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Left and right dislocation
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Left dislocation allows a speaker to extract any constituent from a clause and put it in the initial position, and leave the remainder of the clause otherwise unchanged. It is very common in left dislocation for a resumptive pronoun or other pro-form to be placed in the main clause in the position where the extracted form would otherwise have been, as illustrated by the plural pronoun hulle they in example (1).

Example 1

Amerikaners, hulle skrik maklik.
Americans, they scare easily.
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Right dislocation is where an element from the main clause is extracted and positioned at the end of the clause, or otherwise clearly to the right of its conventional position. The adverbial modifier rofweg roughly in example (2) has scope of the temporal adverbial binne die eerste veertig minute within the first forty minutes, and would conventionally be expected to precede it, but for purposes of emphasis, it is extracted to the right of the clause in this example.

Example 2

Daai gesprek steek gewoonlik sy kop uit binne die eerste veertig minute, rofweg.
That conversation usually rears its ugly head within the first forty minutes, roughly.
WKJ

Right dislocation is treated in detail elsewhere, but left dislocation is explained in more detail below.

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[+]Left dislocation and topicalisation

Afrikaans has a basic default word order pattern for its main clauses, a word order that can be regarded as neutral. In this word order, illustrated in example (3), the subject of the main clause occupies the initial position, which bestows thematic centrality to the subject. Since this order is the default order, the subject carries no special significance other than being the theme of the clause. The subject typically presents old information. It maintains coherence in the text, and manages the flow of information to keep the text interpretable and not too strenuous to comprehend.

Example 3

Die Cortina's met die downforce wings het daai liter uitgesuip met 1 sluk.
[(SUB) Die Cortina's met die downforce wings] [(V2) het] [(OBJ) daai liter] [(VF) uitgesuip] [(ADV) met een sluk]
the Cortinas with the downforce wings have.AUX that litre gulp.up.PST with one sip
The Cortinas with the downforce wings swallowed that litre in a single gulp.
WKJ

A number of syntactic devices are available to place special emphasis on other constituents of the clause, and elevate them to higher thematic prominence than the subject. The most widely used option is to start a clause with an adverbial, and to put the subject in the middle field of the clause, after the verb that occurs in second position in declarative mains clauses, which renders the adverbial thematic. Example (3) can be converted into a variant with topicalised adverbial, thereby demoting the subject from its thematic prominence and shifting the prominence to the adverbial, as is done in example (4).

Example 4

Met een sluk het die Cortina's met die downforce wings daai liter uitgesuip.
[(ADV) Met een sluk] [(V2) het] [(SUB) die Cortina's met die downforce wings] [(OBJ) daai liter] [(VF) uitgesuip]
with one sip have.AUX the Cortinas with the downforce wings that litre gulp.up
In one gulp, the Cortinas with the downforce wings finished that litre.

Topicalisation of any other constituent is also possible, with similar syntactic consequences to example (4): the topicalised constituent is placed in the clause-initial position, the subject followed the verb-second, and the remainder of the constituents are spread over the middle field and post-verbal field, as illustrated with the topicalisation of the object in example (5).

Example 5

Daai liter het die Cortina's met die downforce wings uitgesuip met een sluk.
[(OBJ) Daai liter] [(V2) het] [(SUB) die Cortina's met die downforce wings] [(VF) uitgesuip] [(ADV) met een sluk]
that litre have.AUX the Cortinas with the downforce wings gulp.up.PST with one sip
That litre the Cortinas with the downforce wings finished in one gulp.

Afrikaans also allows the speaker or writer to disrupt the default syntactic order more extensively, by not only topicalising a constituent, but by dislocating it beyond the scope of the grammatical pattern of the clause. If a constituent is put at the beginning, but the word order does not adjust to verb-second, it implies that the subject of the clause still occupies the clause-initial position, and left dislocation has taken place, as is illustrated by example (6). With left dislocation, it is typical, but not compulsory, to put a copy pronoun in the regular syntactic slot where the dislocated element would otherwise have been, as instantiated by the object pronoun hom him in example (6).

Example 6

Daai liter, die Cortina's met die downforce wings het hom uitgesuip met een sluk.
[(OBJ) Daai liter] [(SUB) die Cortina's met die downforce wings] [(V2) het] [(OBJ) hom] [(VF) uitgesuip] [(ADV) met een sluk]
that litre the Cortinas with the downforce wings have.AUX him gulp.up.PST.PTCP with one sip
That litre, the Cortinas with the downforce wings finished it in one gulp.
[+]Constituents that can be left dislocated

Constituents that can be left dislocated tend to be arguments or adverbials. While one can imagine theoretically that complementives can be left-dislocated, I have not come across such an example in the data, nor left-dislocated verbs. In cases where speakers would like to put special emphasis on such constituents, cleft constructions are the most viable option. Arguments and adverbials can be left-dislocated, but can also be emphasised by means of cleft constructions and topicalisation. The examples in (7) illustrate left dislocation of a subject, object and adverbial respectively, where the resumptive pro-form representing the position of the dislocated element in the clause, is highlighted.

Example 7

a. Daai Ingrid Swart, sy mag maar foto's neem.
That Ingrid Swart, she can really take pictures.
WKJ
[Left dislocation of subject]
b. Daai hairy bene – skeer vir hulle.
Those hairy legs – shave them.
WKJ
[Left dislocation of direct object]
c. As die perde horings kry, dan sal ek vir die WP skreeu.
When pigs fly, then I will cheer the WP.
[Left dislocation of adverbial]
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