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Modification of PP

Adjectives and adverbs may modify adpositional phrases (PPs), provided that their meaning belongs to the same semantic category as the PPs which they are intended to modify. Two semantic categories are distinguished, as below. In addition, the comparative and superlative of semantically compatible adjectives may be used to form the comparative and superlative forms of PPs:

  • PPs of location
  • PPs of time
  • Using adjectives and adverbs for the comparative and superlative forms of PPs



Certain adjectives and adverbs of distance and location may be used to modify PPs of location. Adjectives which can refer to the locational notion of distance, such as naby close and hoog high may modify locational adpositional phrases, as shown in the examples below:

Example 1

taamlik naby die lughawe
rather close to the airport
Example 2

naby aan die kerk
close by the church
close to the church.
Example 3

baie hoog in die lug
very high in the sky
Example 4

nader aan die kerk as aan die lughawe
closer to the church PTCL.SIMT to the airport

It is not clear whether the adjective modifies the PP or whether the PP modifies the adjective. In the example immediately above, the PP is the comparative argument of the adjective, which should be impossible if the adjective is just a modifier. It is clear that both the adjective and the PP refer to location. There are also idiomatic collocations of this type:

Example 5

Die hotel is net 'n klipgooi ver van die stasie.
the hotel be.PRS just a stone.throw far from the station
The hotel is just a stone's throw far from the station.

The example above is one of a range of such collocations, for instance 'n katspoegie ver a cat.spit.DIM far within a spitting distance and 'n hanetreetjie ver a cock.step far a short distance.

Locational adjectives are also found with intransitive locative adpositions. In such cases, the combination of adjective and adposition is written as one word, such as digby/naby close by:

Example 6

naby / nader by / die naaste aan
close.by / closer by / the closest to
close by / closer by / the closest to

Other modifiers of locational PPs are given below:

Example 7

reg voor die kop
right before the head
straight on the head
Example 8

net langs die boom
just beside the tree

Other types of modifiers, which are regularly found before adjectives may also be found before PP:

Example 9

Hy sit halflyf in die gat.
he sits half.body in the hole
He is sitting in the hole up to his waist.


Adjectives which can refer to temporal duration such as gou soon, kort short en lank long may be used to modify PPs with a temporal dimension.

Example 10

baie gou ná die verkiesing
very soon after the election
very soon after the elections had been completed
Example 11

lank ná sy foonoproep
long after his telephone.call
long after his telephone call.
Example 12

sommer kort voor die wedstryd
just short before the match
immediately before the match
Example 13

net mooi aan die begin
just nicely at the beginning
right at the beginning
Example 14

juis gedurende die vertoning
exactly during the performance

Using adjectives and adverbs for the comparative and superlative forms of PPs

Adjectival adverbs may be used to form comparative and superlative forms of predicative PPs. This is reminiscent of the comparative and superlative pairs nader by closer by and die naaste aan the closest to discussed elsewhere in this section. These also consist of two elements, where the adjectival modifier seems to carry the comparative and superlative morpheme which signals the (semantic) comparative and superlative degree of the pair as a whole. Consider the following examples:

Example 15

Hy is gou op sy perdjie.
he be.PRS quickly on his little.horse
he is quickly getting on his high horse. (= touchy)
Example 16

Sy is gou·er op haar perdjie as vroeër.
she be.PRS quickly·CMPR on her little.horse PTCL.SIMT earlier
She is getting touchy more quickly than before.
Example 17

Gert is die gou·ste op sy perdjie.
Gert be.PRS the quick·SUPL on his little.horse
Gert is getting touchy the most quickly.

Such PPs may be modified by adverbs such as baie very and heeltemal completely:

Example 18

Ná sy ervaring is hy heeltemal van sy wysie af.
after his experience be.PRS he completely from his tune off
After his experience, he is completely off his rocker.
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