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Uses of the indefinite article
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The indefinite article is used for the first introduction, the presentation, of a new referent into the domain of discourse. However, at least two further uses for the indefinite article can be distinguished, namely a) with nouns and adjectives indicating a transient trait or change of state, and b) in correlative measure constructions.

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The indefinite article 'n a is primarily used to indicate that the noun is singular and has not yet been identified. It is often used to place new information in the text (Van Rooy 2017:264). However, two further uses of the indefinite artikel in Afrikaans can be distinguished.

a) with nouns and adjectives indicating a transient trait or change of state

The indefinite article is used with nouns and adjectives or relative phrases to firstly indicate a transient trait – as illustrated by 'n opgewonde Booysen an excited Booysen and 'n geskokte Karen a shocked Karen in the first set of examples below – or secondly a change of state – as illustrated by 'n nuwe Knoetze a new Knoetze and 'n groeiende aanvraag a growing demand in the second set of examples below (Ponelis 1979:117).

Example 1

a. "My huisie het doer by daai Peperboom gestaan," het 'n opgewekte Booysen vertel.
my house.DIM have.AUX there by that pepper.tree stand.PST have.AUX a excited Booysen tell
"My house stood by that Pepper tree," said an excited Booysen.
VivA-KPO
b. 'n Geskokte Karen het dieselfde dag 'n klag by 10111 ingedien.
a shocked Karen have.AUX the.same day a complaint at 10111 file.PST
A shocked Karen filed a complaint with 10111 the same day.
VivA-KPO
Example 2

a. Vir my was hierdie ronde 'n openbaring van 'n nuwe Knoetze.
for me be.PRT this round a revelation of a new Knoetze
For me, this round was a revelation of a new Knoetze.
(Ponelis 1979:117)
b. omdat daar 'n groeiende aanvraag is na buigbare arbeidspatrone
because there a growing demand be.PRS for flexible labor.patterns
because there is a growing demand for flexible labor patterns
VivA-KPO

b) in correlative measure constructions.
In Afrikaans, the indefinite article can be used in correlative measure constructions. Correlative measure constructions involve two measures which are correlated. An example is given below:

Example 3

Die melkprys is vasgestel op R10 'n liter
the milk.price be.AUX.PASS.PST fix.set.PASS on R10 a litre
The milk price has been set R10 per litre.

The secondary measure 'n liter a litre precedes the primary measure R10. The secondary measure can also be viewed as the topic, which represents old information, whereas the primary measure represents the new information provided by the focus. However, even though the use of the indefinite articles in correlative measure constructions is grammatical and frequently used, the use of the preposition per per is preferred.

Example 4

Die melkprys is vasgestel op R10 per liter.
the milk.price be.AUX.PASS.PST fix.set.PASS on R10 per litre
The milk price has been set at R10 per litre.
References:
  • Van Rooy, B2017Kontemporêre Afrikaanse taalkunde [Contemporary Afrikaans linguistics]Afrikaanse sintaksis, funksioneel benader [Afrikaans syntax, functionally approached]Van Schaik Uitgewers251-297
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