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The regular passive
quickinfo

The regular passive, which is here taken as basis for comparison with less typical passive constructions, consists of a subject corresponding to the direct or indirect object (see (1) and (2), respectively) of an active clause with transitivemain verb, and a periphrastic verb cluster consisting of a past participle together with wordbecome,be.PRS or be.PRT as auxiliary. No terminological distinction will be made here between a "passive" and a "past" participle. (Aspectual and other differences between types of participles are described by Butler (2016).) The subject of the active clause is optionally represented as an adjunct headed by the prepositiondeurby.

Example 1

a. Sy broer versorg die tuin goed.
his brother take.care.of the garden well
His brother takes good care of the garden.
b. Die tuin word goed versorg (deur sy broer).
the garden become.AUX.PASS.PRS well take.care.of.PST.PTCP by his brother
The garden is taken good care of (by his brother).
Example 2

a. Iemand het hom vroeg al 'n graaf in die hand gegee.
someone have.AUX.PERF him early already a spade in the hand PST.PTCP-give
Someone gave him a spade to work with early on.
b. Hy is vroeg al 'n graaf in die hand gegee (deur iemand).
he be.AUX.PASS.PERF early already a spade in the hand PST.PTCP-give by someone
He was given a spade to work with early on (by someone).

A number of constraints on passivisation are pointed out. For instance, verbs like weetknow and kenknow, be acquainted with resist passivisation, as in (3a). Constructions with reciprocal objects cannot be passivised, cf. (3b). A modal verb such as wilwant to retains its semantic relationship with the sentential subject after passivisation, while the main verb has a new relationship with the subject, cf. (3c). In such cases active and passive sentences are therefore not synonymous.

Example 3

a. *Alles word (deur my vrou) geweet.
everything become.AUX.PASS.PRS by my wife PST.PTCP-know
Everything is known by my wife.
b. *Hulle ken mekaar, maar mekaar word nie deur hulle geken nie.
they know each.other COMP each.other become.AUX.PASS.PRS NEG by them PST.PTCP-know NEG
They know each other, but each other are not known by them.
c. Sy wil die wêreld sien en sy wil deur die wêreld gesien word.
she want.to the world see and she want.to by the world PST.PTCP-see become.AUX.PASS.PRS
She wants to see the world and she wants to be seen by the world.

Passivisation has a number of pragmatic implications or uses, such as disambiguation, as in (4b).

Example 4

a. Julle sien ons selde.
you.PL see us seldom
You seldom see us.
you.PL see we seldom
We seldom see you.
b. Julle word selde deur ons gesien.
you.PL become.AUX.PASS.PRS seldom PST.PTCP-see by us
You are seldom seen by us.

The impersonal passive (see section 3.2.1.2) is a construction introduced by the adverb daarthere, with a transitive or intransitive verb as main verb and a passive auxiliary, for example (5b):

Example 5

a. Die komitee het besluit dat die president moet bedank.
the committee have.AUX.PERF decide.PST.PTCP COMP the president should resign
The committee decided that the president should resign.
b. Daar is (deur die komitee) besluit dat die president moet bedank.
there be.AUX.PASS.PERF (by the committee) decide.PST.PTCP COMP the president should resign
It has been decided (by the committee) that the president should resign.

Pseudo-passive structures, which share some of the characteristics of regular and impersonal passives, are also described in section 3.2.1.2. Examples:

Example 6

a. Geen vermaak is in dié dorpie te vinde nie.
no entertainment be.COP.PRS in this town.DIM to find.INF NEG
No entertainment is to be had in this little town.
b. Die konsert moet dringend gereël kom.
the concert must urgently PST.PTCP-organise come
The concert must be arranged urgently.
c. Jy moet die hek toegesluit hê teen vyfuur.
you.SG should the gate lock.PST.PTCP have.INF by five.o'clock
You should have the gate locked by five o'clock.
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[+] Components and formation of the regular passive

A typical passive construction, as in (7b), when compared to an active construction, as in (7a), differs grammatically from it in three ways: (i) The direct objectdie muisa mouse, an internal argument of the transitive verb jaagchase, is promoted to the function of subject, or external argument, of the passive construction. (ii) The subject die katthe cat, the external argument of jaag, is demoted to an agentive adjunct - a prepositional phrase headed by deurby, for instance deur die katby the cat. Deur is also used in nominalisations, for instance die boek Jaffie deur Eitemalthe book Jaffie by Eitemal. An older form of the agentive preposition is vanfrom, a cognate of German von in the same function. Van is still used in nominalisations such as die oorwinning van die Geallieerdesthe victory of the Allies, a genitive construction interpreted as agentive, and in fixed expressions, such as van lotjie getikcrazy. (iii) The transitive verb jaag, in its base form, becomes a periphrastic verbal cluster consisting of gejaag, the past participle of jaag, and the auxiliary verb word, which may appear in verb-second position (as in (7b))(or in verb-first position in yes-no questions), or clause-finally after the past participle in subordinate constructions, as in (7c).

The deur adjunct may also be topicalised, as in (7d), though this is a marked order. The deur adjunct is also employed with nominalisations, e.g. die inval deur die Noormannethe incursion by the Norsemen, as in (7e).

Example 7

a. Die kat jaag die muis.
the cat chase the mouse
The cat chases/is chasing the mouse.
b. Die muis word deur die kat gejaag.
the mouse become.AUX.PASS.PRS by the cat PST.PTCP-chase
The mouse is (being) chased by the cat.
c. Dit lyk asof die muis deur die kat gejaag word.
it seem as.if the mouse by the cat PST.PTCP-chase become.AUX.PASS.PRS
It seems as if the mouse is (being) chased by the cat.
d. Deur die kat word die muis gejaag.
by the cat become.AUX.PASS.PRS the mouse PST.PTCP-chase
The mouse is (being) chased by the cat.
e. die inval deur die Noormanne
the incursion by the Norsemen
the incursion by the Norsemen

Though the deur adjunct is not realised in the majority of cases for pragmatic reasons, an agent is always implicitly present. According to Broekhuis et al (2015:411) adverbs such as opsetlik, asprison purpose and doelbewusintensionally, as in (8a), still imply an agent, as shown by (8b).

Example 8

a. Piet het die blompot opsetlik/aspris/doelbewus gebreek.
Piet have.AUX.PERF the vase on.purpose/on.purpose/intensionally PST.PTCP-break
Piet broke the vase on purpose/intensionally.
b. Die blompot is opsetlik/aspris/doelbewus gebreek.
the vase be.AUX.PASS.PERF on.purpose/on.purpose/intensionally PST.PTCP-break
The vase was broken on purpose/intensionally.

In the case of Afrikaans, the structural constraints on the regular passive are diminished in two senses: indirect objects and prepositional objects may also be promoted to subject of the passive, as in (9b) and (10b), respectively. The relationship between the main verb and active object/ passive subject is not altered by passivisation.

Example 9

a. Hulle het hom 'n rystoel gegee om makliker te kan beweeg.
they have.AUX.PERF him a wheelchair PST.PTCP-give COMP easier to can move
They gave him a wheelchair to be able to move about more easily.
b. Hy is 'n rystoel gegee om makliker te kan beweeg.
he be.AUX.PASS.PERF a wheelchair PST.PTCP-give COMP easier to can move
He was given a wheelchair to be able to move about more easily.
Example 10

a. Waarmee hulle die beeste voer, is nie duidelik nie.
what.with they the cattle feed be.COP.PRS NEG clear NEG
It is not clear with what they feed the cattle.
b. Wat die beeste mee gevoer word, is nie duidelik nie.
what the cattle with PST.PTCP-feed become.AUX.PASS.PRS be.COP.PRS NEG clear NEG
It is not clear what the cattle are fed with.

The auxiliaries be.PRS and be.PRT may be substituted for word to express the past tense or pluperfect, as in (11a) and (11b), respectively. The form be.PRS is commonly used for the past tense as well as the pluperfect. According to Ponelis(1979:267)was is used as a past tense form under English influence or to express the pluperfect in formal style. (Also cf. Kirsten(2015:165-168)). ).

Example 11

a. Die muis is deur die kat gejaag.
the mouse be.AUX.PASS.PERF by the cat PST.PTCP-chase
The mouse was chased by the cat.
b. Die muis was deur die kat gejaag.
the mouse be.AUX.PASS.PLUPERF by the cat PST.PTCP-chase
The mouse had been chased by the cat.

Van Schoor(1983:183) considers was clauses with adverbs such as al/reeds/klaaralready, expressing action which has reached a state of completion, as adjectival rather than verbal. Both interpretations are illustrated in (12).

Example 12

Toe ons by die hek kom, was dit al klaar oopgesluit.
when we at the gate come.PRS be.COP.PRT it already unlock.PST.PTCP
When we reached the gate it was already unlocked.
when we at the gate come.PRS be.AUX.PLUPERF it already unlock.PST.PTCP
When we reached the gate it had already been unlocked

Geword het alternated with be.PRS in earlier formal language, as in (13):

Example 13

die vergadering wat daar gehou geword het
J.D. Kestell, Christiaan de Wet, 1920:3
the meeting which there PST.PTCP-hold PST.PTCP-become have.AUX.PERF
the meeting which had been held there

When a modal verb forms part of the verbal cluster, word, as in (14), is the preferred auxiliary. However, with wil/wouwant(ed) to as the modal, as in (15) and (17), weesbe.INF is often used instead of word. This may entail a shift in aspect from an action to a state. In the perfect, gewees, as in (16), is preferred to geword; in (16) both gewees and word are in evidence.

Example 14

Was byna of die gedierte geskiet wóú word
W.Anker, Buys, 2014:30
be.COP.PRT almost COMP the animal PST.PTCP-shoot want.to.PRT become.AUX.PASS.PRS
It was almost as if the animal wanted to be shot.
Example 15

dié hardkoppigheid om nie voorgesê te wil wees nie
A.Botes, Swart op wit, 2013:227
this stubbornness COMP NEG dictate.PST.PTCP to want.to be.INF NEG
this stubbornness to not want to be dictated to
Example 16

Die baadjie lyk of dit by Edgars ... gekoop kon gewees het
F.Bloemhof, Doodskoot, 2016:32
the jacket look COMP it at Edgars PST.PTCP-buy can.PRT PST.PTCP-be have.AUX.PERF
The jacket looks as if it could have been bought at Edgars
Example 17

Sy wou ook onthou gewees het en bo alles liefgehê word
Beeld, 13.x.2015
she want-to.PRT also remember.PST.PTCP PST.PTCP-be have.AUX.PERF and above all love.PST.PTCP become.AUX.PASS.PRS
She also wanted to be remembered and above all to be loved.

The auxiliary wordbecome is sometimes replaced by the copula raakbecome, get in the spoken language, as in (18), and often functions as auxiliary in some varieties of the language, as in (19).

Example 18

moenie dat Evert se kar verwoes raak nie
TK
must.NEG.IMP COMP Evert POSS car destroy.PST.PTCP get NEG
Don't let Evert's car get destroyed.
Example 19

Omdat die meeste tjinners hierdie tyd van die aand gebore raak
TK
because the most children this time of the evening born.PST.PTCP get
because most children are born this time of the evening.

The passive auxiliary word, Dutch wordenbecome, is never optional in Afrikaans clause-finally:

Example 20

Du. De muur moet geschilderd (worden).
the wall should PST.PTCP-paint become.AUX.PASS.INF.
The wall should be painted.
[+] The passive, overlapping and ambiguity

Passives with isbe.PRS together with a past participle as verbal cluster may overlap with other constructions in a number of ways, with ambiguity resulting in some cases. Three of these construction pairs will be discussed.

(i)Is may be interpreted as a copula and the past participle as a departicipial adjective, as in (21a), or is together with the past participle expresses the perfect in the passive, as in (21b). (See Butler (2016) for further discussion of the relationship between past participle and adjective.)

Example 21

a. Die deur is deeglik gesluit.
the door be.COP.PRS thoroughly PST.PTCP-lock
The door is thoroughly locked.' (active)
b. Die deur is deeglik gesluit.
the door be.AUX.PASS.PST thoroughly PST.PTCP-lock
The door has been thoroughly locked. (passive)

(ii)Is in combination with klaarfinished together with the past participle of a durative verb, as in (22a), signals the end of a process; perfective aspect may also be expressed by employing the auxiliary het, as in (22c), but without klaar being obligatory. With is as auxiliary, as in (22b), a perfect tense passive is expressed.

Example 22

a. Die nagdiere is klaar gejag.
the nocturnal.animals be.COP.PRS finished/already PST.PTCP-hunt
The nocturnal animals have finished hunting' (active).
b. Die nagdiere is klaar gejag.
the nocturnal.animals be.AUX.PASS.PRF finished/already PST.PTCP-hunt
The nocturnal animals have already been hunted (passive)
c. Die nagdiere het klaar gejag.
the nocturnal.animals have.AUX.PST finished/already PST.PTCP-hunt
The nocturnal animals have finished hunting' (active).

(iii) In (23) is alternates with word to contrast a stative with a dynamic representation of a state of affairs, as in (23a) and (23b), respectively.

Example 23

a. Die plaas is deur bome omgrens.
the farm be.COP.PRS by trees surround.PST.PTCP.
The farm is (active) surrounded by trees.
b. Die plaas word deur bome omgrens.
the farm be.AUX.PASS.PRS by trees surround.PST.PTCP.
The farm is being (passive) surrounded by trees.

(i) Example (23) above is ambiguous between a past tense passive and a present tense copular construction. Partial disambiguation is possible in both Dutch and Afrikaans, but while syntactic means would be employed in Dutch, Afrikaans would make use of morphological mechanisms. While in Dutch the passive is uniquely marked syntactically through the clause-final order of an auxiliary preceding a past participle (which is not an option in Afrikaans), as in (24a) and (24b), departicipial adjectives may be morphologically marked in Afrikaans, for example geseënd, as in (25ai), vs regularised geseënblessed, as in (25a), in former "weak" verbs, and gebroke vs regularised gebreekbroken in former "strong" verbs, as in (25bi).

Example 24

a. Du. dat de armen zijn gezegend
COMP the poor be.AUX.PASS.PERF PST.PTCP-bless
that the poor were blessed (passive)
a.' Du. dat de armen gezegend zijn
COMP the poor PST.PTCP-bless be.AUX.PASS.PERF/be.COP.PRS
that the poor were blessed (passive)/are blessed (active)
b. Du. dat de band is gebroken
COMP the bond be.AUX.PASS.PERF PST.PTCP-break
that the bond was broken (passive)
b.' Du. dat de band gebroken is
COMP the bond PST.PTCP-break be.AUX.PASS.PERF (passive)/be.COP.PRS (active)
that the bond was broken (passive)/is broken (active)
Example 25

a. dat die armes geseën is
COMP that the poor PST.PTCP-bless be.AUX.PASS.PERF/be.COP.PRS
that the poor have been blessed (passive)/are blessed (active)
a.' dat die armes geseënd is
COMP the poor PST.PTCP-bless be.COP.PRS
that the poor are blessed (active)
b. dat die band gebreek is
COMP the bond PST.PTCP-break be.AUX.PASS.PERF/COP.PRS
that the bond was (passive)/is broken (active)
b.' dat die band gebroke is
COMP that the bond PST.PTCP-break be.COP.PRS
that the bond is broken (active)

Thus, in Dutch, the clause-final auxiliary followed by past participle order constitutes a verbal passive, while the inverse past participle and auxiliary order may signal either a verbal passive or a copular construction. Note that in the case of the copular construction the grammatical status of the past participle is that of a departicipial adjective. In Afrikaans only the second order is found clause-finally, but a small set of the strong past participles retain their irregular form in figurative or other functions, e.g. die gesproke woordthe spoken word for the verb spreekspeak, while a small set of weak past participles, which for instance express mental states, retains a final [d], e.g. verwonderdsurprised, teleurgestelddisappointedand gefassineerdfascinated.

(ii) Example (22) above serves to demonstrate the fact that the passive may also overlap with a specialised copular construction expressing the completion of an action. It consists of be.PRS or be.PRT and a past participle, as in (26a), alternating with have.AUX.PERF and a past participle, as in (26b). The adverb klaarfinished is obligatory with durative verbs such as eeteat, werkwork and singsing in (26). In (27) klaar would be optional, as the past participles aangetrekdressed and gepoeierpowdered would readily be interpreted as perfective. In (28), where be.PRT is used to express past or pluperfect tense, ingetrekmoved in would also receive a perfective interpretation.

Example 26

a. Ons is klaar geëet (gewerk, gesing, etc.)
we be.COP.PRS finished PST.PTCP-eat (PST.PTCP-work, PST.PTCP-sing)
We have finished eating (working, singing, etc.)
b. Ons het klaar geëet.
we have.AUX.PERF finished PST.PTCP-eat
We have finished eating.
Example 27

Gelukkig is Jacqueline klaar aangetrek en gepoeier
TK
luckily be.COP.PRS Jacqueline finished dress.PST.PTCP and PST.PTCP-powder
Luckily Jacqueline has finished dressing and powdering.
Example 28

Eers later het ek gehuil, toe ek in die klein woonstelletjie ingetrek was.
M. Hobbs, Score my, 2013:117
only later.on have.AUX.PERF I PST.PTCP-cry when I in the small flat.DIM in-PST.PTCP-move be.COP.PRT
I only cried later on, when I had moved into the flatlet.

(iii) With a number of verbs of extent, such as begrensborder, omsirkelencircle, omgewesurround, omringsurround, bedekcover (see (29) to (31)), which may express an enduring situation, a dynamic vs stative perspective may be expressed by employing the passive auxiliary word or the copula be.PRS, respectively. Note that even with be.PRS a fully agentive deur adjunct is possible. In some cases, such as (29b), the active version seems rather unlikely compared to the passive, perhaps because the subject of the active comes across as more agentive than a locative would merit. Examples:

Example 29

a. wat dikwels omgewe is deur 'n ligkrans
TK
which often surround.PST.PTCP be.COP.PRS by an aureola
which is often surrounded by an aureola
b. ? 'n Ligkrans omgewe die heiligdom.
an aureola surround the sanctuary
An aureola surrounds the sanctuary.
Example 30

albei is in die ooste begrens deur die Rooi See
TK
both be.COP.PRS in the east border.PST.PTCP by the Red Sea
both border on the Red Sea in the east
Example 31

Ons is omring deur berge en woude
TK
we be.COP.PRS encircle.PST.PTCP by mountains and forests
We are surrounded by mountains and forests.
[+] Constraints on passivisation

The default position in regard to passivisation seems to be that propositions with agentive human or animate subjects and transitive verbs are likely to have passive correlates, and that the direct object of the active form becomes the subject of the passive. According to Broekhuis et al (2015:25) passivisation is, however, not ruled out for transitive verbs with non-human or inanimate subjects, as long as those subjects are construed as agentive or causal:

Example 32

a. Die storm het die plantegroei verwoes.
the storm have.AUX.PERF the vegetation destroy.PST.PTCP
The storm destroyed the vegetation.
b. Die plantegroei is deur die storm verwoes.
the vegetation be.AUX.PASS.PERF by the storm destroy.PST.PTCP
The vegetation was destroyed by the storm.

Afrikaans differs from Dutch and is closer to English by also allowing an indirect object (cf. (33c)) to be promoted to subject, e.g.

Example 33

a. Die hoof bied haar 'n oorsese studiebeurs aan.
the principal offer her an overseas scholarship PTCL
The principal offers her an overseas scholarship.
b. 'n Oorsese studiebeursword haar deur die hoof aangebied.
an overseas scholarship become.AUX.PASS.PRS her by the principal PTCL-offer-PST.PTCP
An overseas scholarship is offered her by the principal.
c. Sy word deur die hoof 'n oorsese studiebeurs aangebied.
she become.AUX.PASS.PRS by the principal an overseas scholarship PTCL-offer-PST.PTCP
She is offered an overseas scholarship by the principal.

In Afrikaans, the prepositional object of a prepositional object verb also readily functions as the subject of a passive clause, as in:

Example 34

sy wil nie mee gesukkel wees nie
TK
she want.to NEG with PST.PTCP-pester be.AUX.PASS.INF NEG
She doesn't want to be pestered.

Though copular clauses are usually not amenable to passivisation, this cannot be ruled out entirely, as shown by (35) - an example that makes a rather fabricated impression.

Example 35

maar as daar grênd gewees moet word, moet daar mos in Engels gepraat word
H.Wasserman, Anderkant, 2004:102
but if there grand PST.PTCP-be must.PRS become.AUX.PASS.PRS must.PRS there PTCL in English
PST.PTCP-speak become.AUX.PASS.PRS
but if it is necessary to be "grand", English must of course be spoken.

Verbs like weetknowand kenknow, be acquainted with resist passivisation, according to Broekhuis et al (2015:416), because the subject is an internal argument - an experiencer, in particular.

Example 36

a. Anton weet alles.
Anton know everything
Anton knows everything.
b. *Alles word deur Anton geweet.
everything become.AUX.PASS.PRS by Anton PST.PTCP-know
Everything is known by Anton.
Example 37

a. Anton ken almal.
Anton know everyone
Anton knows everyone.
b. *Almal word deur Anton geken.
everyone become.AUX.PASS.PRS by Anton PRS.PTCP-know
Everyone is known by Anton.

As a prepositional object verb, however, weet is sporadically encountered in a passive:

Example 38

Om nie te veel te wil weet nie, en om nie van geweet te word nie.
C.Luyt, Meer as een grens, 2013:230
COMP NEG too much to want-to know NEG and COMP NEG of PST.PTCP-know to become.AUX.PASS.PRS NEG
Not to want to know too much, and not to be known about.
Example 39

dat hier ook mense woon wat van geweet wil wees.
P.Pieterse, Manaka, 2005:17
COMP here also people live who from PST.PTCP-know want-to be.AUX.PASS.PRS
that people are also living here who want to be known about

The passivisation of reflexive or reciprocal constructions is excluded in cases of full or partial coreference between the subject and object, for example when the main verb is obligatorily reflexive, as in (40); when the object refers to a body part of the agentive subject , as in (41), or when the object is reciprocal, as in (42), cf. Van Schoor (1983:180-181). However, when the object of a transitive proposition is overtly marked as coreferential with the subject by a suffix such as -self, passivisation may take place, as in (43).

Example 40

a. Sy het haar geskaam oor haar uitlatings.
she have.AUX.PERF her PST.PTCP-shame for her remarks
She was ashamed of her remarks.
b. *Sy is (deur haar) geskaam oor haar uitlatings.
she be.AUX.PASS.PRT by her PST.PTCP-shame of her remarks
To mean: She was ashamed of her remarks.
Example 41

a. Hy knik sy kop instemmend.
he nod his head agreeing
He nods his head in agreement.
b. *Sy kop word instemmend (deur hom) geknik.
his head become.AUX.PASS.PRS agreeing by him PST.PTCP-nod
To mean: 'He nods his head in agreement.
Example 42

a. Hulle sien mekaar in die spieël.
they see each.other in the mirror
They see each other in the mirror.
b. *Mekaar word (deur hulle) in die spieël gesien.
each.other become.AUX.PASS.PRS by them in the mirror PST.PTCP-see
To mean: They see each other in the mirror.
Example 43

Vorige getuienis ... het aangedui dat Henri se wonde deur homself toegedien is.
Huisgenoot, 12.ix.2017
previous evidence have.AUX.PERF indicate.PST.PTCP COMP Henri POSS wounds by himself inflict.PST.PTCP be.AUX.PASS.PERF
Previous evidence has indicated that Henri's wounds were inflicted by himself.

The constraints on passivisation dealt with thus far only involved main verbs and auxiliaries. Verbs may, however, also form clusters through the addition of modal or other lexical verbs - sometimes referred to as linking verbs - to the main verb. While some verb clusters passivise easily, others resist passivisation in various ways. For example, when a modal verb is introduced into the verbal cluster, its functional relationship with the subject may differ from that of the main verb to the subject. From (44a) to (44b) agentivity in regard to wilwant to is transferred from the active to the passive subject. From (45a) to (45b) the capability ascribed to the active subject by kanbe able to is transferred to the passive subject as 'possibility'. In all cases the agentive relation between the main verb and the entity referred to by the active object remains the same. The pairs of active and passive sentences in (44) and (45) therefore do not correspond semantically.

Example 44

a. Hy wil haar nou alleen laat.
he want.to her now alone leave
He wants to leave her alone now.
b. Sy wil nou alleen gelaat wees.
TK
she want.to now alone PST.PTCP-leave be.AUX.PASS.INF
She wants to be left alone now.
Example 45

a. Hy kan die las maklik dra.
he can the burden easily bear
He can bear the burden easily.
b. Die las kan maklik gedra word.
the burden can easily PST.PTCP-bear become.AUX.PASS.PRS
The burden can be borne easily.

Lexical clustering, with one or even more so-called linking verbs preceding the main verb, is extremely frequent in Afrikaans. Verbs which enable clustering include the following: laatlet (causative and permissive), blykeep, remain, beginbegin, helphelp and probeertry. Although the following examples have been attested and are clearly marked as passive through the use of the passive auxiliaries wordbecome or be.PRS, it is not certain that they will be acceptable to all speakers.

Example 46

Jou broer moet van Lusaka af laat kom word (causative)
P.Pieterse, Manaka, 2005:50
your brother must from Lusaka off let come become.AUX.PASS.PRS
Your brother needs to be sent for from Lusaka.
Example 47

die handdoekie wat ná een keer se gebruik ... laat val word (permissive)
TK
the towel.DIM that after one time POSS use let fall become.AUX.PASS.INF
the towellette which is dropped after being used once
Example 48

Die polisie sal bly oorweldig word deur dié omstandighede.
Rapport, 10.ii.2008
the police will remain overwhelm.PST.PTCP become.AUX.PASS.INF by these circumstances
The police will continue to be overwhelmed by these circumstances.
Example 49

a. tussen die gedigte ... begin gesprekke aangeknoop word
TK
among the poems begin conversations on-PST.PTCP-tie become.AUX.PASS.INF
conversations are beginning to be struck up among the poems
b. Daar moet begin gedóén word.
Spoken on RSG radio
there must begin PST.PTCP-do become.AUX.PASS.INF
People should start doing something.
Example 50

dié ... wat deur haar in die lewe help bring is
TK
those who by her in the life help bring be.AUX.PASS.PERF
those who were helped by her to be born
Example 51

Wat moet ten alle koste probeer voorkom word?
TK
what must at all costs try avoid become.AUX.PASS.INF
What must one try to avoid at all costs?
[+] Passives and pragmatics

The passive is often employed because it allows the speaker to omit mention of the source or agent of an action. Apart from the obvious advantage of densification, the omission allows the speaker to focus on the action itself rather than its cause. Other advantages include the avoidance of tautological or predictable information. ThusPonelis (1979:414-5, 308) mentions several reasons for omitting the agentive adjunct: the agent is highly predictable (52); the potential agent is very general (53); the agent cannot be identified (54); a first person agent is avoided for diplomatic reasons (55), and phrases such as na beweer wordallegedly and na verwag wordaccording to expectation are used to cover up the source of information (56).

Example 52

Antibiotika word al hoe minder voorgeskryf.
antibiotics become.AUX.PASS.PRS all the more.seldom prescribe.PST.PTCP
Antibiotics are prescribed less and less.
Example 53

Diere moenie mishandel word nie.
animals must.NEG maltreat.PST.PTCP become.AUX.PASS.INF NEG
Animals should not be maltreated.
Example 54

My kar is sopas gesteel.
my car be.AUX.PASS.PERF just PST.PTCP-steal
My car has just been stolen.
Example 55

Hiermee word verklaar dat dit die waarheid is.
hereby become.AUX.PASS.PRS declare.PST.PTCP COMP this the truth be.COP.PRS
It is hereby declared that this is the truth.
Example 56

Hy is na beweer word die skuldige.
he be.COP.PRS according allege.PST.PTCP become.AUX.PASS.PRS the guilty
He is allegedly the guilty one.

In the organisation of old and new information, the speaker may prefer to topicalise the theme rather than the agent, and to rather formulate the content of (57a) as (57b).

Example 57

a. Dié mense voer nog steeds mense as slawe weg.
these people take still continually people as slaves away
These people are still continuing to abduct people as slaves.
b. Mense word nog steeds as slawe weggevoer.
people become.AUX.PASS.PRS still continually as slaves away-PST.PTCP-take
People are still being abducted as slaves.

Topicalisation may also allow the speaker to move from one clause to another without changing the topic:

Example 58

'n Vrag appels het in die pad bly lê en is deur omstanders weggedra.
a load apples have.AUX.PERF in the road remain lie (active) and be.AUX.PASS.PERF by bystanders away-PST.PTCP-carry (passive)
A load of apples remained lying on the road and was carried away by bystanders.

Ambiguity as a result of levelling in Afrikaans personal pronouns may be avoided by using the passive rather than the active. As the nominative / oblique distinction in personal pronouns is only retained in the singular and the sentential subject is not restricted to clause-initial position, a sentence such as (59a) and (59b) may be ambiguous. (59b) is, however, disambiguated by the explicit reference to an agent in the deur adjunct of (59c).

Example 59

a. Hulle vertrou ons glad nie.
they trust us at.all NEG
They don't trust us at all.
b. Hulle vertrou ons glad nie.
them trust we at.all NEG
We don't trust them at all.
c. Hulle word glad nie deur ons vertrou nie.
they become.AUX.PASS.PRS at.all NEG by us trust.PST.PTCP NEG
They are not trusted by us at all.
References:
  • Broekhuis, Hans, Corver, Norbert & Vos, Riet2015Syntax of Dutch. Verbs and verb phrasesComprehensive grammar resourcesAmsterdam University Press
  • Broekhuis, Hans, Corver, Norbert & Vos, Riet2015Syntax of Dutch. Verbs and verb phrasesComprehensive grammar resourcesAmsterdam University Press
  • Broekhuis, Hans, Corver, Norbert & Vos, Riet2015Syntax of Dutch. Verbs and verb phrasesComprehensive grammar resourcesAmsterdam University Press
  • Hoekstra, Jarich1993The Split CP Hypothesis and the Frisian Complementizer systemUnpublishedFryske AkademyLjouwert
  • Hoekstra, Jarich1993The Split CP Hypothesis and the Frisian Complementizer systemUnpublishedFryske AkademyLjouwert
  • Stevens, K. N1998Acoustic phoneticsCambridge MAMIT Press
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