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Complementives are secondary predicates that predicate something about one of the arguments in a clause. Semantically, the complementive typically denotes a state, such as an attribute of some object (temporary or permanent), a position in which the object finds itself. There are three major constructional types in which complementives are used in Afrikaans: copular constructions, stative transitive constructions, and resultative constructions. These three constructions are shown in example (1) to (3), where an attribute is predicated of the logical subject of the complementive, which is the syntactic subject of example (1), but the syntactic object of example (2) and (3). The phrase that functions as complementive is highlighted in each case.

Example 1

Die versoeking is groot.
The temptation is big.
[Copular construction]
Example 2

Ons vind alles in die huis ewe stil.
We find everything in the house equally quiet.
HCSA, adjusted
[Transitive stative construction]
Example 3

a. Die hout reën papsopnat.
the wood rain drenched.wet
The wood is soaking wet from the rain.
Dit reën in Nelspruit
[Resultative construction with intransitive verb]
b. Die preek maak hom bekommerd oor sy siel.
The sermon makes him worried about his soul.
HCSA, adjusted
[Resultative construction with transitive verb]

With copular constructions as in (1), the complementive is predicated of the subject of the clause, as is the case with resultative constructions that have a single subject argument but no object argument, as in (3a). With the other two constructions, the complementive is predicated of the direct object of the clause, as in (2) and (3a). Complementives are obligatory with copular constructions, but are not consistently required with the verbs that occur in the stative transitive construction or the resultative construction, where the verb can be used in related senses that do not require a state to be made explicit, as example (4) shows for the verbs in example (2) and (3).

Example 4

a. Ons vind die opwaskamer van die huis.
We find the scullery of the house.
b. Dit reën.
It rains.
c. Die dominee maak aandete.
The minister makes dinner.

Complementives can be realised syntactically by noun phrases, adjective phrases or preposition phrases. Adjective phrasesare the most widely used as complementives across the different constructions, while preposition phrases are rare except in the copular construction. The three syntactic possibilities are illustrated by example (5) to (7), with the complementive highlighted in each case.

Example 5

Die gebied is klein.
The area is small.
[Adjectival complementive]
Example 6

Ek is in die hospitaal.
I am in hospital
[Prepositional complementive]
Example 7

Lugbesoedeling is 'n groot probleem.
Air polution is a big problem.
[Nominal complementive]

The exposition of complementives is done in terms of three major construction types:

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