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7.4. Two special cases: iets anders/dergelijks'something else/similar'
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This section discusses some examples that seemingly constitute cases of the partitive genitive construction. We start with a discussion of examples such as iets anders'something else', as in Ik bedoelde iets anders'I meant something else', which is followed by a discussion of iets dergelijks'something similar'.

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[+]  I.  Iets anders'something else'

This subsection shows that examples such as iets anders behave rather differently from regular partitive genitive constructions. Although ander in example (121a) has a demonstrative meaning, the fact that it can be used in attributive position with the attributive -e ending suggests that it is an adjective. The adjective ander cannot be used in predicative position, but there is a slightly different form that can occur there, namely anders. Given the possibility of anders in (121b), there is no a priori reason for assuming that (121c) is not a partitive genitive construction.

Example 121
a. de andere problemen
  the  other/different  problems
b. Dit probleem is anders/*ander.
  this problem  is  different
c. iets anders
  something  else/different

      There are, however, at least three reasons for assuming that (121c) is not an instance of the partitive genitive construction.

[+]  A.  The nominal part of the construction

Unlike regular (non-modified) partitive genitive adjectives, anders can only be preceded by quantificational pronouns like iets/wat'something' or niets'nothing': quantifier noun phrases and numerals are excluded, and the wat voor construction does not arise either.

Example 122
a. iets/niets anders
  something/nothing  else
a'. iets/niets interessants
  something/nothing  interesting
b. * een heleboel anders
  a lot of  different
b'. een heleboel interessants
  a lot of  interesting
c. * veel anders
  much  different
c'. veel interessants
  much  interesting
d. * wat voor anders
  what  for  different
d'. wat voor interessants
  what  for  interesting

For completeness’ sake, note that the more or lesss fixed expression in (123a) with the negative pronoun niets'nothing' is somewhat special in this respect in that the quantifiers veel'much' and weinig'little' may occur as well. Example (123b) shows that quantifier veel must be preceded by the negative marker niet'not'. The quantifier weinig in (123c) has the inherently negative meaning “not much" and cannot be preceded by niet, given that this would cancel this inherent negation.

Example 123
a. Er zit niets anders op.
  there  sits  nothing else  prt.
  'There is no alternative.'
b. Er zit *(niet) veel anders op.
  there  sits    not  much  else  prt.
  'There is hardly any alternative.'
c. Er zit (*niet) weinig anders op.
  there  sits     not  little  else  prt.
  'There is hardly any alternative.'

       Anders also differs from the partitive genitives in that it can co-occur with the +animate quantificational pronouns iemand'someone' and niemand'no one'; cf. Section 7.2.3, sub I. In fact, this does not exhaust the possibilities, since it can also be combined with the place adverbs ergens'somewhere' and nergens'nowhere', which do not occur in the partitive genitive construction either.

Example 124
a. (n)iemand anders
  someone/nobody  else
a'. * (n)iemand interessants
   someone/nobody  interesting
b. (n)ergens anders
  somewhere/nowhere  else
b'. * (n)ergens interessants
   somewhere/nowhere  interesting
[+]  B.  Preposition Stranding

If the -animate pronoun ( n) iets occurs as the complement of a preposition, R-pronominalization is possible and sometimes even preferred. The two alternative realizations are given in (125).

Example 125
a. (?) We hebben over (n)iets gepraat.
  we  have  about  something/nothing  talked
  'We have alked about something/nothing.'
b. We hebben (n)ergens over gepraat.
  we  have  r-pronoun  about  talked
  'We have talked about something/nothing.'

The examples in (126) show that the phrase (n) iets anders behaves completely on a par with the quantificational pronoun.

Example 126
a. We hebben over (n)iets anders gepraat.
  we  have  about something/nothing  else  talked
  'We have talked about something/nothing else.'
b. We hebben (n)ergens anders over gepraat.
  we  have  r-pronoun  else  about  talked
  'We have talked about something/nothing else.'

The acceptability of (126b) is quite remarkable given that R-pronominalization is normally excluded if the pronoun following the preposition is part of a larger phrase. This is illustrated in (127) for cases in which the preposition is followed by a partitive genitive construction.

Example 127
a. We hebben over (n)iets interessants gepraat.
  we  have  about something/nothing  interesting  talked
  'We have talked about something/nothing interesting.'
b. * We hebben (n)ergens interessants over gepraat.
  we  have  r-pronoun  interesting  about  talked

The contrast between (126b) and (127b) again suggests that the phrase (n)iets anders is not a partitive genitive construction.

[+]  C.  Modification

The construction iets anders can be modified by means of the intensifier heel'completely'. The primeless examples in (128) show that this modifier can be placed either after or before the quantificational pronoun iets without a clear difference in meaning. The topicalization construction in (128a'), which requires contrastive accent due to the fact that the phrase iets anders is indefinite, shows that the string heel iets anders behaves as a single constituent; cf. the constituency test. Note that heel can be replaced by the near-synonymous adjective totaal'completely', but we will not illustrate this here.

Example 128
a. Ik heb heel iets anders gehoord.
  have  completely  something  else  heard
  'I heard something completely different.'
a'. Heel iets anders heb ik gehoord.
b. Ik heb iets heel anders gehoord.

The pronoun iets normally alternates with wat, and, at first sight, the examples in (129) suggest that this is also possible here, but we will see that there are at least two small differences between the two sets of examples in (128) and (129).

Example 129
a. Ik heb heel wat anders gehoord.
  have  completely  something  else  heard
  'I heard something completely different.'
b. ?? Ik heb wat heel anders gehoord.

First, the (a)-examples with pre-pronominal heel differ in meaning. Although (128a) and (129a) can both be construed with the modifier heel as a degree modifier of the adjective anders as “something quite different", example (129a) allows an additional reading in which heel is a modifier of the quantificational pronoun “quite a lot of different things". The fact that heel cannot be construed with iets in (128a) is of course related to the fact that the same difference arises if the pronouns iets and wat are used as independent arguments: heel wat/*iets'quite a lot'. Second, example (128b) with iets is fully grammatical, whereas the similar construction with wat in (129b) seems to yield a somewhat poor result (although examples like these can be readily found on the internet). The contrast is perhaps somewhat sharper if the noun phrase is used as a subject: a Google search (May 2009) on the string [ er stond iets heel anders] resulted in 12 hits, whereas there was just one case of the corresponding string with wat.

Example 130
a. Er stond iets heel anders in de krant.
  there  stood  something  completely different  in the newspaper
  'Something totally different was said in the newspaper.'
b. *? Er stond wat heel anders in de krant.

The conclusion that pre-pronominal heel can be construed with wat but not with iets also accounts for the contrast in (131). Example (131a), in which wat is both preceded and followed by heel, is at least marginally possible provided that the first occurrence of heel is construed as a modifier of the nominal part and the second one as a modifier of anders. Example (131b), on the other hand, is unacceptable since the first occurrence of heel cannot be construed with iets and must therefore (redundantly) be interpreted as a modifier of anders.

Example 131
a. ?? Ik heb heel wat heel anders gehoord.
  have  all  something  all  different  heard
  'I heard quite a lot of quite different stuff.'
b. * Ik heb heel iets heel anders gehoord.

      The main finding for our present discussion is that the pre-pronominal modifier heel is able to modify the adjectival part anders. We can now show that the partitive genitive constructions behave quite differently in this respect. Consider the examples in (132) and observe that while (132a) is fine with or without heel, (132b) is only acceptable without heel. The deviance of (132b) with heel suggests that the partitive genitive following the pronoun cannot be modified by pre-pronominal heel. This is also supported by the fact that (132a) only has a reading in which heel is construed as a quantifier of wat. In order to construe heel as a degree modifier of the adjective, it must be placed to the right of the pronoun, as in (132c).

Example 132
a. Ik heb heel wat interessants gehoord.
  have  all  something  interesting  heard
  'I heard quite a lot of interesting things.'
b. * Ik heb heel iets interessants gehoord.
  have  all  something  interesting  heard
c. Ik heb wat/iets heel interessants gehoord.
  have  something  quite  interesting  heard
  'I heard something very interesting.'

      For completeness’ sake, the examples in (133) show that in the case of iemand and ergens, the modifier heel must immediately precede the noun.

Example 133
a. Ik bedoel <heel> iemand <*heel> anders.
  mean  completely  someone  different
b. Ik woon <heel> ergens <*heel> anders.
  live   completely  somewhere  different

Note, finally, that the same thing holds if ergens arises as the result of Preposition Stranding: whereas heel may either precede or follow iets in (134a), it must precede ergens in (134b).

Example 134
a. We hebben over <heel> iets <heel> anders gepraat.
  we have  about  completely  something  different  talked
  'We talked about something completely different.'
b. We hebben <heel> ergens <*heel> anders over gepraat.
  we have  completely  something  different  about  talked
  'We talked about something completely different.'
[+]  II.  Iets dergelijks'something similar'

The examples in (135) with the adjectives dergelijk/soortgelijk'similar' might be considered the antonyms of anders, which was discussed in the previous subsection. Like anders, the nominal part of the construction must be a quantificational pronoun; combining them with the other nominal elements found in the partitive genitive construction leads to ungrammaticality.

Example 135
a. iets soortgelijks/dergelijks
  something  similar
c. * veel soortgelijks/dergelijks
   much  similar
b. * een boel soortgelijks/dergelijks
  a lot of  similar
d. * wat voor soortgelijks/dergelijks
   what sort of  similar

However, the adjectives dergelijk and soortgelijk differ from anders in at least three respects. First, these adjectives can be used in attributive position, but not in predicative position, either with or without an -s ending. See (121) for the corresponding examples with anders.

Example 136
a. een soortgelijk/dergelijk probleem
  similar  problem
b. * Dit probleem is soortgelijk(s)/dergelijk(s).

      Second, they differ from anders in that they cannot be combined with the negative -human pronoun niets'nothing', the +human pronoun ( n) iemand or the indefinite place adverb ( n) ergens. This is illustrated in (137).

Example 137
a. * niets soortgelijks/dergelijks
  nothing  similar
b. * (n)iemand soortgelijks/dergelijks
  someone/no one  similar
c. * (n)ergens soortgelijks/dergelijks
  somewhere/nowhere  similar

Finally, it can be noted that Preposition Stranding is not possible with these constructions.

Example 138
a. We hebben over iets soortgelijks/dergelijks gepraat.
  we  have  about something  similar  talked
  'We talked about something/nothing similar.'
b. * We hebben ergens soortgelijks/dergelijks over gepraat.
  we  have  r-pronoun  similar  about  talked

The fact that dergelijk and soortgelijk differ from anders in the ways indicated above may lead to the idea that the examples in (135a) are genuine cases of the partitive genitive construction, which would constitute a potential problem for the hypothesis that partitive genitive adjectives are always set-denoting. The fact that the examples in (135b-d) are unacceptable can, however, be given as evidence against this idea.

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