• Dutch
  • Frisian
  • Afrikaans
Show full table of contents

Like verbs and nouns, adjectives can combine with other phrases to form a larger projection. These other phrases with which adjectives combine can be divided into arguments and modifiers. An adjective such as boos'angry' in (1a), for instance, takes the PP op zijn vader'at his father' as its complement, and can also be modified by an intensifier such as erg'very'. The projection (erg) boos op zijn vader thus formed acts as a constituent, which is clear from the fact illustrated by (1b) that it can be moved as a whole into clause-initial position; cf. the constituency test. However, the adjective and its complement may also occur discontinuously, as is illustrated in (1c&d).

Example 1
a. Jan is nooit (erg) boos op zijn vader.
  Jan is never  very  angry  at his father
b. [(Erg) boos op zijn vader] is Jan nooit.
c. (Erg) boos is Jan nooit op zijn vader.
d. Op zijn vader is Jan nooit (erg) boos.

Sections 2.1 and 2.2 discuss complementation by means of, respectively, prepositional and nominal complements. Section 2.3, finally, discusses the fact that adjectives and their complements may occur discontinuously. Modification of the adjective (phrase) is discussed in Chapter 3. Although this section is devoted to complementation, it should be noted that adjectives also take a subject in an extended sense of the notion, for which we will introduce the term logical subject in Chapter 6. Broadly speaking, the subject of an adjective is the element that the adjective is predicated of. In (1), the subject of boos would therefore be the noun phrase Jan.

    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.