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1.1.2.4. Adverbial use
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Adpositional phrases are perhaps most typically used as adverbial phrases modifying a VP or a clause. The two instances can be distinguished by means of the two adverb tests in (48): clauses containing an adpositional phrase modifying the full clause can be paraphrased by means of the Het is PP zo dat ...'It is PP the case that ...' frame, whereas clauses containing an adpositional phrase modifying only the VP can be paraphrased by means of the ... en doet dat PP'... and does it PP' frame. Adverbially used adpositional phrases are always headed by a preposition.

Example 48
a. Clause adjunct: [clause ... PP ...] ⇒ het is PP zo dat CLAUSE
b. VP adjunct: [clause subject ... PP ...] ⇒ [clause subjecti ...] en pronouni doet dat PP

Many adverbially used PPs are specialized for one of these two adverbial functions. This is illustrated in (49) for PPs headed by the prepositions namens'in the name of' and volgens'according to'; the (a)-examples show that the former can only be used as a VP-adjunct, and the (b)-examples show that the latter can only be used as clause adjunct.

Example 49
a. Marie verkoopt het huis namens haar familie.
VP adjunct
  Marie sells  the house  in.name.of  her family
  'Marie sells the house in the name of her family'
a'. * Het is namens haar familie zo dat Marie het huis verkoopt.
  it  is in.name.of  her family  the.case  that  Marie the house  sells
a''. Marie verkoopt het huis en ze doet dat namens haar familie.
  Marie sells  the house  and  she  does  that  in.name.of her family
b. Marie verkoopt volgens Jan het huis.
clause adjunct
  Marie sells  according.to Jan  the house
  'According to Jan, Marie will sell the house.'
b'. Het is volgens Jan zo dat Marie het huis verkoopt.
  it  is according.to Jan  the.case  that  Marie the house  sells
b''. * Marie verkoopt het huis en zij doet dat volgens Jan.
  Marie sells  the house  and  he  does  that  according.to  Jan

The examples in (50) show that clause adjuncts precede modal and frequency adverbs such as waarschijnlijk'probably' and vaak'often' (which themselves are also clausal adverbs), whereas VP adjuncts follow them. Note that the direct object het huis can either precede or follow the modal adverb waarschijnlijk in (50), so that this does not interfere in the acceptability judgments.

Example 50
a. Marie verkoopt <waarschijnlijk> het huis <waarschijnlijk> namens haar familie <*waarschijnlijk>.
b. Marie verkoopt <*waarschijnlijk> volgens Jan <waarschijnlijk> het huis <waarschijnlijk>.

      Spatial and temporal PPs can be used both as clause and as VP adjuncts; examples like (51a&b) are ambiguous between the readings in the primed examples. Note that, for some speakers, the preferred reading of (51b) is the one in (51b'') and that the reading in (51b') is only readily available if the PP is followed by an adverb of frequency; cf. (52).

Example 51
a. Marie sliep tijdens de lessen.
  Marie slept  during the lessons
a'. Het was tijdens de lessen zo dat Marie sliep.
  it  was  during the lessons  the.case  that  Marie  slept
a''. Marie sliep en ze deed dat tijdens de lessen.
  Marie slept  and  she  did  that  during the lessons
b. Marie sliep in de klas.
  Marie slept  in the classroom
b'. Het was in de klas zo dat Marie sliep.
  it  was  in the classroom  the.case  that  Marie  slept
b''. Marie sliep en ze deed dat in de klas.
  Marie slept  and  she  did  that  in the classroom

The ambiguity of the primeless examples in (51) is consistent with the fact that adverbial PPs can either precede or follow clause adjuncts like the frequency adjective vaak'often' in (52); if the PPs precede vaak, the resulting readings correspond to the singly-primed examples in (51); if they follow the frequency adverb, the resulting readings correspond to the doubly-primed examples.

Example 52
a. Marie sliep <vaak> tijdens de lessen <vaak>.
  Marie slept    often  during the lessons
b. Marie sliep <vaak> in de klas <vaak>.
  Marie slept    often  in the classroom

      Section 1.1.2.2 has shown that spatial adpositional phrases function as predicates (and the same thing will be shown later for temporal adpositional phrases). The difference between the complementive use and the adverbial use of adpositional phrases is that in the former case the adpositional phrase is predicated of some argument in the clause, whereas in the latter case it is predicated of some projection of the verb. This goes hand in hand with a (sometimes subtle) meaning contrast. The contrast is clearest with temporal PPs: on the VP-adjunct reading, (52a) expresses that Mary often performed the activity of “sleeping during the lesson”; on the clause reading, (a) expresses that, during the lessons, the event of Marie sleeping often took place. A similar contrast can be found in (52b); on the VP-adjunct reading, it is expressed that Marie often performed the activity of “sleeping in the classroom”; on the clause-adjunct reading, it is expressed that, in the classroom, the event of “Marie sleeping” often took place.

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    A free Open Access publication of the corresponding volumes of the Syntax of Dutch is available at OAPEN.org.