• Dutch
  • Frisian
  • Afrikaans
Show full table of contents
Predicate
quickinfo

Some adjectives cannot be used attributively, such as gereed ready and verby gone / over.

Example 1

Die ete is gereed.
the meal be.PRS ready
The meal is ready.
Example 2

*die gerede ete
the ready meal
Example 3

Daardie jare is verby.
the years be.PRS over
Those years are gone.
Example 4

*die verbye jare
the gone years

Certain of these non-attributive adjectives can only be used as complementive predicates (as in example (3) above), others can be used as complementive and appositive predicates.

Example 5

Renata, bewend in die ysige aandlug
Renata, shivering in the icy evening.air
Renata, shivering in the icy night air

There are also complex predicates consisting of an AP and an infinitival clause, in which an argument of the infinitival clause is related to the argument of the adjectival predication:

Example 6

Die som is maklik om op te los.
the sum be.PRS easy for.COMP up PTCL.INF leave.INF
The sum is easy to solve. / The sum can easily be solved.
readmore

Non-attributive adjectives

There are some idiomatic non-attributive cases, in which the AP is restricted to complementive use only, such as verby over, past, gereed ready, haaks at odds, etc. Illustrative sentences follow below:

Example 7

Die wedstryd is verby.
the game be.PRS over
The game is over.
Example 8

*die verbye wedstryd
the over game
Example 9

Die mielies is gereed.
the maize be.PRS ready
The maize is ready.
Example 10

*die gerede mielies
the ready maize
Example 11

Die bure is al weer haaks.
the neighbours be.PRS yet again at.odds
The neighbours are at odds again.
Example 12

*die haakse bure
the at odds neighbours

A probable explanation for the restricted position of such attributive adjectives is that they often form part of fixed expressions, and are used informally, as in the case of the following adjectives:

  • disnis out cold
  • kapot in tatters, exhausted
  • katswink dazed
  • flenters in smithereens
  • pluis in order
  • spyt sorry
  • gekonfyt skilled, an old hand

Predicates as infinitival clauses

Relation to modal infinitives:

The infinitival clause forms a complex predicate with the adjective, and the combination is predicated of the argument:

Example 13

Dit is gaaf om jou te ontmoet.
it be.PRS pleasant for.COMP you PTCL.INF meet.INF
It is pleasant meeting you.

The construction is closely related to the one involving modal infinitives:

Example 14

Hy is moeilik om te klop.
he be.PRS difficult for.COMP PTCL.INF beat.INF
It is difficult to beat him.

Selection restrictions:

Infinitival clauses forming a complex predicate with an AP must contain an unexpressed object argument that is co-referential with the argument of the complex predication, as in this example:

Example 15

Die som is maklik om op te los.
the sum be.PRS easy for.COMP up PTCL.INF solve.INF
The sum is easy to solve / can easily be solved.

The argument of the complex predication (the sum) must also satisfy the selection restrictions of the unexpressed object argument in the infinitival clause, that is, it must be something solvable, but it seems that it must also meet the selection restrictions of the adjective. Hence, arguments are excluded which fail to meet the selection restrictions of the adjective. In the example below, die gek the fool forms an idiom with skeer shave, meaning 'make fun of, to ridicule'. In such cases, the construction is ungrammatical, because the idiomatic NPdie gek the fool cannot be interpreted as a legitimate argument of the adjective maklik easy:

Example 16

*Die gek is maklik om met Floris te skeer.
the fool be.PRS easy for.COMP with Floris PTCL.INF shave.INF
Fun is easy to make of Floris.

The expression does not select a grammatical object, die gek the fool, and is to be assumed as a verbal unit, as in this example:

Example 17

Dit is maklik om die gek te skeer met Floris.
it be.PRS easy for.COMP the fool PTCL.INF shave.INF with Floris
It is easy to make fun of Floris.

An alternative expression, which represents a syntactic reduction of the full form, namely gekskeer make fun of, confirms this interpretation:

Example 18

Dit is maklik om met Floris gek te skeer.
it is easy for.COMP with Floris fool PTCL.INF shave.INF
It is easy to make fun of Floris.

Position in the clause:

Infinitival clauses forming a complex predicate with an AP can be preposed as a whole, indicating that is forms a constituent. The AP may also be preposed on its own, but the infinitival clause by itself may not:

Example 19

Maklik om te klop is hy nie.
easy for.COMP PTCL.INF beat.INF be.PRS he not
He is not easy to beat.
Example 20

*Om te klop, is hy nie maklik nie.
for.COMP PCLT.INF beat.INF be.PRS he not easy PTCL.NEG
To beat him, is not easy.

The unexpressed argument in the infinitival clause :

The unexpressed object argument in the infinitival clause is co-referential with the argument of the predication. This unexpressed argument must have the function of direct object inside the infinitival clause, as can be seen from these example:

Example 21

Floris is maklik om die gek mee te skeer.
Floris be.PRS easy for.COMP the fool with PTCL.INF shave.INF
It is easy to make fun of Floris.

The unexpressed subject:

The subject of infinitives in general is never expressed in Afrikaans; it must be covert, or implied by the context:

Example 22

Hy speel met die doel om te wen.
he play with the object for.COMP PTCL.INF win.INF
He is playing with the object of winning.

In the example above, the unexpressed subject of the infinitival clause is co-referential with (and controlled by) the experiencer argument of the complex predicate. The experiencer argument may be unexpressed or expressed (covert or overt) as a PP, viz vir for + N.

Example 23

Die wedstryd was (vir hom) maklik om te wen.
the match be.PRT (for him) easy for.COMP to win
The match was easy for him to win.

With om:

Infinitival clauses introduced by a complementiser (in this case the infinitive particle om) can form a complex predicate with an evaluative adjective. The infinitival clause must contain an unexpressed argument that is co-referential with the argument of the complex predication. The unexpressed argument inside the infinitival clause may fulfill the function of subject, direct object or prepositional object.

The infinitival clause forms a complex predicate with the adjective, and the combination is predicated of the argument, in this case fulfilling the function of object:

Example 24

Die blokkiesraaisel is maklik om in te vul.
the crossword.puzzle be.PRS easy PCTL.INF in to fill
The crossword puzzle is easy to fill in.

In the next example, the construction with the complementiser om for.COMP'for' is different from the one without it, though the APinteressant easy allows both constructions.

Example 25

Die boek is interessant om te lees en om van te leer.
the book be.PRS interesting for.COMP PTCL.INF read.INF and for.COMP from PTCL.INF learn.INF
The book is interesting to read and to learn from.

The predication without om must target the unexpressed direct object of the infinitival. As can be seen in the second conjunct, such a predication can target subjects and objects of prepositions as well.

Prepositional arguments can also be targeted for co-reference with the argument that the complex predication is predicated of:

Example 26

Die wedstryd was mooi om na te kyk.
the match be.PRT beautiful for.COMP at PTCL.INF look.INF
The match was beautiful to look at.
Example 27

Langpraters is vervelend om mee te praat.
long.talkers be.PRT boring for.COMP with PTCL.INF speak.INF
Chatterboxes are boring to speak to.
References:
    cite
    print
    This is a beta version.