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2.1. General observations
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[+]  I.  Complementation of nouns: complements and modifiers

Section 1.1.2 has shown that the noun phrase can be divided into two subdomains, the NP- and the DP-domain: the NP-domain is headed by the noun and determines the denotation of the noun phrase, whereas the DP-domain is headed by a determiner or a quantifier/numeral and determines the referential and/or quantificational properties of the noun phrase. Thus, the internal structure of the noun phrase as a whole can be represented as in (1), in which Determiner (D) and Noun (N) are the heads of the projections DP and NP, respectively, and where the dots indicate the possible positions of other elements. In this chapter, as well as in Chapter 3, we will concentrate on the projection of the noun, that is, the NP-domain.

Example 1
[DP ... D ... [NP ... N ...]]

Each NP contains an obligatory head N and, optionally, one or more other elements, which can be further categorized according to their function, i.e., according to whether they function as complements or as restrictive modifiers. Complements are elements whose presence is required by the semantics of the head noun; the idea is that these complements are obligatory arguments of the nominal head, comparable to the complements of verbs. Restrictive modifiers, on the other hand, are not required by the semantics of the head.
      Complements are generally closer to the nominal head than the restrictive (as well as the non-restrictive) modifiers. Example (2a) illustrates this for the nominal complement tomaten'tomatoes' and the adjectival modifier gebruikelijk'usual' in prenominal position, example (2b) for the PP-complement van Jan'of Jan' and the PP-modifier in het ziekenhuis'in hospital' in postnominal position, and example (2c) for the clausal complement dat Jan ziek geworden was and the restrictive relative clause dat net binnenkwam in postnominal position.

Example 2
a. Het gebruikelijke tomaten gooien bleef niet uit.
  the  customary  tomatoes  throwing  remained  not  prt.
  'The customary throwing of tomatoes followed.'
b. de langdurige behandeling van Jan in het ziekenhuis
  the  protracted  treatment  of Jan  in the hospital
c. het bericht dat Jan ziek geworden was dat net binnenkwam
  the report  that  Jan ill  become  has  that  just  arrived
  'the report that Jan has become ill that just arrived'

These word order facts lead to the generalization in (3), according to which complements and modifiers are inserted at different levels within NP: complements are immediate sisters of the head noun, whereas modifiers are adjuncts inserted at some higher level in the NP. According to this assumption, the structures of the noun phrases in (2) are as indicated in (4).

Example 3
Generalization I: Complements are closer to the nominal head of the NP than modifiers; the former are immediate sisters of the head noun, whereas the latter are adjoined at some higher lever within NP.
Example 4
a. het [NP gebruikelijke [tomaten gooien]]
b. de [NP langdurige [behandeling van Jan] in het ziekenhuis]
c. het [NP [bericht dat Jan ziek geworden was] dat net binnenkwam]

The difference between complements and restrictive modifiers is often hard to determine, as the two may be categorially identical. This is not so much the case in prenominal position, where the modifier typically takes the form of an AP and the complement takes the form of a noun phrase or a PP, as in (5a), but this problem does occur in postnominal position, where complements and modifiers both may take the form of a PP or a clause, as in (5b&c).

Example 5
a. [NP AP-modifier [ NP/PP-complement N]]
b. [NP [N PP-complement] PP-modifier]
c. [NP [N Clausal complement] Clausal modifier]

Although the present chapter will be mainly concerned with complements, it is necessary to first address more extensively the difference between complements and modifiers: Section 2.2.1 will discuss the difference between prepositional complements and modifiers in (5b), and Section 2.3.3 the difference between clausal complements and modifiers in (5c). Modification within the NP will, however, be the main topic of Chapter 3.

[+]  II.  Nouns as predicates

The term complementation is usually associated with the verbal domain. Verbs have argument structures, specifying the number and thematic roles of their arguments. Arguments of verb must be divided into (i) internal arguments or complements and (ii) externalarguments. The former in a sense complete the predicate, as a result of which it can be predicated of the latter. In the lexical frames in (6), the external argument is underlined in order to distinguish it from the complements. The semantic arguments of the verb are normally realized as syntactic arguments: internal arguments generally surface as the objects of the verb, whereas the external argument normally corresponds to the subject.

Example 6
Predicate
Example
a. lopenV (Agent):
  walk
a'. [Jan]Agent [loopt]Pred
  Jan   walks
b. lezenV (Agent, Theme):
  read
b'. [Marie]Agent [koopt een krant]Pred
  Marie   buys a newspaper
c. gevenV (Agent, Theme, Recipient)
  give
c'. [Jan]Agent [geeft Marie een boek]Pred
  Jan   gives Marie a book

Nouns may function as predicates as well, and are therefore also able to take arguments. This is shown in (7), in which the nominal noun phrase genie'genius' is predicated of the noun phrase Jan, which therefore functions as the external argument. Since the usual labels for semantic roles are especially created for expressing the roles of the arguments in the event structure denoted by verbal predications, we will simply refer to the external argument of nouns as the referent (Ref), that is, the entity to which the property denoted by the nominal (or adjectival) predicate applies.

Example 7
genie N ( Ref)
a. [Jan]Ref is [een genie]Pred.
  Jan  is  a genius
b. Ik vind [Jan]Ref [een genie]Pred.
  consider   Jan   a genius

The syntactic mapping of the external arguments of nouns is more complicated than that of verbs. If the noun is used as the head of a nominal predicate in a copular or vinden-construction, the mapping is rather straightforward: in (7), for example, the external argument corresponds to the noun phrase Jan, which functions respectively as the subject and the object of the clause. However, if the noun is used as the head of a noun phrase in argument position, it typically tends to be syntactically avalent: rather than behaving like a predicate with one or more arguments, the noun phrase it is part of acts as an argument of some other predicate. Correspondingly, such noun phrases do not denote a property, but typically have a referential function: they identify the entity or set of entities about which something is predicated. In (8), for instance, the noun phrase de man has the same function as Jan in (7), that is, it acts as the external argument of the nominal predicate.

Example 8
a. [De man]Ref is [een genie]Pred.
  the man  is  a genius
b. Ik vind [de man]Ref [een genie]Pred.
  consider   the man   a genius

This does not mean, however, that nouns heading a noun phrase in argument position do not have a predicative function: such nouns can be said to predicate something of their referential argument, that is, of the entity or set of entities referred to by means of the noun phrase. The noun phrase een man in (9a), for example, can be paraphrased as ∃x man (x): there is an entity x such that the predicate man applies to x. Correspondingly, (9a) is normally assigned the semantic interpretation in (9b), which involves the conjunction of two predicates: there is an entity x such that the predicates man and walking in the street both apply to x.

Example 9
a. Er loopt een man op straat.
  there  walks  a man  in the.street
b. ∃x (man (x) & walks on the street (x))

The discussion above, which is based on Williams (1981), shows that nouns always have an external argument, but that this argument is not syntactically expressed if the noun is the head of a noun phrase functioning as the syntactic argument of some other predicate, as in (9). The external argument of the noun can (and must) be syntactically realized only if the noun is heading a noun phrase that syntactically functions as a predicate, as in (7). This is given as generalization II in (10).

Example 10
Generalization II: vinden The external argument (Ref) of a noun cannot be syntactically realized unless the noun syntactically functions as a predicate in, for instance, a copular or a -construction.
[+]  III.  Complementation of non-derived nouns

Complementation is not a typical property of non-derived nouns. There are, however, at least two classes of basic nouns that normally require the presence of an argument. The first is the class of relational nouns, which includes kinship nouns like vader'father', broer'brother', nicht'niece', and nouns denoting physical properties of objects like vorm'shape', gewicht'weight' or kleur'color'; see Section 1.2.3 for more examples. These relational nouns can successfully fulfill their referential function only if related to some other entity. This is illustrated in (11a) for the noun vader: this example is only acceptable if a noun phrase is present carrying the “child” role assigned by the noun vader. Another example is given in (11b): the noun vorm'shape' cannot refer independently but requires the syntactic realization of the noun phrase referring to a physical object that has some shape. Note that in accordance with generalization II in (10), the “Ref” role only needs to be expressed syntactically if the noun phrase headed by vader functions syntactically as a predicate. Complementation of the relational nouns will be discussed more extensively in Section 2.2.2.

Example 11
VADER N ( Ref, child)
a. [Jan]Ref is [de vader *?(van Marie)]Pred
  Jan  is  the father     of Marie
a'. Ik ontmoette gisteren de vader *?(van Marie).
  met  yesterday  the father      of Marie
b. Jan bewonderde de vorm *?(van de ijsberg).
  Jan admired  the shape    of the iceberg

Other non-derived nouns that may take complements are the so-called picture and story nouns. Some examples are given in (12): in (12a), the noun schets'sketch' assigns a theme role to de Amstel (it is the object depicted) and an agent role to Rembrandt (he is the maker of the painting); in (12b) something similar holds for the story noun gedicht. Complementation of the picture/story nouns will be discussed more extensively in Section 2.2.5.

Example 12
a. schetsN (Ref, Agent, Theme)
a'. Rembrandts schets van de Amstel
  Rembrandtʼs  sketch  of the Amstel
b. gedichtN (Ref, Agent, Theme)
b'. Boons gedicht over de kleine Eva
  Boonʼs  poem  about the little Eva
[+]  IV.  Derived nouns: inheritance of argument structure

Whereas non-derived nouns typically do not take complements, derived nouns do. The arguments of these derived nouns are typically “inherited” from the input stem. Take as an example the transitive verb behandelen'to treat' and the noun behandeling'treatment', which is derived from the former by adding the suffix -ing. As is illustrated in (13), the verb and the noun can take the same arguments: an agent and a theme. The main difference between the verbal and the nominal predicate is that, whereas the agent is the external argument of the verb, it is an internal argument of the noun: the external argument of the noun is assigned the “Ref” role. In accordance with Generalization II in (10), the argument bearing the agent role can be expressed within the noun phrase (whereas the “Ref” role need not be syntactically expressed).

Example 13
Transitive
a. behandelenV (Agent, Theme)
  to treat
a'. Jan behandelde de patiënt.
  Jan treated  the patient
b. behandelingN (Ref, Agent, Theme)
  treatment
b'. Jans behandeling van de patiënt
  Janʼs  treatment  of the patient

The same thing applies to nouns derived from intransitive verbs, as shown by example (14). Here, too, the agent argument of the verb is inherited by the noun as an internal argument, with the addition of a new external argument that is assigned the “Ref” role. Again, the argument bearing the agent role can be expressed within the noun phrase.

Example 14
Intransitive
a. huilenV (Agent)
  to cry
a'. De kinderen huilen.
  the children  cry
b. huilenN (Ref, Agent)
  crying
b'. het huilen van de kinderen
  the crying of the children

      In the nominalizations in (13) and (14), the external argument of the verb is transformed into an internal argument of the derived noun. In the case of deverbal person nouns derived by the suffix -er, however, the external argument of the verb is similar to the external argument of the noun: the argument assigned the “Ref” role of the derived noun schrijver'writer' in (15b) corresponds to the argument that is assigned the agent role by the predicate een boek schrijven in (15a). In accordance with this, the argument that corresponds to the argument assigned the agent role by the verb cannot be expressed within the noun phrase; it can only be realized as the subject or the object of a clause in which the noun phrase is used as a syntactic predicate.

Example 15
Deverbal -er nouns:
a. schrijvenV (Agent, Theme)
  to write
a'. Jan schrijft een boek.
  Jan writes  a book
  'Jan is writing a book.'
b. schrijverN (Ref, Theme)
  writer
b'. de schrijver van het boek
  the writer of the book

      Inheritance of argument structures can also found with deadjectival nouns In example (16), for instance, the external argument of hoog, which we call “RefA” in order to distinguish it from the “RefN” role of the noun, functions as an internal argument of the noun hoogte'height'.

Example 16
a. hoogA (RefA)
  high
a'. De toren is hoog.
  the tower  is high
b. hoogteN (RefN, RefA)
  height
b'. de hoogte van de toren
  the height of the tower

Since adpositions cannot readily be used as the input of a nominalization process, we will not discuss these here; see 1.3.4 for examples.
      This subsection has shown that nominalization generally involves the internalization of the external argument of the input form; only if we are dealing with a deverbal noun derived by -er does the external argument of the verb seem to correspond to the external argument of the derived noun. This is expressed as generalization III in (17).

Example 17
Generalization III: er- Nominalization implies the internalization of the external argument of the input form, unless we are dealing with a deverbal noun.
[+]  V.  The form of the arguments

This subsection discusses the various ways in which the internal arguments of a noun can be realized. Within the verbal domain, agentive arguments appear as nominative noun phrases in active clauses, and, optionally, as agentive door-PPs in passive clauses. Arguments with the semantic function of theme normally appear as accusative noun phrases in active clauses and as nominative noun phrases in passive clauses. Arguments with the semantic function of goal/benefactive can be realized as a dative noun phrase or as an aan/voor-PP. The remaining arguments are realized as PPs. However, given that a noun normally does not assign case, we expect that its internal arguments are typically realized as PPs. As will be shown in the following subsections, this is indeed possible, but it is certainly not the case that this exhausts the possibilities.

[+]  A.  Realization of the internal argument as a PP or genitive noun phrase

The discussion in this subsection will show that there are often two ways to realize the agentive and theme arguments of the noun: they can be expressed by means of either a postnominal PP or a prenominal genitive noun phrase or possessive pronoun. Arguments carrying other thematic roles are always realized by means of a PP.

[+]  1.  Realization of the internal argument as a van-PP

A theme argument of a deverbal noun that corresponds to a direct object of the input verb can be realized by means of a van-PP, as shown by (18a), and the same thing holds for the theme argument of a picture noun like schilderij'painting' in (18b). The theme argument of a story noun like gedicht'poem' in (18c), however, is preceded by the preposition over'about'.

Example 18
Theme arguments of deverbal nouns and picture/story nouns
a. de behandeling van JanTheme
  the treatment  of Jan
b. het schilderij van de AmstelTheme
  the painting  of the Amstel
c. het gedicht over/??van de kleine EvaTheme
  the poem  about  the little Eva

      The agentive argument of a deverbal noun can also be realized as a postnominal van-PP, as is shown by (19a&b). It should be noted, however, that this leads to a marked result if the input verb is transitive, in which case the argument is preferably realized as an agentive door-PP, as is shown by the (c)-examples in (19).

Example 19
Agentive arguments of deverbal nouns
a. het gehuil van JanAgent
  the crying  of Jan
b. het zoeken van JanAgent naar de waarheidTheme
  the looking  of Jan  for the truth
c. ?? de behandeling van de dokterAgent van JanTheme
  the treatment  of the doctor  of Jan
c'. de behandeling van JanTheme door de dokterAgent
  the treatment  of Jan  by the doctor

      The examples in (20) show that the agentive argument of a picture/story noun can also be realized as a van-PP, and those in (21) show that the same thing holds for the internal arguments of relational nouns.

Example 20
Agentive arguments of picture/story nouns
a. het schilderij van RembrandtAgent
  the painting  of Rembrandt
  'the painting by Rembrandt'
b. het gedicht van Louis-Paul BoonAgent
  the poem  of Louis-Paul Boon
  'the poem by Louis-Paul Boon'
Example 21
Related arguments of relational nouns
a. de vader van Marie
  the father  of Marie
b. de vorm van de ijsberg
  the shape  of the iceberg
[+]  2.  Realization of the internal argument as a possessive pronoun/genitive noun phrase

Internal arguments of a noun that can be realized as van-PPs can often also be realized as prenominal possessive pronouns or genitive noun phrases (with the genitive suffix s). The examples in (19) and (20), for instance, alternate with the primeless examples in (22) and (23), in which the agent is realized in prenominal position as a genitive noun phrase. Since noun phrases like de dokter'the doctor' in (22b) normally give rise to a marked result if they are used as a genitive possessor (see the discussion below (25)), we also give examples with a prenominal possessive pronoun.

Example 22
Agentive arguments of deverbal nouns
a. JansAgent gehuil
  Janʼs  crying
a'. zijnAgent gehuil
  his  crying
b. ? de doktersAgent behandeling van Jan `
  the doctorʼs  treatment of Jan
b'. zijnAgent behandeling van Jan
  his  treatment of Jan
c. JansAgent zoeken naar de waarheid
  Janʼs looking for the truth
c'. zijnAgent zoeken naar de waarheid
  his  looking  for the truth
Example 23
Agentive arguments of picture/story nouns
a. RembrandtsAgent schilderij
  Rembrandtʼs  painting
a'. zijnAgent schilderij
  his  painting
b. Louis-Paul BoonsAgent gedicht
  Louis-Paul Boonʼs  poem
b'. zijnAgent gedicht
  his  poem

      Example (24) shows that a theme argument can also be realized as a prenominal genitive noun phrase or possessive pronoun. This prenominal realization is, however, restricted to theme arguments that can be realized as van-PPs; since the theme argument of a story noun is normally expressed by an over-PP, (25b) is unacceptable under the intended non-agentive reading.

Example 24
a. Jans/zijnTheme behandeling
  Janʼs/his  treatment
b. Jans/zijnTheme foto
  Janʼs/his  photo
Example 25
a. het gedicht over de kleine EvaTheme
  the poem  about  the little Eva
b. * de kleine Evaʼs/haarTheme gedicht
  the little Evaʼs/her  poem

      There are additional restrictions on the realization of the agent/theme argument as a genitive noun phrase or a possessive pronoun. In fact, the prenominal position in (24) is only accessible to (i) possessive pronouns and (ii) a limited set of +human nouns including proper nouns and a number of kinship and professional nouns; see Section 5.2.2.1 and Section 5.2.2.5, sub I, for more details. This is shown by the fact that whereas the primeless (a)-examples in (26) and (27) alternate with the primed ones, the primeless (b)-examples do not.

Example 26
a. de foto van Jan Theme
  the photo of Jan
a'. JansTheme foto
  Janʼs  picture
b. de foto van de AmstelTheme
  the photo of the Amstel
b'. * de AmstelsTheme foto
  the Amstelʼs  photo
Example 27
a. de vader van Marie
  the father of Marie
a'. Maries vader
  Marieʼs  father
b. de vorm van de berg
  the shape of the mountain
b'. * de bergʼs vorm
  the mountainʼs  shape

      The fact that, in principle, the agentive and the theme argument of a noun can both be expressed by means of a postnominal van-PP or as a prenominal genitive noun phrase or possessive pronoun provides evidence in favor of generalization III in (17) that the two must be considered on a par as internal arguments of the noun.

[+]  3.  Realization of the internal argument as a door-PP

The option of using a door-PP is restricted to agentive arguments of deverbal nouns, as is illustrated for deverbal nouns based on an intransitive and transitive verb, in (28a) and (28b) respectively.

Example 28
Agentive arguments of deverbal nouns
a. (?) het gehuil door de kinderen
  the crying  by the children
b. de behandeling van JanTheme door de artsAgent
  the treatment  of Jan  by the doctor

As previously noted in connection with (19c&c') in Subsection 1, using a door-PP is strongly preferred to using a van-PP if the noun is derived from a transitive verb; if the noun is derived from an intransitive verb, the preference goes in the other direction. Using a door-PP for the agentive argument of a picture/story noun leads to a marginal result at best. This is shown by (28c&d).

Example 29
Agentive arguments of picture/story nouns
a. *? het schilderij door RembrandtAgent
  the painting  by Rembrandt
b. *? het gedicht door Louis-Paul BoonAgent
  the painting  by Louis-Paul Boon
[+]  4.  Realization of the internal argument as an aan/voor-PP

The realization of an internal argument as an aan or a voor-PP is restricted to, respectively, recipients and benefactives (unless the noun is derived from a verb that selects a PP headed by aan/voor; see the discussion in the next subsection). Here we will give only two typical examples.

Example 30
a. Jan stuurt <de koningin> een verzoekschrift <aan de koningin>.
  Jan sends    the queen  a petition    to the queen
a'. het sturen van verzoekschriften aan de koningin
  the sending  of petitions  to the queen
b. Jan schenkt <zijn moeder> een stevige borrel <voor zijn moeder> in.
  Jan pours    his mother  a stiff drink    for his mother  prt.
b'. het inschenken van een stevige borrel voor zijn moeder
  the  prt.-pouring  of a stiff drink  for his mother
[+]  5.  Realization of the internal argument by another PP

Where the input verb selects a PP-theme or any other type of PP-complement, the form of the argument does not change after nominalization has taken place. Some examples are given in the table in example (31): the PPs selected by the verbs jagen'to hunt' and reizen'to travel' are inherited by the nominalizations and appear in the same form; this holds for all types of nominalizations.

Example 31
Nominalizations of verbs taking a PP-complement
verb Jan jaagt op groot wild.
Jan hunts on big game
‘Jan hunts big game.’
Jan reist dagelijks naar Amsterdam.
Jan travels daily to Amsterdam
er-nominalization de jagers op groot wild
the hunters on big game
reizigers naar Amsterdam
travelers to Amsterdam
bare/det-inf nominalization (het) jagen op groot wild
the hunting on big game
(het) dagelijks reizen naar Amsterdam
the daily traveling to Amsterdam
ing-nominalization de jacht op groot wild
the hunt on big game
de reis naar Amsterdam
the trip to Amsterdam
ge-nominalization dat gejaag op groot wild
that hunting on big game
het dagelijks gereis naar Amsterdam
the daily traveling to Amsterdam

In the examples in (32), the nominal forms select their own prepositions (other than van which normally occurs with agents and themes), which are not inherited from the verbal stem.

Example 32
Verbal
Nominal
a. ? Peter behoeft rust.
  Peter needs rest
a'. Peters behoefte aan rust
  Peterʼs need for rest
b. Zij begeert macht.
  she craves power
b'. haar begeerte naar macht
  her craving for power
c. Hij haat zijn rivaal.
  he hates his rival
c'. zijn haat jegens zijn rivaal
  his hatred of his rival
d. Jan bezocht zijn grootvader.
  Jan visited his grandfather
d'. Jans bezoek aan zijn vader
  Janʼs visit to his father
e. Peter vertrouwt mij.
  Peter trusts me
e'. Peters vertrouwen in mij
  Peterʼs trust in me

The exceptions in (32) seem confined to ing-nominalizations only; in all other cases (insofar as available) the theme argument appears in its usual form as van-PP. This is illustrated in example (33).

Example 33
a. een bezoeker van voetbalwedstrijden
er-nominalization
  a visitor  of soccer.matches
b. (het) bezoeken van voetbalwedstrijden
inf-nominalization
  the visiting  of soccer.matches
c. ?? dat gehaat van vreemdelingen door autochtonen
ge-nominalization
  that hating  of strangers  by native.people

Although the nouns in (32) are clearly semantically related to the verbs, the fact that they select their own preposition raises the question as to whether or not these nouns are derived from the related verbs, and, if so, whether they can be said to have inherited their argument structure from these verbs. We will make no attempt at answering these questions, but do want to point out that all these nouns can also be used in periphrastic constructions that are virtually synonymous with the primeless examples in (32).

Example 34
a. Peter heeft behoefte aan rust.
  Peter has  need  to rest
  'Peter needs rest.'
b. ? Zij voelt een begeerte naar macht.
  she  feels  a craving  for power
  'She craves power.'
c. Hij voelt/koestert haat jegens zijn rivaal.
  he  feels/nourishes  hatred  against his rival
  'He hates his rival.'
d. Jan bracht een bezoek aan zijn vader in het ziekenhuis.
  Jan brought  a visit  to his father  in the hospital
  'Jan visited his father in hospital.'
e. Peter heeft/stelt vertrouwen in mij.
  Peter has/puts  trust  in me
  'Peter trusts me.'
[+]  6.  Summary

Table 1 summarizes the findings from the discussion in 1 to 3. The first row shows that agent and theme arguments of deverbal and picture/story nouns, as well as internal arguments of relational nouns, can be realized as van-PPs; the theme arguments of story nouns are exceptional in that they must be realized as over-PPs. The second row shows that theme arguments of story nouns are also the only arguments that cannot be realized as genitive noun phrases or possessive pronouns: all other arguments can, provided that they satisfy the additional constraints that are involved in this option, such as the constraint that a genitive noun phrase must refer to a +human entity. The final row shows that only the agent argument of a deverbal noun can be realized as a door-PP.

Table 1: Form of the internal arguments of deverbal, picture/story and relational nouns
  deverbal picture/story relational
  agent theme agent theme  
van-PP + + + +/— +
genitive NP/possessive pronoun + + + +/— +
door-PP +

The fact that agent and theme arguments can both be realized as either van-PPs or genitive noun phrases may lead to ambiguity. With postnominal PPs, this ambiguity is reduced by the tendency to realize the agent argument of a noun derived from a transitive verb as a door-phrase (cf. (19c&c')), and the fact that the theme of a story noun must be realized by means of an over-PP (cf. (18)). However, if the arguments are realized as genitive noun phrases or possessive pronouns, this can lead to real ambiguity, as is shown in (35a), in which the noun phrase Jans/zijn can be interpreted either as agent or as theme, regardless of their form. In cases like (35b&b'), however, the presence of other arguments in the construction forces one particular reading.

Example 35
a. Jans/zijnAgent/Theme behandeling
  Janʼs/his  treatment
  'the treatment of/by Jan'
b. Jans/zijnTheme behandeling door de artsAgent
  Janʼs/his  treatment  by the doctor
b'. Jans/zijnAgent behandeling van de patiëntTheme
  Janʼs/his  treatment  of the doctor
[+]  B.  Realization of the internal argument as an (indefinite) noun phrase

This subsection discusses the option of realizing the internal arguments of the noun as a prenominal noun phrase, which is restricted to nominal infinitive (from now on: inf-nominalizations).

[+]  1.  Theme

The option of realizing the theme argument of the noun as a prenominal noun phrase is virtually the only possibility in the case of a bare-inf nominalization (inf-nominalization without a determiner); in the det-inf nominalization, that is, an inf-nominalization preceded by, e.g., the article het, the argument is preferably expressed in a van-PP, although realizing the theme as a prenominal noun phrase remains an option. This is illustrated in (36a&b) for the theme argument of the infinitival nominal eten'eating'.

Example 36
a. AardappelsTheme eten is gezond.
  potatoes  eat  is healthy
  'Eating potatoes is healthy.'
a'. *? Eten van aardappelsTheme is gezond.
  eating  of potatoes  is healthy
b. ? Het aardappelsTheme eten is niet zo populair meer.
  the potatoes  eating  is not  that popular  anymore
b'. Het eten van aardappels is niet zo populair meer.
  the eating  of potatoes  is not  that popular  anymore

Since noun phrases must be assigned case, the examples in (36) indicate that inf-nominalizations retain the ability of assigning accusative case. If the input verb does not assign this case (like the unaccusative verbs vallen'to fall' and overlijden'to die'), we therefore expect that the infinitival nominal cannot assign case either, and the argument cannot be realized as a prenominal noun phrase. The examples in (37) show that this expectation is indeed borne out.

Example 37
a. * BladerenTheme vallen betekent het begin van de herfst.
  leaves  fall  means  the beginning of the autumn
b. * Een kindTheme overlijden is altijd een tragische gebeurtenis.
  a child  die  is always  a tragic event

      This means that a theme argument inherited from an unaccusative verb must be realized as a van-PP or, in case the argument refers to a human entity, a genitive noun phrase or possessive pronoun. Note that using a bare-inf nominalization leads to a marginal result in this case.

Example 38
a. Het/*? vallen van de bladerenTheme betekent het begin van de herfst.
  the/∅  fall  of the leaves  means  the beginning of the autumn
  'The falling of the leaves means the beginning of autumn.'
b. Het/*? overlijden van een kindTheme is altijd een tragische gebeurtenis.
  the/∅  die  of a child  is always  a tragic event
b'. Jans/zijnTheme plotselinge overlijden schokte iedereen.
  Janʼs/his  sudden  die  shocked everyone
  'Janʼs/his sudden death shocked everyone.'
[+]  2.  Recipients

Recipients that can be realized as a dative noun phrase in the clause can also be realized as a dative noun phrase in an inf-nominalization. This is illustrated in (39a) for a bare-inf nominalization. Example (39b) shows that the recipient werknemers can also be realized as an aan-PP, which is of course related to the fact that it can be realized in the same way in clauses. Example (39c) illustrates again that theme arguments of bare-inf nominalization cannot be readily realized as van-PPs.

Example 39
bare-inf nominalization
a. WerknemersRec een bonusTheme geven kan stimulerend werken.
  employees  a bonus  give  can  stimulating  work
  'Giving employees a bonus may have a stimulating effect.'
b. Een bonusTheme geven aan werknemersRec kan stimulerend werken.
  a bonus  give  to employees  can  stimulating  work
  'Giving a bonus to employees may have a stimulating effect.'
c. *? Geven van een bonusTheme aan werknemersRec kan stimulerend werken.
  give  of a bonus  to employees  can  stimulating  work

      The examples in (40) show that, like theme arguments, recipients are preferably realized as PPs in det-inf nominalization.

Example 40
det-inf nominalization
a. ? Het werknemersRec bonussenTheme geven is hier niet gebruikelijk.
  the  employees  bonuses  give  is here  not  common
  'The giving of bonuses to employers is not common practice here.'
b. ? Het bonussenTheme geven aan werknemersRec is hier niet gebruikelijk.
  the  bonuses  give  to employers  is here not common
c. Het geven van bonussenTheme aan werknemersRec is hier niet gebruikelijk.
  the  give  of bonuses  to employers  is here not common

Finally, note that it is absolutely impossible to realize the recipient as a prenominal PP or noun phrase if the theme argument is realized as a postnominal van-PP; this suggests that the verbal property of having the recipient argument to the left of the head is incompatible with the nominal property of realizing the theme as a postnominal van-PP.

Example 41
* Het (aan) werknemersRec geven van bonussenTheme is hier niet gebruikelijk.
  the  to  employees  give  of bonuses  is here not common

The discussion in this subsection can be summarized by means of the two generalizations in (42).

Example 42
a. Generalization IV: An internal argument of a noun must be realized as a PP, unless it is a theme or a recipient selected by an inf-nominalization: in bare-inf nominalizations, the theme and recipient are preferably realized as noun phrases; in det-inf nominalizations this is at least marginally possible.
b. Generalization V: If the noun has a prenominal recipient argument, the theme must be realized as a prenominal noun phrase.
[+]  VI.  The position of the arguments

This subsection discusses word order restrictions on the internal arguments of nouns. We will start with the relative order of the head noun and its arguments. This is followed by a first review of the relative order of the internal arguments themselves.

[+]  A.  The order of the head noun and its internal arguments

Verbs and nouns differ with regard to the position of the arguments in relation to the head. Within the verbal domain nominal complements normally appear in front of the verbal head in clause-final position, whereas in the nominal domain arguments normally follow the nominal head. The relative placement of the arguments and the verb is illustrated by the primeless examples of (43): both the agent and the theme precede the verb.

Example 43
a. dat MarieAgent het boekTheme geschreven heeft.
  that  Marie  the book  written  has
  'that Marie has written the book.'
b. dat de artsAgent de patiëntTheme behandelde.
  that  the doctor  the patient  treated
  'that the doctor treated the patient.'

The relative placement of the arguments and the noun is illustrated in (44): in (44a) the theme-PP van het boek'of the book' must follow the er-nominalization schrijfster'writer', and in (44b) the same thing holds for the agentive PP door de arts'by the doctor' and the theme-PP van de patiënt'of the patient' selected by the ing-nominalization behandeling'treatment'.

Example 44
a. de schrijfster van het boekTheme
er-nominalization
  the writer  of the book
b. de behandeling van de patiëntTheme door de artsAgent
ing-nominalization
  the treatment  of the patient  by the doctor

When the theme has the form of a PP, as om een snoepje'for a sweet' in (45a), it can generally either precede or follow the verb in clause-final position; it must, however, follow the deverbal noun in (45b).

Example 45
a. dat PeterAgent <om een snoepjeTheme> zeurde <om een snoepjeTheme>.
  that  Peter     for a sweet  whined
  'that Peter was whining for a sweet.'
b. het gezeur van PeterAgent om een snoepjeTheme
ge-nominalization
  the whining  of Peter  for a sweet

      We may conclude from (44) and (45) that the complements within NP must follow the head noun (unless, of course, they are realized as a genitive noun phrase or a possessive pronoun; cf. Section 2.1, sub VA). However, inf-nominalizations form an exception to the typical ordering of elements within NPs: (39) has already shown that in bare-inf nominalizations the theme is preferably expressed by means of a noun phrase in prenominal position, and (40) has shown that this is at least marginally possible if we are dealing with det-inf nominalizations. The examples in (39) and (40) have further shown that, just like in clauses, the thematic role of recipient can be optionally realized as a noun phrase in prenominal position. Example (46), finally, shows that arguments corresponding to PP-complements of the verb can be realized either in pre- or in postnominal position.

Example 46
a. (het) <om snoepjesTheme> zeuren <om snoepjesTheme>
  the    for sweets  whine
  'whining for sweets'
b. (het) <op groot wildTheme> jagen <op groot wildTheme>
  the    on big game  hunt
  'hunting big game'

The examples in (39)-(40) and (46) therefore show not only that inf-nominalizations retain the verbal property of being able to assign case, but also that the word order restrictions on the internal arguments of the noun are more or lesss the same as those on the arguments of the verb. This is expressed by means of the generalization in (47).

Example 47
Generalization VI: inf- bare-inf det-inf The internal argument of a noun normally occurs in postnominal position, unless the noun is an nominalization: in nominalizations, nominal arguments must, and prepositional arguments may, precede the noun; in nominalizations, prenominal arguments are at least marginally possible.
[+]  B.  The order of the recipient and theme arguments of the noun

The (a)-examples in (48) show that in clauses the recipient normally precedes the theme if they are both realized as noun phrases. The (b)- and (c)-examples show that the same thing holds for the nominal recipient and theme arguments of inf-nominalizations.

Example 48
a. Zij hebben hun werknemersRec een bonusTheme gegeven.
  they  have  their employees  a bonus  given
  'They gave their employees a bonus.'
a'. * Zij hebben een bonusTheme hun werknemersRec gegeven.
b. WerknemersRec een bonusTheme geven kan stimulerend werken.
  employees  a bonus  give  can  stimulating  work
  'Giving employees a bonus may have a stimulating effect.'
b'. * Een bonusTheme werknemersRec geven kan stimulerend werken.
c. ? Het werknemersRec bonussenTheme geven kan stimulerend werken.
  employees  bonuses give  can  stimulating  work
  'Giving employees a bonus may have a stimulating effect.'
c'. * bonussenTheme werknemersRec geven kan stimulerend werken

The (a)-examples in (49) show that if the recipient is realized as a PP, it can either follow or precede the NP-theme. The order PPRec - NPTheme is generally regarded as a marked order, which only arises if certain pragmatic conditions concerning the information structure of the clause are met. The remaining examples in (49) show that the same word order alternation can be found with the NP-theme and PP-recipient of inf-nominalizations.

Example 49
a. Zij hebben een bonusTheme aan hun werknemersRec gegeven.
  they  have  a bonus  to their employees  given
  'They gave a bonus to their employees.'
a'. Zij hebben aan hun werknemersRec een bonusTheme gegeven.
b. Een bonusTheme aan werknemersRec geven kan stimulerend werken.
  a bonus  to employees  give  can  stimulating  work
  'Giving a bonus to employees may have a stimulating effect.'
b'. Aan werknemersRec een bonusTheme geven kan stimulerend werken.
c. ? Het bonussenTheme aan werknemersRec geven is hier niet gebruikelijk.
  the  of bonuses  to employees  give  is here not common
  'The giving of bonuses to employees is not common here.'
c'. ?? Het aan werknemersRec bonussenTheme geven is hier niet gebruikelijk.

The det-inf nominalizations in (50) show that in postnominal position the PP-theme must precede the PP-recipient.

Example 50
a. Het geven van bonussenTheme aan werknemersRec is hier niet gebruikelijk.
  the  give  of bonuses  to employees  is here not common
  'The giving of bonuses to emploees is not common here.'
b. *? Het geven aan werknemersRec van bonussenTheme is hier niet gebruikelijk.

This discussion in this subsection can be summarized by means of the generalization in (51).

Example 51
Generalization VII: inf Rec Theme Rec Theme Theme Rec In -nominalizations, the order of the prenominal arguments of the noun is the same as the order of the recipient and the theme argument of a verb: NP precedes NP, whereas PP may precede or follow NP; a postnominal PP must precede PP.
[+]  VII.  Summary of the observational generalizations

The seven generalizations formulated in the previous subsections are repeated in (52).

Example 52
a. Generalization I: Complements are closer to the nominal head of the NP than modifiers; the former are immediate sisters of the head noun, whereas the latter are adjoined at some higher lever within NP.
b. Generalization II: The external argument (Ref) of a noun cannot be syntactically realized unless the noun syntactically functions as a predicate in, for instance, a copular or a vinden-construction.
c. Generalization III: Nominalization implies the internalization of the external argument of the input form, unless we are dealing with a deverbal er-noun.
d. Generalization IV: An internal argument of a noun must be realized as a PP, unless it is a theme or a recipient selected by an inf-nominalization: in bare-inf nominalizations, the theme and recipient are preferably realized as noun phrases; in det-inf nominalizations this is at least marginally possible.
e. Generalization V: If the noun has a prenominal recipient argument, the theme must be realized as a prenominal noun phrase.
f. Generalization VI: The internal argument of a noun normally occurs in postnominal position, unless the noun is an inf-nominalization: in bare-inf nominalizations, the nominal arguments must, and prepositional arguments may, precede the noun; in det-inf nominalizations, prenominal arguments are at least marginally possible.
g. Generalization VII: In inf-nominalizations, the order of the prenominal arguments of the noun is the same as the order of the recipient and the theme argument of a verb: NPRec precedes NPTheme, whereas PPRec may precede or follow NPTheme; a postnominal PPTheme must precede PPRec.
References:
  • Williams, Edwin1981Argument structure and morphologyThe Linguistic Review181-114
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