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3.1.3. Modification versus apposition
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Before we can proceed to discuss the various forms of modification within the DP, we need to pay some attention to the notion of apposition. So far we have distinguished two types of constructions, besides the nominal head, that can form part of a noun phrase: complements and modifiers. The representation we have used to reflect the relations between these various components is given in (24a-c). If we were to include appositions in this representation, this would mean adding an extra shell, possibly external to DP. This would lead to the representation in (24d).

Example 24
a. Complementation: [DP D ... [NP .. [N compl] ...] ...]
b. Restrictive modification: [DP D ... [NPmodrestr. [N compl] modrestr.] ...]
c. Non-restrictive modification: [DP D ... modnon-restr. [NP ... N ...] modnon-restr..]
d. Apposition [[DP D ... [NP ... N ...] ...] app]

Since in many cases appositions can easily be confused with (non-restrictive) modifiers, we will give a description of their form, function and position.

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[+]  I.  The form of appositions

Appositions can appear in a variety of forms: as shown in example (25), they can take the form of an AP, a PP, a relative clause or a noun phrase; cf. Quirk et al. (1985) and Heringa (2012). Appositions resemble non-restrictive modifiers in that they usually follow the noun phrase they modify. In speaking, they can be easily recognized by a very distinct intonation break (a pause and usually a falling intonation much more pronounced than in the case of non-restrictive modifiers), separating them quite clearly from both preceding and following material, and emphasizing their parenthetical nature. In written language, they are separated off from the noun phrase by means of a comma or they are surrounded by dashes or parentheses. To avoid confusion with non-restrictive modifiers, we will use dashes in the following discussion.

Example 25
a. De bruid – uitgeput aan het eind van een lange dag – staat links op de foto.
  the bride  exhausted at the end of a long day  stands  left on the photo
  'The bride – exhausted at the end of a long day – is in the left of the picture.'
b. De bruid – helemaal in het wit – staat links op de foto.
  the bride  entirely in the white  stands left on the photo
  'The bride – entirely in white – is in the left of the picture.'
c. De bruid – die links op de foto te zien is – is gekleed in een bijzondere creatie.
  the bride  who left on the photo to see is  is dressed  in a special creation
  'The bride – who can be seen left in the picture – is dressed in a special creation.'
d. De bruid – een jong, verlegen meisje – staat links op de foto.
  the bride  a young bashful girl  stands left on the photo
  'The bride – a young, bashful girl – is in the left of the picture.'

In traditional grammar the term apposition is often restricted to noun phrases like een jong, verlegen meisje in (25d), which can never be interpreted as a restrictive or non-restrictive modifier. We do not see any principled reason, however, not to extend this term to cases like (25a-c).

[+]  II.  The function of appositions

In speech, appositions are typically used as corrections or clarifications; they are added as an “afterthought”, and provide additional information that the speaker realizes – a little late – that the addressee might need. Since true corrections and clarifications only occur in spontaneous speech, in other types of text, appositions are used to characterize certain information as backgrounded but at the same time important enough to be mentioned. The additional information provided by the apposition can relate in several ways to the information of the modified noun phrase.

[+]  A.  non-restrictive and restrictive appositions

Appositions can serve either a non-restrictive or a restrictive function. The former is clearly the case in the examples in (25), in which the appositive provides additional information about the referent of the modified noun phrase. The restrictive use is illustrated by the sentences in example (26): in (26a) we are dealing with an appositional PP, in (26b) with an appositional relative clause, and in (26c&d) with noun phrases; we have not been able to construct restrictive examples with appositionally used adjectives.

Example 26
a. Moderne horloges – uit Zwitserland althans – lopen altijd gelijk.
  modern watches  from Switzerland  at.least  run  always  on.time
  'Modern watches – from Switzerland at least – always keep good time.'
b. Moderne horloges – die uit Zwitserland komen althans – lopen altijd gelijk.
  modern watches  which  from Switzerland come  at.least  run  always  on.time
  'Modern watches – those that come from Switzerland at least – always keep good time.'
c. De boeken – die [Ne ] op tafel tenminste – zijn van mij.
  the books  those on the.table  anyway  are  of me
  'The books – those on the table anyway – are mine.'
d. De hele familie – zijn vader, moeder en zusters in ieder geval – was trots.
  the whole family  his father mother and sisters  at least  was proud

As can be seen from the examples in (26), appositions may include adverbial material like althans/tenminste/in ieder geval'at least', which are used to explicitly mark the restrictive function of the apposition. Example (27) shows that these markers cannot form part of a restrictive modifier, so we may take the presence of such markers as an extra indication that we are dealing with an apposition.

Example 27
a. * Moderne horloges uit Zwitserland althans lopen altijd gelijk.
  modern watches  from Switzerland  at.least  run  always  on.time
b. * Moderne horloges die uit Zwitserland komen althans lopen altijd gelijk.
  modern watches  which from Switzerland come at.least  run  always  on.time
[+]  B.  Identification, attribution and inclusion

The terms identification, attribution and inclusion are only relevant when the apposition is a noun phrase, and are related to the referential/denotational properties of the two noun phrases (Quirk et al. 1985; Heringa & De Vries 2008; Heringa 2012). We are dealing with identification if the referents/denotations of the two noun phrases are identical. The examples in (28) show that the identification relation between the modified noun phrase and the apposition can be made explicit by means of explicit markers like weet je wel'you know', oftewel'that is' and ik bedoel'I mean'.

Example 28
Identification
a. Marie – mijn oudste zuster (weet je wel) – komt morgen langs.
  Marie  my eldest sister  you know  comes  tomorrow  by
b. De homo sapiens sapiens – (oftewel) de moderne mens – ...
  the homo sapiens sapiens   that is  the modern humans
c. Walvissen en dolfijnen – (ik bedoel) zoogdieren die altijd in het water leven – ...
  whales and dolphins   I mean  mammals that always in the water live

We are dealing with attribution if the referent set/denotation of the modified noun phrase is included in the referent set/denotation of the apposition. The examples in (29) show that the attribution relation can be made explicit by means of explicit markers like zoals algemeen bekend'as is commonly known', overigens'as a matter of fact', and in feite'in fact'.

Example 29
Attribution
a. Noam Chomsky – (zoals algemeen bekend) een belangrijk taalkundige – ...
  Noam Chomsky   as is commonly known  an important linguist
b. De homo sapiens – (overigens) een van de jongste diersoorten – ...
  the homo sapiens  as a matter of fact  one of the most.recent animal.species
c. Walvissen en dolfijnen – (in feite) alle zoogdieren die in het water leven – ...
  whales and dolphins  in fact  all mammals that in the water live

Inclusion, finally, can be seen as the inverse of attribution; in this case the referent set/denotation of the apposition is included in the referent set/denotation of the modified noun phrase. Two subcases can be distinguished: the apposition restricts the referent set/denotation of the modified noun phrase, or the apposition is non-restrictive but provides an example taken from the referent set of the modified noun phrase. Note that in all these cases an explicit marker of the inclusion relation is required.

Example 30
Inclusion (restrictive use)
a. Verschillende taalkundigen – *(vooral) generatieve – hebben betoogd ...
  several linguists    especially generative.ones  have argued
b. Primaten – *(in het bijzonder) de homo sapiens – zijn ...
  primates    particularly the homo sapiens  are
c. Zoogdieren die in het water leven – *(met name) dolfijnen – zijn ...
  mammals  that  in the water live     notably  dolphins  are
Example 31
Inclusion (exemplification)
a. Verschillende taalkundigen – *(waaronder) Chomsky – hebben betoogd ...
  several linguists   among.which  Chomsky  have  argued
b. Primaten – zoals de homo sapiens – zijn ...
  primates  like the homo sapiens  are
c. Zoogdieren die in het water leven – *(bijvoorbeeld) walvissen – zijn ...
  mammals  that  in the water  live     for.example whales  are
[+]  III.  The position of appositions

The examples given earlier show that appositions usually follow the DP to which they are related. At first sight, adjectival and participial appositions occasionally seem to appear in prenominal position, as in the examples in (32). However, these constructions are largely confined to written language (or scripted speech). In spoken language, it is not easy to pronounce the examples with the given intonation contour: the intonation break preceding the noun is especially difficult to realize in a natural way. It may therefore be the case that we are simply dealing with non-restrictive prenominal modifiers that the writer has set within dashes or parenthesis in order to obtain a certain stylistic effect. Note that if we were dealing with appositions in these examples, we would have to drop our earlier assumption in (24) that appositions are not within DP; cf. the discussion of the position of non-restrictive modifiers below example (19) in Section 3.1.2, sub II.

Example 32
a. De – aan het eind van de dag totaal uitgeputte – bruid staat links op de foto.
  the  at the end of the day totally exhausted  bride  stands left on the photo
  'The – at the end of the day totally exhausted – bride is in the left of the picture.'
b. De – in een heel bijzondere creatie geklede – bruid staat links op de foto.
  the  in a very special creation dressed  bride  stands  left on the photo

      Sometimes it is possible to extrapose the apposition. In that case, the information is very clearly added as an afterthought, either with the purpose of correcting or clarifying the information given within the related noun phrase, or with the purpose of giving extra information about the referent of this noun phrase.

Example 33
a. De bruid ziet u links op de foto – uitgeput aan het eind van een lange dag.
  the bride see you left on the photo  exhausted at the end of a long day
  'The bride is in the left of the picture; sheʼs exhausted at the end of a long day.'
b. Moderne horloges lopen altijd gelijk – die uit Zwitserland althans.
  modern watches  run  always  on.time those  from Switzerland  at.least
  'Modern watches always keep good time; those from Switzerland anyway.'
c. De boeken zijn van mij – die op tafel tenminste.
  the books  are  of me  those  on the.table  at.least
d. De hele familie was trots – zijn vader, moeder en zusters in ieder geval.
  the whole family  was proud  his father mother and sisters  at least
[+]  IV.  Conclusion

The discussion of appositions in this section seems to justify the conclusion that, although they may bear a certain resemblance to modifiers, appositions should be considered as a separate category. In view of their parenthetical nature, as well as the syntactic behavior they display, it seems they have to be placed outside the DP. Although there is clearly a (referential or predicative) relation between the apposition and the DP, the exact nature of this relation remains unclear. It has been popular to analyze appositions as reduced relative clauses: this might be supported by the fact that some of the cases above involve adverbial markers and can indeed be paraphrased by means of non-reduced relative clauses. It must also be noted, however, that example (29c), which involves an attribution relation, and the examples in (30) and (31), which involve an inclusion relation, cannot be paraphrased in this way; see also McCawley (1998: ch.13) for discussion.

References:
  • Heringa, Herman2012Appositional constructionsGroningenUniversity of GroningenThesis
  • Heringa, Herman2012Appositional constructionsGroningenUniversity of GroningenThesis
  • Heringa, Herman & Vries, Mark de2008Een semantische classificatie van appositiesNederlandse Taalkunde1360-87
  • McCawley, James D1998The syntactic phenomena of EnglishChicago/LondonUniversity of Chicago Press
  • Quirk, Randolph, Greenbaum, Sidney, Leech, Geoffrey & Svartvik, Jan1985A comprehensive grammar of the English languageLondon/New YorkLongman
  • Quirk, Randolph, Greenbaum, Sidney, Leech, Geoffrey & Svartvik, Jan1985A comprehensive grammar of the English languageLondon/New YorkLongman
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