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Finite interrogative complement clauses: Construction forms
quickinfo

Finite interrogative complement clauses may be introduced by the complementiserof if/whether or a WH-word (wanneer when, wat what, waar where, hoekom why, watter what/which). Interrogative complement clauses introduced by ofíf/whether are general interrogatives (indirect yes/no-questions), as exemplified by (1), whereas interrogative complement clauses introduced by WH-words are specific interrogatives (indirect WH-questions), as exemplified by (2). Like finite declarative complement clauses (see the section on syntactic positions of finite declarative complement clauses), interrogative complement clauses are most frequently used as object clauses, but are also used as subject clauses and predicate clauses (discussed in more detail here).

Example 1

Ek vra [of dit seer was]
TK, adapted
I ask if it sore be.PST
I ask if it was sore.
Example 2

Ek vra [wat jou oorgekom het]
TK, adapted
I ask what you over-PST.PTCP-come have
I ask what happened to you.

The main structural possibilities for general interrogative complement clauses are summarised in Figure 1, with non-standard constructions, or constructions particularly associated with spoken language, indicated by dashed lines.

Figure 1. Construction forms: General interrogative complement clauses


Figure 1

[click image to enlarge]

General interrogative complement clauses are most prototypically introduced by the complementiser of if/whether, followed by dependent word order (verb-final, or SXV), as in (3).

Example 3

Ek wonder of hulle vriende na die partytjie kom.
PCSA, adapted
[(MC) ek wonder [(CC) [(Comp) of] [[(SBJ) hulle vriende] [(ADV) na die partytjie] [(Vprs) kom]]]]
I wonder COMP their friends to the party come
I wonder if their friends will come to the party.

The complementiser of if/whether may be omitted, in which case the word order in the complement clause reverts to main-clause interrogative word order (VSX), as in (4). This happens infrequently, but is more likely in spoken than in written Afrikaans.

Example 4

Ek wonder kom hulle vriende na die partytjie.
PCSA, adapted
[(MC) ek wonder [(CC) [(Vprs) kom] [(SBJ) hulle vriende] [(ADV) na die partytjie]]]
I wonder come their friends to the party
I wonder if their friends are coming to the party.

A semantically and syntactically constrained, less schematic construction occurs where of if/whether is omitted following a copular verb in the complement-taking predicate, and the word order in the complement clause reverts to main-clause declarative word order (SVX), as in (5).

Example 5

Dit lyk my dit is ’n groot probleem deesdae.
PCSA, adapted
[(MC) dit lyk my [(CC) [(SBJ) dit] [(Vprs) is] [(PRED) ’n groot probleem] [(ADV) deesdae]]]
it seem me it be.PRS a big problem nowadays
It seems to me it is a big problem nowadays.

A number of other (less acceptable) word-order variations in the general interrogative clause are attested, primarily in spoken language. There is a variant with of if/whether and main-clause interrogative word order (VSX). In this variant, the word order corresponds to that in (4), but the complementiser is present, as shown in (6).

Example 6

Ek wonder of kom hulle vriende na die partytjie.
PCSA, adapted
[(MC) ek wonder [(CC) [(Comp) of] [[(Vprs) kom] [(SBJ) hulle vriende] [(ADV) na die partytjie]]]]
I wonder COMP come their friends to the party
I wonder if their friends are coming to the party.

In addition, there is a variant with of if/whether and main-clause declarative word order (SVX). The form frequently appears to be the consequence of processing strain, as it primarily (though not exclusively) occurs in spoken language where there is a modal verb present, as in (7).

Example 7

Hy het die musiek aan hom gestuur en gevra of hy sal woorde maak.
PCSA, adapted
[(MC1) hy het die musiek aan hom gestuur] en [(MC2) gevra [(CC) [(Comp) of] [[(SBJ) hy] [(Vaux-mod) sal] [(OBJ) woorde] [(Vinf) maak]]]]
he have the music to him PST.PTCP-send and PST.PTCP-ask if he shall words make.INF
He sent the music to him and asked if he would make words.

Specific interrogative complement clauses take two main construction forms: one with dependent (verb-last) word order (SXV), and one with independent interrogative word order (VSX). A non-standard form with main-clause declarative word order (SVX) is also attested. The construction forms for specific interrogative complement clauses are summarised in Figure 2, with non-standard constructions indicated by dashed rather than solid lines.

Figure 2. Construction forms: Specific interrogative complement clauses


Figure 2

[click image to enlarge]

The more normative verb-final (SXV) specific interrogative complement construction is exemplified in (8), and is the major variant in written Afrikaans, although it occurs freely in spoken Afrikaans too.

Example 8

Ek wonder wanneer hulle vriende na die partytjie kom.
PCSA, adapted
[(MC) ek wonder [(CC) [(WH) wanneer] [(SUBJ) hulle vriende] [(ADV) na die partytjie] [(Vprs) kom]]]
I wonder when their friends to the party come
I wonder when their friends will be coming to the party.

The construction with main-clause interrogative word order (VSX) is exemplified in (9). This variant is the major variant in spoken Afrikaans, and does occur in written Afrikaans, although it is not very frequent in writing.

Example 9

Ek wonder wanneer kom hulle vriende na die partytjie.
PCSA, adapted
[(MC) ek wonder [(CC) [(WH) wanneer] [(Vprs) kom] [(SBJ) hulle vriende] [(ADV) na die partytjie]]]
I wonder when come their friends to the party
I wonder when their friends will be coming to the party.

In addition, a clearly non-standard form with declarative verb-second (SVX) word order is also attested, primarily in spoken language, as in (10).

Example 10

Maar daar was dae wat ek nie geweet het hoe ek gaan daai dae klaarkry nie.
PCSA
[(MC) maar daar was dae wat ek nie geweet het [(CC) [(WH) hoe] [(SBJ) ek] [(Vaux) gaan] [(OBJ) daai dae] [(Vinf) klaarkry]] nie]
but there be.PST days that I NEG PST.PTCP-know have how I go those days finish.get.INF NEG
But there were days that I didn’t know how I would get through those days.
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[+] General interrogative complement clauses

For general interrogative complement clauses, the construction with of if/whether and dependent word order (SXV) is most prototypical (Ponelis 1979:440, 445). If the verb phrase consists of a single past or present tense lexical verb only, the verb is in the final position, as in (3) and (11), respectively.

Example 11

Ek wonder of hulle vriende by die partytjie was.
PCSA, adapted
[(MC) ek wonder [(CC) [(Comp) of] [[(SBJ) hulle vriende] [(ADJ) by die partytjie] [(Vpst) was]]]]
I wonder COMP their friends at the party be.PST
I wonder if their friends were at the party.

If the main verb is accompanied by a modal auxiliary, the modal verb occurs directly before the main verb, as in (12). The same holds for any aspectual verbs accompanying the main verb, as in (13).

Example 12

Ek wonder of ons hulle vriende na die partytjie moet uitnooi.
PCSA, adapted
[(MC) ek wonder [(CC) [(Comp) of] [[(SBJ) ons] [(OBJ) hulle vriende] [(ADV) na die partytjie] [(Vaux-mod) moet] [(Vinf) uitnooi]]]]
I wonder COMP we their friends to the party must invite.INF
I wonder if we should invite their friends to the party.
Example 13

Ek wonder of my vriend al begin ontspan.
PCSA, adapted
[(MC) ek wonder [(CC) [(Comp) of] [[(SBJ) my vriend] [(ADV) al] [(Vaux) begin] [(Vinf) ontspan]]]]
I wonder COMP my friend already start relax.INF
I wonder if my friend is starting to relax yet.

In past-tense constructions formed with the auxiliary het have, the auxiliary always occurs after the main verb in the past-participle form, as in (14). If a modal auxiliary is present in addition, it precedes the main verb, as shown in (15).

Example 14

Ek wonder of hulle ons vriende na die partytjie genooi het.
PCSA, adapted
[(MC) ek wonder [(CC) [(Comp) of] [(SBJ) hulle] [(OBJ) ons vriende] [(ADV) na die partytjie] [(Vpst-ptcp) genooi] [(Vaux-pst) het]]]]
I wonder COMP they our friends to the party PST.PTCP-invite have
I wonder if they invited our friends to the party.
Example 15

Ek wonder of hulle ons vriende na die partytjie sou genooi het.
PCSA, adapted
[(MC) ek wonder [CC [(Comp) of] [[(SBJ) hulle] [(OBJ) ons vriende] [(ADV) na die partytjie] [(Vaux-mod) sou] [(Vpst-ptcp) genooi] [(Vaux-pst) het]]]]
I wonder COMP they our friends to the party should PST.PTCP-invite have
I wonder if they would have invited our friends to the party.

The complementiser of if/whether may be omitted. According to Ponelis (1979:440, 454) and Feinauer (1990:116), the omission of of if/whether occurs only where the complement clause functions as predicate to the copular verbs lyk appear/seem, voel feel, skyn seem and smaak appear, in which case the word order in the complement clause reverts to main-clause declarative word order (SVX) as in (16a) (from Ponelis 1979:440). The alternative form with of if/whether and dependent word order (SXV) is exemplified in (16a'). In these cases, ofif is interchangeable in meaning with asof as if/though.

Example 16

a. Dit skyn my jy slaan die spyker op die kop.
it seem me you hit the nail on the head
It seems to me you’ve hit the nail on the head.
a.' Dit skyn my of jy die spyker op die kop slaan.
it seem me if you the nail on the head hit
It seems to me as if you’ve hit the nail on the head.

The most frequent copular verb with general interrogative complement clauses is lyk appear/seem. Its non-factivity predisposes it to an interrogative (“subjective”) complement clause with ofif/whether or asofas if/though (see Ponelis 1979:222-223). However, lykappear/seem also occurs with declarative complement clauses, although infrequently (see the section on syntactic positions of the declarative complement clause.). Interrogative complement clauses with lykappear/seem occur most frequently with ofif/whether, as in (17) (around 56% of the time), with asofas if/though used 32% of the time, as in (18). The construction with the omitted complementiser, and declarative word order in the complement clause, occurs in only 12% of cases, and is illustrated in (19).

Example 17

Dit lyk of ’n beduidende ommeswaai plaasvind in die markaandeel van plaaslike produsente.
TK, adapted
[(MC) [(SBJ) dit] [(Vprs) lyk] [(CC) [(Comp) of] [[(SBJ) ’n beduidende ommeswaai] [(Vprs) plaasvind] [(ADV) in die markaandeel van plaaslike produsente]]]]
it seem if a significant turnaround place.find in the market.share of local producers
It seems as if a significant turnaround is taking place in the market share of local producers.
Example 18

Dit lyk asof die Golfstroom vinniger afkoel terwyl dit oor die Atlantiese Oseaan reis.
TK, adapted
[(MC) [(SBJ) dit] [(Vprs) lyk] [(CC) [(Comp) asof] [[(SBJ) die Golfstroom] [(ADV) vinniger] [(Vprs) afkoel] [(ADV) terwyl dit oor die Atlantiese Oseaan reis]]]]
it seem as.if the Gulf.stream faster down.cool while it over the Atlantic Ocean travel
It seems as if the Gulf Stream cools down faster while travelling across the Atlantic Ocean.
Example 19

Dit lyk my daar is net nie geld nie.
TK
[(MC) [(SBJ) dit] [(SBJ) lyk] [(EXP) my] [(CC) [[(SBJ) daar] [(Vprs) is] net nie [(OBJ) geld] nie]]]
it seem me there be.PRS just NEG money NEG
It seems to me there is just no money.

The construction without the complementiser, and with declarative word order, occurs proportionally more frequently in spoken language than in written language – in spoken language, it accounts for around 70% of all cases of lyk'seem/appear followed by an interrogative complement clause, whereas in written language this construction accounts for only around 10% of cases. The construction without the complementiser and declarative word order is also particularly strongly associated with the presence of an experiencer, either in the form of a pronominal indirect object (most frequently the first person my me), or in the form of a prepositional phrase, usually vir + pronounto + pronoun (most frequently the first person my me). An analysis of around 4,000 cases of lykseem/appear followed by an interrogative complement clause (from the Taalkommissiekorpus) demonstrates that the form without the complementiser is distinctly associated with the presence of an experiencer, and particularly in the form of pronominal indirect object. As is evident in Figure 3, the form lyk + of/asofseem/appear + if/whether OR as if/though and dependent word order typically has no marked experiencer present (as in (17) and (18)), with a small minority of cases including the experiencer in the form of a prepositional phrase (as in (20) and (21)). However, for lykappear/seem followed by independent declarative word order, the picture is markedly different, with the prototypical construction including an experiencer in the form of a pronominal indirect object (usually myme, as in (19) and (22), or (in a smaller number of cases) in the form of a prepositional phrase (as in (23). Cases with no experiencer present (illustrated in (24) do occur, but are a minority.

Example 20

En dit lyk vir ons asof dit amper nie die ink werd is nie.
TK
en [(MC) [(SBJ) dit] [(Vprs) lyk] [(EXP) vir ons] [(CC) [(Comp) asof] [[(SBJ) dit] amper nie die ink werd [(Vprs) is] nie]]]]
and it seem to us as.if it almost NEG the ink worth be.PRS NEG
And it seems to us as if it is almost not worth the ink.
Example 21

In hierdie stadium lyk dit vir my of die skoolstelsel grootliks die oorsaak is van Karien se emosionele probleme.
TK, adapted
[(MC) [(ADV) in hierdie stadium] [(Vprs) lyk] [(SBJ) dit] [(EXP) vir my] [(CC) [(Comp) of] [[(SBJ) die skoolstelsel] grootliks die oorsaak [(Vprs) is] van Karien se emosionele probleme]]]]
in here.this stage seem it to me if the school.system largely the cause be.PRS of Karien GEN emotional problems
At this stage it seems to me as if the school system is largely the cause of Karien’s emotional problems.
Example 22

Maar dit lyk my die onderwyseres het nie veel notisie van ons geneem nie.
PCSA, adapted
maar [(MC) [(SBJ) dit] [(Vprs) lyk] [(EXP) my] [(CC [[(SBJ) die onderwyseres] [(Vaux-pst) het] nie veel notisie van ons [(Vpst-ptcp) geneem] nie]]]
but it seem me the teacher have NEG much notice of us PST.PTCP-take NEG
But it seems to me as if the teacher didn’t take much notice of us.
Example 23

Dit lyk vir my hy weet nie veel van rugby af nie.
TK, adapted
[(MC) [(SBJ) dit] [(Vprs) lyk] [(EXP) vir my] [(CC) [[(SBJ) hy] [(Vprs) weet] nie veel van rugby af nie]]]
it seem to me he know NEG much of rugby of NEG
It seems to me as if he doesn’t know much about rugby.
Example 24

Dan lyk dit daar is ’n konsensus: die rugbybase sal hul kant moet bring.
TK, adapted
[(MC) [(ADV) dan] [(Vprs) lyk] [(SBJ) dit] [(CC) [[(SBJ) daar] [(Vprs) is] ’n konsensus: die rugbybase sal hul kant moet bring]]]
then seem it there be.PRS a consensus: the rugby.bosses shall their side must bring
Then there seems to be a consensus: the rugby bosses will have to do their part.

Figure 3. Preferences of lyk seem/appear with interrogative complement clauses.


Figure 3

[click image to enlarge]

The above suggests that the construction with the copular verb as matrix verb, no complementiser, and declarative word order constitutes a case where the complement clause expresses a factive claim, with the complement-taking predicate functioning as an epistemic hedge with a function of intersubjective coordination. This is further supported by the occurrence of the construction without the dummy subject ditit, as in (25).

Example 25

Lyk my jy het nie goed geslaap nie.
TK, adapted
[(MC) [(Vprs) lyk] [(EXP) my] [(CC) [[(SBJ) jy] [(Vaux-pst) het] nie goed [(Vpst-ptcp) geslaap] nie]]]
seem me you have NEG good PST.PTCP-sleep NEG
Seems to me you’ve not slept well.

Beyond this specialised construction, the omission of the complementiser ofif/whether does also occur in more general contexts – in other words, where the general interrogative complement clause is used as an object clause rather than a predicate clause (in contrast to Ponelis (1979) and Feinauer (1990)) with the word order in the complement clause reverting to independent interrogative word order (VSX). However, this is an infrequent phenomenon that is particularly associated with spoken language. Unlike the specialised construction outlined above, this construction is a general case of complementiser omission, with thematic prominence shifted to the complement clause. The interrogative word order is retained in the complement clause, which indicates that the factivity of the clause is not presupposed. Some attested examples are listed in (26) and (27).

Example 26

Hulle vra vir haar was Boet Ewerson vandag hier.
PCSA
[(MC) hulle vra vir haar [(CC) [(Vpst) was] [(SBJ) Boet Ewerson] [(ADV) vandag hier]]]
they ask for her be.PST Boet Ewerson today here
They ask her whether Boet Ewerson was here today.
Example 27

Hy het vir hom die môre gevra weet hy hoe om toast te maak.
PCSA
[(MC) hy het vir hom die môre gevra [(CC) [(Vprs) weet] [(SBJ) hy] [(CC) [hoe om toast te maak]]]
he have for him the morning asked know he how COMP toast to make.INF
He asked him in the morning whether he knew how to make toast.

There are two less standard constructions for the general interrogative complement clause. The first is characterised by the presence of the complementiser of if/whether, followed by independent interrogative word order (VSX), as in (28).

Example 28

Ons weet nie of sal ons môre opstaan nie.
PCSA, adapted
[(MC) ons weet nie [(CC) [(Comp) of] [[(Vaux-mod) sal] [(SBJ) ons] [(ADV) môre] [(Vinf) opstaan]]] nie]
we know NEG if shall we tomorrow arise NEG
We don’t know if we’ll get up tomorrow.

The second is characterised by main-clause declarative word order with ofif/whether, as in (7).

Feinauer (1989:31) finds that these non-standard word-orders are extremely infrequent in her data, a finding reiterated by Kruger and Van Rooy (in review), who find that non-normative word orders occur only in the spoken corpus (the Ponelis Corpus of Spoken Afrikaans), where it accounts for 4% of the total number of general interrogative complement clauses. In the Taalkommissiekorpus and the Maroelakorpus, these constructions occur at negligible frequencies.

Where non-normative word order does occur in general interrogative complement clauses with ofif/whether, it more frequently takes the form with declarative rather than interrogative word order, as in (7). These forms appear to be the consequence of processing strain, as they are often, though not exclusively, associated with grammatical environments of increased complexity. In the normative literature, the construction with ofif/whether and main-clause interrogative order is discussed and clearly proscribed from the 1950s onwards, with less attention to ofif/whether and main-clause declarative word order (see Kruger & Van Rooy in review). The non-normative construction is usually attributed to spoken-language influence (Van der Merwe and Ponelis 1982:141) or to the influence of English via the second-language Afrikaans of native speakers of English (Prinsloo and Odendal 1995:136). However, an analysis of the Afrikaans Historical Corpus (Kirsten 2016) demonstrates that non-normative word orders with ofíf/whether at no point became entrenched constructions in written language. In the period 1911-1920, non-normative word orders account for only 3% of general interrogative complement clauses (see (29)), and in subsequent periods the frequency is 1% or less.

Example 29

Die bevolking werd in onkunde gehou van wat in Europa gebeur was, en wis nie beter of Nederland was deur Frankrijk verower
AHC
[(MC1) die bevolking werd in onkunde gehou van wat in Europa gebeur was], en [(MC2) [(V) wis] nie beter [(CC) [(Comp) of] [[(SBJ) Nederland] [(Vaux) was] deur Frankrijk [(V) verower]]]]
the population become.PST in ignorance kept of what in Europe happened be.PST and knew NEG better if Netherlands be.PST by France defeated
The population was kept ignorant of what was happening in Europe, and did not know whether the Netherlands were conquered by France.
[+] Specific interrogative complement clauses

WH-interrogatives show more variability between the normatively preferred verb-final word order, and the verb-second order that characterises main-clause WH-interrogatives than is the case for general interrogatives. There is a clear register differentiation in the frequency of the two constructions, with the verb-final order by far the dominant form in written Afrikaans, with spoken Afrikaans demonstrating more variability.

For the more normative verb-final construction, if the verb phrase consists of a single past or present-tense lexical verb only, the verb occurs in the final position, as in (8) and (30).

Example 30

Ek wonder hoekom hulle by die partytjie was.
[(MC) ek wonder [(CC) [(WH) hoekom] [(SBJ) hulle] [(ADJ) by die partytjie] [(Vpst) was]]]
I wonder why they at the party be.PST
I wonder why they were at the party.

If the main verb is accompanied by a modal auxiliary or aspectual verb, the modal or aspectual verb occurs directly before the main verb, as in (31) and (32).

Example 31

Ek wonder hoekom hulle vriende na die partytjie moet kom.
[(MC) ek wonder [(CC) [(WH) hoekom] [(SBJ) hulle vriende] [(ADV) na die partytjie] [(Vaux-mod) moet] [(Vinf) kom]]]
I wonder why their friends to the party must come.INF
I wonder why their friends have to come to the party.
Example 32

Ek wonder wanneer hulle uiteindelik begin ontspan.
[(MC) ek wonder [(CC) [(WH) wanneer] [(SBJ) hulle] [(ADV) uiteindelik] [(Vaux) begin] [(Vinf) ontspan]]]
I wonder when they eventually start relax.INF
I wonder when they will eventually start relaxing.

In past-tense constructions formed with the auxiliary het have, the auxiliary always occurs after the main verb in the past-participle form, as in (33). If a modal auxiliary is present in addition, it precedes the main verb, as shown in (34).

Example 33

Ek wonder hoekom hulle ons vriende na die partytjie genooi het.
[(MC) ek wonder [(CC) [(WH) hoekom] [(SBJ) hulle] [(OBJ) ons vriende] [(ADV) na die partytjie] [(Vpst-ptcp) genooi] [(Vaux-pst) het]]]
I wonder why they our friends to the party PST.PTCP-invite have
I wonder why they invited our friends to the party.
Example 34

Ek wonder hoekom hulle ons vriende na die partytjie sou genooi het.
[(MC) ek wonder [(CC) [(WH) hoekom] [(SBJ) hulle] [(OBJ) ons vriende] [(ADV) na die partytjie] [(Vaux-mod) sou] [((Vpst-ptcp) genooi] [(Vaux-pst) het]]]
I wonder why they our friends to the party would PST.PTCP-invite have
I wonder why they would have invited our friends to the party.

Biberauer (2002:37) argues that the specific interrogative complement clause with main-clause interrogative word order is an established construction in spoken Afrikaans, occurring at high frequency (around 70%). Feinauer (1989:31) similarly reports a high frequency in her spoken corpus, and Kruger and Van Rooy (in review) find, in the Ponelis Corpus of Spoken Afrikaans, that this construction accounts for around 47% of all instances. It is also reasonably frequent in unedited written Afrikaans – in the Maroela Comment Corpus, it accounts for 31% of all cases. On the basis of these data, it appears that the two main word-order variants of the specific interrogative complement clause may be regarded as two entrenched constructional forms from which speakers make a selection. The two constructions appear to be functionally differentiated, in a similar way as the two normative variants of the declarative complement clause are functionally differentiated, with the main-clause interrogative word order having the effect of shifting the informational focus to the complement clause, and the complement-taking predicate functioning as an interpersonal frame for the complement clause (see Thompson 2002; Verhagen 2005).This potential functional differentiation is discussed in more detail in the section on the functions of the interrogative complement clause.

Biberauer (2002) argues that in contemporary spoken Afrikaans, there is a process of language change underway, with the variant with main-clause interrogative word order becoming increasingly dominant. An analysis of a twentieth-century corpus of Afrikaans does not provide a definitive answer to this question: in the written sources included in the Afrikaans Historical Corpus, specific interrogatives with main-clause interrogative word orders are consistently attested at relatively low, but non-negligible frequencies, ranging from 3% to 8%, with contemporary written Afrikaans (as reflected in the Taalkomissiekorpus) demonstrating a frequency of around 6% of the variant with main-clause interrogative word order. The diachronic variation evident in written language is therefore not indicative of a long-term change.

The lower frequency of the construction with main-clause interrogative word order in written as compared to spoken registers raises the question of whether the differences in frequency might be ascribed to a normative effect that comes into play in edited written registers, or whether there is a functional explanation for the register difference. While the normativity explanation seems likely, and has been proposed by Biberauer (2002), an analysis of prescriptive sources (Kruger and Van Rooy in review) demonstrates that the question of word order in the specific interrogative complement clause is hardly raised in prescriptive sources, and where it is, there is conflicting advice. A proscription on this word order is added in the second edition of Skryf Afrikaans van A-Z(Müller and Pistor 2011); however, in the seventh edition of Die korrekte woord(Van der Merwe and Ponelis 1991), the VSX order in specific interrogative complement clauses is regarded as acceptable in both spoken and written language.

Given the recentness of prescriptive advice on the VSX order in specific interrogative complement clauses, and the conflicting views evident, it may well be that normativity is not the only explanation for the differences in frequency of this construction in spoken and written language. Rather, it may be the case that the construction is more frequent in spoken language than in written language, since in the former the interpersonal function is more dominant than the propositional function. This matter is discussed in more detail in the section on the functions of the interrogative complement clause. 

Lastly, a clearly non-normative word order occurs at very low frequencies, where main-clause declarative word order (SVX) is used in the complement clause, as in example (10). While this appears to occur primarily in spoken language, it also occasionally occurs in written registers, as in (35). This variant does not appear to be an established construction; rather it appears to be associated with contexts of increased grammatical complexity which induce processing strain.

Example 35

Die rede waarom ek skryf, is omdat ek wil weet hoe ’n mens moet aansoek doen vir die pos van president.
TK
die rede waarom ek skryf, is [(PRED) omdat [(SBJ) ek] [(VP) wil weet] [(CC) [(WH) hoe] [(SUBJ) ’n mens] [(Vaux-mod) moet] aansoek [(Vinf) doen] vir die pos van president]]]
the reason why I write, is because I want.to know how a human must apply do for the post of president
The reason why I am writing, is because I want to know how one should apply for the job of president.
References:
  • Biberauer, Theresa2002Verb second in Afrikaans: Is this a unitary phenomenon?Stellenbosch Papers in Linguistics3419-69
  • Biberauer, Theresa2002Verb second in Afrikaans: Is this a unitary phenomenon?Stellenbosch Papers in Linguistics3419-69
  • Biberauer, Theresa2002Verb second in Afrikaans: Is this a unitary phenomenon?Stellenbosch Papers in Linguistics3419-69
  • Feinauer, AE1989Plasing in Afrikaanse afhanklike sinneSouth African Journal of Linguistics7(1)30-37
  • Feinauer, AE1989Plasing in Afrikaanse afhanklike sinneSouth African Journal of Linguistics7(1)30-37
  • Gold, David L1998An instance of convergence: Frisian witte and Yiddish mideyeLeuvense Bijdragen87151-153
  • Hart, Johan `t, Collier, René & Cohen, Antonie1990A perceptual study of intonation: an experimental-phonetic approach to speech melodyCambridgeCambridge University Press
  • Hoekstra, Jarich1991Poer op 'e romteFriesch Dagblad18-05Taalsnipels 185
  • Verhagen, Arie2005Constructions of intersubjectivity: discourse, syntax, and cognitionOxford/New YorkOxford University Press
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