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Tydskrif vir Geesteswetenskappe

On-line version ISSN 2224-7912
Print version ISSN 0041-4751

Abstract

MESSERSCHMIDT, Johanna J E. The use of the subordinating conjunction "wanneer" (when) in hypotactic binding. Tydskr. geesteswet. [online]. 2009, vol.49, n.1, pp.160-178. ISSN 2224-7912.

In Afrikaans the subordinating conjunction "wanneer" (when) can be used in hypotactic binding and subordinate clause embedding. This paper, a continuation of an earlier paper on subordinate clause incorporation, examines the use of "wanneer" in hypotactic binding. Following a cognitive framework, actual usage is examined. Using an assumption from Construction Grammar makes it possible not only to describe the meaning of "wanneer", but also to investigate hypotactic binding as a whole. The Mental Spaces Theory is used to describe the role of "wanneer" as a mental space builder. A large corpus incorporating many different authors and diverse genres is used. This has the advantage that not only common, but also rare usages of "wanneer" in hypotactic binding have come to light. The corpus, obtained from the Internet, is analysed by computer-assisted methods. The problem is contextualised by examining the nature of hypotactic binding, stressing the temporal nature of "wanneer" and conceptualising a temporal and probabilistic continuum where the actions of the main and subordinate clauses occur. "Wanneer" builds a mental space in the sense of the Mental Spaces Theory in which the two events of the main and subordinate clause take place. This mental space is usually temporal, but may also be situational and probabilistic. The usage of "wanneer" is categorised as narrative, generic, prognostic or hypothetic. Many examples are given of each and similarities are noted. The categories are not sharply defined and fuzzy continua exist. Some categories are subdivided further. In the generic category, general facts, definitions, scientific argumentation, advice and regulations, possibilities and permission are differentiated by examples. In the prognostic category, prophesies, prognostic regulations, promises, warnings and threats are found to exist. For most categories there are defining verb patterns. Several adverbs are found to be typical modifiers of "wanneer". These adverbs can be grouped according to meaning. One group of adverbs, "selfs" (even), "ook" (also) and "veral" (especially), express inclusion. Exclusion is expressed by "slegs" (only), "net" (barely), "alleen" (merely) and "eers" (just). "Behalwe" (except) is found to be on its own, expressing exceptions especially in regulations. "Telkens" (in each case) was found to be a special case in that it does not modify the meaning of "wanneer", but accentuates the iterative application. Sometimes, in contrast to English, the adverb "dan" (then) is used in the main clause. Especially in religious texts "dan" is used to accentuate the consequential nature of the subordinate clause. "Dan" is also used in lengthy sentences where a subordinate clause is inserted between the "wanneer '-clause and the main clause, to remind the reader of the previous statement. The findings of the analysis are summarised in a table. A comparison between the usage of "wanneer" (when), "indien" (if) and "as" (if, when) is proposed as an area for further research.

Keywords : "Wanneer" (when); hypotactic binding; probabilistic continuum; Construction Grammar; Mental Spaces Theory; mental space.

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