• Dutch
  • Frisian
  • Afrikaans
Show full table of contents
2.2.1. Tests for distinguishing PP-complements from PP-adjuncts

Subsection I starts by showing that PP-complements and PP-adjuncts of nouns are sometimes difficult to distinguish, due to the fact that they can have identical forms. Subsections II to V will therefore discuss four tests that have been suggested to tell them apart; these are listed in Table (54). Since these tests are not watertight, the description of each test will be followed by a discussion of exceptions to the general rules.

Example 54
Tests for distinguishing complements from adjuncts
number name subsection
Test 1 Obligatoriness of the PP II
Test 2 Occurrence of the van-PP in postcopular predicative position III
Test 3 R-pronominalization of the PP IV
Test 4 Extraction of the PP V

[+]  I.  Difficulties in distinguishing PP-complements from PP-adjuncts

As with verbs, complements of nouns are (in principle at least) obligatory elements: they fill the argument slots in the argument structure of the noun and are therefore needed to complete the denotation of the noun. Modifiers, on the other hand, are optionally adjoined at a higher level within the noun phrase. Schematically, the difference can be represented as follows: [NP [N complement(s)] modifier(s)]. In many cases, however, complements and adjuncts are hard to distinguish: they have the same form and generally follow the head noun. Thus, the most common PP within the noun phrase, the van-PP, can be either a complement or an adjunct. The same thing may hold for PPs with other prepositions. Some examples will be given in the following subsections.

[+]  A.  van-PPs

Van-PPs are probably the most common PPs within a noun phrase, and can function either as a complement or an adjunct. In (55) the van-PPs express the theme arguments of the deverbal nouns kopen'buying' and maker'maker'. The PPs clearly function as complements: their (implicit or explicit) presence is required by the semantics of the derived nominal head, and the semantic relation between these arguments and the noun is identical to that between these arguments and the input verbs. The preposition van functions as a functional preposition: it does not have lexical content but merely expresses the relation between the head and the complement.

Example 55
PP-complements (functional van)
a. het kopen van een krantTheme
  the buy  of a newspaper
  'the buying of a newspaper'
b. de maker van de filmTheme
  the maker  of the film

In (56), on the other hand, the van-PPs function as adjuncts: although the information provided by the PPs is needed to identify the paper or book referred to, there is nothing in the semantics of these nouns that requires their presence: whereas it is quite acceptable to simply talk about een fiets'a bike' or een krant'a newspaper', mention of een maker'a maker' will inevitably invoke the idea of an object that has been created, and if the context does not supply any information about that object, the result will be distinctly odd. Moreover, van functions here as a lexical preposition: in (56a) it expresses a possession relation, while in (56b), the relation may be regarded as one of time.

Example 56
PP-adjuncts (lexical van)
a. de fiets van JanPoss
  the bike  of Jan
  'Janʼs bike'
b. de krant van gisterenTime
  the newspaper  of yesterday
  'yesterdayʼs newspaper'

The examples above suggest that a van-PP only functions as a complement of the head noun if the latter is derived and inherits the arguments of the base. This is indeed the normal rule although there are two exceptional classes: The first class is formed by the relational nouns, first introduced in Section 1.2.3, and the second by the so-called picture/story nouns, which could in a sense be said to have an agent and a theme argument. Some examples are given in (57) and (58).

Example 57
Relational nouns
a. Ik heb de moeder van Els gezien.
  have  the mother  of Els  seen
  'Iʼve seen the mother of Els.'
b. De kaft van mijn boek is gescheurd.
  the cover  of my book  is torn
Example 58
Picture/story nouns
a. RembrandtsAgent schilderijen van TitusTheme
  Rembrandtʼs  paintings  of Titus
b. MultatuliʼsAgent verhaal over Woutertje PieterseTheme
  Multatuliʼs  story  about Woutertje Pieterse
[+]  B.  PPs with prepositions other than van

PP constituents within the noun phrase can be introduced by other prepositions as well. The PPs in the primeless examples in (59) clearly function as adjuncts, given that the nouns in question can also occur without them, as illustrated by the primed examples. Moreover, all the head nouns in (59) are non-derived, so that there is no question of inherited arguments. Adjunct PPs like these may display a variety of semantic roles (location, direction, means, property, etc.).

Example 59
Adjunct PPs with prepositions other than van
a. het kantoor op de hoekLocation
  the office.building  on the corner
a'. Er wordt een kantoor gebouwd op de hoek.
  there  is  an office.building  built  on the corner
  'Theyʼre building an office building on the corner.'
b. de trein naar AmsterdamDirection/uit AmsterdamSource
  the train  to Amsterdam/from Amsterdam
b'. Ik reis graag met de trein.
  travel  prt  with the train
  'I like traveling by train.'
c. een meisje met rood haarProperty
  a girl  with red hair
c'. Ik heb gisteren een meisje ontmoet.
  have  yesterday  a girl  met
  'I met a girl yesterday.'

Some researchers have argued that PP-adjuncts are easily recognizable: whenever the PP is headed by a preposition other than van, the PP is not a complement but an adjunct (cf. Booij & Van Haaften 1987; Hoekstra 1986): they maintain that the PPs aan pleinvrees'from agoraphobia' and naar Amsterdam'to Amsterdam' in the primeless sentences in (60) are adjuncts of the derived nouns lijder'sufferer' and reiziger'traveler', despite the fact that the preposition is identical to that selected by the input verb lijden'to suffer' and reizen'to travel'. Others, however, claim that the PPs are complements, inherited from the input verb. One reason to do this is that the PPs in (60a&b) differ in the same way as the PPs in the corresponding verbal constructions in (60a'&b'): in the (a)-examples the selected preposition is functional in the sense that it does not have any lexical content but simply serves to express the relation between the head and its theme argument, whereas in the (b)-examples the preposition is lexical in the sense that it has retained its original directional meaning and introduces a predicative complement.

Example 60
a. lijders aan pleinvrees
functional preposition
  sufferers  from agoraphobia
a'. Els lijdt aan pleinvrees.
  Els suffers  from agoraphobia
b. reizigers naar Amsterdam
lexical preposition
  travelers  to Amsterdam
b'. Jan reist naar Amsterdam.
  Jan travels  to Amsterdam
[+]  II.  Test 1: Obligatoriness of the PP

Generally speaking, complements must be realized because they provide indispensable information for establishing the denotation of the noun. Adjuncts, on the other hand, are optional and provide additional information which is not required for establishing the denotation of the noun, although, of course, the information may be needed to properly identify the intended referent of the full noun phrase. We will start with a general discussion of this obligatoriness of complements, which is followed by a discussion of some systematic exceptions to the general rule.

[+]  A.  General description

Complements are obligatory elements, whereas adjuncts are optional, where obligatoriness is to be interpreted as semantic obligatoriness, which is independent of the linguistic or extra-linguistic context. Thus, many derived nouns require the presence of an argument, just like the verbs from which they are derived. Normally the examples in (61) are only acceptable if the theme argument is explicitly expressed; see also Section 2.2.3.

Example 61
PP-complements (derived nouns)
a. Ik heb de maker #(van dit kunstwerk) ontmoet.
  have  the maker     of this work.of.art  met
  'Iʼve met the maker of this work of art.'
b. Ik heb de vernietiging #(van deze stad) meegemaakt.
  have  the destruction     of this city  prt.-experienced
  'I have witnessed the destruction of this city.'

The same thing holds for relational nouns like moeder'mother' or zoon'son' in (62). Since they imply some relation between two entities, they require the presence of an argument expressing the second entity; see Section 2.2.2 for more detailed discussion. This is clear from the fact that the examples in (62) are distinctly odd without the PP, if the information expressed by the complement PP is not recoverable from the context.

Example 62
PP-complements (relational nouns)
a. Ik heb de moeder #(van Els) gezien.
  have  the mother     of Els  seen
  'Iʼve seen the mother of Els.'
b. Ik heb gisteren een zoon #(van Jan) ontmoet.
  have  yesterday  a son     of Jan  met
  'I met a son of Janʼs yesterday.'
[+]  B.  Exceptions

Although complement PPs are normally obligatory, there are circumstances in which the argument can be left out. The most common of these are listed in the following subsections.

[+]  1.  Contextual recoverability

The most common case in which the complement is not syntactically expressed is when the referent of the argument is recoverable from the context. In (63a) the required information is provided by the extra-linguistic, and in (63b) by the linguistic context.

Example 63
a. Ken jij de maker?
speaker is pointing at a work of art
  know  you  the maker
  'Do you know the maker?'
b. Een jongetje liep met zijn ouders in het park. De moeder gaf het kind een snoepje.
  a boydim  walked  with his parents  in the park  the mother  gave  the child  a sweet
  'A boy walked with his parents in the park. The mother gave the child a sweet.'

With relational nouns referring to body parts, the latter option is even grammaticalized: not mentioning the internal argument within the noun phrase leads to a default interpretation in which some other argument in the clause is interpreted as the possessor; in (64a&b) the required information is proved by the subject ik'I', and in (64c) by an indirect object hem'him'. In these inalienable possession constructions, the article can of course also be replaced by a possessive pronoun explicitly expressing the related argument; cf. Section V3.3.1.4 for a more extensive discussion of these constructions.

Example 64
a. Ik heb een/mijn been gebroken.
  have  a/my leg  broken
  'Iʼve broken a leg.'
b. Ik heb pijn in het/mijn hoofd.
  have  pain  in the/my head
  'I have a headache.'
c. Dat felle licht geeft hem pijn in het/zijn hoofd.
  that glaring light  gives  him  pain  in the/his head
  'That glaring light gives him a headache.'

Note that the choice between an indefinite and definite article in (64) depends on whether or not the relevant body part is unique for each individual. If an indefinite article is used with a unique body part, the inalienable possession reading will not be available: an example such as (65a) will be interpreted in such a way that Peter has broken some other personʼs nose. A similar effect arises if a definite article is used with a non-unique body part: (65b) will be interpreted that Peter broke some bone or, less favorably, somebodyʼs leg. Note that modification of the non-unique body part may make the referent unique again and the example acceptable, cf. (65c).

Example 65
a. Jan heeft een neus gebroken.
cf. * een neus van Jan 'a nose of Jan’
  Jan  has  a nose  broken
  'Jan has broken some oneʼs nose.'
b. Jan heeft het been gebroken.
cf. # het been van Jan 'Janʼs leg’
  Jan has the bone/leg  broken
  'Jan has broken some bone.'
c. Jan heeft het linkerbeen gebroken.
cf. het linkerbeen van Jan 'Janʼs left leg’
  Jan has  the left leg  broken
  'Jan has broken some bone/somebodyʼs leg.'

If the possessor is an indirect object, as in (65b), using an indefinite noun phrase with a unique body part even renders the sentence infelicitous. The same thing holds to a somewhat lesser extent if we use a definite noun phrase with a non-unique body part.

Example 66
a. Dat felle licht geeft hem pijn in het/*een hoofd.
  that glaring light  gives  him  pain  in the/a head
  Intended meaning: 'That glaring light makes his head hurt.'
b. Peter schopte mij tegen het ??been.
  Peter  kicked  me  against the leg
  Intended meaning: 'Peter kicked against my leg.'
[+]  2.  Generic, predicative and habitual uses

The examples in (67) show that the internal arguments of a noun cannot be expressed in generic contexts. Example (67c) shows that these contexts also allow the use of an indefinite noun phrase for inalienable possessed unique body parts, which is impossible in the case of specific reference (cf. (65a)).

Example 67
a. Moeders (*van Jan en Peter) zijn altijd gauw ongerust.
  mothers    of Jan and Peter  are  always  soon  worried
b. Een vader (*van Jan) dient zijn verantwoordelijkheden te kennen.
  a father      of Jan  ought  his responsibilities  to know
  'A father ought to know his responsibilities.'
c. Een neus (*van Jan) dient recht en slank te zijn.
  a nose      of Jan  must  straight and slim  to be
  'A nose should be straight and slim.'

Replacing the indefinite noun phrases in (67) by specific ones gives rise to unacceptable results. They may become more acceptable, however, if the noun is modified by adjectives like ideale'ideal' or goede'good'. Note that, under the intended generic reading of (68b), the PP indicates that we are dealing with an ideal of Marie; most likely she is not even married.

Example 68
a. Een goede moeder (*van Jan) doet zoiets niet.
  a good mother     of Jan  does  such a thing  not
  'A/*Janʼs good mother doesnʼt do a thing like that.'
b. De ideale echtgenoot (#van Marie) doet zoiets niet.
  the ideal husband     of Marie  does  such a thing  not
  'The/#Marieʼs ideal husband doesnʼt do a thing like that.'

      The predicatively used noun phrases in (69) exhibit a behavior similar to the generic noun phrases in (67) and (68): the complement of the noun cannot be expressed. As in (68b), the PP in (69c) again indicates that we are dealing with an ideal of Marie; this sentence certainly does not imply that Peter is Marieʼs husband.

Example 69
a. Zij is een goede moeder (*van Jan).
  she  is a good mother     of Jan
b. Hij wordt beschouwd als een verantwoordelijke vader (*van Jan).
  he  is  regarded  as a responsible father      of Jan
c. Peter is de ideale echtgenoot (#van Marie).
  Peter is the ideal husband      of Marie

Nouns derived from a pseudo-intransitive verb with an habitual reading inherit the property that mention of the complement is not required. The (a)-examples in (70) illustrate the normal, non-habitual use of the verb roken'to smoke' and the derived noun roker'smoker'; the (b)-examples illustrate their habitual use.

Example 70
a. Piet rookte gisteren deze sigaren.
  Piet smoked  yesterday  these cigars
a'. de roker van deze sigaren
  the smoker  of these cigars
b. Piet rookt.
  Piet smokes
b'. een roker
  a smoker
[+]  3.  Quantified and existential contexts

Complements can be left unexpressed if a noun is quantified, modified or negated. This is illustrated in example (71a) for the quantifier iedere'every' and in (71b) for the negator geen'no'. Such constructions are only fully acceptable if the sentence can be given a generic interpretation, as in (71), or if the implied argument is (con)textually recoverable, as in (72).

Example 71
a. Iedere moeder houdt van haar kind.
  every mother  loves  of her child
  'Every mother loves her child.'
b. Geen vader doet zʼn kind zoiets aan.
  no father  does  his child  such a thing  prt.
  'No father will ever do such a thing to his child.'
Example 72
a. Alle moeders kwamen te laat.
  all mothers  came  too late
  'All the mothers came late.'
b. Sommige vaders wilden graag meedoen.
  some fathers  wanted  eagerly  join.in
  'Some fathers were eager to join in.'

      In contexts where the focus is on the existence of the referent, or on establishing a relation between a noun and some other entity, this other entity typically does not appear in the form of a PP either. In example (73a), for instance, a relationship is established between the noun phrases een koningin'a queen' and dit land'this country'. In such a context, the noun koningin, which normally requires a complement, can appear as an indefinite noun phrase without a complement. The same thing is true of the noun phrase een dampkring'an atmosphere' in (73b).

Example 73
a. Dit land heeft een koningin.
  this country  has  a queen
b. Er ligt een dampkring om de aarde.
  there  lies  an atmosphere  around the earth
  'The earth is surrounded by an atmosphere.'

Where the noun appears in a definite noun phrase, on the other hand, a related argument is always implied and the relation between the noun and implied entity presupposed (e.g., “the queen of this country” and “the atmosphere of the earth” in examples (74a&b)).

Example 74
a. Ik heb de koningin gezien.
  have  the queen  seen
  'Iʼve seen the queen.'
b. Het ruimteschip keerde terug in de dampkring.
  the spaceship  turned  back  into the atmosphere
  'The spaceship re-entered the atmosphere.'
[+]  4.  Incorporation (compounding)

Incorporation of one of the arguments of a deverbal noun is quite a common process in Dutch, particularly with er- and ing-nominalizations. Examples of incorporation with er-nouns can be found in (75). These examples show that incorporation results in adicity reduction of the derived noun, as the argument slot originally held by the incorporated argument is no longer available. This means that whereas the er-noun normally requires the expression of a particular argument, this is no longer possible if this argument has been incorporated.

Example 75
a. Mijn oom is hondenfokker (*van terriërs).
  my uncle  is dog.breeder      of terriers
b. De krantenverkoper (*van ochtendbladen) deed goede zaken.
  the newspaper.seller      of morning.papers  did  good business
c. De bordenwassers (*van soepborden) staakten voor meer loon.
  the dish.washers      of soup.dishes  went on strike  for higher wages

In the case of ing-nominalizations, theme incorporation also seems to result in adicity reduction, although the effects may not be as strong as with er-nominalization. Section, sub III, has already shown that incorporation is possible both with NP- and PP-themes of the input verb.

Example 76
a. De plotselinge prijsstijging *(van de benzineprijs) veroorzaakte veel paniek.
  the sudden price increase      of the gas.price  caused  much panic
  'The sudden increase in (petrol) prices caused a lot of panic.'
b. De prijsuitreiking (??van de Oscars) is volgende week.
  the prize.presentation      of the Oscars  is next week
  'The (Oscar) presentation will be next week.'
c. De hertenjacht (??op jong wild) zou verboden moeten worden.
  the deer.hunt     on young game  should  prohibited  must  be
  'Deer hunting should be prohibited.'

      Adicity reduction is not restricted to those cases in which an argument is incorporated. In many cases incorporation of some other element (an adjunct) may also block the expression of a theme argument. This is illustrated in (77) for an er-noun with an incorporated purpose adjunct and an incorporated instrument adjunct; see Section, sub IIA5, for more discussion.

Example 77
a. Mijn broer is broodschrijver (*van kinderboeken).
  my brother  is bread.writer     of childrenʼs books
b. Dit is een schilderij van een voetschilder (*van stillevens).
  this  is a painting  of a foot-painter      of still.lives
  'This is a painting by a foot-painter.'

      Example (78a) shows that, after incorporation of the theme argument of an ing-nominalization derived from a ditransitive verb, the resulting compound noun is preferably used without any arguments: expression of the recipient seems possible, but is certainly marked. Example (78b) further shows that, after incorporation of a theme argument, the agent cannot be expressed in the form of an agentive door-PP; using a van-PP is possible, but this may be due to the fact that this PP in fact expresses a possessive relation.

Example 78
a. De prijsuitreiking (?aan de Oscarwinnaars) is volgende week.
  the prize.presentation     to the Oscar.winners  is next week
  'The presentation of prizes to the Oscar winners will be next week.'
b. De patiëntenbehandeling van/*door die arts liet veel te wensen over.
  the patients.treatment  of/by that doctor  left  much  to desire  prt.

      The facts in (77) and (78) suggest that compound ing-nouns are lexicalized as a result of which they do not accept arguments. However, this may not be a general rule given that there are some ing-nominalizations with an incorporated adjunct that do seem to allow the expression of arguments. In example (79), for instance, the incorporated adjunct leeftijd'age', which provides the ground on which discrimination takes place, does not block the presence of the theme argument van oudere werknemers'of older employees'.

Example 79
Het bedrijf was schuldig aan leeftijdsdiscriminatie van oudere werknemers.
  the company  was guilty  of age.discrimination  of older employees
'The company was guilty of age discrimination of older employees.'
[+]  III.  Test 2: Occurrence of the van-PP in postcopular predicative position

The test that will be discussed in this subsection can only be applied to van-PPs within the noun phrase: it is claimed that whereas adjunct van-PPs can occur in postcopular predicative position, complement van-PPs cannot.

[+]  A.  General description

The primeless examples in (80) involve non-relational nouns with adjunct van-PPs, and the primed examples show that the postnominal van-PP can also be used as a predicate in a copular construction. The van-PP stands in a severely restricted semantic relationship with the referent of the subject noun phrase: in (80a) the PP expresses a possessive relationship with the subject, in (80b) it denotes the material that is used to create the subject, and in (80c) it refers to a time that is needed to properly identify the intended referent of the subject.

Example 80
a. het huis van Jan
  the house  of Jan
  'Janʼs house'
a'. Het huis is van Jan.
  the house  is of Jan
  'The house is Janʼs.'
b. een horloge van goud
  a watch  of gold
  'a golden watch'
b'. Dit horloge is van goud.
  this watch  is of gold
  'This watch is made of gold.'
c. de krant van gisteren
  the newspaper  of yesterday
  'yesterdayʼs newspaper'
c'. Deze krant is van gisteren.
  this newspaper  is of yesterday
  'This is yesterdayʼs newspaper.'

The primeless examples in (81) involve relational nouns, so that the PPs must be considered complements, and the primed examples show that the postnominal van-PP cannot be used as a predicate in a copular construction.

Example 81
a. de deur van het gebouw
  the door  of the building
a'. * De deur is van het gebouw.
  the door is of the building
b. de vader van Jan
  the father  of Jan
  'Janʼs father'
b'. * Deze vader is van Jan.
  this father is of Jan
c. de knie van Jan
  the knee  of Jan
  'Janʼs knee'
c'. * De knie is van Jan.
  the knee is of Jan

      This test can only be used for PPs introduced by the preposition van. The examples in (82) show that PPs with prepositions other than van can never be used predicatively in postcopular position.

Example 82
a. een meisje met rood haar
  a girl  with red hair
a'. * Dit meisje is met rood haar.
  this girl  is with red hair
b. een brief met vlekken
  a letter  with stains
b'. *? De brief is met vlekken.
  the letter  is with stains
c. een excursie door Afrika
  a excursion  through Africa
c'. *? Die excursie is door Afrika.
  that excursion is through Africa

Apparent counterexamples involve PPs denoting a location. Example (83b) shows that these PPs are fully acceptable as the predicative complement of be. This is of course related to the fact that in this case be has an additional locational meaning aspect: it is used as a locational verb with the meaning “is situated”, comparable to a verb like staan'to stand'.

Example 83
a. het gebouw op de hoek
  the building  on the corner
b. Het gebouw is/staat op de hoek.
  the building  is/stands  on the corner
  'The building is situated/standing on the corner.'

Another complicating factor may be ellipsis: example (84b) seems to be at least marginally possible, but it may be said to be an elliptic form of the sentence in (84b'), in which the PP met kaas'with cheese' does not function as a predicative PP, but as the complement of the verb beleggen'to put on/to fill'.

Example 84
a. een broodje met kaas
  a roll  with cheese
  'a cheese roll'
a'. een broodje belegd met kaas
  a roll filled  with cheese
  'a roll filled with cheese'
b. ? Dit broodje is met kaas.
  this roll  is with cheese
b'. Dit broodje is belegd met kaas.
  this roll  is filled  with cheese

      So far all examples discussed in this subsection involve non-derived nouns. Applying the test to derived nouns modified by PPs shows that here, too, placement of complements in predicative postcopular position is impossible. This is true both for van-PPs and for PPs headed by other prepositions, as shown by the primed examples in (85) and (86), respectively. These examples further show that this holds regardless of the type of nominalization; cf. also Section 2.2.3.

Example 85
PP-complements ( van-PPs)
a. de maker van het schilderij
  the maker  of the painting
a'. * De maker is niet van het schilderij.
  the maker is not of the painting
b. de vernietiging van de stad
  the destruction of the city
b'. * De vernietiging is niet van de stad.
  the destruction is not of the city
Example 86
PP-complements (other than van)
a. reizigers naar Amsterdam
  travelers to Amsterdam
a'. # De reizigers zijn naar Amsterdam.
  the travelers are to Amsterdam
b. zijn hoop op een beter leven
  his hope  for a better life
b'. * Zijn hoop is op een beter leven.
  his hope is for a better life
c. het zoeken naar de waarheid
  the search  for the truth
c'. * Het zoeken is naar de waarheid.
  the search is for the truth
[+]  B.  Exceptions

There are instances where it seems possible for the PP-complement to appear in postcopular position. This is the case, for example, when the (part-whole) relation, which is normally presupposed, needs to be asserted. Some examples are given in (87); note that the subject noun phrases are typically introduced by demonstrative pronouns (unless we are dealing with proper nouns).

Example 87
a. Dit dak is van dat gebouw.
  this roof  is of that building
  'This roof belongs to that building.'
b. Deze kaft is van dat boek.
  this cover  is of that book
  'This cover belongs to that book.'
c. Die knie is van Jan.
  that knee  is of Jan
  'That knee belongs to Jan.'
[+]  IV.  Test 3: R-pronominalization of the PP

The third test involves R-pronominalization of the postnominal PP: the examples in (88) show that PP-complements can undergo this process, regardless of whether the PP is headed by van or some other preposition; the examples in (89) show that R-pronominalization is impossible with PP-adjuncts.

Example 88
a. Ik heb de verwoesting van de stad/ervan meegemaakt.
  have  the destruction  of the city/there-of  prt.-experienced
  'Iʼve witnessed the destruction of the city/its destruction.'
b. Hij had de hoop op bevordering/erop al opgegeven.
  he  had  the hope  on promotion/there-on  already  given.up
  'Heʼd already given up the hope of a promotion/it.'
Example 89
a. een laken van satijn/*ervan
  a sheet  of satin/there-of
b. een meisje met rood haar/*ermee
  a girl  with red hair/there-with
c. een vaas uit China/*eruit
  a vase  from China/from there

      Note that using the split version of the pronominal PP ( er ... P instead of er + P) does not lead to unequivocal results. The sentences in (90) show that R-extraction is possible from van-complements, even though there may be a slight preference for the unsplit constructions.

Example 90
PP-complements ( van-PPs)
a. Ik heb <(?)er> de verwoesting <er> van meegemaakt.
  have  there  the destruction  of  prt.-witnessed
b. Ze hebben <?er> de overname <er> van bekritiseerd.
  they  have  there  the take over  of  criticized
c. Ze hebben <(?)er> de export <er> van stilgelegd.
  they  have  there  the export  of  stopped

The examples in (91), on the other hand, show that the split versions tend to be markedly worse with complements headed by other prepositions.

Example 91
PP-complements (other than van)
a. Hij heeft de hoop op een beter leven verloren.
  he  has  the hope  on a better life  lost
a'. Hij heeft <*?er> de hoop <er> op verloren.
  he  has   there  the hope  on  lost
b. Zij heeft het geloof in een goede afloop opgegeven.
  she  has  the belief  in a good ending  given.up
b'. Zij heeft <*er> het geloof <?er> in opgegeven.
  she  has   there  the belief  in given.up

Since we will see in Subsection VC that van-PPs can also be used as adverbial phrases with the main function of restricting the domain of discussion, this contrast may be due to the fact that the split patterns in (90) do not involve extraction of the R-word from the complement of the noun but from an independent adverbial phrase. The fact that the split patterns in (91) are severely degraded could then be attributed to the fact that restrictive adverbial phrases of this type can only be introduced by a limited set of prepositions including van'of', over'about', and bij'with', but excluding op'on' and in'in' (this claim, of course, does not imply that, e.g., locational adverbial phrases introduced by op and in cannot be used restrictively).
      If this suggestion is on the right track, the split patterns in (90) would be analyzed in the same way as the split version of the pronominal PPs in the primed examples in (92), which cannot be interpreted on a par with the PPs in the primeless examples, but must be interpreted as VP-adjuncts: the split pronominal PP er ... in in (92a) can only be interpreted as a locational adverbial phrase indicating where the introduction was written down, and the split pronominal PP er ... mee in (92b') can only be interpreted as an adverbial phrase indicating the instrument that was used to stop the extension.

Example 92
a. Ik heb een inleiding in de taalkunde geschreven.
  have  an introduction  in the linguistics  written
a'. Ik heb <#er> een inleiding <?er> in geschreven.
  have   there  an introduction  in written
b. Ik heb een uitbreiding met twee nieuwe netwerken kunnen tegenhouden.
  have  an extension  with two new networks  can  prt.-stop
b'. Ik heb <#er> een uitbreiding <?er> mee kunnen tegenhouden.
  have   there  an extension  with  can  prt.-stop
[+]  V.  Test 4: Extraction of the PP

The final test involves extraction of the PP from noun phrases. It has been argued that this is only possible with PP-complements; extraction of PP-adjuncts gives rise to a degraded result; c.f., e.g., De Wit (1997: 149) and Coppen (1991). Although something of the sort may be true, the following discussion will show that there are several factors that complicate the application of this test. Furthermore, we will see in Sections 2.2.2 to 2.2.5 that this test provides us with the least clear results, which furthermore often conflict with those of the three tests discussed earlier. We therefore tend to dismiss this test as a good test for determining complement/adjunct status of PPs within the noun phrase.

[+]  A.  General description

There are various forms of extraction from the noun phrase: topicalization, relativization and wh-movement, PP-over-V and scrambling. Since they all have their own specific features, they will be discussed separately. We will mainly use van-PPs for illustration since these provide the clearest results. The behavior of PPs headed by prepositions other than van will be discussed in Sections 2.2.2 to 2.2.5, devoted to the different noun types.

[+]  1.  Topicalization

The examples in (93) and (94) suggest that there is a sharp contrast between topicalization of van-complements and van-adjuncts; (93) seems to show that the inherited argument of the deverbal noun ontslag'dismissal' and the relational argument van Els'of Els' of the relational noun vader can be readily topicalized (with perhaps a slightly marked result), whereas (94) shows that this is excluded in the case of adjunct PPs.

Example 93
Complement PPs headed by van
a. Ik betreur het ontslag van mijn broer.
  deplore  the dismissal  of my brother
  'I deplore my brotherʼs dismissal.'
a'. ? Van mijn broer betreur ik het ontslag.
b. Ik heb de vader van Els gezien.
  have  the father  of Els  seen
  'Iʼve seen Elsʼ father.'
b'. Van Els heb ik de vader gezien.
Example 94
Adjunct PPs headed by van
a. Ik heb de lakens van satijn gekocht.
  have  the sheets  of satin  bought
  'Iʼve bought the satin sheets.'
a'. *? Van satijn heb ik de lakens gekocht.
b. Ik heb de krant van gisteren gelezen.
  have  the newspaper  of yesterday  read
  'Iʼve read yesterdayʼs newspaper.'
b'. * Van gisteren heb ik de krant gelezen.

Note that the noun phrase contained in the topicalized complement PP cannot be nonspecific indefinite. This is, of course, not surprising given that topic constituents are typically definite, that is, recoverable from or given in the discourse context.

Example 95
a. *? Van een vriend heb ik gisteren de ouders ontmoet.
  of a friend  have  yesterday  the parents  met
b. * Van een auto heb ik de motor gerepareerd.
  of a car  have  the engine  repaired

Given that topicalization can also be used as a focusing device, we expect that the examples in (95) improve if the noun phrases are assigned focus accent, but this is not borne out. A focus reading is, however, much favored if the sentence contains a modal verb like willen'want' or kunnen'be able', and example (96) shows that this licenses topicalization of indefinite PP-complements (see Subsection B3 for more discussion).

Example 96
a. Van een vriend wil ik (altijd) graag de ouders ontmoeten.
  of a friend  want  always  much  the parents  meet
  'I always very much like to meet the parent of friends.'
b. Van een auto kan ik waarschijnlijk wel de motor repareren.
  of a car  can  probably  prt  the engine  repair
  'I can probably repair the engine of an (old) car.'
[+]  2.  Relativization and questioning

The examples in (97) and (98) suggest that PP-complements can be readily relativized or questioned, whereas this is impossible with PP-adjuncts.

Example 97
Complement PPs headed by van
a. Dat is de man van wie ik het ontslag betreur.
  that  is the man  of whom  the dismissal  deplore
a'. Van wie betreur jij het ontslag?
  of whom  deplore  you  the dismissal
b. Dit is de vrouw van wie ik de vader heb gezien.
  this  is the woman  of whom  the father  have  seen
b'. ? Van wie heb jij de vader nog niet gezien?
  of whom  have  you  the father  not yet  seen
Example 98
Adjunct PPs headed by van
a. *? Dit is satijn waarvan ik de lakens heb gekocht.
  this  is satin  of.which  the sheets  have  bought
a'. *? Van wat voor stof heb jij de lakens gekocht?
  of what kind of fabric  have  you  the sheets  bought
b. *? Dit is de dag waarvan ik de krant gelezen heb.
  this  is the day  of.which  the newspaper  read  have
b'. *? Van welke dag/Van wanneer heb jij de krant gelezen?
  of what day/of when  have  you  the newspaper  read
[+]  3.  PP-over-V

Generally speaking, PP-over-V is easily possible with complements, but not with adjuncts. The results are, however, less convincing than with topicalization, relativization and questioning: PP-over-V of the PP-complements in (99) gives rise to an acceptable (but marked) result, whereas PP-over-V of the PP-adjuncts in (100) gives rise to a definitely worse, although not necessarily impossible, result.

Example 99
Complement PPs headed by van
a. Ik zal het ontslag <van mijn zus> betreuren <?van mijn zus>.
  will  the dismissal     of my sister  deplore
  'Iʼll deplore my brotherʼs dismissal.'
b. Ik heb de vader <van Els> gezien <?van Els>.
  have  the father    of Els  seen
  'Iʼve seen Elsʼ father.'
Example 100
Adjunct PPs headed by van
a. Ik heb de lakens <van satijn> gekocht <*?van satijn>.
  have  the sheets    of satin  bought
  'Iʼve bought the satin sheets.'
b. Ik heb de krant <van gisteren> gelezen <??van gisteren>.
  have  the newspaper     of yesterday  read
  'Iʼve read yesterdayʼs newspaper.'

Note that PP-over-V is easily possible if the noun phrase contained in the complement PP is indefinite, which is not really surprising given that PP-over-V is normally used as a focalizing device; see the discussion in Subsection B below.

Example 101
a. Ik heb de ouders ontmoet van een goede vriend.
  have  the parents  met  of a good friend
b. Ik heb de motor gerepareerd van één auto.
  have  the engine  repaired  of one car
[+]  4.  Scrambling

Again, the scrambling test seems to point in the same direction: although sentence (102a) seems somewhat odd on a neutral, non-contrastive reading, scrambling of the related argument van Els in example (102b) seems acceptable on a non-contrastive reading; with the PP-adjuncts in (103), on the other hand, scrambling is impossible both on a neutral and on a contrastive reading.

Example 102
Complement PPs headed by van
a. ? Ik zal van mijn broer zeker het ontslag betreuren.
  will  of my brother  certainly  the dismissal  deplore
  'Iʼll certainly deplore my brotherʼs dismissal.'
b. Ik heb van Els gisteren de vader gezien.
  have  of Els  yesterday  the father  seen
  'Iʼve seen Elsʼ father yesterday.'
Example 103
Adjunct PPs headed by van
a. * Ik heb van satijn gisteren de lakens gekocht.
  have  of satin  yesterday  the sheets  bought
b. * Ik heb van gisteren de krant gelezen.
  have  of yesterday  the newspaper  read

Note that scrambling is also possible if the noun phrase contained in the complement PP is indefinite, which is again not really surprising given that scrambling can be also used as a focalizing device; cf. the discussion in Subsection B.

Example 104
a. Ik heb van een goede vriend de ouders ontmoet.
  have  of a good friend  the parents  met
b. Ik heb van één auto de motor gerepareerd.
  have  of one car  the engine  repaired
[+]  B.  Exceptions

The discussion above suggests that whereas PP-complements can readily be extracted from the noun phrase, this is impossible with PP-adjuncts. However, it still seems to be possible to extract PP-adjuncts under certain specific circumstances, which will be discussed in the following subsections.

[+]  1.  Contrastive and restrictive focus

Extraction of PP-adjuncts seems to be facilitated by assigning focus accent to the PP: this may make many of the unacceptable examples in Subsection A more acceptable (see, e.g., Keijsper 1985 and Verhagen 1986; for English, see also Guéron 1980, Rochemont 1978; Rochemont & Culicover 1990: 64-65). The focus accent may merely serve to emphasize new or salient information, although it usually serves a contrastive function by excluding other referents from the proposition in question. We will, in this particular context, distinguish between contrastive and restrictive focus.
      Contrastive focus is used where one or more specific referents are part of the domain of discourse to which the proposition does not apply. The examples in (105) show that this type of focus can be achieved by topicalization, scrambling and PP-over-V; focus is indicated through the use of small caps, and licenses extraction of a possessor PP.

Example 105
a. Van Jan heb ik gisteren de auto gerepareerd (en niet van Peter).
  of Jan  have  yesterday  the car  repaired   and not of Peter
  'Itʼs Janʼs car I repaired yesterday (and notPeterʼs).'
b. Ik heb van Jan gisteren de auto gerepareerd (en niet van Peter).
  have  of Jan  yesterday  the car  repaired   and not of Peter
c. Ik heb gisteren de auto gerepareerd van Jan (en niet van Peter).
  have  yesterday  the car  repaired  of Jan   and not of Peter

Restrictive focus simply implies that the proposition in question is not true of any other referents: a specific, restricted set is selected and a proposition is said to hold for this set only. Unlike in the case of contrastive focus, the proposition usually contains new information. Restrictive focus is typically realized by means of topicalization or scrambling, as in (106a&b), but less readily available in the case of PP-over-V in (106c). Naturally, intonation plays a crucial role in distinguishing between the various types of focus. A treatment of intonation phenomena is, however, outside the scope of the present discussion.

Example 106
a. Van Jan heb ik de auto gerepareerd (en van niemand anders).
  of Jan  have  the car  repaired   and of nobody else
b. Ik heb van Jan de auto gerepareerd (en van niemand anders).
  have  of Jan  the car  repaired   and of nobody else
c. ?? Ik heb de auto gerepareerd van Jan (en van niemand anders).
  have  the car  repaired  of Jan   and of nobody else

      This particular exception to the possibility of extracting PPs may also account for the acceptability of the interrogative construction in (107a), since questioning automatically assigns (new) focus to the questioned element. Note, however, that sentences like (107b&c) are at best marginally acceptable, and then only with the very strong emphasis of an echo-question and preferably with a definite remnant noun phrase.

Example 107
a. Van wie heb jij een/de auto gerepareerd?
  of whom  have  you  a/the car  repaired
  'Whose car have you repaired?'
a'. Van Peter (heb ik een/de auto gerepareerd).
  of Peter   have  a/the car  repaired
b. *? Waar<van> heb jij lakens <van> gekocht?
  where of  have  you  sheets  bought
c. *? Van wanneer heb jij de krant gelezen?
  of when  have  you  the paper  read

      Given the discussion above it will not come as a surprise that the presence of focus particles and negation facilitates extraction. This is illustrated in (108a&b) for preposed and scrambled PPs with the focus particles alleen'only' and ook'also', and in (109a&b) for PPs with the negation element niet'not'. The (c)-examples show that PP-over-V is also possible but then the focus particle and the negation element must be placed in the middle field of the clause.

Example 108
a. Alleen/Ook van Jan heb ik de auto gezien.
  only/also of Jan  have  the car  seen
  'Iʼve seen only Janʼs car.'
b. Ik heb alleen/ook van Jan de auto gezien.
c. Ik heb alleen/ook de auto gezien van Jan.
Example 109
a. Niet van Jan heb ik de auto gezien (maar van Peter).
  not of Jan  have  the car  seen  but of Peter
  'Itʼs not Janʼs car Iʼve seen (but Peterʼs).'
b. Ik heb niet van Jan de auto gezien (maar van Peter).
c. Ik heb niet de auto gezien van Jan (maar van Peter).

      Now consider again the examples in (110), taken from Subsection A. These examples contrast sharply with those in (111), in which the demonstrative dit'this' invites a contrastive reading. We see that this actually makes extraction the preferred option.

Example 110
a. Ik heb de lakens van satijn gekocht.
  have  the sheets  of satin  bought
  'Iʼve bought the satin sheets.'
b. *? Van satijn heb ik de lakens gekocht.
c. *? Ik heb de lakens gekocht van satijn.
d. * Ik heb van satijn de lakens gekocht.
Example 111
a. ? Ik heb de lakens van dit satijn gekocht (en de slopen van dat satijn).
  have  the sheets  of this satin  bought   and the slips of that satin
  'I bought the sheets made of this satin (and the slips made of that satin).'
b. Van dit satijn heb ik de lakens gekocht (en van dat satijn de slopen).
c. Ik heb de lakens gekocht van dit satijn (en de slopen van dat satijn).
d. Ik heb van dit satijn de lakens gekocht (en van dat satijn de slopen).

The examples in (112) show that wh-movement also becomes possible if focus is assigned to the wh-phrase. The two examples differ in interpretation, however: (112a) triggers an echo-question interpretation, whereas (112b) can be interpreted as a true question. This difference is probably due to the fact that only in the latter case is the wh-phrase sufficiently D-linked to be assigned a contrastive interpretation.

Example 112
a. *? Van wat voor stof heb jij de lakens gekocht?
  of what kind of fabric  have  you  the sheets  bought
b. Van welk satijn heb jij de lakens gekocht?
  of which satin  have  you  the sheets  bought
[+]  2.  Definiteness and specificity

Another (related) aspect influencing the acceptability of PP-extraction is the definiteness and specificity of the remnant noun phrase. This is illustrated by (113): if the remnant noun phrase is indefinite, preposing of the PP becomes more acceptable under neutral (non-contrastive) intonation.

Example 113
a. Ik heb gisteren de/een auto van Jan gezien.
  have  yesterday  the/a car  of Jan  seen
  'Iʼve seen Janʼs car.'
a'. ?? Van Jan heb ik gisteren de auto gezien.
a''. ? Van Jan heb ik gisteren een auto gezien.
b. Ik heb gisteren de/∅ lakens van satijn gekocht.
  have  yesterday  the/∅  sheets  of satin  bought
  'Yesterday I bought satin sheets.'
b'. *? Van satijn heb ik gisteren de lakens gekocht.
b''. ?? Van satijn heb ik gisteren ∅ lakens gekocht.

With PP-over-V and scrambling, too, indefiniteness of the remnant noun phrase makes extraction easier. This is illustrated in example (114): the definite noun phrase in (114a), for example, more or less forces an appositive interpretation of the PP in extraposed position, whereas this is not the case with the indefinite noun phrase; with the scrambling case in (114a'), the contrast is even more pronounced. A similar contrast can be found in (114b&b').

Example 114
a. Ik heb een/?de auto gezien van Jan.
  have  a/the car  seen  of Jan
a'. Ik heb van Jan gisteren een/??de auto gezien.
b. Ik heb gisteren ∅/*?de lakens gekocht van satijn.
  have  yesterday  ∅/the sheets  bought  of satin
b'. Ik heb van satijn gisteren ??∅/*de lakens gekocht.
[+]  3.  Modal contexts

Example (96) has shown that the use of modal verb like willen'want' or kunnen'be able' much favor a focus reading of topicalized phrases. The primeless examples in (115) show that in the presence of these verbs van-adjuncts can also be topicalized; the primed and doubly-primed examples show that the thing same holds for PP-over-V and scrambling.

Example 115
a. Van deze stof wil ik graag een jurk hebben.
  of this fabric  want  much  a dress  have
  'I would very much like to have a dress of this fabric.'
a'. Ik wil graag een jurk hebben van deze stof.
a''. Ik wil van deze stof graag een jurk hebben.
b. Van (zulk) hout zal ik waarschijnlijk een kast kopen.
  of   such  wood  will  probably  a chest  buy
  'Iʼll probably buy a chest of such wood.'
b'. Ik zal waarschijnlijk een kast kopen van (zulk) hout.
b''. Ik zal van (zulk) hout waarschijnlijk een kast kopen.
[+]  4.  Adjunct PPs headed by prepositions other than van

All examples with adjunct extraction given above involve a PP introduced by van'of'. This is not an accident since it seems that extraction of adjunct PPs headed by other prepositions is much more constrained. The examples in (116) show that extraction is impossible even in modal contexts with an indefinite remnant noun phrase.

Example 116
a. # Met (zulke) inktvlekken kan ik (de) brieven niet lezen.
  with such inkblots  can  the letters  not  read
a'. *? Ik kan de brieven niet lezen met (zulke) inktvlekken.
a''. * Ik kan met (zulke) inktvlekken (de) brieven niet lezen.
b. * Uit China wil ik (deze) twee vazen kopen.
  from China  want  these two vases  buy
b'. *? Ik zal (deze) twee vazen kopen uit China.
b''. * Ik zal uit China (deze) twee vazen kopen.

      The rule that extraction of adjunct PPs headed by prepositions other than van is excluded also has its exceptions. It is possible with long, weighty PPs. As shown by example (117), PP-over-V of such PPs is possible with complements and adjuncts alike.

Example 117
a. dat ik het ontslag betreur van die jongen ?(die zo veel van computers afweet).
  that  I the dismissal  deplore  of that boy    who so much  about computers  prt.-knows
b. Ik heb de lakens gekocht van ??(?een heel bijzonder soort) satijn.
  have  the sheets  bought  of       a very special type satin
c. Ik heb de krant gelezen van de dag dat JFK werd vermoord/??gisteren.
  I have the newspaper  read  of the day that JFK was killed/yesterday
d. Jan heeft een brief gelezen met inktvlekken *?(zo groot als eieren).
  Jan has  a letter  read  with inkblots      as big as eggs
[+]  C.  Concluding remarks

Subsection B has discussed a number of exceptions to the general rules that adjunct PPs cannot be extracted from a noun phrase. Given that these exceptional cases all involve van-PPs, we should be careful not to jump to the conclusion that adjunct extraction is possible under certain circumstances, but first see whether some alternative analysis is possible. Here we will suggest that a large number of these exceptional cases can in principle be accounted for by assuming that the PPs in question are generated as restrictive adverbial phrases outside of the noun phrase, the main function of which is to restrict the domain of discourse; see Kaan (1992:ch.5) for a somewhat different proposal.
      That this is a realistic option will become clear from the examples in (118). In (118a), the van-PP can readily be construed as a source argument selected by the verb horen'to hear'. This is, however, less likely in the case of (118b): the information that Peter will come is not necessarily provided by Jan himself, but might have been acquired in some other way. Analyzing the van-PP in example (118c&d) as a source argument of the verb weten'to know' is even more unlikely: in (118c) the source of the evaluative contention expressed by the embedded clause is most likely the speaker himself, and in (118d) the source cannot be the referent of the noun phrase embedded in the van-PP given that it does not refer to a human entity. From this, we conclude that, at least in (118b-d), the van-PP need not or cannot be construed as a complement of the verb.

Example 118
a. Van Peter heb ik nog niets gehoord (maar wel van Jan).
  of Peter  have  yet  nothing  heard   but af  from jan
  'So far I havenʼt heard anything from Peter (but I did from Jan).'
b. Van Peter weet ik dat hij komt (maar niet van Jan).
  of Peter  know  that  he comes   but  not of Jan
  'I know that peter will come, but I donʼt know whether Jan will.'
c. Van deze jongen weet ik alleen dat hij erg aardig is.
  of this boy  know  only  that he is very nice
  'As far as this boy is concerned, I only know that heʼs very nice.'
d. Van deze plantensoort weten we dat hij uitgestorven is.
  of this plant species  know  we  that he extinct is
  'As far as this botanical species is concerned, we know that it is extinct.'

      The discussion above has shown that van-PPs can be introduced into the structures as independent adverbial phrases: the main function of these adverbial phrases is to restrict the domain of discourse, and for this reason they are often assigned restrictive focus accent. The fact that this also holds for the PPs in the apparent cases of PP-adjunct extraction discussed in Subsection B suggests that these cases also involve an independently generated adverbial phrase. This suggestion is also supported by the fact that these van-PPs cannot readily appear in a position immediately following the head if they are focused. This was already demonstrated by example (111), repeated here as (119).

Example 119
a. ? Ik heb de lakens van dit satijn gekocht (en de slopen van dat satijn).
  have  the sheets  of this satin  bought   and the slips of that satin
  'I bought the sheets made of this satin (and the slips made of that satin).'
b. Van dit satijn heb ik de lakens gekocht (en van dat satijn de slopen).
c. Ik heb de lakens gekocht van dit satijn (en de slopen van dat satijn).
d. Ik heb van dit satijn de lakens gekocht (en van dat satijn de slopen).

That the supposedly extracted van-PPs are actually adverbial phrases might also be argued on the basis of example (120a) containing the focus particles alleen'only' and ook'also': under the standard assumption that the string preceding the finite verb constitutes a single constituent, the extraction analysis may wrongly predict that the (120b) should be acceptable as well. Recall, however, that in the case of PP-over-V the particle and the noun phrase must also be split, so it may be the case that some interfering factor is at play; cf. Barbiers (1995). The examples in (121) provide similar cases involving constituent negation.

Example 120
a. <Alleen/Ook van Jan> heb ik de auto gerepareerd.
  only/also of Jan  have  the car  repaired
  'Iʼve repaired only Janʼs car.'
b. * Ik heb de auto alleen/ook van Jan gerepareerd.
c. Ik heb alleen/ook de auto van Jan gerepareerd.
Example 121
a. Niet van Jan heb ik de auto gerepareerd (maar van Peter).
  not of Jan  have  the car  repaired   but of Peter
  'Itʼs not Janʼs car Iʼve repaired (but Peterʼs).'
b. * Ik heb de auto niet van Jan gerepareerd (maar van Peter).
c. Ik heb niet de auto van Jan gerepareerd (maar van Peter).

      More evidence in favor of the suggested analysis is provided by the examples in (122): with a van-PP in sentence-initial position, the sentence is acceptable both with the definite article het'the' and with the possessive pronoun zijn'his' (although the latter is slightly marked). With the PP directly following the head, on the other hand, only the definite article can be used. This suggests that, at least in the case of the construction with the possessive determiner, but more likely in both cases, the van-PP in (122a) is not extracted from the noun phrase zijn werk'his work' but generated as an independent adverbial constituent.

Example 122
a. Van Jan heb ik het/?zijn werk gecorrigeerd.
  of Jan  have  the/his work  corrected
  'Janʼs work I have corrected.'
b. Ik heb het/*zijn werk van Jan gecorrigeerd.

Examples of a similar kind are given in (123). Here, too, the van-PP cannot have been extracted from the subject, since occurrence in what would have been the original position, following the head, is not possible.

Example 123
a. Jan vertelde dat van de hele klas alleen Marie geslaagd is.
  Jan told  that  of the whole class  only Marie  passed  is
  'Jan told that, of the entire class, only Marie has passed the exam.'
b. * Jan vertelde dat alleen Marie van de hele klas is geslaagd.

The discussion above seems to lead to the conclusion that many cases of alleged PP-adjunct extraction from noun phrases are just apparent, and should be reanalyzed as involving an independent adverbial phrase. This, of course, has serious consequences for the extraction test as a whole, as it may be that the purported cases of extraction of PP-complements from noun phrases likewise involve independent adverbial phrases: see Broekhuis (2005/2015) for relevant discussion.

[+]  VI.  Illustration of the application of the tests

To conclude the discussion of the complement/adjunct tests presented in the previous subsections, let us apply them to the problematic cases in (124). Since the referent of the noun phrase contained by the van-PP is normally interpreted as the designer of the object in question, one might be tempted to construe the nouns stoel'chair' and piano'grand piano' as relational nouns, that is, nouns that take a van-PP as their complements. Alternatively one might consider the van-PP as an adjunct expressing a possessive relation. We will show in the following subsections that the complement/adjunct tests indicate that the latter option is the correct one.

Example 124
a. de stoel van Rietveld
  the  chair  of Rietveld
  'the chair by Rietveld'
b. een vleugel van Steinway
  a grand piano  of Steinway
  'a grand piano by Steinway'
[+]  A.  Obligatoriness of the PP

The fact, illustrated in (125), that the PP can normally be left out without the implication that some designer is involved is a first indication that we are dealing with an adjunct, and not with a complement.

Example 125
a. Die stoel zit niet lekker.
  that chair  sits  not  nicely
  'That chair isnʼt comfortable.'
b. Jan speelt op de vleugel.
  Jan plays  on the grand.piano
  'Jan is playing the grand piano.'
[+]  B.  Post-copular position of van-PP

The fact, illustrated in (126), that the van-PP can be used as a predicate in a copular construction without loss of the implication that the referent of the proper noun contained by it is the designer of the object in question again shows that we are dealing with an adjunct PP.

Example 126
a. die stoel is van Rietveld
  that chair  is of Rietveld
b. die vleugel is van Steinway
  that grand.piano  is of Steinway
[+]  C.  R-pronominalization

The fact, illustrated in (127a), that R-pronominalization is excluded also suggests that we are dealing with an adjunct, but we should be careful in this case given that R-pronominalization is never very felicitous if the complement of the preposition is a +human noun phrase. However, since the pronominal PP cannot be used to refer to, say, a designer studio either, we may safely conclude that this test again shows that we are dealing with a PP-adjunct.

Example 127
a. * De stoel ervan is erg populair.
  the chair of.it  is very popular
b. * Die vleugel ervan wordt vaak gebruikt in concertzalen.
  that grand.piano of.it  is  often  used  in concert.halls
[+]  D.  Extraction of the PP

The examples in (128) suggest that it is possible to extract the PP from the noun phrase, which seems to go against the results of the other tests. However, given that the PP must be assigned contrastive accent, we may be dealing with an independent, restrictive adverbial phrase. So, all in all, the tests seem to indicate that the van-PPs in (124) are adjuncts.

Example 128
a. Van Rietveld/??Rietveld is de stoel erg populair.
  of Rietveld is the chair  very popular
b. Van Steinway/??Steinway is de vleugel onovertroffen.
  of Steinway  is the grand.piano  unsurpassed
[+]  VII.  Conclusion

The differences between complement and adjunct PPs with respect to the four tests discussed in the previous subsections are summarized in Table 2. It is clear that the first three tests give the clearest results. The PP-extraction test, on the other hand, is more problematic: given that we have seen that many apparent cases of extraction may actually involve an independent adverbial phrase, it will be clear that this test must be applied with care and that we certainly should not jump to conclusions on the basis of its results.

Table 2: The distinction between complements and adjuncts
  complements adjuncts
Test 1: PP obligatory +
Test 2: Post-copular position +
Test 3: R-pronominalization +
Test 4: Extraction Test 4A: Topicalization +
  Test 4B: Relativization/questioning +
  Test 4C: PP-over-V ? ??
  Test 4D: Scrambling ?

  • Barbiers, Sjef1995The syntax of interpretationThe Hague, Holland Academic GraphicsUniversity of Leiden/HILThesis
  • Booij, Geert & Haaften, Ton van1987De externe syntaxis van afgeleide woordenSpektator16421-436
  • Broekhuis, Hans2005Extraction from subjects: some remarks on Chomsky's <i>On Phases</i>Broekhuis, Hans, Corver, Norbert, Huybregts, Riny, Kleinhenz, Ursula & Koster, Jan (eds.)Organizing grammar. Linguistic studies in honor of Henk van RiemsdijkBerlin/New YorkMouton de Gruyter
  • Broekhuis, Hans2015Feature inheritance versus extended projections
  • Coppen, Peter-Arno1991Specifying the noun phraseAmsterdamThesis Publishers
  • Guéron, Jacqueline1980On the syntax and semantics of PP extrapositionLinguistic Inquiry11637-678
  • Hoekstra, Teun1986Deverbalization and inheritanceLinguistics24549-584
  • Kaan, Edith1992A minimal approach to extrapositionGroningenUniversity of GroningenThesis
  • Keijsper, C1985Information structureStudies in Slavic and general linguistics 4AmsterdamRodopi
  • Rochemont, Michael1978A theory of stylistic rules in EnglishNew YorkGarland Press
  • Rochemont, Michael & Culicover, Peter1990English focus constructions and the theory of grammarCambridgeCambridge University Press
  • Verhagen, Arie1986Linguistic theory and the function of word order in Dutch. A study on interpretive aspects of the order of adverbials and noun phrasesDordrechtForis Publications
  • Wit, Petra de1997Genitive case and genitive constructionsUtrechtUniversity of UtrechtThesis
Suggestions for further reading ▼
  • Dutch
  • Frisian
  • Afrikaans
  • The phonotactics of Afrikaans
    [87%] Afrikaans > Phonology > Phonotactics
  • Nasalization
    [86%] Afrikaans > Phonology > Phonological Processes > Vowel related processes
  • Homorganic glide insertion
    [86%] Afrikaans > Phonology > Phonological Processes
  • Rhotacism
    [85%] Afrikaans > Phonology > Phonological Processes > Consonant related processes
  • d-deletion
    [85%] Afrikaans > Phonology > Phonological Processes > Consonant related processes > Consonant cluster simplification: Overview
Show more ▼
  • Dutch
  • Frisian
  • Afrikaans
Show more ▼
  • Dutch
  • Frisian
  • Afrikaans
  • Agentive er-nominalizations
    [97%] Dutch > Syntax > Nouns and Noun Phrases > 2 Projection of noun phrases I: complementation > 2.2. Prepositional and nominal complements > 2.2.3. Deverbal nouns
  • Application of the complement/adjunct tests
    [96%] Dutch > Syntax > Nouns and Noun Phrases > 2 Projection of noun phrases I: complementation > 2.2. Prepositional and nominal complements > 2.2.5. Picture and story nouns
  • 2.2.4. Deadjectival nouns
    [96%] Dutch > Syntax > Nouns and Noun Phrases > 2 Projection of noun phrases I: complementation > 2.2. Prepositional and nominal complements
  • 3.3.3. Nominative/PP alternations
    [96%] Dutch > Syntax > Verbs and Verb Phrases > 3 Projection of verb phrases II:Verb frame alternations > 3.3. Alternations of noun phrases and PPs
  • 2.5.1. Absolute met-construction
    [96%] Dutch > Syntax > Adpositions and adpositional phrases > 2 Projection of adpositional phrases: Complementation > 2.5. Absolute PPs
Show more ▼
This topic is the result of an automatic conversion from Word and may therefore contain errors.
A free Open Access publication of the corresponding volumes of the Syntax of Dutch is available at OAPEN.org.