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5.1. -human restriction on the formation of pronominal PPs
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Dutch pronominal PPs have the same semantic value as prepositions followed by a pronoun in English. For example, English P + it would typically be translated by means of er + P in Dutch. This does not mean that all English P + pronoun combinations can or must be translated by means of a pronominal PP in Dutch. The discussion below will show that the formation of a pronominal PP is often blocked if the antecedent of the pronoun is +human (and the same may hold for pronouns referring to pets). A typical case is given in (12): whereas the pronoun hem in (12a) may refer to the +human antecedent, the R-pronoun in (12b) typically refers to a -human antecedent, that is, the music by Bach. Since the various functional/semantic types of pronouns differ with respect to the -human restriction, we will discuss them in separate subsections.

Example 12
a. Bach, ik ben dol op hem.
  Bach  am  fond  of him
  'Bach, I am fond of him.'
b. Bach, ik ben er dol op.
  Bach  am  there  fond of
  'Bach, I am fond of it.'
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[+]  I.  Referential (personal) R-pronouns

Whether a pronominal PP can arise often depends on whether the complement of the preposition is +human or -human. This is especially clear in the case of referential personal pronouns. Resumptive pronoun constructions of the type in (13) make it possible to test the restrictions on the co-occurrence of certain types of antecedents and the R-pronoun.

Example 13
a. NP, ik ben dol op pronoun.
  NP  am  fond  of  pronoun
  'NP, I am fond of pronoun.'
b. NP, ik ben er dol op.
  NP  am  there  fond  of
  'NP, I am fond of pronoun.'

For completeness' sake, note that the resumptive pronoun er must appear in its phonetically strong form daar if it is placed in clause-initial position, as in (14).

Example 14
NP, daar/*er ben ik dol op.
  NP  there  am  fond  of

This may be due to the fact that (with the exception of subject pronouns and the expletive er) phonetically weak elements cannot be placed in clause-initial position; the difference between (13b) and (14) is therefore similar in nature to the difference between the two examples in (15). We refer the reader to Section N5.2.1.1, sub VB for more detailed discussion.

Example 15
a. Jan, ik heb 'm niet gezien.
  Jan  have  him  not  seen
  'Jan, I havenʼt seen him.'
b. Jan, die/hem/*'m heb ik niet gezien.
  Jan  him  have  not  seen

      We will discuss the behavior of -human and +human referential pronouns with respect to the resumptive pronoun test in separate subsections.

[+]  A.  -human pronouns

This subsection discusses the -human personal pronouns. The singular and plural forms are discussed in separate subsections. Note that we use the weak forms of the personal pronouns in the examples below, because strong pronouns normally can only be used to refer to +human antecedents; cf. Section N5.2.1.1, sub VC.

[+]  1.  Singular -human pronouns

If a singular -human pronoun occurs as the complement of a preposition, the PP is obligatorily realized as a pronominal PP; this is indicated in (16a) by placing an asterisk in front of the P + pronoun sequence. The (b)- and (c)-examples show that a pronominal PP must appear in the resumptive pronoun constructions, regardless of the gender of the pronounʼs antecedent.

Example 16
Singular ±neuter -human pronouns
a. *P+ 't/'m/'r ⇒ er +P
   P + it  there + P
b. * Dat boek, ik ben dol op 't.
  that book[+neuter]  am  fond  of  it
b'. Dat boek, ik ben er dol op.
  that book[+neuter]  am  there  fond  of
  'That book, I am fond of it.'
c. * Die soep, ik ben dol op 'r.
  that soup[-neuter]  am  fond  of  her
c'. Die soep, ik ben er dol op.
  that soup[-neuter]  am  there  fond  of
  'That soup, I am fond of it.'
[+]  2.  Plural -human pronouns

The plural -human pronoun ze'them' cannot occur as the complement of a preposition either, regardless of the gender of the pronounʼs antecedent. We illustrate this in the (b)- and (c)-examples in (17) by means of the +neuter noun boeken'books' and the -neuter noun chocoladerepen'chocolate bars'.

Example 17
Plural –human pronouns
a. *P+ ze ⇒ er + op
   P + them  there + on
b. *? Die boeken, ik ben dol op ze.
  those books[+neuter]  am  fond  of  them
b'. Die boeken, ik ben er dol op.
  those books[+neuter]  am  there  fond  of
  'Those books, I am fond of them.'
c. *? Die chocoladerepen, ik ben dol op ze.
  those chocolate bars[-neuter]  am  fond  of  them
c'. Die chocoladerepen, ik ben er dol op.
  those chocolate bars[-neuter]  am  there  fond  of
  'Those chocolate bars, I am fond of them.'

Section 5.2 will show that some prepositions do not allow R-pronominalization. Since the -human restriction also holds for such prepositions, -human noun phrases can never be pronominalized in PPs headed by such prepositions. Example (18) illustrates this for the preposition volgens.

Example 18
a. Volgens Jan/het weerbericht gaat het vandaag regenen.
  according.to  Jan/the weather.forecast  goes  it  today  rain
b. Volgens hem/*'t gaat het vandaag regenen.
  according.to  him/it  goes  it  today  rain
c. * Er volgens gaat het vandaag regenen.
  there  according.to him/it  goes  it  today  rain
[+]  B.  +human pronouns

This subsection discusses the +human personal pronouns. The singular and plural forms are again discussed in separate subsections.

[+]  1.  Singular +human pronouns

A +human pronoun like hem'him' or haar'her' is perfectly acceptable as the complement of a preposition. The alternative realization as a pronominal PP is possible but slightly marked. This is due to a general preference to interpret the pronominal PP er op as involving a -human entity; only if the antecedent is explicitly mentioned in the discourse is a +human interpretation of the R-pronoun available.

Example 19
Singular -neuter +human pronouns
a. P + hem/haar ⇒ (?)er + P
  P +  him/her  there + P
b. Mijn echtgenoot, ik ben dol op hem.
  my husband  am  fond  of  him
  'My husband, I am fond of him.'
b'. (?) Mijn echtgenoot, ik ben er dol op.
  my husband  am  there  fond  of

Although judgments are subtle, it might be the case that a kind of scale is involved: for at least some people, the pronominal PP er op is close to perfect in examples such as (19b'), where the antecedent has some intrinsic relation to the speaker, but marked if it involves some other +human entity, as in (20a). The pronominal PP er op seems to be excluded if the antecedent of the R-pronoun is referred to by means of a proper noun, as in (20b).

Example 20
a. Die jongen, ik ben dol op hem.
  that boy  am  fond  of  him
  'That boy, I am fond of him.'
a'. ? Die jongen, ik ben er dol op.
  that boy  am  there  fond  of
  'That boy, I am fond of him.'
b. Jan, ik ben dol op hem.
  Jan  am  fond  of  him
  'Jan, I am fond of him.'
b'. * Jan, ik ben er dol op.
  Jan  am  there  fond  of
  'Jan, I am fond of him.'

In contrast to the non-neuter pronouns in (19), the neuter pronoun het in (21) must also be replaced by an R-pronoun if it refers to a +human entity, which suggests that it is not the feature ±human that is relevant here, but gender: prepositions simply cannot be followed by the pronoun het.

Example 21
Singular +neuter +human pronoun
a. *P+ het ⇒ er + P
   P + it  there + P
b. * Dat kind, ik ben dol op het.
  that child[+neuter]  am  fond  of  it
b'. Dat kind, ik ben er dol op.
  that child[+neuter]  am  there  fond  of
  'That child, I am fond of it.'

Note that in examples like these, grammatical gender can be overruled by sex. This will be clear from example (22a), in which the +neuter noun meisje'girl' refers to a young female person and the -R pronoun used is not the neuter form het'it' but the feminine form haar'her'.

Example 22
a. Dat meisje, ik ben dol op haar/*het.
  that girl[+neuter]  am  fond  of  her/it
b. Dat meisje, ik ben er dol op.
  that girl[+neuter]  am  there  fond  of
  'That girl, I am fond of her.'
[+]  2.  Plural +human pronouns

The phonetically weak and strong plural third person +human pronouns, ze 'them' and hen'them' can both appear as the complement of a preposition, and the use of a pronominal PP is somewhat marked.

Example 23
Plural +human pronouns
a. P + hen/ze ⇒ (?)er + P
  P + them  there + P
b. Mijn dochters, ik ben dol op ze/hen.
  my daughters  am  fond  of  them
  'My daughters, I am fond of them.'
b'. (?) Mijn dochters, ik ben er dol op.
  my daughters  am  there  fond  of

As in the case of the singular +human pronouns, some scale may be involved: for at least some speakers, the pronominal PP er op is close to perfect in examples such as (23b'), where the antecedent has some intrinsic relation to the speaker, but marked if it involves some other +human entity, as in (24a). The pronominal PP er op is excluded if the antecedent of the R-pronoun is referred to by means of a proper noun, as in (24b).

Example 24
a. Die jongens, ik ben dol op ze.
  those boys  am  fond  of  them
  'Those boys, I am fond of them.'
a'. ? Die jongens, ik ben er dol op.
  those boys  am  there  fond  of
b. Jan en Marie, ik ben dol op ze/hen.
  Jan and Marie  am  fond  of  them
b'. * Jan en Marie, ik ben er dol op.
  Jan and Marie  am  there  fond  of

The examples in (25), which should be compared to the (a)-examples in (24), show, however, that pronominal PPs are fully acceptable in generic constructions with bare plurals. Example (25b) in fact sounds more natural than example (25a).

Example 25
a. ? Jongens, ik ben dol op ze.
  boys[-neuter] am  fond  of  them
b. Jongens, ik ben er dol op.
  boys[-neuter] am  there  fond  of
  'Boys, I am fond of them.'

      Although (16) and (21) have shown that the neuter pronoun het can never appear as the complement of a preposition, the primeless examples in (26) show that its plural counterpart ze can. From this we conclude that it is only the singular +neuter pronoun het'it' that is excluded as a complement of a preposition, not its plural counterpart ze'them'. This is not so surprising given that the feature ±neuter normally does not play a role in the plural and the pronoun ze can therefore be said to simply lack this feature.

Example 26
Plural +human pronouns
a. Die kinderen, ik ben dol op ze.
  that children[+neuter]  am  fond  of  them
  'Those children, I am fond of them.'
a'. (?) Die kinderen, ik ben er dol op.
  that children[+neuter]  am  there  fond  of
b. Die meisjes, ik ben dol op ze.
  those girls[+neuter]  am  fond  of  them
  'Those girls, I am fond of them.'
b'. (?) Die meisjes, ik ben er dol op.
  those girls[+neuter]  am  there  fond  of
[+]  II.  Demonstrative R-pronouns

The demonstrative R-pronouns daar'there' and hier'here' from Table 1 are also preferably interpreted as referring to -human antecedents. Examples such as (27a) are perfectly natural if the speaker refers to some object, but distinctly odd if used to refer to a certain person. Example (27b) shows again that pronominal PPs are acceptable in generic constructions with +human bare plural antecedents.

Example 27
a. Die snoepjes/?die jongens, ik ben daar dol op.
  those sweets/those boys  am  there  fond  of
  'I am fond of that.'
b. Snoepjes/Jongens, ik ben daar dol op.
  sweets/boys  am  there  fond  of

Although this is perfectly possible in subject or object position, demonstrative pronouns are at least marked if used as an independent argument (= without an accompanying noun) in the complement position of a preposition.

Example 28
a. Ik ben dol op deze/die ??(plaat/jongen).
  am  fond  of  that/this      record/boy
b. Ik ben dol op dit/dat *?(boek/meisje).
  am  fond  of  that/this      book/girl
[+]  III.  Relative R-pronouns

The examples in (29) show that relative pronouns with a +human antecedent can be realized both as regular relative personal pronouns and as relative R-pronouns. Despite the fact that normative grammars are generally opposed to (29b), it is this form that is normally found in colloquial speech. Observe that the preposition must be pied-piped by the -R pronoun, whereas preposition stranding is possible and even slightly better in the case of an [+R] pronoun. This confirms again that preposition stranding is possible with R-pronouns only; cf. example (3).

Example 29
a. de jongen op wie ik wacht
  the boy  for whom  wait
  'the boy I am waiting for'
a'. * de jongen wie ik op wacht
b. (?) de jongen waarop ik wacht
  the boy  where.for  wait
  'the boy I am waiting for'
b'. de jongen waar ik op wacht

The examples in (30) show that the formation of a pronominal PP is obligatory if the antecedent of the relative pronoun is -human. This shows that the relative pronouns die/dat cannot occur as the complement of a preposition.

Example 30
a. * de brief[-neuter] op die ik wacht
  the letter  for which  wait
a'. de brief waar ik op wacht
  the letter  where  for  wait
  'the letter I am waiting for'
b. * het boek[+neuter] op dat ik wacht
  the book  for which  wait
b'. de boek waar ik op wacht
  the book  where  for  wait
  'the book I am waiting for'
[+]  IV.  Interrogative R-pronouns

Interrogative pronominal PPs can only be used if the preposition has a -human complement. A speaker who knows that Jan is waiting for a person will not use the construction in (31b); this construction can only be used if the speaker expects that the answer will involve a -human entity, or if he has no expectation at all. The primed examples show that preposition stranding is excluded with the -R pronoun wie but fully acceptable, and even preferred, with the corresponding +R pronoun. From this we may again conclude that preposition stranding is possible with R-pronouns only.

Example 31
a. Op wie wacht je?
  for who  wait  you
  'For whom are you waiting?'
a'. # Wie wacht je op?
b. ? Waarop wacht je?
  where.for  wait  you
  'What are you waiting for?'
b'. Waar wacht je op?

The examples in (32) show that the formation of a pronominal PP is strongly preferred if the speaker expects that the answer will involve a -human entity; examples such as (32a) are only acceptable as echo-questions.

Example 32
a. # Op wat wacht je?
  for what  wait  you
b. Waar wacht je op?
  where  wait  you  for
  'What are you waiting for?'
[+]  V.  Existentially quantified R-pronouns

Existentially quantified R-pronouns also refer strictly to -human entities. A speaker who uses (33b) expresses that the thing he is waiting for is not a +human entity. Something similar holds for the negative counterpart of this R-pronoun in (33b').

Example 33
a. Ik wacht op iemand.
  wait  for  someone
  'I am waiting for someone.'
a'. Ik wacht op niemand.
  wait  for  no.one
  'I am waiting for no one.'
b. Ik wacht ergens op.
  wait  somewhere  for
  'I am waiting for something.'
b'. Ik wacht nergens op.
  wait  nowhere  for
  'I am not waiting for anything.'

It seems that, when the existentially quantified pronoun refers to a -human entity, the formation of the pronominal PP is more or lesss optional. This is shown in (34).

Example 34
a. Ik wacht op iets.
  wait  for  something
  'I am waiting for something.'
a'. Ik wacht ergens op.
  wait  somewhere  for
  'I am waiting for something.'
b. Ik wacht op niets.
  wait  for  nothing
  'I am not waiting for anything.'
b'. Ik wacht nergens op.
  wait  nowhere/somewhere  for
  'I am not waiting for anything.'

If the complement of the preposition expresses sentence negation, it must be moved to a certain position in the middle field of the clause. This is clear from the fact that the PP-complement of the adjective in (35a) cannot occupy its regular postadjectival position but must precede the adjective; cf. Section A2.3.1, sub IIB2. The contrast between (35a') and (35b') shows that preposition stranding is possible (or, rather, obligatory) with the R-pronoun only. This again confirms our earlier claim that preposition stranding is restricted to R-pronouns.

Example 35
a. dat Jan [op niemand]i erg dol ti is.
  that  Jan  of no.one  very fond  is
  'that Jan isnʼt very fond of anyone.'
a'. * dat Jan niemandi erg dol [op ti] is.
b. * dat Jan [nergens op]i erg dol ti is.
b'. dat Jan nergensi erg dol [op ti] is.
  that  Jan nowhere  very fond   of  is
  'that Jan isnʼt very fond of anything.'
[+]  VI.  Universally quantified R-pronouns

In the case of universally quantified pronouns, pronominal PPs also refer strictly to -human entities. A speaker who uses (36b) expresses that the things the doctor is going to look at are not +human entities. So, (36a) can be used to express that the doctor will examine all patients, whereas (36b) expresses that the doctor will examine the patient(s) thoroughly.

Example 36
a. De dokter zal naar iedereen kijken.
  the doctor will  at everyone  look
  'The doctor will examine everyone.'
b. De dokter zal overal naar kijken.
  the doctor will  everywhere  at  look
  'The doctor will examine everything.'

The examples in (37) show that, as in the case of the existentially quantified pronouns, the formation of the pronominal PP is more or lesss optional if the universally quantified pronoun refers to a -human entity.

Example 37
a. De dokter kijkt naar alles.
  the doctor looks  at everything
  'The doctor examines everything.'
b. De dokter kijkt overal naar.
  the doctor looks  everywhere  at
  'The doctor examines everything.'
[+]  VII.  Summary

The previous subsections have shown that +human pronouns normally do not readily allow R-pronominalization, although two exceptions have been attested. First, although non-neuter referential personal pronouns only marginally allow it, R-pronominalization of neuter pronouns is easily possible and even obligatory if the neuter pronoun is singular. Second, R-pronominalization of +human relative pronouns seems to be the preferred option in colloquial speech. R-pronominalization of -human pronouns, on the other hand, is normally obligatory; only the (existentially and universally) quantified pronouns behave differently in this respect. The discussion from the previous subsections is summarized in Table 2, in which P stands for the preposition in question.

Table 2: Regular and pronominal PPs and the feature [ ± human]
  +human -human
  P + pronoun pronominal PP P + pronoun pronominal PP
referential singular non-neuter P hem/haar
'P him/her'
?er P *P hem/haar
'P it'
er P
    neuter *P het
'P it'
er P *P het
'P it'
er P
  plural non-neuter P ze/hen
'P them'
?er P *P ze
'P them'
er P
    neuter P ze/hen
'P them'
er P *P ze
'P them'
er P
demonstrative proximate ??P deze/dit
'P this'
*hier P *P deze/dit
'P this'
hier P
  distal ??P die/dat
'P that'
*daar P *P die/dat
'P that'
daar P
relative P wie
'P whom'
waar P *P wat
'P which'
waar P
interrogative P wie
'P whom'
*waar P *P wat
'P what'
waar P
existential positive P iemand
'P someone'
*ergens P P iets
'P something'
ergens P
  negative P niemand
'P no one'
*nergens P P niets
'P nothing'
nergens P
universal P iedereen
'P everyone'
*overal P P alles
'P everything'
overal P

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