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Question-word NP

A prepositional compound construed with a question-word NP (also termed a wh-phrase) as complement of an adjective strongly prefers placement on the left of the adjective, whether the question itself is direct or indirect, as in the two examples below:

Example 1

Waarmee is julle nou besig?
wh.with are you now busy
What are you busy with now?
Example 2

Sy wonder waarmee hy nou besig is.
she wonders wh.with he now busy is
She wonders what he is busy doing now.
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Prepositional phrases used as complements of adjectives and incorporating pronouns form compounds in Afrikaans (at least orthographically) in a similar fashion as certain phrasal verbs (e.g. opstaanup.standget up). However, animacy is a determining factor in this respect, since the question-word wiewho is used (as in English) for animate referents, and then written disjunctively, as in op wieon whom, as against waaropwh-onon what.

A PP, whether construed with a conjunctive wh-phrase with an inaminate referent or with a disjunctive wh-prase with an animate referent, precedes the adjective in wh-questions:

Example 3

Waaraan is hy verslaaf?
Wh-on is he addicted
What is he addicted to?
Example 4

Op wie is sy jaloers?
on whom is she jealous
Whom is she jealous of?

A PP which is used as an indirect question (not necessarily containing a pronoun) follows the same pattern, e.g.

Example 5

aan watter organisasie die kopers verbonde is
to what organisation the buyers attached are
with which organisation the buyers are associated

A special pattern in this regard is that of echo questions, where a statement by a speaker is echoed by the interlocutor, and the questioned argument replaced by a wh-question. In such cases, the PP is placed to the right of the adjective:

Example 6

Hy is jaloers op wie?
he is jealous on whom
He is jealous of whom?

In the case of inanimate referents, there is a strong tendency, possibly because of the informal nature of echo questions, to use a disjunctive construction. Hence, instead of the normal

Example 7

Hy is besig waarmee?
he is busy wh-with
He is busy doing what?

the question-word, in casu the wh-pronoun watwhat, can be used in the form of an echo question as follows:

Example 8

Hy is besig met wat?
he is busy with what
He is busy doing what?
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