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Show full table of contents Ing-nominalization

Deverbal nouns ending in -ing as well as a small set of other, less productive affixes (from now on: ing-nominalizations) are characterized by the fact that, like inf-nominalizations, they can be seen as inheriting the denotation (namely, state of affairs) and the argument structure of the verb they are derived from. In this sense, they retain verbal properties and hence are not fully nominal. Unlike inf-nominalizations, however, ing-nominalizations have lost the ability for the base verb to assign case to a theme and/or recipient argument, which must therefore be realized as a postnominal PP. This following subsections will discuss the form of the derived noun, its relation to the base verb and the restrictions on the derivational process. In Section, a comprehensive discussion of complementation of ing-nouns can be found.

[+]  I.  Form of the derived noun

The term ing-nominalization refers to the process that derives abstract deverbal nouns denoting the same state of affairs as the base verb. It is however not the case that all so-called ing-nominalizations involve the suffix -ing (see Subsection A below), and neither is it the case that all nouns derived by means of the suffix -ing are ing-nouns (see Subsections B and C below).

[+]  A.  Types of ing-nominalization

The most frequently used suffix in the formation of abstract deverbal nouns is -ing. This suffix is commonly used to derive a noun denoting the same state of affairs as that denoted by the input verb. Like inf-nominalizations, ing-nominalizations can be said to inherit the arguments of the base verbs. Two examples, one with an unaccusative verb and one with a transitive verb, are given in (131a&b).

Example 131
a. De stijging van de prijzen veroorzaakte paniek.
  the rise  of the prices  caused  panic
b. De vernietiging van de steden door de vijand eiste veel slachtoffers.
  the destruction  of the cities  by the enemy  cost  many victims

      Although many verbs have a corresponding ing-nominalization, the process cannot indiscriminately be applied to all verbs, that is, unlike inf-nominalization, ing-nominalization is not fully productive. Furthermore, the form of the resulting nominalization is not fully predictable; the set of ing-nominalizations includes the forms in Table 10. With the exception of the class of nouns ending in -ing, all classes are the result of nonproductive processes, with the endings -age and -atie typically attaching to verbs of non-Germanic origin. Though they do not end in -ing, we count these nouns as ing-nominalizations on the basis of their denotation (state of affairs) and their syntactic behavior (distribution, complementation etc.).

Table 10: Types of ing-nominalizations
affix verbal stem example translation
-ing stijgen‘to rise’ stijging 'rise'
  vernietigen‘to destroy’ vernietiging 'destruction'
-age fabriceren‘to manufacture’ fabricage 'manufacture'
  monteren‘to assemble’ montage 'assembly'
-atie argumenteren‘to argue’ argumentatie 'argumentation'
  isoleren‘to isolate’ isolatie 'isolation'
  repareren‘to repair’ reparatie 'repair'
-ering automatiseren 'to automate' automatisering 'automation'
  isoleren‘to isolate’ isolering 'isolation'
  formuleren‘to formulate’ formulering 'formulation'
-st komen‘to come’ komst 'coming'
  vinden‘to find’ vondst 'discovery/finding'
  vangen‘to catch’ vangst 'catch'

Semantically, the forms in (132) also seem to belong to the class of ing-nominalization. However, since formally they correspond to either the stem or the infinitival form of the verb, it seems hard to determine whether they are derived from the verbs or whether the verbs are derived from them.

Example 132
a. Nominalizations of verbs of saying: vraag'question', bevel'order', verzoek'request'
b. Nominalizations of verbs of believing: geloof'belief', twijfel'doubt', vermoeden'suspicion'

Finally, there are completely idiosyncratic nominal forms like the ones in (133). Since it does not seem plausible that these forms are really derived from the verbs in the first column of the table in (133), it seems reasonable to assume that these verbs cannot be the input of ing-nominalization due to lexical blocking. Nevertheless, we will treat the idiosyncratic nominal forms on a par with the ing-nominalizations.

Example 133
Regular ing-nouns blocked by idiosyncratic forms
verb idiosyncratic form “blocked” regular form
bieden‘to offer’ bod‘offer’ *bieding
jagen‘to hunt’ jacht‘hunt’ *jaging
aannemen‘to assume’ aanname‘assumption’ *aanneming
stelen‘to steal’ diefstal‘theft’ *steling
rijden‘to drive’ rit‘drive’ *rijding
vliegen/vluchten‘to fly/flee’ vlucht‘flight’ *vlieging/*vluchting
[+]  B.  Result nouns ending in -ing

Not all nouns ending in -ing belong to the category of ing-nominalizations. Many nouns ending in -ing have acquired a specialized meaning, which, even though this meaning is still related to the meaning of the input verb, is associated with the nominal rather than the verbal aspects of the nouns. This particular group of derived nouns is often referred to as “result” nouns as opposed to the “verbal” nouns illustrated in Table 10: rather than referring to the event in question, such result nouns denote the (concrete or abstract) result of that event. Examples of result nouns denoting concrete objects are given in (134).

Example 134
Result nouns ending in -ing
a. verzameling 'collection'
b. uitvinding 'discovery'
c. beschadiging 'damage'
d. vertaling 'translation'

These nouns do not refer to the activity of collecting, discovering, damaging and translating as such, but to the result of these activities. Although perhaps less clearly so, the same phenomenon is also illustrated by the noun onderneming'company' and vereniging'society/club' inasmuch as a company can be seen as the result of some enterprise and the club as the result of the uniting of a group of people. Example (135), taken from Dik (1985a), further shows that the noun onderneming'enterprise', although related to the state of affairs denoted by the input verb ondernemen'to undertake', has acquired a specialized meaning that makes it impossible to refer to the actual event itself by means of this noun, which is therefore not an ing-noun.

Example 135
Om de slachtoffers te bereiken moet men een gevaarlijke tocht over het ijs ondernemen. Het ondernemen/*De onderneming van deze tocht ...
  in order to the victims to reach  must  one  a dangerous journey over the ice undertake  The undertake/The undertaking  of this journey
'To reach the victims a dangerous journey across the ice has to be undertaken. The undertaking of this journey ...'

Abstract result nouns, although intuitively closely related to the input verb, are not true ing-nominalizations either. Again, they fail to denote the state of affairs denoted by the verb. Examples are the lexicalized nouns in (136).

Example 136
Lexicalized nouns ending in -ing
a. veroordeling 'conviction'
b. verbazing 'surprise'
c. verontwaardiging 'indignation'

The (a)-examples in (137) show that these nouns can be modified by postnominal van-PPs and prenominal genitive noun phrases and possessive pronouns, but, unlike what is the case with the inf-nominalization in (137b), these modifiers will not primarily be interpreted as arguments of the head noun. Thus in (137b) the jury is having a hard time reaching a verdict: it is the act of convicting, a state of affairs, that presents problems. In the (a)-examples, on the other hand, it is the conviction itself, the result of an act of convicting performed by someone else that the jury finds hard to take. This implies that the relation between head noun and modifiers in the (a)-examples is one of possession (in addition to that of noun-theme or noun-agent).

Example 137
a. De jury had moeite met de veroordeling van de beklaagde.
  the jury  had trouble  with the conviction  of the defendant
  'The jury felt qualms about the defendantʼs conviction.'
a'. De jury had moeite met zijn veroordeling.
  the jury  had trouble  with his conviction
b. De jury had moeite met het veroordelen van de beklaagde.
  the jury  had trouble  with the convict  of the defendant
  'The jury had trouble convicting the defendant.'

      For the sake of completeness, let us add that some of the nominals ending in -ing mentioned earlier are ambiguous between an abstract and a concrete reading. In (138) this is shown for the nouns uitvinding'discovery' and vereniging'society/club': the primeless examples exemplify their (concrete) result reading, and the primed examples their use as ing-nominalizations; cf. Grimshaw (1990).

Example 138
a. De uitvinding [van Bell]Poss hangt aan de muur.
  the invention of Bell  hangs  on the wall
  'Bellʼs invention hangs on the wall.'
a'. De uitvinding [van de telefoon]Theme [door Bell]Agent betekende een doorbraak in telecommunicatie.
  the invention  of the telephone   by Bell  meant a breakthrough in telecommunication
b. De vereniging telt tweehonderd leden.
  the society  has  two hundred members
b'. De vereniging [van de twee landen]Agent vond plaats in 1989.
  the unification   of the two countries  took  place  in 1989
[+]  C.  Person and object denoting names ending in -ing

There are also person and object denoting names ending in -ing, which, although semantically related to the verb from which they derive, do not denote the result of the state of affairs denoted by the verb. Examples of such nouns are person nouns like beschermeling'protégé', zuigeling'baby', leiding'leadership/management' and object denoting nouns like leuning'railing', sluiting'fastener', leiding'pipe/wire'. These nouns behave entirely like normal, basic, nouns: not only do they display all the typically nominal characteristics like (in)definiteness, pluralization, etc., but in addition, they lack an argument structure: despite their obvious relation to some verb, there is no inheritance of arguments. This is illustrated for some of these nouns in (139) and (140).

Example 139
a. Mijn oom leidt een groot orkest.
  my uncle  leads  a big orchestra
b. het leiden/*de leiding van het orkest door mijn oom
  the lead/the management  of the orchestra  by my uncle
  'the leading of the orchestra by my uncle'
Example 140
a. Jan leunde op de balustrade.
  Jan leaned  on the railing
b. het leunen/*de leuning van Jan op de balustrade
  the lean/railing  of Jan  on the railing
c. Jans leunen/*leuning op de balustrade
  Janʼs lean/railing  on the railing
  'Janʼs leaning on the railing'
[+]  D.  Summary

Nouns ending in -ing can have a number of denotations; the various possibilities are listed in Table 11. In the remainder of this section, we will be concerned only with what we called ing-nominalizations, that is, with deverbal nouns denoting a state of affairs.

Table 11: Deverbal nouns ending in -ing
  verbal stem derived form
states of affairs stijgen‘to rise’ stijging‘rise’
  aarzelen‘to hesitate’ aarzeling‘hesitation’
  behandelen‘to treat’ behandeling‘treatment’
results abstract (zich) verontwaardigen
‘to be indignant’
    (zich) verbazen‘to surprise’ verbazing‘surprise’
    veroordelen‘to convict’ veroordeling‘conviction’
  concrete beschadigen‘to damage’ beschadiging‘damage’
    uitvinden‘to invent’ uivinding‘invention’
    verzamelen‘to collect’ verzameling‘collection’
objects [+human] beschermen‘to protect’ beschermeling‘protégé’
    leiden‘to lead’ leiding‘leadership’
    verbannen‘to exile’ verbanneling‘exile’
  [-human] leunen‘to lean’ leuning‘railing’
    leiden‘to direct’ leiding‘pipe/wire’
    zitten‘to sit’ zitting‘seat/session’

For completeness’ sake, note that there are also nouns ending in -ing that are not derived from verbs, such as dorpeling'villager' and ellendeling'wretch' (which have a nominal base), stommeling'fool' and zwakkeling'weakling' (which have an adjectival base), and tweeling'twins' (which has a numeral base). As these nouns do not involve inheritance of arguments, and behave like nominals in all respects, they will not be included in the following discussion.

[+]  II.  Nominal properties

Like inf-nominalizations, ing-nominalizations can be used in all regular NP positions. Moreover, they exhibit most of the other nominal characteristics.

[+]  A.  Determiners

Ing-nominalizations can be both indefinite and definite, and may co-occur with various definite -neuter determiners like the definite article de, the demonstratives deze/die'this/that' and possessive pronouns. They can also be modified by means of quantifiers like elke/iedere'each/every', alle'all', veel/weinig'many/few' and cardinal numerals. Some examples are given in (141).

Example 141
a. Een behandeling van deze patiënt zou succesvol kunnen zijn.
  a treatment  of this patient  should  successful  could  be
  'A treatment of this patient could be successful.'
b. De/Deze/Zijn behandeling van de patiënt bleek succesvol.
  the/this/his treatment  of the patient  proved  successful
  'The/This/His treatment of the patient proved successful.'
c. Elke behandeling van deze patiënt veroorzaakte nieuwe complicaties.
  every treatment  of this patient  caused  new complications
  'Every treatment of this patient caused new complications.'
[+]  B.  Wh-movement and Topicalization

Ing-nominalizations can also be preceded by interrogative determiners like welke, and (142a) shows that they can be wh-moved as a result. Example (142b) shows that they can also be topicalized.

Example 142
a. Welke behandeling van deze patiënt zou het meest succesvol zijn?
  which treatment  of this patient  would  the most successful  be
  'Which treatment of this patient would be most successful?'
b. Deze behandeling van de patiënt vond de arts afdoende.
  this treatment  of the patient  found the doctor  sufficient
  'The doctor considered this treatment of the patient sufficient.'
[+]  C.  Pluralization

Pluralization of ing-nouns is possible, but often leads to a marked result. In the examples in (143a&b), for instance, with explicit mention of the theme argument, Dutch seems to prefer the use of a compound noun.

Example 143
a. ? De verhogingen/dalingen van de prijzen veroorzaakten paniek.
  the increases/decreases  of the prices  caused  panic
  'The increases/decreases in the prices caused a total panic.'
b. De prijsverhogingen/prijsstijgingen veroorzaakten paniek.
  the price increases/price rises  caused  panic
  'The increase in prices caused a total panic.'

In contexts with implied (contextually recoverable) arguments, or with adjectivally modified ing-nouns, on the other hand, pluralization seems to be fully acceptable; this is shown in the examples in (144).

Example 144
a. De prijzen stegen dit jaar twee keer. Deze verhogingen leidden tot paniek.
  the prices rose this year twice  these rises  led  to panic
  'The prices rose twice this year. All rises caused a total panic.'
a'. De voorspelde verhogingen van de prijzen veroorzaakten paniek.
  the predicted increases  of the prices  caused  panic
b. Beide behandelingen ??(van de patiënten) waren succesvol.
  both treatments      of the patients  were  successful
  'Both treatments (of the patients) were successful.'
b'. De experimentele behandelingen van de patiënten waren alle succesvol.
  the experimental treatments  of the patients  were  all  successful
  'The experimental treatments of the patients were all successful.'

Generic contexts, too, allow pluralization of ing-nominalizations, as shown by example (145). Recall that the noun overname also count as an ing-noun due to its abstract denotation; cf. Section, sub IA.

Example 145
a. Alle overnames door Philips bleken onsuccesvol.
  all take.overs  by Philips  proved  unsuccessful
  'All take-overs by Philips proved unsuccessful.'
b. Eerdere mislukkingen konden hem niet ontmoedigen.
  earlier failures  could  him  not  discourage
  'Earlier failures didnʼt discourage him.'

Note, finally, that pluralization of result and person/object denoting nouns ending in -ing like onderneming'company/enterprise', leiding'management' or leuning'railing' (cf. Section, sub IB and Section, sub IC) is never problematic. This may provide additional justification for not including these nouns in the set of ing-nouns.

[+]  D.  Modification

Ing-nominalizations also behave like nominals with respect to adjectival modification: the obligatory presence of the suffix -e on the prenominal adjectives in (146a&b) shows that we are indeed dealing with adjectival modification of a nominal, and not with adverbial modification. Note, however, that the primed examples show that modification by means of adjectives expressing frequency or duration is also possible, which is related to the verbal quality of these nominals.

Example 146
a. de sterk*(e)/voorspeld*(e) stijging van de prijzen
  the  steep/predicted  increase  in of the prices
a'. de regelmatig*(e)/voortdurend*(e) stijging van de prijzen
  the  frequent/constant  increase  of the prices
b. de succesvol*(le)/uitgebreid*(e) behandeling van de patiënt
  the  successful/extensive  treatment  of the patient
b'. de regelmatig*(e)/voortdurend*(e) behandeling van de patiënt
  the  frequent/constant  treatment  of the patient
[+]  III.  Relation to the base verb

Ing-nominalizations can be said to inherit the argument structure of the input verb. Apart from the change in syntactic category (from v to ing-n), the argument structure of the input verb remains unaffected by the derivational process: both the number of arguments and their thematic functions remain essentially the same. The only difference is that while the arguments of the input verb normally are obligatorily present, those of the derived noun are not. We will illustrate this in the following subsections for a number of verb types.

[+]  A.  Intransitive verbs

As far as we know, there are no ing-nominalizations derived from intransitive verbs; see Subsection IV for discussion.

[+]  B.  Transitive verbs

An example of ing-nominalization of a transitive verb is given in (147), where the deverbal noun behandeling'treatment' inherits the argument structure from the monotransitive verb behandelen'to treat'; the derived form is given the category ing-n, rather than N, in order to express its special nature, with its combination of nominal and verbal features. The agent argument can be realized either by a prenominal genitive, as in (147b), or by a postnominal door-PP, as in (147b'). In contrast to what is the case in inf-nominalizations, the theme argument of an ing-nominalization cannot appear in the form of a prenominal accusative noun phrase: it must appear either postnominally in the form of a van-PP, as in (147b), or prenominally in the form of a possessive pronoun or genitive noun phrase, as in (147b'). The argument structure of the base verb remains basically unchanged; see Section, sub I, for more details.

Example 147
Ing-nominalization derived from a monotransitive verb
a. behandelingING-N (Agent, Theme)
b. JansAgent behandeling van de patiëntTheme bleek uiterst succesvol.
  Janʼs  treatment  of the patient  proved  extremely successful
b'. JansTheme behandeling door de dokterAgent was uiterst succesvol.
  Janʼs  treatment  by the doctor  was extremely successful
[+]  C.  Ditransitive verbs

Ing-nominalizations of ditransitive verbs like uitreiken'to present' also preserve the argument structure of the base verb, although instances of such nominalizations with all three arguments expressed are rare. Here, too, the theme argument typically appears postnominally as a van-PP. The agent and recipient argument (if present) take the form of, respectively, a door- and an aan-PP, which must also occur in postnominal position.

Example 148
Ing-nominalization derived from a ditransitive verb
a. uitreikingING-N (Agent, Theme, Recipient)
b. De uitreiking van de prijzen (aan de winnaars) (door de burgemeester).
  the presentation  of the prizes   to the winners    by the major
[+]  D.  Unaccusative verbs

The derived ing-nominalization aankomst'arrival' in (149) is given an argument structure similar to that of the unaccusative input verb aankomen'to arrive'. The two (b)-examples show that the inherited argument may appear either postnominally in the form of a van-PP or prenominally in the form of a genitive noun phrase or a possessive pronoun.

Example 149
Ing-nominalization derived from an unaccusative verb
a. aankomstING-N (Theme)
b. De aankomst van Jan op Schiphol trok veel aandacht.
  the arrival of Jan on Schiphol  attracted  much attention
b'. Jans/zijn aankomst op Schiphol trok veel aandacht.
  Janʼs/his arrival on Schiphol  attracted  much attention
[+]  E.  Verbs with a PP-complement

ing-nominalizations can also be derived from verbs selecting a PP-theme like jagen op'to hunt'. As can be seen from example (150), the preposition selected by the input verb is inherited by the ing-nominalization. In these constructions the theme-PP can only occur in postnominal position.

Example 150
Ing-nominalization derived from a verb selecting a PP-theme
a. jacht opING-N (Agent, Theme)
  hunt for
b. Jans jacht op groot wild was illegaal.
  Janʼs hunt for big game  was illegal
  'Janʼs hunting big game was illegal.'
[+]  F.  Noun incorporation (compounding)

It is quite common for the theme arguments of an ing-nominalization to be incorporated into the noun. As shown by example (151), this is possible regardless of the type of input verb. As may be expected, incorporation of this kind results in reduction of the number of arguments of derived noun, as the argument slot of the incorporated argument is no longer available.

Example 151
a. De patiëntenbehandeling *(van de dagpatiënten) was ontoereikend.
  the patientʼs treatment     of the day patients    was inadequate
  'The treatment of patients left much to be desired.'
b. De prijsuitreiking *(van de Oscars) is volgende week.
  the prize presentation     of the Oscars  is next week
  'The presentation of prizes is next week.'
c. De plotselinge prijsstijging *(van de benzineprijs) veroorzaakte veel paniek.
  the sudden price increase     of the gas prices  caused  much panic
  'The sudden increase in prices caused a lot of panic.'
d. De vossenjacht *(op jonge vossen) zou verboden moeten worden.
  the fox hunt     on young foxes  should  prohibited  must  be
  'The foxhunt should be prohibited.'

Note that examples such as (152) are acceptable, but this does not refute the claim that incorporation results in valency reduction, since the noun phrase de benzine'the petrol' is clearly not the theme of the construction; cf. example (152b).

Example 152
a. de plotselinge prijsstijging van de benzine
  the sudden price increase  of the petrol
b. De prijs van de benzine/*De benzine stijgt.
  the price of the petrol/the petrol  increases
[+]  IV.  Restrictions on the derivational process

Ing-nominalization differs from inf-nominalization in that it is only partially productive. Among the verbs that do not allow ing-nominalization are the object-experiencer verbs, auxiliary/modal verbs, and the raising verbs, which do not allow any form of nominalization; cf. Section In addition, there are a number of other groups of verbs that seem to defy ing-nominalization.

[+]  A.  Intransitive verbs

Intransitive verbs do not allow ing-nominalization: the intransitive verbs given in the primeless examples of (153) do not have a corresponding ing-noun. The deverbal nouns in the primed examples of (153) preceded by the mark “#” do exist, but not with the intended meaning, that is, they do not denote the same state of affairs as their verbal stem.

Example 153
Ing-nominalization derived from an intransitive verb
a. dansen 'to dance'
* dansing
b. dromen 'to dream'
* droming
c. hoesten 'to cough'
* hoesting
d. huilen 'to cry'
* huiling
e. lachen 'to laugh'
* laching
f. morren 'to grumble'
* morring
g. slapen 'to sleep'
* slaping
h. spelen 'to play'
# speling
i. wandelen 'to walk'
# wandeling

A possible exception might be the ing-noun aarzeling'hesitation', as exemplified in (154). It is, however, far from clear that this noun is a true ing-nominalization. First of all, the noun aarzeling also has a fully lexicalized form, which can be used without an argument. Second, it might be argued on the basis of the (a)-examples in (154) that the verb aarzelen'to hesitate' takes an optional CP- or PP-complement, and as such does not belong to the class of true intransitives.

Example 154
a. Jan aarzelde (?erover) om de beslissing te nemen.
  Jan hesitated    about.it  comp  the decision  to take
  'Jan hesitated to take the decision'
a'. Jan aarzelde (?over de beslissing).
  Jan hesitated    about the decision
  'Jan hesitated to take the decision/about the decision.'
b. Jans aarzeling om de beslissing te nemen/over de beslissing
  Janʼs hesitation  comp the decision to take/about the decision
[+]  B.  Inherently reflexive verbs

Example (155) illustrates that inherently reflexive verbs normally cannot undergo ing-nominalization. This is not really surprising given that Section, sub IV, has shown that the reflexive pronoun cannot occur postnominally in inf-nominalizations but must be realized in prenominal position. Since ing-nominalizations only take post-nominal complements, the impossibility of ing-nominalization of inherently reflexive verbs is therefore exactly what one would expect. It should be noted, however, that adding the emphatic element zelf, which corresponds to English himself in he himself, does not improve the result of the primed examples in (155), which means that in this case we cannot assume that the restriction is of a phonological nature.

Example 155
a. Hij schaamde zich over/voor zijn gedrag.
  he  was.ashamed  refl  about/for his behavior
  'He was ashamed of his behavior.'
a'. * Zijn schaming van zich (zelf) over/voor zijn gedrag was terecht.
  his  being.ashamed  of refl  about/for his behavior  was right
b. Hij vergiste zich in de weg.
  he  was mistaken  refl  in the route
  'He was.mistaken in the strength of the opponent.'
b'. * Zijn vergissing van zich (zelf) in de route bleek fataal.
  his  being.mistaken  of refl  in the route  proved  fatal

Note in passing that the noun vergissing'mistake' does exist as a “non-verbal” noun, in which case it does not readily take a PP-complement: Zijn vergissing bleek fataal'His mistake proved fatal'. The ing-noun verbazing'surprise', derived from the inherently reflexive verb zich verbazen (over)'to be surprised (about)', patterns somewhat differently: example (156b) shows that verbazing does not allow the expression of the reflexive pronoun but does allow the expression of the PP-complement.

Example 156
a. Peter verbaasde zich over de sterkte van zijn tegenstander.
  Peter surprised  refl  about the strength of his opponent
  'Peter was surprised about his opponentʼs strength.'
b. Peters verbazing (*van zich) over de sterkte van zijn tegenstander
  Peterʼs  surprise      of refl  about the strength of his opponent
  'Peterʼs surprise about his opponentʼs strength'

      As can be seen in example (157), ing-nominalization is possible if the base verb is not necessarily inherently reflexive. Verbs like verzorgen'to take care' and verdedigen'to defend' can take either the simplex reflexive zich, which can be considered a part of the verb, or the complex form zichzelf'himself', which can be seen as a regular argument of the verb just like the lexical noun phrase Marie.

Example 157
a. Hij verzorgt zich(zelf)/Marie slecht.
  he  treats  himself/Marie  badly
a'. Zijn verzorging van zichzelf/Marie is slecht.
  his  treatment  of himself/Marie  is bad
b. Hij verdedigt zich(zelf)/Marie zeer gewiekst.
  he  defends  himself/Marie  very astutely
b'. Zijn verdediging van zichzelf/Marie was zeer gewiekst.
  his defending  of himself/Marie  was very astute
[+]  C.  Other restrictions

The classes of verbs in (158) also defy ing-nominalization. Although this list is far from complete, it will give an impression of the nature of the restrictions on this type of nominalization. Again, the nouns preceded by the mark “#” do exist, but not with the intended meaning, that is, they do not denote the same state of affairs as the verbal stem.

Example 158
a. Verbs of sensory perception: voelen'to feel' (# voeling), tasten'to feel' (* tasting), luisteren'to listen' (* luistering), horen'to hear' (* horing), proeven'to taste' (* proeving), zien'to see' (#zicht/*ziening), kijken'to watch' (* kijking)
b. Verbs of thinking: denken'to think' (* denking), menen'to think' (# mening), achten'to consider' (# achting), vinden'to consider' (# vinding)
c. Verbs of saying: beweren'to claim' (# bewering), vertellen'to tell' (# vertelling), zeggen'to say' (* zegging)
d. Stative verbs: slapen'to sleep' (* slaping), liggen'to lie' (# ligging), zitten'to sit' (# zitting), haten'to hate' (* hating), blijven'to stay' (* blijving), weten'to know' (* weting)

The abstract nouns haat'hatred' and verblijf'stay' do exist, but probably should not be seen as nouns derived from the stative verbs haten'to hate' and verblijven'to stay'; cf. Section, sub IE and Section 2.1, sub V. Quite a large number of verbs that do not allow ing-nominalization do accept this process after prefixation or incorporation of a particle, though the resulting ing-noun often has a specialized meaning. Some examples are aantasting'infringement', beproeving'ordeal', herziening'revision', overhoring'examination', bedenking'objection', overdenking'contemplation', verdenking'suspicion', herdenking'commemoration', ontluistering'disillusion', opzegging'cancellation', aanbieding'discount', toename'increase', bevlieging'whim', etc.

[+]  D.  Accidental gaps and meaning specialization

Even if we take into account the exceptions discussed above, this does not imply general applicability of the process to all remaining verbs, as illustrated by the ungrammaticality of, for instance, * neming ( nemen'to take'), * eting ( eten'to eat'), * wachting ( wachten'to wait'), * vergeting ( vergeten'to forget') and, indeed, many more. Since the lexicon does not seem to provide an alternative for these forms, we cannot appeal to “lexical blocking” and must assume that these are cases of accidental “lexical gaps”.
      Sometimes two forms of derived nouns exist, based on the same verb. In all such cases, however, there is a difference in meaning between the two forms. Moreover, in most cases neither of the two forms is a proper ing-nominalization in the sense that they denote a state of affairs. Some examples are given in (159).

Example 159
a. draai 'turn'
a'. draaiing 'rotation'
b. handel 'trade'
b'. handeling 'action'
c. roep 'call'
c'. roeping 'vocation'
d. spel 'game'
d'. speling 'margin/play'
e. spleet 'crack'
e'. splijting 'splitting'
f. trek 'migration/appetite'
f'. trekking 'draw'
g. vergiffenis 'forgiveness/pardon'
g'. vergeving 'forgiveness/pardon'
h. werk 'work'
h'. werking 'effect'

For the moment, we have to conclude that the exact nature of the restrictions on the productivity of ing-nominalization remains something of a mystery.

[+]  V.  The degree of verbalness/nominalness

We will end this section on ing-nominalizations with a number of concluding remarks. The first of these concerns the hybrid status of ing-nominalizations, as partly verbal and partly nominal. Table 12 shows that ing-nominalizations are verbal only to a limited extent, given that these nominalizations have acquired almost all of the specifically nominal characteristics listed.

Table 12: The degree of verbalness/nominalness of ing-nominalizations
verbal properties presence of arguments yes
  prenominal theme/recipient with objective case no
  prenominal recipient-PP no
  adverbial modification no
nominal properties adjectival modification yes
  theme with genitive case yes
  theme/recipient realized as postnominal PP yes
  definiteness yes
  indefiniteness yes
  quantification yes
  pluralization yes/no

Recall from Section, sub V, that, in contrast, inf-nominalizations retain a large number of verbal properties, while assuming only a few exclusively nominal ones. For instance, with inf-nominalizations the theme argument can be realized as a nominal object in prenominal position, which is an obvious verbal property. Moreover, they can be modified by means of an adverb. Ing-nominalizations, on the other hand, are far more nominal: they still share their denotation with that of verbs (state of affairs), and they can be said to inherit the arguments of the base verb, but in all other respects, they behave almost entirely like true nominals. Thus their theme argument appears typically as a postnominal PP. Furthermore, ing-nominalizations only allow modification by means of adjectives and they are compatible with all sorts of definite and indefinite determiners and quantifiers. Only pluralization seems to be restricted in the sense that it is harder when the theme argument is expressed.

  • Dik, Simon C1985Nederlandse nominalisaties in een Functionele GrammaticaForum der Letteren2681-107
  • Grimshaw, Jane1990Argument structureLI Monograph 18Cambridge, MAMIT Press
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