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Permeation of verb clusters
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Clause-final verb clusters are by non-verbal constituents such as copula predicates (e.g.(1a)), direct objects(e.g. (1b)), object complementives , verbal particles (e.g.(1c)) and adverbials (e.g. 1d)), otherwise precede or in some cases follow the verb cluster in the preferential ordering. When nominals permeate the cluster, they are restricted to generic or mass nouns (e.g. (1b)). In some instances permeation seems to depend on the weight of the particle or phrase. Adverbs permeate more easily than adverbial phrases, and adverbs of manner, time, etc. more easily than prepositional phrases. Note that in some instances, such as the verbal particle in (1c), the permeated form may be more common than its non-permeated counterpart.

Example 1

a. Die beton kan miskien môre [(VP) begin [(ADJ) droog] raak].
the concrete can.AUX.MOD perhaps tomorrow begin.LINK dry.ADJ become.PRS
The concrete may perhaps dry out by tomorrow.
b. Julle sal later [(VP) moet [(NP) [(N) werk]] maak] daarvan.
you.2PL will.AUX.MOD later.on must.AUX.MOD work make.INF PN.of
You will have to make a point of it later on.
c. Sy gaan die oortreder [(VP) probeer [(V.PART)uit] wys].
she go.AUX.MOD the offender try.LINK out.point.INF
She is going to try to point out the offender.
d. Die optog sal heeldag [(VP) bly [(ADV) stadig] beweeg].
the procession will.AUX.MOD all.day keep.on.LINK slowly move.INF
The procession will keep moving slowly all day.
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[+]Permeation by predicates

Verb clusters are often by copula predicates, such as adjectives (2a), nominals (2b) and prepositional phrases (2c). The non-permeated variants in (2ai) and (2bi) are as common as the permeated variants, while the non-permeated variant in (2ci) represents the more common usage.

Example 2

a. Jy weet dat die werkstuk môre [(ADV) moet [(ADJ) klaar] wees].
you.2SG know.PRS that.COMP the assignment tomorrow must.AUX.MOD finished be.INF
You know that the assignment should be finished by tomorrow.
a.' Jy weet dat die werkstuk môre klaar [(VP) moet wees].
you.2SG know.PRS that.COMP the assignment tomorrow finished must.AUX.MOD be.INF
You know that the assignment should be finished by tomorrow.
b. Hulle vra of jy [(VP) wil [(NP) [(N)seremoniemeester]] wees].
they ask.PRS if.COMP you.2SG want.to.AUX.MOD master.of.ceremonies be.INF
They are asking whether you want to be master of ceremonies.
b.' Hulle vra of jy seremoniemeester[(VP) wil wees].
they ask.PRS if.COMP you.2SG master.of.ceremonies want.to.AUX.MOD be.INF
They are asking whether you want to be master of ceremonies.
c. Ons wonder of julle hieroor [(VP) sal [(PP) in die moeilikheid] kom].
we wonder if.COMP you.2PL PN.over will.AUX.MOD [in the trouble] come.INF
We are wondering whether you will get into trouble about this.
c.' Ons wonder of julle hieroor in die moeilikheid[(VP) sal kom].
we wonder if.COMP you.2PL PN.over [in the trouble] will.AUX.MOD come.INF
We are wondering whether you will get into trouble about this.
[+]Permeation by direct objects and object complementives

Verb clusters are also permeated by direct objects and object complementives. In the case of the direct object in (3), the generic noun is preferred to determiner phrases, cf. (3ai). When a mass noun permeates as object, as in (3b) and (3bi), the permeated and non-permeated variants seem equally acceptible. This is also the case with the objec complementive in (3c) and (3ci). In the case of a prepositional phrase, the non-permeated variant, as in (3di), is preferable.

Example 3

a. Om te [(VP) moet [(NP)'n appel/*die appel] eet], is vir hom 'n straf.
for.COMP PTCL.INF must.AUX.MOD an apple / the apple eat, is for him a punishment
Having to eat an apple / the apple is punishment to him.
a.' Om te [(VP) moet [(NP) appels] eet], is vir hom 'n straf.
for.COMP PTCL.INF must.AUX.MOD apples eat.INF is for him a punishment
Having to eat apples is punishment to him.
b. As ons net [(VP)sou [(NP) [(N) geld]] hê], kon ons daarmee voortgaan.
if.CNJ we only shall.AUX.MOD.PRT money have.INF can.AUX.MOD.PRT we PN.with ahead.go.INF
If only we had money, we could go ahead with it.
b.' As ons net geld [(VP) sou hê], kon ons daarmee voortgaan.
if.CNJ we only money will.AUX.MOD.PRT have.INF can.AUX.MOD.PRT we PN.with ahead.go.INF
If only we had money, we could go ahead with it.
c. Dat julle die kamer [(VP) moet [(ADJ)pienk] verf], is jammer.
that.COMP you.2PL the room must.AUX.MOD.PRS pink paint.INF is a.pity
That you have to paint the room pink is a pity.
c.' Dat julle die kamer pienk [(VP) moet verf], is jammer.
that.COMP you.2PL the room pink must.AUX.MOD paint.INF is a.pity
That you have to paint the room pink is a pity.
d. Ek sal dit waardeer as jy die feite teen môre [(VP) kan [(PP)in die hande] kry.
I will.AUX.MOD.PRS it appreciate.INF if.CNJ you.2SG the facts by tomorrow can.PRS in the hands get.INF
I would appreciate it if you could get hold of the facts by tomorrow.
d.' Ek sal dit waardeer as jy die feite teen môre in die hande [(VP) kan kry].
I will.AUX.MOD it appreciate.INF if.CNJ you.2SG the facts by tomorrow in the hands can.AUX.MOD get.INF
I would appreciate it if you could get hold of the facts by tomorrow.

See also the following sections:

  • Permeation by predicates
  • Permeation by direct objects and object complementives
  • Permeation according to weight
  • Permeation by adverbials
[+]Permeation according to weight

In Afrikaans verbal particles are attached to the main verb rather than preceding the final cluster, which means that permeation, as in (4a), is the preferred option. However, heavier non-verbal structures such as adverbials, as in (4c), and prepositional phrases, as in (4d), tend to precede the final verb cluster.

Example 4

a. Hy vra of jy die bal <?op> probeer <op->blaas.
he ask.PRS if.COMP you.2SG the ball <up.PTCL> try.LINK <up.PTCL> blow.INF
He asks whether you are trying to inflate the ball.
b. Sy vra of jy die trok <verby> gaan probeer <verby->steek.
She ask.PRS if.COMP you.2SG the truck <past.PTCL> will.AUX.MOD try.LINK <past.PART> take.INF
She asks whether you are going to try to overtake the truck.
c. Ek sal bly wees as jy die stof <buitentoe> kan <?buitentoe> vee.
I will.AUX.MOD glad be.INF if.CNJ you.2SG the dust <outside.to.ADV> can.AUX.MOD <outside.to.ADV> sweep.INF
I'll be glad if you could sweep the dust out.
d. Jannie vra of Kersvader <deur die skoorsteen> sal moet <?deur die skoorsteen> klim.
Jannie ask.PRS if.COMP Father.Christmas through the chimney> will.AUX.MOD must.AUX.MOD <through the chimney> climb.INF
Jannie asks whether Father Christmas will have to climb through the chimney.
[+]Permeation by types of adverbials

The following examples suggest that not all kinds of adverbials permeate a verb cluster with equal ease. The adverbials are an adverb of manner in (5a), temporal adverbs in (5b) and a modal particle in (5c).

Example 5

a. Doen dit as jy die gaste wil laat vinniger eet.
doen dit as jy die gaste [(VP) wil laat [(ADV) vinniger] eet]
do.IMP this if.CNJ you.2SG the guests want.to.AUX.MOD let.LINK faster eat.INF
Do this if you want to let the guests eat faster.
b. ?Doen dit as jy die gaste wil laat nou al aansit.
doen dit as jy die gaste [(VP) wil laat [(ADV) nou al] aansit]
do.IMP this if.CNJ you.2SG the guests want.to.AUX.MOD let.LINK now already down.sit.INF
Do this if you want the guests to sit down (for the meal) already.
c. ??Doen dit as jy die gaste wil rêrig trakteer.
doen dit as jy die gaste [(VP) wil rêrig] trakteer]
do.IMP this if.CNJ you.2SG the guests want.to.AUX.MOD really.ADV treat.INF
Do this if you really want to treat the guests.
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