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4.2.2. Supplementives
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The supplementive use of adpositional phrases is very restricted. In traditional grammar, it is assumed that only als-phrases and absolute met-constructions are used in this function. Some examples are given in (61); the primeless examples illustrate the relation of “simultaneousness” and the primed ones the relation of “material implication”.

Example 61
a. Als student was hij lid van de studentenvereniging.
  as a student  was he  member of the studentsʼ.union
  'When he was a student, he was a member of the studentsunion.'
a'. Als student kan je daar goedkoper eten.
  as a student  can  one  there  cheaper  eat
  'If one is a student, one gets dinner cheaper there.'
b. Met krulspelden in zijn haar kwam Jan de kamer binnen.
  with curlers in his hair  came  Jan the room  into
  'Jan entered the room while he had curlers in his hair.'
b'. Met krulspelden in zijn haar voelt Jan zich wat verlegen.
  with curlers in his hair  feels  Jan REFL.  somewhat  embarrassed
  'When Jan has curlers in his hair, he feels somewhat embarrassed.'

We may add to this that predicative PP idioms like in de war'confused' and over zijn toeren'upset' can also be used as supplementives, which need not surprise us given that such PP idioms behave like adjectives in many respects; cf. Section 3.3, sub I.

Example 62
a. Jan stond volkomen in de war op het station.
  Jan stood completely confused  at the station
  'Totally confused, Jan stood at the station.'
b. Jan vertrok volkomen over zijn toeren.
  Jan  left  completely  over his toeren
  'Jan left totally cracked up.'

      Although traditional grammar analyzes the spatial adpositional phrases in (63) as adverbial phrases, it seems likely that they, too, can be used as supplementives. Example (63) is at least threefold ambiguous: it may be the case that Jan was in the garden while observing the moles, or that the moles were in the garden while being observed, or that the event of observing took place in the garden. Since the characteristic of the supplementive is that it is predicated of the subject or the direct object of the clause, we should be dealing with the supplementive use of the adpositional phrase under the first two readings of (63); only under the third reading are we dealing with an adverbially used PP.

Example 63
dat Jan de mollen gisteren in de tuin observeerde.
  that  Jan the moles  yesterday  in the garden  observed
'that Jan observed the moles in the garden yesterday.'

The suggestion that spatial adpositional phrases may also be used as supplementives is supported by the fact that these phrases may express a relation of “material implication”; example (64) can be paraphrased as “when Jan is in school, he is always very obedient”. Since, to the best of our knowledge, the contrast between the supplementive and adverbial reading of spatial adpositional phrases is not described in the literature, we will not discuss it any further.

Example 64
Op school is Jan altijd zeer gehoorzaam.
  at school  is Jan always  very  obedient
'When Jan is at school, heʼs always very obedient.'

      What is extensively described in the literature is the distinction between the supplementive and the adverbial use of the als-phrases; cf. Haeseryn (1997). Consider the examples in (65). In (65a) we are dealing with a supplementive als-phrase: the example expresses that Janʼs being a student and Janʼs living in lodgings took place simultaneously. In (65b), on the other hand, the als-phrase is used as an adverbial phrase expressing a comparison: Jan is living in lodgings as if he were a student. The two als-phrases differ in that the complement of the supplementive phrase is the bare noun phrase student, whereas the complement of the adverbial phrase contains an indefinite article: een student. Furthermore, modification by the attributive adjective echt is only possible in the adverbial construction.

Example 65
a. Als (*echte) student woonde hij op kamers.
supplementive
  as     true student  lived  he  in rooms
  'When he was a student, he was in lodgings.'
b. Als een (echte) student woonde hij op kamers.
adverbial
  like   true student  lived  he  in rooms
  'He lived in lodgings like a (true) student.'

Another difference between the two uses of als-phrases is that the complement of the supplementive phrase does not agree in number with the noun phrase it is predicated of. In order to obtain the supplementive reading in (66a), the complement of als must be singular, despite the fact that the noun phrase the als-phrase is predicated of (the subject of the clause) is plural. The complement of the adverbial phrase in (66b), on the other hand, must be plural as well.

Example 66
a. Als student/#studenten woonden zij op kamers.
supplementive
  as student/students  lived  they  in rooms
  'When they were students, they were in lodgings.'
b. Als studenten/*een student woonden zij op kamers.
adverbial
  like students/a student  lived  they  in rooms
  'They lived in lodgings like students.'

If the complement of the adverbial phrase denotes a collective, like stel'couple' in (65), number agreement is not needed for the adverbial reading to arise. The difference between the supplementive and adverbial use of the als-phrase can then again be detected by the absence or presence of the indefinite article een'a'.

Example 67
a. Als getrouwd stel leefden zij samen.
supplementive
  as married couple  lived  they  together
  'When they were a married couple they lived together.'
b. Als een getrouwd stel leefden zij samen.
adverbial
  like a married couple  lived  they  together
  'They lived together as if they were a married couple.'

      The following subsections will discuss the behavior of the supplementive adpositional phrases with respect to topicalization, scrambling, PP-over-V and R-extraction.

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[+]  I.  Topicalization and scrambling

The primeless examples in (61) and the (a)-examples in (65) to (67) have amply illustrated that topicalization of the supplementive is possible. It is, however, difficult to decide whether scrambling of supplementives is possible, since it is not clear what the base position of the supplementive is. The only thing we know is that it is generated in some position in the middle field of the clause, which is clear from the fact that if the supplementive is not topicalized, it must follow the argument it is predicated of. In (68a), the supplementive follows both the subject and the object of the clause and it may be predicated of either of the two; the reading in which the supplementive is predicated of the object Jan may be the most salient one for some speakers, but example (68a') clearly shows that an intervening object does not block the predication relation between the supplementive and the subject. In (68b), on the other hand, the supplementive precedes the object, so that it can only be predicated of the subject.

Example 68
a. dat ik Jan als student erg aardig vond.
  that  Jan as student  very nice  considered
  'When Jan was a student, I considered him to be very nice.'
  'When I was a student, I considered Jan to be very nice.'
a'. dat ik dat boek als student erg mooi vond.
  that  that book  as student  very beautiful  considered
  'When I was a student, I considered that book to be very beautiful.'
b. dat ik als student Jan erg aardig vond.
  that  as student  Jan very nice  considered
  'When I was a student, I considered Jan to be very nice.'

Since it is likely that the meaning difference between the primeless examples in (68) is related to differences in the underlying position of the supplementive phrase, it will be clear that it would be hard to establish that such phrases can be scrambled. Note that whatever the base position of the supplementive may be, it is clear that it must precede the complementive; cf. *dat ik Jan erg aardig als student vond.

[+]  II.  PP-over-V

The examples in (69) show that PP-over-V of the supplementive seems possible. Like (68c), example (69a) seems to be ambiguous between a reading in which the supplementive is predicated of the object and a reading in which it is predicated of the subject of the clause. The reading in which the supplementive is predicated of the object may again be the most salient one for some speakers, but (69b) clearly shows that an intervening object does not block the predication relation between the supplementive and the subject.

Example 69
a. dat ik Jan erg aardig vond als student.
  that  Jan very nice  considered  as student
  'When Jan was a student, I considered Jan to be very nice.'
  'When I was a student, I considered Jan to be very nice.'
b. dat ik dat boek erg mooi vond als student.
  that  that book  very beautiful  considered  as student
  'When I was a student, I considered that book to be very beautiful.'
[+]  III.  R-extraction

R-extraction is excluded, but that need not surprise us given that als never allows it.

Example 70
a. dat ik Jan als student erg aardig vond.
  that  Jan as student  very nice  considered
b. * dat ik er Jan als erg aardig vond.
  that  there  Jan as  very nice  considered
References:
  • Haeseryn, Walter, Romijn, Kirsten, Geerts, Guido, Rooij, Jaap de & Toorn, Maarten C. van den1997Algemene Nederlandse spraakkunstGroningenNijhoff
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