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Present participles


The projection of present participles, reflecting a subject thematic role, represents a construction of subject plus main verb:

Example 1

bestaande metodes
existing methods
methods which exist
Example 2

lopende water
running water
water which is running
Example 3

'n singende skare mense
a singing crowd people
a crowd of people who are singing

Phrasal verbs (intransitive), such as aftakeldenigrate, aftreeretire and meesleurcarry away, have the following present participles:

  • aftakelende kommentaardenigrating comments
  • die aftredende sekretaristhe retiring secretary
  • 'n meesleurendeverhaala fascinating story

Direct objects may also be incorporated in the participle, as in

  • feesvierende menigtefeast-celebrating multitudecelebrating crowd
  • grasetende dieregrass-eating animalsgraminivorous animals
  • plakkaatswaaiende betogersposter-swaying demonstrators

as well as various adjuncts (adverbially used adjectives):

  • 'n vinnig bewegende voorwerpa fast-moving object
  • laag vlieënde vliegtuielow-flying airplanes
  • vinnig dalende rentekoersefast-descending interest.ratesplummeting interest rates

A Form of present participles

Present participles are closer to Dutch than past participles. The form of the present participle is almost identical, retaining the basis of the infinitive (i.e. ending in either -n or -en), and suffixing -d(e), depending on the attributive or predicative function.

However, sound changes which occurred elsewhere, such as intervocalic elision, are to be noted in present participles as well, such as jaende perdechasing horses, from jaag + -ende, and vlieënde pieringsflying saucers, from vlieg + -ende.

In cases where the Dutch stem ends on -t, and which does not occur in Afrikaans, the -t is retained in the present participle, such as wagtende passassierswaiting passengers, from wag (Dutch wachten) and verwoestende brandedevastating fires, from verwoes (Dutch verwoesten).

Some five verbs (and compounds based on them) only add -d(e), and not -nd(e) for the present participle, since they correspond to the Dutch infinitives, namely:

  • sien - siende (Dutch zien)see - seeing
  • doen - doende (Dutch doen)do - doing
  • gaan - gaande (Dutch gaan)go - going
  • staan - staande (Dutch staan)stand - standing
  • slaan - slaande (Dutch slaan)hit - hitting

Furthermore, the present participles of weesbe is synde, as in Hy is geregtig daarop, synde 'n lisensiehouer.Hy is entitled to it, being a license-holder.; and for have it is hebbendehaving, in uses such as Die belanghebbende partye is genader.the interest.having parties were approachedThe interested parties were approached.

B Functions of present participles

Present participles function as attributive adjectives, for example:

Example 4

'n belangrike vormende invloed
an important forming influence
Example 5

'n staande komitee
a standing committee
Example 6

lopende water en elektrisiteit
running water and electricity

Less frequently, present participles are used as predicative adjectives, as in

Example 7

Die saak is nog hangende
the case is still pending
Example 8

Wat is daar gaande?
what is there going
What is happening there?
Example 9

Die bedrag is nog uitstaande.
The amount is still outstanding.
Example 10

Hulle is siende blind en horende doof.
they are seeing blind and hearing deaf
They are seeing, but blind, and hearing, but deaf.

Furthermore, the present participle may be used adverbially, as in these examples:

Example 11

Hy het laggend weggejaag.
he has laughing away.chased
He sped away, laughing.
Example 12

Hy praat onsamehangend.
he speaks incoherent
He is speaking incoherently.
Example 13

Sy het niksvermoedend die kamer binnegestap.
she has nothing.suspecting the room in.walked
She unsuspectingly walked into the room.

Lastly, in a few cases, present participles may be used in a partitive construction:

Example 14

Iets dringends het opgeduik.
something urgent·PVT has dived.up
Something urgent has emerged.
Example 15

Ek het iets ontstellends gehoor.
I have something disconcerting·PVT heard
I have heard something disturbing.
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