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6.2.1. The three main construction types

This section discusses the three subtypes of three main types of constructions containing a complementive adjective: Subsection I discusses the copular construction, Subsection II the resultative construction, and Subsection III the vinden-construction.

[+]  I.  The copular construction

Subsection A starts with a discussion of the Standard Dutch copular construction. In certain dialects, the Standard Dutch construction productively alternates with a construction involving the verb hebben'to have'; this semi-copular construction will be the topic of Subsection B and we will see that Standard Dutch has a similar construction, which is, however, somewhat more restricted in use.

[+]  A.  The regular copular construction

Section 6.1 has shown that the prototypical occurrence of the complementive adjective is in the copular construction, exemplified in (13). All examples in (13) express that the set referred to by de jongens is a subset of the set denoted by the adjective, albeit that the actual choice of the copula may add certain meaning aspects: the copula zijn is neutral and expresses a purely predicative “N is A" relation; the copula worden'to become' adds an inchoative aspect; the copula blijven'to remain', on the other hand, indicates that some state remains the same; the copula lijken'to seem' indicates that the assertion is based on the subjective perception of the speaker.

Example 13
Copular construction
a. De jongens zijn groot.
  the boys  are  big
c. De jongens bleven kwaad.
  the boys  remained  angry
b. De jongens werden kwaad.
  the boys  became  angry
d. De jongens lijken moe.
  the boys  seem  tired

Unlike the complementive constructions discussed in Section 6.2.1, sub II/III, the copular construction can be used with all types of set-denoting adjectives; see Section for examples.

[+]  B.  The semi-copular construction

The eastern varieties of Dutch have an alternative way of conveying the assertions expressed by the Standard Dutch regular copular constructions in (13). Some typical examples of this semi-copular construction, which is often referred to as the band-lek construction, are given in (14); cf. Van Bree (1981) and Cornips (1994).

Example 14
The dialectal semi-copular construction
a. Jan heeft de band lek.
  Jan  has  the tire  punctured
b. Hij heeft de vrouw ziek.
  he  has  the wife  ill

Semi-copular constructions in (14) differ from regular copular constructions, however, in that they typically express a possessive relationship between the nominative argument Jan/hij and the logical subject of the adjective; translated into Standard Dutch, the examples in (14) would yield the sentences in (15).

Example 15
a. Jans band is lek.
  Janʼs tire  is punctured
b. Zijn vrouw is ziek.
  his wife  is ill

      Although the semi-copular construction in (14) is unacceptable in Standard Dutch, there are two acceptable constructions that resemble it. First, consider the examples in (16), which may be rejected by some speakers of Standard Dutch in this form, but which become fully acceptable if the clauses are extended with certain adverbs; see the examples in (18) below.

Example 16
a. Jan heeft de kwast schoon.
  Jan has  the brush  clean
b. Jan heeft het raam open.
  Jan has  the window  open

The dialectal and Standard Dutch constructions in (14) and (16) differ in at least the following two respects; cf. Broekhuis & Cornips (1994). First, in contrast to what is the case in (14), the examples in (16) do not express a possessive relation. This can be made clear by adding a possessive pronoun to the subject of the adjective: example (17) shows that this leads to an unacceptable result with the dialect construction in (14a), but to a fully acceptable result with the Standard Dutch construction in (16a). Note that example (17a) is acceptable in Standard Dutch with a similar meaning as (17b).

Example 17
a. # Jan heeft mijn band lek.
  Jan has  my tire  punctured
b. Jan heeft mijn kwast schoon.
  Jan has  my brush  clean

Second, the Standard Dutch examples in (16) imply that the subject of the clause can affect the state that the object is in, which is clear from the fact that adverbial phrases like nog niet'not yet' or eindelijk'finally' can be added to these examples, as in (18). These adverbial phrases express that the subject of the clause is actively involved in the process of cleaning the brush or closing the window: Jan is in the process of cleaning the brush or opening the window and has not yet/finally succeeded in obtaining the desired result.

Example 18
a. Jan heeft de kwast nog niet/eindelijk schoon.
  Jan has  the brush  not yet/finally  clean
b. Jan heeft het raam nog niet/eindelijk open.
  Jan has  the window  not yet/finally  open

This involvement is also clear from the fact that the verb hebben can be replaced by the verb krijgen'to get', or houden'to keep', as in (19). In such cases, it is possible to use the subject-oriented adverbial phrase met moeite'with difficulty', which underlines the fact that Jan is involved in the process of cleaning the brush or opening the window by expressing that Jan has some difficulty in obtaining the desired result. The use of krijgen and houden is not possible in the dialect constructions in (14) without a shift of meaning in the direction of the Standard Dutch construction: for example, Jan kreeg zijn band niet lek can only be interpreted in such a way that Jan is deliberately puncturing his tire.

Example 19
a. Hij kreeg/hield de kwast (met moeite) schoon.
  he  got/kept  the brush   with difficulty  clean
b. Hij kreeg/hield het raam (met moeite) open.
  he  got/kept  the window  with difficulty  open

      A second Standard Dutch construction that also involves hebben + adjective is given in (20a). Given that het cannot be replaced by the demonstrative pronoun dat'that', we have to conclude that this construction involves the non-referring element het that we also find in constructions such as (20b) and which is discussed more extensively in Section 6.6.

Example 20
a. Ik heb het/*dat benauwd.
  have  it/that  hard.to.breathe
  'Iʼm out of breath.'
b. Het/*Dat is benauwd.
  it/that  is hard.to.breathe

The verb hebben in (20a) can be replaced by krijgen'to get', as is shown in (21a), but the fact that the adverbial PP met moeite'with difficulty' cannot be added suggests that the subject of the clause is not a controller, but acts as a kind of experiencer. If we use the verb houden, as in (21b), the translation with to keep is no longer appropriate; instead, the proper translation requires the copular verb to remain. This suggests again that the subject functions as an experiencer in this construction.

Example 21
a. Ik krijg het (*met moeite) benauwd.
  get  it    with difficulty  hard.to.breathe
  'Iʼm getting out of breath.'
b. Ik houd het benauwd.
  remain/*keep  it  hard.to.breathe
  'Iʼm remaining out of breath.'

      In examples such as (22), it does seem possible to add the adverbial PP met moeite and to use the verb houden with the meaning to keep. This is only apparent, however, as example (22a) turns out to be ambiguous: on one reading, the pronoun het is a non-referring expression, just as in (20); on the second reading it is a deictic pronoun that refers to some entity in the domain of discourse (e.g., het gerecht'the dish'), as is clear from the fact that het can be replaced by the demonstrative dat'that'. The examples in (22b&c) are only licensed on the second reading, which actually involves the same construction type as in (16).

Example 22
a. Ik heb het/dat warm.
  have  it/that  warm
b. Ik krijg het/dat met moeite warm.
het = het gerecht
  get  it/that  with difficulty  warm
c. Ik houd het/dat warm.
het = het gerecht
  keep  it/that  warm

For completeness’ sake, note that the pronoun het in example (22b) can also be interpreted as an anticipatory pronoun introducing a(n implicit) locational phrase: Ik krijg het met moeite warm (in de kamer)'I can hardly heat the room'; see Section 6.6, sub III, for a discussion of this construction.
      The meanings of (20a) and (22a) are very close to the meaning of the copular construction Ik ben benauwd/warm'I am short of breath/warm'. Nevertheless, it would be wrong to conclude that the adjective is predicated of the subject ikin (20a) and (22a), since a paraphrase by means of a copular construction is often excluded with structurally similar examples. This is illustrated in (23); the examples in (23a) express a totally different meaning than the examples in (23b). The English paraphrases attempt to express this difference.

Example 23
a. Ik heb het gezellig/goed/prettig.
  have  it  cozy/good/nice
  'Iʼm feeling comfy/good/fine.'
b. Ik ben gezellig/goed/prettig.
  am  cozy/good/nice
  'Iʼm a sociable/good/nice guy.'
[+]  II.  The resultative construction

Complementive adjectives in copular constructions such as (13) are always predicated of the subject of the clause. In the constructions in (24), on the other hand, the adjectives are predicated of the accusative object of the clause.

Example 24
Resultative construction
a. Marie sloeg de hond dood.
  Marie  hit  the dog  dead
b. Jan verfde zijn haar zwart.
  Jan dyed  his hair  black
c. Jan drinkt de fles leeg.
  Jan drinks  the bottle  empty

The constructions in (24) express that the accusative object becomes part of the denotation set of the adjective as a result of the activity expressed by the verb. In other words, the construction inherently expresses that the logical subject of the adjective is not part of the set denoted by A yet, but will become part of A as the result of the action denoted by the verb. Example (24c), for instance, expresses that the bottle is not empty yet but attains this state as a result of the event of drinking. It is for this reason that this construction is often called the resultative construction.
      As the resultative construction implies a change of state, it can arise with stage-level adjectives only; individual-level predicates, such as intelligent, are not compatible with the meaning of the resultative construction since they denote a (more or lesss) permanent property of their subject; cf. Section, sub IV. This contrast between stage- and individual-level predicates is illustrated in (25).

Example 25
a. De spinazie maakt de jongen ziek/%lang.
  the spinach  makes  the boy  ill/long
b. Die les maakt de jongen nerveus/%intelligent.
  that lesson  makes  the boy  nervous/intelligent

The examples of the resultative construction in (24) and (25) are all transitive in the sense that both a nominative and an accusative noun phrase are present. The following subsections will show, however, that the construction is also compatible with other syntactic frames; see also V2.2.3.

[+]  A.  Weather verbs

      Consider again the primeless examples in (10), repeated here as (26a&b). Since the weather verbs regenen'to rain' and vriezen'to freeze' do not take a referential noun phrase as their subject, we conclude that the nominative noun phrase de jongen in the primed examples is in fact the logical subject of the resultative adjectives. This, in turn, implies that this noun phrase is in fact a DO-subject and that weather verbs are unaccusative.

Example 26
a. Het/*De jongen regent.
  it/the boy  rains
b. Het/*De jongen vriest.
  it/the boy  freezes
a'. De jongen regent nat.
  the boy  rains  wet
b'. De jongen vriest dood.
  the boy  freezes  dead

That the weather verbs in resultative constructions are unaccusative is supported by the fact that they indeed exhibit the properties typical of unaccusative verbs. First, the singly-primed examples in (27) show that weather verbs in resultative constructions, in contrast to those in non-resultative constructions, take the auxiliary zijn'to be' in the perfect tense. Second, the doubly-primed examples show that the past/passive participle of the verb can be used attributively if it modifies a head noun that corresponds to the nominative argument of the verbal resultative construction, provided at least that the resultative adjective is also present. The triply primed examples, finally, show that the impersonal passive of the resultative construction is impossible.

Example 27
a. Het heeft/*is geregend.
  it  has/is  rained
b. Het heeft/*is gevroren.
  it  has/is  frozen
a'. De jongen is/*heeft nat geregend.
  the boy  is/has  wet rained
b'. De jongen is/*heeft dood gevroren.
  the boy  is/has  dead frozen
a''. de nat geregende jongen
  the  wet  rained  boy
b''. de dood gevroren jongen
  the  dead  frozen  boy
a'''. * Er werd nat geregend.
  there  was  wet  rained
b'''. * Er werd dood gevroren.
  there  was  dead  frozen
[+]  B.  Intransitive verbs

As in the case of the weather verbs in (26), an additional nominal argument must be introduced if a complementive adjective is used with an intransitive verb. Consider the primeless examples in (28). Example (28a) shows that a verb like lopen cannot take a noun phrase like zijn schoenen as a direct object. However, if the adjective kapot'worn-out' is added, as in (28b), this noun phrase must be present. Again, we have to conclude that the noun phrase zijn schoenen is introduced in the structure as the subject of the adjective (although it acts as the direct object of the verb in the sense that it is assigned accusative case by it). The primed examples give similar data with the intransitive verb huilen'to cry'.

Example 28
a. Jan loopt (*zijn schoenen).
  Jan walks     his shoes
a'. Jan huilt (*zijn ogen).
  Jan cries      his eyes
b. Jan loopt *(zijn schoenen) kapot.
  Jan walks     his shoes  worn.out
  'Jan is wearing his shoes out.'
b'. Jan huilt *(zijn ogen) rood.
  Jan cries     his eyes  red
[+]  C.  Unaccusative verbs

Unaccusative resultative constructions occur not only with verbs that do not take a referential subject, such as the weather verbs discussed in Subsection A, but also with regular unaccusative verbs like vallen'to fall' in (29a). Some unaccusative verbs, like slibben'to silt' in (29b), must occur in a resultative construction.

Example 29
a. Jan viel dood.
  Jan fell  dead
b. De sloot slibt *(dicht).
  the ditch  silts     shut
  'The ditch silts up.'

The examples in (30) show that the verbs in (29) exhibit the typical properties of unaccusative verbs: the primeless examples show that they take the perfect auxiliary zijn'to be', the singly-primed examples that the past/passive participle of the verb can be used attributively if it modifies a head noun that corresponds to the nominative argument of the verbal construction (provided that the resultative adjective is also present), and the doubly-primed examples that the impersonal passive is excluded.

Example 30
a. Jan is/*heeft dood gevallen.
  Jan is/has  dead  fallen
b. De sloot is/*has dicht geslibd.
  the ditch  is/has  shut  silted
a'. de dood gevallen jongen
  the  dead  fallen  boy
b'. de dicht geslibde sloot
  the  shut  silted  ditch
a''. * Er werd dood gevallen.
  there  was  dead  fallen
b''. * Er werd dicht geslibd.
  there  was  shut  silted

      The unaccusative verbs differ from the intransitive verbs in (28) in that the subject of the adjective must also satisfy the selection restrictions of the verb; it is not possible to introduce an additional noun phrase that has no semantic relation to the verb, that is, the subject of the adjective must be a noun phrase that can also act as the subject of the regular unaccusative construction. As the noun phrase de vaas in (31a) can act as the subject of the unaccusative verb breken'to break', it can also occur as the subject of the resultative adjective kapot'broken' in (31b). The addition of a noun phrase like Jan in (31c) is excluded, however, as this noun phrase has no thematic relation with the unaccusative verb breken.

Example 31
a. De vaas breekt.
  the vase  breaks
b. De vaas breekt kapot.
  the vase  breaks  broken
c. * De vaas breekt Jan treurig.
  the vase  breaks  Jan  sad

The unacceptability of (31c) contrasts sharply with the acceptability of the (b)-examples in (28). This contrast is arguably related to case assignment. Since unaccusative verbs do not have the ability to assign accusative case, (31c) is ungrammatical because the noun phrase Jan remains case-less. If intransitive verbs are in principle able to assign accusative case, the noun phrase zijn schoenen is licensed in (28b); that intransitive verbs do not take an accusative object in the absence of a resultative adjective is simply due to the fact that they cannot license them semantically. This account is based on Chomskyʼs (1981) Case Filter, which requires that every phonetically realized noun phrase be assigned case, and, of course, presupposes that case is also assigned if it has no morphological reflex.
      To conclude, we want to point out that there are a number of exceptions to the claim that the subject of the resultative predicate must satisfy the selection restrictions of the unaccusative verb. Some examples, which involve predicative PPs, are given in (32); these examples involve metaphoric or at least more or lesss fixed expressions.

Example 32
a. Het plan viel in duigen/in het water.
  the plan  fell  in pieces/into the water
  'The plan failed.'
b. Het huis vloog in brand.
  the house  flew  in fire
  'The house burst into flames.'
[+]  D.  Transitive verbs

With transitive constructions, the subject of the resultative adjective often seems thematically unrelated to the verb. This is illustrated in (33). Example (33a) shows that the verb verven'to paint' may take the noun phrase de deur'the door' as its direct object, but not the noun phrase de kwast'the brush' (at least, under the intended reading in which de kwast is the instrument used). Still, both noun phrases are acceptable in the resultative construction, as is illustrated in (33b) and (33c), respectively. Example (33d) shows, however, that the two noun phrases cannot be present simultaneously.

Example 33
a. Jan verft de deur/#de kwast.
  Jan paints  the door/the brush
c. Jan verft de kwast kapot.
   Jan paints  the brush  broken
b. Jan verft de deur groen.
  Jan paints  the door  green
d. * Jan verft de deur de kwast kapot.
   Jan paints  the door  the brush  broken

The ungrammaticality of (33d) may seem unexpected given that the noun phrase de deur'the door' is semantically licensed by the verb verven'to paint' and the noun phrase de kwast'the brush' is semantically licensed by the adjective kapot'broken'. It must therefore again be attributed to case assignment: if a transitive verb can assign accusative case only once, one of the two noun phrases remains case-less, which violates Chomskyʼs Case Filter; cf. the discussion of example (31c).
      Although the verb verven is used transitively in (33a), we cannot immediately conclude that it is also used transitively in (33c), because this verb is occasionally also used as a pseudo-intransitive verb: Jan verft'Jan is painting'. Thus, we may be dealing with an intransitive verb in (33c) as well. This suggestion is supported by the paraphrases in (34): example (33b) is preferably paraphrased by means of the transitive verb verven, as in (34a), whereas example (33c) must be paraphrased by the intransitive verb verven in (34b).

Example 34
a. Jan verft de deur zo dat hij groen wordt.
  Jan paints  the door  such  that  it  green  becomes
  'Jan is painting the door such that it gets green.'
a'. ? Jan verft zo dat de deur groen wordt.
  Jan paints  such  that  the door  green  becomes
b. * Jan verft de kwast zo dat hij kapot gaat.
  Jan paints  the brush  such  that  it  broken  gets
b'. Jan verft zo dat de kwast kapot gaat.
  Jan paints  such  that  the brush  broken  gets
  'Jan is painting in such a manner that the brush gets broken.'

Example (35) provide more cases of transitive verbs with a pseudo-intransitive counterpart, and in which a resultative adjective can introduce a noun phrase that is not thematically related to the verb; (35a') does not express that zijn ouders'his parents' are the objects being eaten, but that Janʼs parents are getting poor, because Jan is eating so much; similarly, in (35b'), de longen'the lungs' are not being smoked, but are just getting black as the result of Janʼs smoking.

Example 35
a. Jan eet (brood).
  Jan eats   bread
a'. Jan eet zijn ouders arm.
  Jan eats  his parents  poor
b. Jan rookt (sigaretten).
  Jan smokes   cigarettes
b'. Jan rookt zijn longen zwart.
  Jan smokes  his lungs  black

The discussion suggests that, despite appearances, complementive adjectives cannot introduce an additional argument into the structure in the case of “truly" transitive verbs; this is possible only with (pseudo-)intransitive and weather verbs. In other words, if an (underlying) object is present, as in the case of the regular unaccusative verbs in Subsection C and the transitive verbs, this object must be construed as the subject of the complementive adjective in the resultative construction. This is confirmed by the fact that in “truly" transitive resultative constructions, the accusative object must, generally speaking, be overtly realized; cf. (36).

Example 36
a. Marie sloeg (*de hond) dood.
  Marie hit      the dog  dead
b. Jan verft (*zijn haar) zwart.
  Jan dyes     his hair  black
c. Jan drinkt (*de fles) leeg.
  Jan drinks      the bottle  empty

There are, however, some exceptional constructions in which the accusative object is omitted: example (37a) is a fixed expression and example (37b) is an advertisement slogan. Such examples normally have a generic interpretation; see Vanden Wyngaerd (1994:ch.4) and references cited there for more discussion.

Example 37
a. Geld maakt niet gelukkig.
  money  makes  not  happy
  'Money doesnʼt make one happy.'
b. Omo wast door en door schoon.
  Omo washes  through and through  clean
  'Omo washes your laundry thoroughly clean.'

Finally, observe that the accusative object of the “truly" transitive resultative construction may take the form of a reflexive. Unlike regular accusative objects, the reflexive need not take the complex form zichzelf'himself' but may also appear in its simplex form zich; cf. Section N5.2.1.5. This is demonstrated by means of the contrast between (38a) and (38b).

Example 38
a. Jan bewondert zichzelf/*zich.
  Jan admires  himself/refl
b. Jan maakt zichzelf/zich belachelijk.
  Jan makes  himself/refl  ridiculous

      In (38b), the reflexive can be replaced by a regular referential noun phrase, such as Marie. Occasionally, however, this is impossible in the resultative construction. If so, the reflexive must appear in its simplex form zich. This is demonstrated in (39).

Example 39
a. Jan werkt *Marie/zich/??zichzelf suf.
  Jan works   Marie/refl/himself  dull
  'Jan works *Marie/himself to death.'
b. Jan schreeuwt *Marie/zich/??zichzelf schor.
  Jan screams    Marie/refl/himself  hoarse
[+]  E.  Special verbs

Some verbs are typically used in resultative constructions: either they do not occur in other syntactic frames at all or they receive a special meaning in this construction. An example of the former is the verb verklaren'to declare': example (40b) shows that dropping the complementive adjective results in ungrammaticality, regardless of whether the noun phrase het beroep is present or not.

Example 40
a. De rechter verklaarde het beroep gegrond.
  the judge  declared  the appeal  just
b. * De rechter verklaarde (het beroep).

An example of the latter case is the verb of creation maken. In the resultative construction it is deprived of its normal meaning “to create/repair", as shown by the contrast between (41a) and (41a'). Note that in examples such as (41b), for which the create/repair reading is less likely, the complementive adjective must be present.

Example 41
a. Jan maakt de tafel kapot.
  Jan makes  the table  broken
  'Jan is destroying the table.'
a'. Jan maakt de tafel.
  Jan makes  the table
  'Jan is creating/repairing the table.'
b. De spinazie maakt de jongen ziek.
  the spinach  makes the boy  ill
b'. * De spinazie maakt (de jongen).
   the spinach  makes   the boy

      The examples with the verb houden'to keep' in (42) are in a sense the opposite of the resultative constructions discussed in this section; instead of expressing that the subject becomes part of the set denoted by A, it is expressed that the subject remains part of the set denoted by A. Examples (42a&b) are more or lesss lexicalized, and (42c&d) are clearly idiomatic.

Example 42
a. De politie hield de identiteit van de misdadiger geheim.
  the police  kept  the identity of the criminal  secret
b. De jongen hield het huis schoon.
  the boy  kept  the house  clean
c. Jan hield zijn hoofd koel.
  Jan kept  his head  cool
d. Jan houdt zijn kinderen klein.
  Jan keeps  his children  small
  'Jan keeps his children down.'

      Example (43) is a more or lesss isolated case, in which a desired result is expressed. This construction is severely restricted in the sense that the adjective dood'dead' cannot readily be replaced: *?Jan wenste zijn vader ziek/gelukkig'Jan wished his father ill/happy'. Note that in non-resultative constructions involving wensen, such as Ik wens je een prettige verjaardag'I wish you a happy birthday', the particle toe can be optionally added. This is not possible in (43), however.

Example 43
Jan wenste zijn baas dood.
  Jan wished  his boss  dead
'Jan wished that his boss would die.'
[+]  III.  Non-resultative constructions

A second type of complementive construction in which the adjective is predicated of an accusative object is the vinden-construction in (44). This construction expresses that the subject of the clause has a subjective opinion about the accusative object, the subject of the adjective; the examples in (44) assert that Marie is of the opinion that the propositions “Jan is kind/unsuitable" is true.

Example 44
a. Marie vindt Jan aardig.
  Marie considers  Jan nice
b. Marie acht Jan ongeschikt.
  Marie considers  Jan unsuitable

That the verb takes some kind of proposition as its complement is very clear in the case of the verb vinden; example (44a), for example, can be paraphrased as in (45a), in which the noun phrase Jan and the adjective are part of a subordinate clause. This paraphrase also shows that the noun phrase Jan is thematically dependent on the adjective only. However, a similar paraphrase cannot be given in the case of (44b).

Example 45
a. Marie vindt dat Jan aardig is.
  Marie considers  that  Jan nice  is
  'Marie thinks that Jan is kind.'
b. * Marie acht dat Jan ongeschikt is.
  Marie considers  that  Jan unsuitable  is

Note also that not all verbs that take a finite propositional object can occur in the vinden-construction. Verbs of saying such as zeggen'to say' and beweren'to claim' are excluded from this construction. This is illustrated in (46).

Example 46
a. Marie zegt dat Jan aardig is.
  Marie says  that  Jan nice  is
a'. * Marie zegt Jan aardig.
   Marie says  Jan nice
b. Marie beweert dat Jan aardig is.
  Marie claims  that  Jan nice  is
b'. * Marie beweert Jan aardig.
   Marie claims  Jan nice

      Because the vinden-construction expresses a subjective opinion, it requires that the adjective denote a property that can be subject to subjective evaluation: adjectives that denote a property that can be objectively established are not compatible with the meaning of the construction. Some examples are given in (47).

Example 47
a. % Marie vindt/acht Jan dood/ziek/ongelukkig.
  Marie considers  Jan dead/ill/unhappy
b. Ik vind de tafel mooi.
  consider  the table  beautiful
b'. % Ik vind de tafel kapot.
  consider  the table  broken

The requirement that the adjective be subject to subjective evaluation is also clear from modification of measure adjectives like hoog'high' in (48): if the modifier indicates the precise extent to which the subject has the property expressed by the adjective, like 70 cm in (48a), the example is unacceptable; if the modifier is less specific or absent, as in (48b), the extent to which the subject is considered to have the property expressed by the adjective is left open to subjective evaluation and the example is fully acceptable as a result.

Example 48
a. % Ik vind de tafel 70 cm hoog.
  consider  the table  70 cm  high
b. Ik vind de tafel (vrij) hoog.
  consider  the table  rather  high

      In contrast to the resultative construction, the vinden-construction requires two arguments to be present in the structure. The two constructions have in common, however, that the accusative argument, that is, the logical subject of the adjective, may take the form of either a complex or a simplex reflexive. This is illustrated in (49), in which the reflexive could in principle be replaced by a regular referential noun phrase, just as in (38b).

Example 49
a. Marie vindt zichzelf/zich ongeschikt voor die baan.
  Marie considers  herself/refl  unsuitable  for that job
b. Marie acht zichzelf/zich te goed voor dat werk.
  Marie considers  herself/refl  too good  for that work

       Vinden-constructions that only allow the simplex form of the reflexive never involve the verbs vinden or achten'to consider', but do occur with the perception verb voelen'to feel'. This can be seen by comparing, for instance, the examples in (49b) to those in (50a). The simplex reflexives in (50) cannot be replaced by a referential noun phrase, such as Jan; the same thing is found in the resultative constructions in (39), which likewise allow the simplex reflexive zich only.

Example 50
a. Marie voelt zich/??zichzelf/*Jan te goed voor dat werk.
  Marie feels  refl/herself/Jan  too good  for that work
b. Marie voelt zich/??zichzelf/*Jan volkomen fit.
  Marie feels  refl/herself/Jan  completely  in.shape

Other non-resultative constructions that resemble the vinden-construction are given in (51). Like example (44a), (51a) can be paraphrased by means of a finite embedded clause, as in (51a'). Example (51b), which cannot be paraphrased in this way, conveys that the subject of the clause has wrongly attributed the property expressed by the adjective to the object of the clause. The constructions in (51) seem idiomatically restricted, and differ from the vinden-construction in that the adjectives need not refer to properties that are subject to subjective evaluation.

Example 51
a. Marie meldde Jan ziek/beter.
  Marie reported  Jan ill/recovered
a'. Marie meldde dat Jan ziek/beter is.
  Marie reported  that  Jan ill/recovered  is
b. Marie waande Jan dood/veilig.
  Marie thought  Jan dead/safe
  'Marie wrongly believed him to be dead.'
b'. *? Marie waande dat Jan dood/veilig was.
  Marie thought  that  Jan dead/safe  was

The construction with noemen'to call' in (52a) also resembles the vinden-construction. However, since this verb is often used in the act of defining certain notions, as in (52b), the construction has some semantic resemblance to the resultative construction as well.

Example 52
a. Jan noemde mij vervelend.
  Jan  called  me  annoying
b. Ik noem dit voortaan X.
  call  this  henceforth  X
  'From now on, I will call this X.'

Finally, the examples in (53) give some constructions that have more or lesss the same semantic content as the vinden-construction, but in which the adjective must be preceded by the element als or a preposition such as voor.

Example 53
a. Ik beschouw die daad als zeer onverantwoord.
  consider  this act  as  very irresponsible
b. Marie zag Jan als onvolwaardig.
  Marie saw  Jan as imperfect
  'Marie considered Jan as imperfect.'
c. De personeelschef hield de sollicitant voor ongeschikt.
  the personnel manager  kept  the applicant  for unfit
  'The personnel manager looked upon the applicant as unfit.'
  • Bree, Cor van1981<i>Hebben</i>-constructies en datiefconstructies binnen het Nederlands taalgebied: een taalgeografisch onderzoekLeidenUniversity of LeidenThesis
  • Broekhuis, Hans & Cornips, Leonie1994Undative constructionsLinguistics32173-190
  • Chomsky, Noam1981Lectures on government and bindingStudies in generative grammar 9DordrechtForis Publications
  • Cornips, Leonie1994Syntactische variatie in het Algemeen Nederlands van HeerlenAmsterdamUniversity of AmsterdamThesis
  • Wyngaerd, Guido vanden1994PRO-legomena. Distribution and Reference of infinitival subjectsLinguistic Models 19Berlin/New YorkMouton de Gruyter
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