• Dutch
  • Frisian
  • Afrikaans
Show full table of contents
4.4.1. Spatial PPs
quickinfo

Adverbially used spatial adpositional phrases are generally prepositional. Sometimes it is not easy to determine whether a spatial PP is used adverbially or not. Example (76), for instance, is ambiguous between a reading in which the PP is used as a complementive and a reading in which it is used as an adverbial phrase.

Example 76
Jan springt in de sloot.
  Jan jumps  in/into the ditch
Complementive reading: 'Jan jumps into the ditch.'
Adverbial reading: 'Jan is jumping in the ditch.'

The two readings of (76) can be distinguished by putting the clause in the perfect tense, as in (77): if the PP acts as a complementive, the verb is unaccusative and the auxiliary zijn is used; if the PP is an adverbial phrase, the verb is intransitive and the auxiliary hebben is used. Taking the two examples in (77) as our point of departure, we can investigate the differences between the two uses of the PP.

Example 77
a. Jan is in de sloot gesprongen.
  Jan is into the ditch  jumped
  Complementive reading only: 'Jan jumped into the ditch.'
b. Jan heeft in de sloot gesprongen.
  Jan has  in the ditch  jumped
  Adverbial reading only: 'Jan has jumped in the ditch.'
readmore
[+]  I.  Topicalization

The two uses of the spatial PPs do not seem to differ with respect to topicalization; both (78a) and (78b) are acceptable. The examples perhaps differ in that the complementive requires contrastive accent, while this is not necessary in the case of the adverbial phrase.

Example 78
a. In de sloot is Jan gesprongen.
complementive
  into the ditch  is  Jan jumped
b. In de sloot heeft Jan gesprongen.
adverbial
  in the ditch  has  Jan jumped
[+]  II.  Word order in the middle field of the clause

The examples in (79) show that a complementive PP must be left-adjacent to the verb(s) in clause-final position, whereas the adverbially used PP can occur in several positions in the middle field.

Example 79
Placement with respect to the clause-final verbs
a. dat Jan vaak in de sloot sprong.
  that  Jan often  in/into the ditch  jumped
  Complementive reading: 'that Jan often jumped into the ditch.'
  Adverbial reading: 'that Jan often jumped in the ditch.'
b. dat Jan in de sloot vaak sprong.
  that  Jan in the ditch  often  jumped
  Adverbial reading only: 'that Jan often jumped in the ditch.'

From the fact that the verb springen takes the auxiliary zijn if the PP is a complementive and the fact that complementives must be left-adjacent to the verbs in clause-final position, it correctly follows that (80a') is excluded: the auxiliary zijn forces a complementive reading, so that the PP must be left-adjacent to the clause-final verbs. Since adverbial PPs can occur in other positions in the middle field, (80b') is of course predicted to be possible.

Example 80
a. dat Jan vaak in de sloot is gesprongen.
complementive
  that  Jan often  into the ditch  is jumped
a'. * dat Jan in de sloot vaak is gesprongen.
b. dat Jan vaak in de sloot heeft gesprongen.
adverbial
  that  Jan often  in the ditch  has  jumped
b'. dat Jan in de sloot vaak heeft gesprongen.

      Note that we have avoided the use of the term scrambling in the discussion above. The reason for this is that scrambling is generally taken to be movement across the adverbs in the clause; it is not clear whether we are dealing with movement here or whether the adverbial phrases are simply base-generated in different positions. The latter possibility is supported by the fact that there can be more than one spatial adverbial phrase in a single clause. Observe that the adverbial phrases in (81) are strictly ordered: the more general one ( in Amsterdam/de tuin) must precede the more specific one ( bij Peter/onder de boom).

Example 81
a. dat Jan in Amsterdam vaak bij Peter logeert.
  that  Jan in Amsterdam often  with Peter  stays
  'that Jan often stays with Peter in Amsterdam.'
a'. * dat Jan bij Peter vaak in Amsterdam logeert.
b. dat Jan in de tuin vaak onder de boom speelt.
  that  Jan in the garden  often  under the tree  plays
  'that, in the garden, Jan often plays under the tree.'
b'. * dat Jan onder de boom vaak in de tuin speelt

Note that example (82a) does not refute the claim that the more general spatial phrase must precede the more specific one: example (82b) shows that these two PPs may be part of a larger constituent, in which the PP in de tuin functions as an attributive modifier of the noun boom: [PPonder [NP de boom [PP in de tuin]]].

Example 82
a. dat Jan onder de boom in de tuin graag speelt.
  that  Jan under the tree  in the garden  gladly  plays
  'that Jan likes to play under the tree in the garden.'
b. Onder de boom in de tuin speelt Jan graag.
[+]  III.  PP-over-V

PP-over-V can be also used to disambiguate the two constructions in (76): if PP-over-V does not apply, as in (83a), both readings are available; if PP-over-V does apply, as in (83b), only the adverbial reading survives.

Example 83
a. dat Jan in de sloot sprong.
  that  Jan in/into the ditch  jumped
  Complementive reading: 'that Jan jumped into the ditch.'
  Adverbial reading: 'that Jan was jumping in the ditch.'
b. dat Jan sprong in de sloot.
  that  Jan jumped  in the ditch
  Adverbial reading only: 'that Jan was jumping in the ditch.'

From the fact that the verb springen takes the auxiliary zijn if the PP is a complementive and the fact that complementives cannot be in extraposed position, it correctly follows that (84a') is excluded: the auxiliary zijn forces a complementive reading, so that the PP must precede the clause-final verbs. Since adverbial PPs can be in extraposed position (84b') is correctly predicted to be possible. This fact was noted earlier in (80), but the examples are repeated her for convenience.

Example 84
a. dat Jan vaak in de sloot is gesprongen.
complementive
a'. * dat Jan in de sloot vaak is gesprongen.
b. dat Jan vaak in de sloot heeft gesprongen.
adverbial
b'. dat Jan in de sloot vaak heeft gesprongen.

      If the clause contains more than one (spatial) PP, PP-over-V reverses the order these PPs have in the middle field of the clause; cf. Koster (1974). This becomes clear by comparing the examples in (85) with those in (81). Note that example (85b) also allows an analysis in which in de tuin'in the garden' is an attributive modifier of the noun boom'tree'. Note also that the primed examples in (85) become acceptable if the PPs in Amsterdam and onder de boom are presented as an afterthought, in which case they must be preceded by an intonation break.

Example 85
a. dat Jan vaak logeert bij Peter in Amsterdam.
  that  Jan often  stays  with Peter  in Amsterdam
  'that Jan often stays with Peter in Amsterdam.'
a'. * dat Jan vaak logeert in Amsterdam bij Peter.
b. dat Jan vaak speelt onder de boom in de tuin.
  that Jan often plays under the tree in the garden
b'. * dat Jan vaak speelt in de tuin onder de boom.
[+]  IV.  R-extraction

It seems that R-extraction is not readily possible with spatial adverbial phrases. Whereas extraction of a relative R-pronoun is perfectly acceptable from the complementive PP in (86a), it leads to a marked status when applied to the spatial adverbial PP in (86b); see Section 5.3 for more discussion.

Example 86
a. de sloot waar Jan in is gesprongen
complementive
  the ditch  where  Jan into  is jumped
  'the ditch into which Jan jumped'
b. ?? de sloot waar Jan in heeft gesprongen
adverbial
  the ditch  where  Jan in has  jumped
  'the ditch in which Jan jumped'

There are, however, many unclear cases and speakers' judgments seem to differ considerably on R-extraction from spatial adverbial clauses, especially if we are dealing with relative clauses. Some speakers find examples such as (87a) quite acceptable, whereas others require pied piping of the preposition, as in (87b). Some speakers even object to both (87a) and (87b) and prefer the option of simply using the relative adverbial pro-form waar'where' in (87c).

Example 87
a. % de tuin waar we een feest in zullen geven
  the garden  where  we a party  in will  give
b. de tuin waarin we een feest zullen geven
  the garden  where.in  we a party  will  give
  'the garden in which we will give a party'
c. de tuin waar we een feest zullen geven
  the garden  where  we a party  will  give
  'the garden where we will give a party'
[+]  V.  Conclusion

The previous subsections have shown that adverbially used PPs differ in various respects from complementive adpositional phrases. The differences have been summarized in Table 5. Recall from the discussion of (63) in Section 4.2.2 that spatial adpositional phrases can possibly also be used as supplementives. It seems, however, that the distinction between supplementive and adverbial adpositional phrases can only be made on the basis of their semantic relation to (the arguments of) the clause.

Table 5: Complementive versus adverbial spatial adpositional phrases
  complementives adverbial phrases
topicalization + +
adjacency to clause-final verbs obligatory not necessary
PP-over-V +
R-extraction + —/?

References:
  • Koster, Jan1974Het werkwoord als spiegelcentrumSpektator3601-618
Suggestions for further reading ▼
phonology
  • Dutch
  • Frisian
  • Afrikaans
Show more ▼
morphology
  • Dutch
  • Frisian
  • Afrikaans
Show more ▼
syntax
  • Dutch
  • Frisian
  • Afrikaans
Show more ▼
cite
print
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.