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Exact degree (measure phrase)

Adjectives may be accompanied by a measure phrase, as in the example below:

Example 1

'n baba wat vier dae oud is
a baby that.REL four days old be.PRS
a baby who is four days old

In addition, measure phrases may themselves form adjective compounds, as in:

Example 2

die viermalig·e Olimpiese wenner
the four.times·ATTR Olympic winner
the four-times Olympic winner
Example 3

'n Driedubbele moordsaak is aanhangig gemaak.
a triple murder.case be·AUX.PASS.PST pending made
A triple murder case was instituted.

Adjectives are compatible with exact measure phrases to the extent that their meaning is compatible with measurement. This is shown in the examples below:

Example 4

Die walvisse is tot vyf meter lank.
the whales be.PRS to five meter long
The whales are up to five meters long.
Example 5

'n twee jaar oue kameelperd
a two year old·ATTR giraffe
a two years old giraffe
Example 6

'n baba wat vier dae oud is
a baby that.REL four days old be.PRS
a baby who is four days old

The measure noun is either plural or singular, as can be seen above, depending on the lexical item involved. Nouns like kilometer occur in the singular, nouns like maand month in the plural, as in the examples below:

Example 7

tot tien kilometer ver skool toe
till ten kilometer·SG far school to
up to ten kilometers far to school

but not

Example 8

*waar die spoedgrens net 60 kilometers per uur is
*where the speed.limit only 60 kilometer.PL per hour be.PRS
where the speed limit is only 60 kilometers per hour

as against

Example 9

tot ses maande lank geskors
till six months long suspended
suspended for up to sixth months

but not

Example 10

*wat twee maand lank geduur het
*that.REL two month·SG long lasted have.AUX
which lasted for two months

as against

Example 11

Dos Santos se drie dae lange amptelike besoek
Dos Santos PTCL.GEN three day·PL long official visit
Dos Santos' three-day official visit

but not

Example 12

*ná 'n drie dag lange vergadering
*after a three day·SG long meeting
after a meeting lasting for three days

It is important to note that the phenomenon of markedness also operates here. If a measure phrase occurs with a specific adjective, then it does not occur with its antonym. More specifically, the measure phrase occurs with the more maximal, or unmarked, member of the pair of antonyms:

Example 13

twee groot voorwerpe van tien meter lank en vyf meter wyd
two large objects of ten meter long and five meter wide
two large objects, ten meters long and five meters wide

but not

Example 14

*twee groot voorwerpe van tien meter kort en vyf meter smal
*two large objects of ten meters short and five meters narrow
two large objects, ten meters short and five meters narrow

Obviously, the marked antonym may be used to emphasise the intended meaning, as in

Example 15

slegs drie meter kort van die teiken
only three meter short of the target
only three meters short of the target

or deliberately for special effect, as in

Example 16

liewer sewentig jaar jonk as dertig jaar oud
rather seventy year young PTCL.SIMT thirty years old
rather seventy years young than thirty years old

The quantifier half half provides an exact quantification when used with some adjectives such as vol full:

Example 17

Die bottel is half vol.
the bottle be.PRS half full
The bottle is half full.

A measure phrase can itself be questioned with the quantifier hoeveel how much:

Example 18

Hoeveel jaar gelede was dit?
how many year ago be.PRT it
How many years ago was it?
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