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Aspect and reduplication

In a number of constructions lexical meaning (i.e. Aktionsart) plays a decisive part in determining aspect. The aspectual types involved in this section include pre-inchoative (1a), inchoative (1b), durative (1c), terminative (1d) and iterative aspect (1e), e.g.

Example 1

a. Die seiljag wil-wil omslaan.
the yacht want.to-want.to capsize
The yacht is about to capsize.
[The event of capsizing is imminent.]
b. Die wiele begin nou draai.
the wheels begin now turn
The wheels are beginning to turn now.
[The action has started.]
c. Die probleem hou aan opduik.
the problem keep on crop-up
The problem keeps on cropping up.
[A continuous process is described here.]
d. In dié hitte kry ek nie gewerk nie.
in this heat get I NEG PST.PTCP-work NEG
In this heat I'm not getting any work done.
[The speaker's efforts are not met with success.]
e. Die kleintjie lek-lek aan die roomys.
the little.one.DIM lick-lick on the ice-cream
The little one is continually licking the ice-cream.
[A certain action is being repeated.]

In the flow of information, the beginning and end of actions or events unfolding in time play an important part and may require special marking. From an aspectual point of view, it is even possible to highlight a temporal phase preceding the beginning of an action. A small number of constructions may be described as pre-inchoative; they refer to a time phase immediately preceding an event, i.e. when the action is imminent. This involves the linking verbsgaan'go, be going to (2a) and komcome (2b), as well as the modal auxiliary wilwant to, be about to (2c) and its reduplicated form wil-wil (2d) which emphasize the motivational aspect behind forces of nature and the like (cf. Conradie 2016). In (2e) the imminence is itself placed in a durative context.

Example 2

a. Dit gaan reën; kom ons soek skuiling.
it go rain come.IMP we seek shelter
It's going to rain; let's look for shelter.
b. Die boere meen dit kom reën.
the farmers think it come rain
The farmers think that it's going to rain.
c. Bring jou sambreel; dit wil reën.
bring your umbrella it want-to rain
Bring your umbrella; the rain is about to come down.
d. Dit wil-wil reën – kyk net daardie donker wolk.
it want-to.REDUP rain look just that dark cloud
It is about to rain – just look at that dark cloud.
e. Die trane wil-wil net al die tyd loop.
the tears want-to.REDUP just all the time run
The tears are on the verge of running all the time.
W. Coetzer, Skerpioen, 2009:142

Inchoative (or ingressive) aspect as such is expressed by the lexical character (Aktionsart) of the verb begin (te)begin as linking verb in semantically equivalent constructional variants such as the following:

Example 3

a. Hulle begin die kameras opstel.
they begin the cameras up-set
They are beginning to mount the cameras.
b. Hulle begin die kameras op te stel.
they begin the cameras up to set
c. Hulle begin om die kameras op te stel.
they begin COMP the cameras up to set
d. Hulle begin stel die kameras op.
they begin set the cameras up

In (4), as in (3d), lexical verbs are combined in the fore-field, forming an imperative in (4a).

Example 4

a. Ok, Boy ... begin gooi die togsakke af.
OK Boy begin throw the tog-bags down
Ok, Boy, start throwing down the tog bags.
L.de Villiers, Kaapstad, 2012:11
b. Weswaarts begin bou 'n kouefront.
westwards begin build a cold-front
A cold front is building up in a westerly direction.
L.de Villiers, Kaapstad, 2012:7

As linking verbs, gaango and komcome are not only able to refer to a temporal phase before the start of an event, as in (2), but also to the beginning as such. Thus in (5a) the speaker encourages the addressee to begin sleeping and in (5b) the emphasis is on the actual beginning of the rainy season. Loopwalk is inchoative in (5c).

Example 5

a. Gaan slaap nou; dit is al laat!
go.IMP sleep now it is already late
Go to bed now – it's getting late!
b. En as dit nie vinnig kom  reën nie, gaan ons binnekort nie meer [voer] hê nie.
and if it NEG quickly come rain NEG go we shortly NEG more fodder have.VT NEG
And if the rainy season does not begin quickly, we won't have any fodder left soon.
Beeld, 6.11.2015
c. Geen seun het dit ooit gewaag om by die meisies te loop sit nie.
no boy have.AUX.PERF it ever PST.PTCP-dare COMP by the girls to walk sit NEG
No boy ever dared to go and sit with the girls.
C.Barnard, Oulap, 2008:38

The beginning of sleep (the inchoative phase) is inherent in the meaning of verbs like inslaapfall asleep and insluimerdoze off, and an expression such as aan die slaap raakfall asleep (lit. 'touch on the sleep'). Kom, as in (5b), may refer to any point on a cline from 'progress towards an action' to its actual beginning (WAT).

Another inchoative construction has komcome as a main verb, qualified by a past participle specifying directional motion towards the speaker, e.g.aangeloop komcome walking as in (6a). Directionality is typically indicated by the particle aanon, to, but may be replaced by a phrase specifying direction, e.g. om die huisaround the house as in (6b). In (6c) the type of motion is specified by the verb skommelrock.

Example 6

a. Wie kom daar in die pad aangeloop?
who come there in the road on-PST.PTCP-walk
Who comes walking along the road there?
b. 'n Groot hond kom om die huis gehardloop
a big dog come around the house PST.PTCP-run
A big dog comes running around the house.
c. Sy trem kom teen die heuwel opgeskommel.
his tram come against the hill up-PST.PTCP-rock
His tram comes rocking up the hill.
H. Kalmer, Lekkerste deel,2007:22

Durative (or progressive) aspect is expressed lexically by the verbaanhoukeep on (past participle aangehou, with optional ge when used as linking verb, as in (7a)). An alternative construction with the preposition metwith plus a nominalisation, is shown in (7b). Durative aspect is also expressed by the adverb aanhoucontinually, derived from the verb aanhoukeep on and a synonym of aanhoudend, as in (7c).

Example 7

a. Die son het aanhou glip en gly agter vererige blare.
the sun have.AUX.PERF on-PST.PTCP-keep slip and slide behind feathery leaves
The sun kept on slipping and sliding behind feathery leaves.
Fölscher, 2002:43
b. As die kind aangehou het met skree ... dan was dit verby.
if the child on-PST.PTCP-keep have.AUX.PERF with scream.NMLZ then be.COP.PST it past
If the child had kept on screaming, that would have been the end.
E. Joubert, 2002:63
c. Vrae oor Shaik en ander vriende ... moet aanhou gevra word.
questions about Shaik and other friends must continually.ADV PST.PTCP-ask become.AUX.PASS.PRS
Questions about Shaik and other friends should be asked continually.
Beeld, 2.3.2011:14

Blykeep on, stay, remain in combination with a main verb also expresses durative aspect:

Example 8

a. Sy oë het verby haar bly kyk.
his eyes have.AUX.PERF past her PST.PTCP-keep.on look
His eyes kept looking past her.
[When perfect tense is expressed, a combination of linking verb + main verb, such as bly kyk, may be regarded as a past particple. ]
M.Malan, Suiderkruis, 2008:77
b. Dit sal vir parkering bly gebruik word.
it will for parking keep-on use.PST.PTCP become.AUX.PASS.PRS
This will continue to be used as parking space.
R.Botha, 2003

In example (9), aanhoukeep on and blyremain, stay combine to express durative aspect:

Example 9

Sy't my aanhou bly help.
she-have.AUX.PERF me on-PST.PTCP-keep help
She kept on helping me.
K.Brynard, Plaasmoord, 2009:85

Terminative (or resultative) aspect is expressed lexically by the verb ophoustop(past participle opgehou, with optional ge when used as linking verb), selecting komponeercompose as main verb or a prepositional phrase headed bymetwith and komponeer as a nominalised infinitive.

Example 10

Weens die siekte moes hy ophou (met) komponeer.
because-of the illness must.PRT he stop (with) compose
As a result of his illness he had to stop composing.

Terminative aspect is also expressed by the verbs komcome, raakbecome, gethê,have and kryget plus the past participle of transitive main verbs (cf. Van Schoor 1983:174):

Example 11

a. Alexander se hare moes gesny kom.
Alexander POSS hair must.PRT PST.PTCP-cut come
Alexander's hair had to be cut.
Botes, 2001:169
b. Dis hoog tyd dat die eise nou uitbetaal raak.
it-is high time COMP the claims now out-PST.PTCP-pay become.AUX.PASS.PRS
The time has come for the claims to be settled.
c. Ons twee moet voor vyf vanmiddag hierdie erf skoon en alles weggery hê.
we two must before five this-afternoon this stand clean.ADJ and everything away-PST.PTCP-cart have.VT
The two of us must have this stand clean and everything carted away before five this afternoon.
Maartens, 2001:168

With kryget as linking verb the main verb may be transitive (12a) or intransitive (12b):

Example 12

a. Netnou wanneer ons Ma weer gestaan gekry het, sal ek tee bring.
just-now when we Mom again PST.PTCP-stand PST.PTCP-get have.AUX.PERF will I tea bring
In a short while, when we've succeeded in getting Mom upright again, I'll bring tea.
R.Rust, Lyf, 2012:46
b. So 'n man soos Poenie sukkel om gevry te kry.
such a man as Poenie struggle COMP PST.PTCP-lay to get
A man like Poenie struggles to get laid.
C. Barnard, Oulap, 2008:13

The reduplication of various parts of speech is quite common in Afrikaans. The parts of speech most commonly employed, are verbs (spring-spring (13a)), numerals (twee-twee), adjectives (bang-bang (13b)), nouns (huis-huis) – in the case of nouns sometimes with plural or diminutive inflection, e.g. huisie-huisie, klompies-klompies, gate-gate. Though reduplication usually does not imply category change, reduplicated verbs are regularly used as manner adverbials, e.g. (13c).

Example 13

a. Die kinders spring-spring in die straat af.
the children jump-jump in the street down-POSTP
The children go down the street jumping.
b. 'n Dag van stilte is beter as 'n dag van bang-bang oor my skouer loer.
a day of silence be.COP.PRS better than a day of afraid-afraid over my shoulder look
A day of silence is better than a day of looking over my shoulder in fear.
A. Troskie, Staat, 2012:76
c. Die kinders loop spring-spring in die straat af.
the children walk jump-jump in the road down-POSTP
The children go down the street jumping.

Aspectually, reduplication may express iterative or durative aspect, or a combination of both (Introduction). Repetition may assume various forms, e.g. repeated action (14a), the names of games (implying repetition) (14b), perceptual repetition (with distributive function) (14c) and the repetition implied by repeated efforts (14d) (cf. Conradie 2003).

Example 14

a. Die loerie kok-kok in die bos.
the lourie 'kok'-'kok' in the bush
The lourie makes a 'kok-kok' sound in the bush.
b. Die kinders speel dokter-dokter.
the children play doctor-doctor
The children are playing 'doctor'.
c. Die gaste kom twee-twee by die deur in.
the guests come two-two by the door in-POSTP
The guests are entering through the door in twos.
d. Hy vat-vat in die lug asof hy na iets gryp.
he grab-grab in the air as-if he at something clutch
He grabs repeatedly in the air as if clutching at something.
K.Breytenbach, Hartland, 2012:500

Reduplication and present participles are often equivalent ways of expressing durative aspect (cf. (15a) and (15b)). When unordered repetition becomes indiscriminate, it is no different from continuous action, which is tantamount to durative aspect. Thus, if several persons are chatting in one room, the total effect would be one of ongoing conversation rather than the repetition of speech turns (cf. (15b)). Durativity may be reinforced by the particleal in combination with present particles (15a) or reduplication (15c).

Example 15

a. Die gaste kom geselsend/ al geselsende die lokaal binne.
the guests come talk.PRESP/ PTCL talk.PRESP the room in-POSTP
The guests enter the room, conversing all the time.
b. voetjie vir voetjie en gesels-gesels word hulle na die saal geneem
foot.DIM by foot.DIM and talk-talk become.AUX.PASS.PRS they to the ward PST.PTCP-take
at a slow pace and while they were talking all the time they were taken to the ward
P.Stamatélos, Portier, 2009:150
c. om al soek-soek te bly boontoe kyk
COMP PTCL search-search to keep-on upwards look
to keep looking upwards while searching all the time
H.Nortjé, Skadu, 2012:12

Iterative aspect, expressed through reduplication, combines with the linking verbbly keep on to emphasize durative aspect:

Example 16

Sy bly skop-skop met haar bene.
she [=a cow] keep-on kick-kick with her legs
She keeps on kicking with her legs.
M.Malan, Suiderkruis, 2008
  • Conradie, C. Jac2016Willens en wetens: Perspektiewe op die Afrikaanse werkwoord wilTydskrif vir Geesteswetenskappe567-24
  • Conradie, C.J2003The iconicity of Afrikaans reduplication.
  • Van Schoor, J.L1983Die grammatika van standaard-Afrikaans.Lex Patria
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