Postulêre werkwoorde in Griekwa-Afrikaans : 'n grammatikaliseringsondersoek
Van Aardt, Caro Alessandri
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Grammatical constructions containing postural verbs (CPVs) are present in a variety of languages. The Afrikaans and Dutch CPV-progressive constructions have already been discussed in depth in recent linguistics studies. Although Griekwa-Afrikaans (GrAfr) and Standard Afrikaans are regarded as variations of Afrikaans, (both sharing a common origin (17th century Dutch)) and although there are numerous similarities in the ways in which these two Afrikaans varieties use this construction, there are still a number of surprising (structural and semantic) differences. The goal of this study is to indicate the way in which GrAfr uses the CPV-construction to express grammatical meaning. The study is approached from a grammaticalizational perspective since it is a handy starting point with which to discuss the development and application of the grammatical construction. The grammaticalization theory explains how words lose their lexical value to become more grammatical. The categorical change (or auxiliation) of the CPV as lexical verb to grammatical auxiliary verb, is a notable result of a grammaticalization process. A grammaticalized CPV acts as a finite verb of the sentence and traditionally, completes one of four grammatical functions, namely to indicate i) when the action being expressed, takes place – in the past, present or future; ii) the speaker’s perspective on the action, iii) the speaker’s subjective opinion or attitude in terms of the action; and iv) whether or not the action actually takes place or not. These four functions can accordingly be called the tense, aspect, modality and polarity of the sentence. Since Afrikaans polarity is expressed by the negative particle nie, this study will specifically focus on the possible TAM functions expressed by CPVs in GrAfr. This study was approached as a comparative study. Two concordances were compiled to study the use of the CPV construction in GrAfr compared to StAfr.. The Gr-concordance (a spoken corpus) consists of 1000 sentences collected during interviews with mother tongue speakers of GrAfr in 1984 during the compilation of the so-called Van Rensburg reports. The TK-concordance (a written corpus) contains 1000 randomly selected sentences containing CPVs from the TK-Corpus. To establish the unique manner in which GrAfr uses this construction, the two concordances were compared according to specific parameters. Firstly the frequency ratio of sit, staan (stand), loop (walk) and lê (lie) in the two concordances were compared. It was found that loop was the most frequent, which indicates that it is more grammaticalized than the other CPVs. The frequency order of CPVs in GrAfr is loop > sit > staan > lê and in StAfr it is sit > staan > loop > lê. Secondly the ratio between lexical and grammatical uses was compared. After noticing that 66, 93% of the GrAfr examples fulfilled grammatical functions, it became apparent that the CPV construction is much more grammaticalized than the construction in StAfr. In the third place the different types of sentences present in both concordances were compared and it was concluded that the different sentences types could not be the cause of the indicated frequency differences of CPV’s. In the fourth place, specific interesting syntactic occurrences in GrAfr were discussed. For example: it was found that GrAfr, other than StAfr, regularly uses two different CPVs in one sentence, as in “Dan staan loop hy jimmers”. There were also indications of string constructions, for example “Ons had ŉ bietjie gelê stan oortree”, where more than one auxiliary CPV is applied to fulfil a grammatical function. Furthermore, a number examples were found where loop and even lê were used as synonyms for the inchoative gaan, for example “Hy lê kom nog”. Other interesting cases, such as variation in possible sentence structure, were also explored and examples were found where the grammatical CPV was placed after the lexical verb – thus not in the traditional position of the finite verb – as in “Ek kan nie lieg sit nie”.
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