responsibility for the veracity or felicity of the statement to the original source, rather than the person reporting. This is exemplified by (50), where the direct quotation is attributed to the original speaker, and is presented as his subjective assessment of his own preference, which the reporter does not necessarily share with him, nor does the reporter claim to be the source of this information.

Example 50

"Ag wat, ek is nie 'n man vir verse nie," het hy eenkeer gesê.
TK
oh well I be.PRS not a man for poems not have he one.time said
"Oh well, I'm not a man for poetry," he once said.

In the case of indirect speech, a more interpreted and potentially summarised version of the original wording is offered, and there is a stronger sense that it is embedded in the discourse of the reporting speaker/writer, who assumes at least shared responsibility for the veracity of the statement. This is exemplified in (51), where the writer is more clearly aligned with the sentiment expressed by the magistrate, which is not a subjective opinion of a single individual, but a widely shared view.

Example 51

Landdros Louw sê dit is nie in die belang van geregtigheid om borgtog toe te staan nie.
TK
magistrate Louw say it be.PRS not in the interest of justice COMP bail to grant not
Magistrate Louw says it is not in the interest of justice to grant bail.
References:
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