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Syntax Interface Lectures Utrecht


19 April 2021
16:00 - 17:00

Erin Pretorius & Chevãn Van Rooi (University of the Western Cape)

The grammaticalisation of saam in Kaaps Afrikaans comitative PPs

In Afrikaans, there is some variation in terms of how prepositional phrases (PPs) express the comitative relation. Typically, met (‘with’) selects the companion DP (1); in most varieties and registers, saam (‘together’) may co-occur with met (2); and in some varieties, met is dropped and saam occurs by itself (3). Notably, saam is highly multifunctional and occurs frequently as an adverb (4) and a verbal particle (5) in all varieties of Afrikaans. (3)-type comitatives occur most frequently in Kaaps, which is a variety that is spoken mostly on the Cape Peninsula.

  1. Jan gaan [PP met   sy  vriende]        fliek.                       
    J.  go       with  his friends        movies.watch
  2.           [PP saam     met  sy   vriende]
                 together with  his friends
  3.           [PP saam     sy  vriende]
                 together his friends
    ‘Jan is going to see a movie with his friends.’   
  4. Jan en   Marie was   saamADV   op  skool   gewees.
    J.  and  M.    were  together  on  school  been
     ‘Jan and Marie used to attend school together.’
  5. Jan vra  of hy kan saamPRTgaan.
    J.  asks if he can together-go
    ‘Jan is asking if he can come along.’

Drawing on data from three recently published Kaaps novels, we focus on the nature of saam in (3)-type comitatives in Kaaps. We try to understand (i) what its syntactic status might be, and (ii) what has been the grammaticalisation path that makes it possible for met to be dropped in these structures.