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4.4. Pronominalization of the adjective
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Section 2.4 has shown that pronominalization of the adjective (phrase) is possible. In (173a), we repeat an example in which the pronoun het'it' performs the same function as the full AP bang voor honden'of dogs'. In (173b), on the other hand, the pronoun replaces only the adjective bang'afraid'; the function of the PP-complement of the adjective is performed by the PP voor spinnen'of spiders'. If the adjective is modified by means of an intensifier, pronominalization is also possible. Section 3.4 has shown, however, that in some cases the addition of erg is required to license pronominalization of the adjective, whereas in other cases the addition of erg leads to ungrammaticality.

Example 173
Jan is [AP bang voor honden] ..
  Jan is  afraid  of dogs ..
a. .. en ik ben het ook.
  .. and  am  it  too
b. .. en ik ben het voor spinnen.
  .. and  am  it  for spiders

If the adjective (phrase) is pronominalized, it is still possible to express comparison. This is shown in (174), in which the comparative meaning is expressed by the adjectives meer'more' and minder'less', which are also used in the periphrastic comparative construction. This possibility is remarkable given that the majorative form of bang is banger and not *meer bang.

Example 174
a. Jan is vreselijk bang voor honden, maar ik ben het nog meer (*erg).
  Jan is terribly  afraid of dogs  but  am  it  even  more  much
  'Jan is terribly afraid of dogs, but Iʼm even more so.'
b. Jan is niet erg bang voor honden, maar ik ben het nog minder (*erg).
  Jan is not  very  afraid of dogs  but  am  it  even  less  much
  'Jan is very afraid of dogs, but Iʼm even less so.'

The examples in (174) also show that the addition of erg is illicit, but it should be noted that (174a) alternates with (175), in which the comparative form erger'worse' is used.

Example 175
Jan is vreselijk bang voor honden, maar ik ben het nog erger.
  Jan is terribly  afraid of dogs  but  am  it  even  worse
'Jan is terribly afraid of dogs, but Iʼm even more so.'

      In (176a&b), we find comparable cases in which the superlative is expressed by the element het meest'the most' and het minst'the least', which are also used in the periphrastic superlative construction, despite the fact that the maximative of bang is the morphologically complex form bangst.

Example 176
a. Iedereen is vreselijk bang voor honden, maar ik ben het het meest (*erg).
  everyone is terribly afraid of dogs  but  am  it  the most  much
  'Everyone is terribly afraid of dogs, but Iʼm the most so.'
b. Niemand is erg bang voor honden, maar ik ben het het minst (??erg).
  no one  is very afraid of dogs  but  am  it  the least  much
  'No one is very afraid of dogs, but Iʼm the least so.'

The addition of erg is again impossible, although (176a) alternates with (177), in which the comparative form het ergst'the worst' is used. Note that, for some reason, (176b) yields a better result with erg than (174b).

Example 177
Iedereen is vreselijk bang voor honden, maar ik ben het het ergst.
  everyone  is terribly afraid of dogs  but  am  it  the worst
'Everyone is terribly afraid of dogs, but Iʼm the most so.'

      The equative degree differs form the comparative and superlative degree in that even'as' must be followed by the element erg, just as in the case of the modifiers te'too', zo'so' and hoe'how'. The fact that erg does not occur in a non-pronominal AP modified by even (*even erg bang) shows that erg is not an intensifier in the construction in (178) but is needed to license pronominalization of the AP.

Example 178
Jan is ontzettend bang voor honden en ik ben het even *(erg).
  Jan is terribly  afraid of dogs  and  am  it  as   much
'Jan is very afraid of dogs, and Iʼm as much so.'
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    A free Open Access publication of the corresponding volumes of the Syntax of Dutch is available at OAPEN.org.