n Tydskrif vir Geesteswetenskappe - Voorwaardelike konstruksies met soos gebruik in wetenskaplike tydskrifte (deel 1 : basiese konstruksies) - : navorsings- en oorsigartikel

Volume 51, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0041-4751


The Afrikaans subordinate conjunction "indien" (if) is used to introduce a conditional or hypothetical clause or phrase. It is used in a more formal style than "as" (if), another Afrikaans subordinate conjunction with similar meaning. Examples of constructions with "indien" in written language are taken from papers published in accredited scientific journals where Afrikaans is used in a higher function and the papers have been refereed and presumably language edited. Relationships between form and meaning are investigated, keeping in mind that syntactic and semantic categories do not have sharp boundaries. Following Construction Grammar, we accept that not only words and morphemes, but also grammatical constructions on the level of syntax are coupled with semantic and pragmatic aspects of meaning. The role of the conjunction is described using the Mental Spaces Theory of Dancygier and Sweetser. Ten accredited South African scientific journals from 2001 onwards were used. This corpus contained 1159 papers and 2009 sentences containing "indien" were identified. The analysis is qualitative, concentrating on the different functions of the conditional, rather than on the frequency of its occurrence. Conditional constructions using "indien" can be divided into two broad classes, i.e. those starting with the subordinate clause, followed by the main clause and those that do not have this order. In the latter constructions the subordinate clause either follows the main clause or is incorporated in it. In this paper (part 1 of a two-part analysis) only those constructions where the conditional clause (the protasis, sometimes designated as p) precedes the main clause (the apodosis, sometimes designated as q) are analysed. The constructions with the reverse order will be discussed in part 2. The order (p,q) is described in the literature as the "natural", "normal" or "prototypical" form. We prefer the term "basic", because the terms mentioned above imply certain usage frequencies. A construction is termed basic if: (1) both the subordinate clause and the main clause are complete sentences; (2) the conjunction "indien" is explicitly stated; (3) the clause order is (p,q), i.e. the subordinate clause precedes the main clause and (4) the clauses are bound hypotactically. Conditional constructions can be further classified according to several parameters. Among these are the probability of the state of affairs in the protasis, syntactic pattern and tenses, the type of mental space being built and the binding between the protasis and apodosis. This paper uses the probability of the state of affairs in the protasis, ranging from factuality to non-factuality.

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