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2.5.2. Absolute zonder-construction
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The absolute zonder-construction seems more restricted than the absolute met-construction: it appears to be felicitous only with locational adpositional phrases and intransitive prepositions.

Example 128
a. Zonder bril op zijn neus ziet hij er jonger uit.
  without glasses  on his nose  looks  he  there  younger  uit
  'Without glasses on his nose, he looks much younger.'
b. Zonder laken over de tafel heen is het ongezellig.
  without  cloth  over the table  heen  is it  not.cozy
  'It isnʼt cozy without a cloth over the table.'
c. Zonder das om mag je de club niet in.
  without tie around  may  you  the club  not into
  'One isnʼt allowed to enter the club without a tie around (the neck).'

Directional adpositional phrases like (129a), and predicates of other categories do not seem to be possible. Given examples such as without the chairman present we cannot start the meeting, English is more permissive in this respect.

Example 129
a. ?? Zonder kind het huis uit hebben we hier te weinig ruimte.
  without child  the house out  have  we here  too little space
  Intended reading: 'With all the children still living home, we donʼt have enough space.'
b. ?? Zonder iemand ziek zullen we zeker winnen.
  without  someone  ill  will  we certainly  win
c. ?? Zonder iemand als voorzitter kunnen we niet beginnen.
  without  someone  as chairman  can  we  not  start
  'Without someone as chairman, we cannot start.'
d. ?? Zonder iemand achtervolgd door de politie kan ons niets gebeuren.
  without someone  chased by the police  can  us  nothing  happen
  'Without someone chased by the police, nothing can happen to us.'

A potential problem for the claim that predicative als-phrases like als voorzitter in (129c) cannot be used as the predicative part of the absolute zonder-construction is that Haeseryn (1997: 929) gives example (130a) as grammatical. It is not entirely clear, however, whether this is indeed an absolute zonder-construction, because example (131a) below will show that proper nouns do not give rise to fully acceptable results in this construction. Perhaps, the als-phrase must be seen as a modifier of the proper noun. That this is an option is illustrated in (130b). Since we have no further insights to offer, we leave the analysis of this example to future research.

Example 130
a. Zonder Hannelore als raadsvrouwe is zij nergens.
  without Hannelore as counselor  is  she  nowhere
  'Without Hannelore as counselor, sheʼs lost.'
b. Een advocate als raadsvrouwe is zeer nuttig.
  a lawyer as counselor  is very useful

      Not only is there a restriction on the type of predicate, there also seems to be a restriction on the nominal part of the construction. Proper nouns, pronouns and definite noun phrases and interrogative phrases all give rise to a degraded result, and, to a lesser degree, the same thing seems to hold for quantified noun phrases. Demonstrative and indefinite noun phrases, on the other hand, are fully acceptable. Surprisingly, absolute zonder-constructions differ from absolute met-constructions in that they allow and, in fact, typically occur with a bare singular noun as their nominal part; compare (131g) with (95g).

Example 131
a. ?? Zonder Jan in het doel kunnen we niet winnen.
proper noun
  without  Jan in the goal  can  we  not  win
  'Without Jan in the goal we cannot win.'
b. ?? Zonder hem in het doel ...
definite pronoun
  without  him  in the goal
c. ?? Zonder de keeper in het doel ...
definite NP
  without  the goalkeeper  in the goal
d. Zonder die keeper in het doel ...
demonstrative NP
  without  that goalkeeper  in the goal
e. Zonder een goede keeper/?iemand in het doel ...
existentially quantified NP
  without  a good goalkeeper/someone  in the goal
e'. ? [Zonder alle spelers in het doel] ...
universally quantified NP
  without all players  in the goal
f. ?? Zonder wie in het doel ...?
interrogative phrase
  without whom  in the goal
g. Zonder goede keeper in het doel ...
bare NP
  without  good goalkeeper  in the goal

Finally, it can be noted that zonder licenses negative polarity items like ook maar (iets)'any(thing)' or een cent'a single penny'. This is illustrated in (132).

Example 132
a. Zonder ook maar één bloemetje in huis vierde hij zijn jubileum.
  without  ook maar  one bouquet  in house  celebrated  he  his jubilee
  'He celebrated his jubilee without having a single bouquet in his house.'
b. Zonder een cent op zak trok hij de wijde wereld in.
  without  a cent  on pocket  traveled  he  the wide world  into
  'Without a single penny in his pocket he went out into the world.'
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References:
  • Haeseryn, Walter, Romijn, Kirsten, Geerts, Guido, Rooij, Jaap de & Toorn, Maarten C. van den1997Algemene Nederlandse spraakkunstGroningenNijhoff
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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.