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8.2.2. VP adverbs
quickinfo

The adjectival VP adverbs can be divided into at least the four subclasses in (47); observe that, with the exception of the frequency adverbs, the VP adverbs have a specialized interrogative form. Perhaps we should include intensifiers like erg'a lot' and vreselijk'awfully' in this table as well, but Subsection V, will show that these adverbs do not pass the VP adverb test in (15).

Example 47
VP Adverbs
type example interrogative form
Manner adverbs snel quickly hoe how
Time adverbs vroeg early wanneer when
Frequency adverbs vaak often hoe vaak how often
Place adverbs ginds over there waar where

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[+]  I.  Manner adverbs

The largest class of adjectival VP adverbs is constituted of the manner adverbs, that is, adverbs that indicate the way in which the action expressed by the verb is performed. In (48), we give some examples together with their paraphrases.

Example 48
a. Jan voerde de taak nauwkeurig uit.
  Jan carried  the task  accurately  out
a'. Jan voerde de taak uit en hij deed dat nauwkeurig.
  Jan carried  the task  out  and  he  did  that  accurately
b. De kok diende de soep snel op.
  the cook  served  the soup  quickly  prt.
b'. De kok diende de soep op en hij deed dat snel.
  the cook  served  the soup  prt.  and  he  did  that  quickly

A typical property of the manner adverbs, which is related to their semantics, is that they can often be nominalized by means of the suffix -heid and then be modified by the PP van zijn handelen'of his acting', as in (49).

Example 49
a. de nauwkeurigheid van zijn handelen
  the accuracy  of his acting
b. de snelheid van zijn handelen
  the speed  of his acting

      Manner adverbs can easily be confused with supplementives such as those in (50a) and (50b), which differ semantically from manner adverbs in that they do not modify the verb phrase, but are predicated of the object or the subject of the clause. This semantic relation can be made clear by giving the paraphrases in the primed examples; see Section 6.3 for a more extensive discussion.

Example 50
a. Jan voerde de taak dronken uit.
  Jan carried  the task  drunk  out
a'. Jan voerde de taak uit, terwijl hij dronken was.
  Jan carried  the task  out  while  he  drunk  was
b. De kok diende de soep heet op.
  the cook  served  the soup  hot  prt.
b'. De kok diende de soep op, terwijl ze het was.
  the cook  served  the soup  prt.  while  it  hot  was

The difficulty in distinguishing manner adverbs and supplementives is mainly related to the fact that they occupy more or lesss the same position in the clause. The examples in (51) illustrate this even more clearly than the examples above: manner adverbs and supplementives-II must both follow the clausal adverb natuurlijk'naturally'. Recall that Section 6.3, sub III, has shown that this placement does not hold for supplementives-I, which precede the clausal adverbs instead.

Example 51
a. Jan voerde de taak natuurlijk nauwkeurig uit.
manner adverb
  Jan carried  the task  of.course  accurately  out
a'. Jan voerde de taak natuurlijk dronken uit.
supplementive-II
  Jan carried  the task  of.course  drunk  out
b. De kok diende de soep natuurlijk snel op.
manner adverb
  the cook  served  the soup  of.course  quickly  prt.
b'. De kok diende de soep natuurlijk heet op.
supplementive-II
  the cook  served  the soup  of.course  hot  prt.

Another fact that makes distinguishing manner adverbs and supplementives hard is that, just like a clause with a VP-adverb, a clause with a supplementive-II can be paraphrased by means of a coordinated en hij doet dat ... phrase if the supplementive is predicated of the subject; example (50a) can be paraphrased as in (52a). This problem does not arise if supplementive-II is predicated of the object of the clause, as is clear from the fact that (50b) cannot be paraphrased as in (52b). The contrast between the examples in (52a) and (52b) is of course due to the fact that the element the supplementive is predicated of is syntactically present in the second conjunct of the former but not of the latter example.

Example 52
a. Jan voerde de taak uit en hij deed dat dronken.
  Jan carried  the task  out  and  he  did  that  drunk
b. * De kok diende de soep op en hij deed dat heet.
  the cook  served  the soup  prt.  and  he  did  that  hot

      Despite these similarities, manner adverbs and supplementives can be readily distinguished on at least three grounds; cf. Van den Toorn (1969). First, whereas two manner adverbs can be coordinated, as in (53a), coordination of a manner adverb and a supplementive-II, as in (53b-c), is excluded.

Example 53
a. Jan voerde de taak snel en nauwkeurig uit.
  Jan carried  the task  quickly  and  accurately  out
b. * Jan voerde de taak dronken en nauwkeurig uit.
  Jan carried  the task  drunk  and  accurately  out
c. * De kok diende de soep snel en heet op.
  the cook  served  the soup  quickly  and  hot  prt.

Second, the examples in (54) show that the paraphrase with a terwijl-clause, given for the supplementives in (50), cannot be used for the manner adverbs in (48), which is of course due to the fact that the manner adverbs are not predicated of the nominal argument of the verb, but instead modify the verb (phrase). This means that, whereas the availability of a paraphrase by means of a coordinated en hij doet dat ... phrase is not sufficient to conclude that we are dealing with a manner adverb, the availability of a paraphrase with a terwijl-clause is sufficient to conclude that we are dealing with a supplementive-II.

Example 54
a. * Jan voerde de taak uit, terwijl hij nauwkeurig was.
  Jan carried  the task  out  while  he  accurate  was
b. * De kok diende de soep op, terwijl hij snel was.
  the cook  served  the soup  prt.  while  he  quick  was

Finally, as we have seen in (49), manner adverbs can often be nominalized by means of the suffix -heid and then modified by the PP van zijn handelen'of his acting'. The examples in (55) show that supplementive adjectives cannot be nominalized in this way.

Example 55
a. * de dronkenheid van zijn handelen
  the drunk-ness of his acting
b. * de heetheid van zijn handelen
  the hot-ness of his acting
[+]  II.  Time adverbs

Section 8.2.1, sub IV, has already shown that Dutch has only a few adjectival time adverbs; generally adverbial PPs are used in this function. Some examples are laat'late' and vroeg'early' in (56a); the adjectives eerder'before/earlier' and bijtijds'in time' possibly also belong to this set. The paraphrase in (56b) shows that the adjectives in (56a) behave like VP adverbs.

Example 56
a. Marie staat vroeg/laat op.
  Marie gets  early/late  up
b. Marie staat op en zij doet dat vroeg/laat.
  Marie gets  up  and  she  does  that  early/late

That laat and vroeg are adjectival in nature is clear from the fact that they can be modified by means of an intensifier, and that they are eligible for comparative and superlative formation. This is illustrated in (57).

Example 57
a. Marie staat (erg/zeer) vroeg/laat op.
  Marie gets  very  early/late  up
b. Marie staat vroeger/later op.
  Marie gets  earlier/later  up
c. Marie staat het vroegst/laatst op.
  Marie gets  the earliest/latest  up
[+]  III.  Frequency adverbs

Section 8.2.1, sub III, has shown that adverbs like altijd'always', dikwijls'frequently', # geregeld'regularly', gewoonlijk'usually', soms'sometimes', # vaak'often', # zelden'rarely', and # dagelijks'daily'/ wekelijks'weekly'/ maandelijks'monthly' can be used as clausal adverbs. If our paraphrase tests are reliable, the primed examples in (58) show that at least the frequency adjectives marked with “#" can also be used as VP adverbs. Observe that we replaced the coordinator en'and' by maar'but' in (58d), which is motivated by the inherent negative meaning of the adverb zelden (= not often).

Example 58
a. Jan lacht altijd/dikwijls/gewoonlijk/soms.
  Jan laughs  always/frequently/usually/sometimes
a'. Jan lacht en hij doet dat ?altijd/?dikwijls/*gewoonlijk/*soms.
b. Marie gaat (vrijwel) dagelijks naar de kerk.
  Marie goes   almost  daily  to the church
b'. Marie gaat naar de kerk en zij doet dat (vrijwel) dagelijks.
  Marie goes  to the church  and  she  does  that  almost  daily
c. Jan lacht geregeld/vaak.
  Jan laughs  regularly/often
c'. Jan lacht en hij doet dat geregeld/vaak.
d. Jan lacht zelden.
  Jan laughs  rarely
d'. Jan lacht, maar hij doet dat zelden.
  Jan laughs  but  he  does  that  rarely

The two uses of the frequency adverbs as a clause or a VP adverb seem to involve two different readings, which are not always easy to distinguish. Consider example (59a). This example is ambiguous: either it expresses the fact that Marie goes to church almost every Sunday, or that, on Sunday, Marie goes to church several times. On the first reading, both the adverbial PP op zondag and the frequency adjective vaak act as clausal adverbs, and the sentence must be paraphrased as in (59b). On the second reading, only the phrase op zondag acts as a clausal adverb, and the frequency adverb cannot occur in the het is adverb zo dat ... frame; the sentence must be paraphrased as in (59b').

Example 59
a. Marie gaat op zondag vaak naar de kerk.
  Marie goes  on Sunday  often  to the church
  'On Sunday, Marie often goes to church.'
b. Het is op zondag vaak zo dat Marie naar de kerk gaat.
b'. Het is op zondag zo dat Marie vaak naar de kerk gaat.
[+]  IV.  Place adverbs

Dutch has only a few adjectival place adverbs that behave as VP adverbs; generally adverbial PPs are used in this function. Some potential adjectival place adverbs are given in (60).

Example 60
a. Jan werkt hier/daar/ginds.
  Jan works  here/there/over there
a'. Jan werkt en hij doet dat hier/daar/ginds.
  Jan works  and  he does that  here/there/over there
b. Het schip loste buitengaats zijn afgewerkte olie.
  the ship  discharged  offshore  its waste oil
b'. Het schip loste zijn afgewerkte olie en het deed dat buitengaats.
  the ship  discharged  its waste oil  and  it  did  that  offshore

It is, however, hard to show that these place adverbs are adjectival in nature; the elements hier'here', daar'there' and ginds'yonder', for instance, can also be considered prepositional pro-forms since they can be replaced by the prepositional phrase in Amsterdam. Examples like buitengaats'offshore' and buitenshuis'outdoors' may have originated from prepositional phrases headed by buiten'outside', but examples in which they occur inflected in prenominal attributive position can readily be found on the internet, although we want to note that such cases do not strike us as being part of colloquial speech: buitengaatse windmolen'offshore windmill'; ? binnenshuize lift'indoor elevator'.

[+]  V.  Degree adverbs

Degree adverbs (intensifiers) typically occur with verbs that are stative or habitual. Two examples are given in (61).

Example 61
a. Jan haat Peter erg/vreselijk.
  Jan hates  Peter very/awfully
  'Jan hates Peter a lot/awfully.'
b. Jan rookt erg/vreselijk/zwaar.
  Jan smokes  very/awfully/heavily
  'Jan smokes a lot/awfully/heavily.'

The adverbs of degree cannot be classified by means of the tests in (11) and (15): the examples in (62) show that the adverbs in (61) can be placed neither in the het is adverb zo dat ... framenor in a ... en pronoun doet dat adverb clause.

Example 62
a. * Het is erg/vreselijk zo dat Jan Peter haat.
a'. *? Jan haat Peter en hij doet dat erg/vreselijk.
b. * Het is erg/vreselijk/zwaar zo dat Jan rookt.
b'. *? Jan rookt en hij doet dat erg/vreselijk/zwaar.

The examples in (63) show that the degree adverbs follow the clausal adverbs, which suggests that they do not function as a modifier of the full clause.

Example 63
a. Jan haat Peter <*erg/vreselijk> natuurlijk <erg/vreselijk>.
  Jan hates  Peter     very/awfully  of course
a'. Het is natuurlijk zo dat Jan Peter vreselijk haat.
b. Jan rookt <*erg/vreselijk/zwaar> natuurlijk <erg/vreselijk/zwaar>.
  Jan smokes      very/awfully/heavily  of course
b'. Het is natuurlijk zo dat Jan erg/vreselijk/zwaar rookt.

The fact that ... en pronoun doet dat adverb paraphrases in the primed examples in (62) are unacceptable may be due to the fact that the verb doen'to do' implies some (controlled) action and is therefore not able to replace stative verbs like haten'to hate' or habitual verbs like roken'to smoke' in (61). If this suggestion is on the right track, we should conclude that the ... en pronoun doet dat adverb test only provides valid results if we are dealing with verbs denoting actions.

[+]  VI.  The subject oriented adverb graag'gladly'

This subsection concludes with a brief discussion of the subject oriented adverb graag'gladly', which, in colloquial speech, can only be used adverbially. Example (64b) shows that it satisfies the VP adverb test in (15).

Example 64
a. Jan gaat graag naar zijn werk.
  Jan goes  gladly  to his work
b. Jan gaat naar zijn werk en hij doet dat graag.
  Jan goes  to his work  and  he does it gladly

That graag is oriented towards the subject of the clause is clear from the fact illustrated in (65) that it requires that the subject be a +animate noun phrase.

Example 65
a. Onze kat ligt graag op een plekje in de zon.
  our cat  lies  gladly  on a spot in the sun
  'Our cat likes to lie on a spot in the sun.'
b. % Het boek ligt graag op de kast.
  the book  lies  gladly  on the shelve

Although graag can be modified by an intensifier like erg'very', it does not have a regular comparative/superlative form. Instead, the comparative/superlative forms liever/het liefst in (66b&c) are used. Note that the positive degree ( erg) lief cannot substitute for graag in (66a). The equative phrase even lief and the modified phrase net zo lief, on the other hand, can. This is shown in (66d).

Example 66
a. Ik haal Jan erg graag/*lief op.
  fetch  Jan very  gladly  prt.
  'Iʼll fetch Jan gladly.'
b. * Ik haal Jan grager/het graagst op.
c. Ik haal Jan liever/het liefst op.
d. Ik haal Jan even lief/net zo lief op.

For completeness’ sake, note that the element graag can also be used as a discourse particle comparable to English please. This particle is placed in clause-final position, and preceded by an intonation break. This particle differs from the adverb in that it can neither be modified by the intensifier erg nor be replaced by liever, het liefst and even/net zo lief.

Example 67
a. Ik wil een kop koffie, (*erg) graag.
  want  a cup of coffee    very  please
b. * Ik wil een kop koffie, liever/het liefst.
c. * Ik wil een kop koffie, even lief/net zo lief.
[+]  VII.  The position of VP adverbs

The VP adverbs in the examples so far all occupy a position in the middle field of the clause. The examples in (68) show, however, that they may also be topicalized: (68a) involves a manner adverb, (68b) a time adverb, (68c) a frequency adverb, and (68d) a place adverb. Recall that (68c) is ambiguous in that vaak can also be interpreted as a clausal adverb.

Example 68
a. Jan voerde de taak nauwkeurig uit.
  Jan carried  the task  accurately  out
a'. Nauwkeurig voerde Jan de taak uit.
b. Marie gaat vroeg naar de kerk.
  Marie goes  early  to the church
b'. Vroeg gaat Marie naar de kerk.
c. Marie gaat vaak naar de kerk.
  Marie goes  often  to the church
c'. Vaak gaat Marie naar de kerk.
d. Het schip loste buitengaats zijn afgewerkte olie.
  the ship  discharged  offshore  its waste oil
d'. Buitengaats loste het schip zijn afgewerkte olie.

If the clause contains a clausal adverb, the VP adverb must follow it; only the order in the primeless examples of (69) is possible. Place adverbs constitute an exception, however. As is shown in (69d), the place adverb buitengaats may either precede or follow the clausal adverb natuurlijk. This strongly suggests that the place adverbs can also be used as clausal adverbs, just like the adverbial phrase of time op zondag in example (33b). A problem with this suggestion is, however, that the place adverb does not seem to pass the test for clausal adverbs: ??Het was buitengaats zo dat het schip zijn afgewerkte olie loste.

Example 69
a. Jan voerde de taak natuurlijk nauwkeurig uit.
  Jan carried  the task  of course  accurately  out
a'. * Jan voerde de taak nauwkeurig natuurlijk uit.
b. Marie gaat natuurlijk vroeg naar de kerk.
  Marie goes  of course  early  to the church
b'. * Marie gaat vroeg natuurlijk naar de kerk.
c. Marie gaat natuurlijk vaak vroeg naar de kerk.
  Marie goes of course  often  early  to the church
c'. * Marie gaat vaak natuurlijk vroeg naar de kerk.
d. Het schip loste natuurlijk buitengaats zijn afgewerkte olie.
  the ship  discharged  of course  offshore  its waste oil
d'. Het schip loste buitengaats natuurlijk zijn afgewerkte olie.

The order of the adverbs in (69) must be preserved under topicalization, that is, topicalization of VP adverbs is not possible if a clausal adverb is present. This is illustrated in (70). Given the acceptability of (69d'), it does not really come as a surprise that topicalization of buitengaats is possible if a clausal adverb is present.

Example 70
a. Natuurlijk voerde Jan de taak nauwkeurig uit.
a'. * Nauwkeurig voerde Jan de taak natuurlijk uit.
b. Natuurlijk gaat Marie vroeg naar de kerk.
b'. * Vroeg gaat Marie natuurlijk naar de kerk.
c. Natuurlijk gaat Marie vaak vroeg naar de kerk.
c'. * Vaak gaat Marie natuurlijk vroeg naar de kerk.
d. Natuurlijk loste het schip buitengaats zijn afgewerkte olie.
d'. Buitengaats loste het schip natuurlijk zijn afgewerkte olie.

      The examples in (71) show, finally, that placement of a VP adverb in a position following the verb(s) in clause-final position is impossible, that is, VP adverbs do not allow extraposition.

Example 71
a. * dat Jan de taak uit voerde nauwkeurig.
  that  Jan the task  out  carried  accurately
b. * dat Marie naar de kerk gaat vroeg.
  that  Marie to the church  goes  early
c. * dat Marie naar de kerk gaat vaak.
  that  Marie to the church  goes  often
d. * dat het schip zijn afgewerkte olie loste buitengaats.
  that  the ship  its waste oil  discharged  offshore
References:
  • Toorn, Maarten C. van den1969De bepaling van gesteldheidDe Nieuwe Taalgids6234-40
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