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Tydskrif vir Geesteswetenskappe

versión On-line ISSN 2224-7912
versión impresa ISSN 0041-4751


MESSERSCHMIDT, Johanna J.E.. The use of the Afrikaans conjunction "wanneer" (when) in subordinate clause embedding. Tydskr. geesteswet. [online]. 2008, vol.48, n.1, pp.23-39. ISSN 2224-7912.

The Afrikaans conjunction "wanneer" (when) originated in Dutch with the meaning "at which time". This paper describes the use of "wanneer" in subordinate clause embedding. A follow-up article will discuss hypotactic combining. The description follows the cognitive grammar paradigm. In accordance with that paradigm real examples of actual usage are quoted. Relationships between form and meaning are explored with the understanding that there are no clear boundaries between syntactic and semantic categories. A wide variety of examples was obtained by examining a large corpus of documents obtained from the Internet. Table 1 specifies the usage categories observed. Two important categories, i.e. embedding of a subordinate clause AS: a constituent in the main clause and embedding IN: a constituent are discussed in depth. As background the usage of "wanneer" as adverb and the transition from adverb to conjunction are briefly discussed. Examples are quoted where "wanneer" is a pure adverb and further examples where "wanneer" is transformed into a conjunction. For example, by using reported speech or by answering questions "wanneer" can be transformed from an adverb to a conjunction. As a conjunction "wanneer" is a typical subordinating conjunction that is followed by the typical Afrikaans subordinate clause ordering. Syntactically "wanneer" introduces a subordinate clause, but semantically the subordination is not always valid as is the case with other subordinating conjunctions. The difference between embedding and hypotactic combining is explained following Taylor, using "participants" and "circumstances". Participants are inherent entities that are complements of the main verb. Circumstances are optional modifiers; they can be omitted in a sentence. In embedding AS: constituent the subordinate clause introduced by "wanneer" is a complement of the main verb. It is therefore a participant and cannot be omitted. In the corpus the following types of incorporation AS: a constituent were observed: object, subject, predicate and complement of an intransitive verb. Subordinate "wanneer" clauses as objects of transitive verbs were observed following "communication" verbs. When "wanneer" clauses were observed as subjects the use of an empty "dit" (it) as temporary subject was also seen. In copula constructions, "wanneer" clauses were found as copulative predicates. Sometimes an author mixes the references to time and space, using time as a metaphoric space. Complements of intransitive verbs using "wanneer" were found in sentences with verbs like "plaasvind" (take place), "gebeur" (happen), "ontstaan" (originate) and "voorkom" (occur). Huddleston and Pullum describe a similar phenomenon in English with the verbs "happen", "live", "occur" and "take place" which take complements of temporal location. Embedding IN: a constituent represents a deeper kind of embedding. The "wanneer" clause now forms a post qualifier to a plethora of words or word groups. This article discusses nouns, noun clauses, prepositions, comparatives and infinitives. "Wanneer" clauses used as post qualifiers to nouns, show similarities to relative clauses. Following Ponelis they can be called adverbial relative clauses. The "wanneer" clause can be restrictive or appositional. The antecedent of the restrictive "wanneer" clause is a time indicator like "dag" (day), "maand" (month), "jaar" (year), "geleentheid" (occasion), "oomblik" (instant), "moment" (moment), "punt" (point) and "dag en datum" (day and age). In some cases "wanneer" can be replaced by "waarop" (whereupon). An appositional adverbial subordinate clause provides further information about the antecedent. The connection between the main clause and the subordinate clause is weaker and is usually reflected by punctuation. Sometimes the "wanneer" clause is separated from the antecedent by the verb. There is a range of looseness between appositional subordinate clauses and their antecedents from immediate to parenthetical. Typical antecedents are adverbials like "later" (later). "Wanneer" clauses can act as complements to prepositions like "oor" (over) "van" (of) and "vir" (for). The "wanneer" clause forms part of the prepositional group that is incorporated as a complement or post qualifier of another clause. Comparative constructions using "wanneer" can be comparisons of equality or comparisons of inequality. Comparisons of inequality use the comparative degree of an adjective + "as wanneer ..." (than when...) while comparisons of equality use "soos wanneer ..." (as when ...). Embedding in an infinitive is another example of deep embedding. In the quoted examples the "wanneer" clause is a time adverbial to the verb in the infinitive. This infinitive is a constituent in a subordinate clause that is embedded as an object clause. The adverbial only qualifies the infinitive verb and can be seen as a local qualifier. The "wanneer" clause is less adverbial because the infinitive has noun characteristics. There are various borderline cases. The examples being actual usage data do not always consist of a single main clause and a single subordinate clause. Examples are given of embedding of the "wanneer" clause together with its main clause into relative and complement clauses. Coordination with other time adverbials is also documented. Hidden or elided clauses were also observed. While hypotactic combining is not the central theme of this paper a few examples are given to contrast hypotactic combining and embedding. The paper concludes that "wanneer" can be used in a variety of embedding constructions. This variety manifests itself primarily on the syntactical level. On the semantic level "wanneer" manifests itself as an indicator of time, expressed as an event. "Wanneer" has categorical relationships with interrogative pronouns and interrogative adverbs. This has led to it being described as an interrogative conjunction. When incorporated AS: a constituent in the main clause, it shows a close relationship to the so called "grammatical conjunctions" "dat" (that) and "of" (or). There is a clear difference in the use of "wanneer" in embedding and hypotactic combining. "Wanneer" shows its similarities to other temporal and causal conjunctions mainly in hypotactic combining. The use of "wanneer" in embedding is therefore a less conjunctive use.

Palabras clave : Conjunction; "wanneer" (when); Afrikaans; subordinate clause embedding; hypotactic combining; complement; adjunct; relative clause; cognitive grammar; corpus based; usage data.

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