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7.1.3. Distribution of noun phrases modified by al and alle

This section discusses the syntactic distribution of noun phrases containing pre-determiners bare al, alle + Num and simplex alle described in Section 7.1.2. We will consider whether they occur as arguments (subject, direct object, indirect object, complement of a preposition), as predicates and/or as adjuncts. In addition, we will discuss the distribution of noun phrases containing the forms allebei and beide'both'.

[+]  I.  Distribution as arguments

Noun phrases containing pre-determiner bare al, alle + Num/ allebei, or simplex alle/beide all occur in argument positions, and there are no restrictions on the argument functions these phrases may have. Table 8 summarizes the distribution of the relevant noun phrases.

Table 8: Distribution of al and its alternants as arguments
  bare al alle + Num allebei alle beide
subject (78a) + + + + +
derived subject (78a') + + + + +
direct object (78b) + + + + +
indirect object (78c) + + + + +
object of preposition (78d) + + + + +

The examples in (78) illustrate the contexts in which the forms listed in the table can be inserted; note that, contrary to our usual convention, the parentheses around the article do not indicate that de is optional: it is obligatory with bare al, alle + Num and allebei, but it cannot be realized with alle and beide. In the (a)-examples in (78), we are dealing with subjects; in the first example the bracketed phrase is an underlying subject, and in the second (passive) example it is a derived one. Examples (78b&c) illustrate the use of this phrase as a direct and an indirect object, respectively, and (78d) illustrates its use as the object of a preposition.

Example 78
a. [___ (de) beurspromovendi] werkten hard aan hun proefschrift.
  the bursary.students  worked  hard on their dissertation
a'. [___ (de) beurspromovendi] werden door de commissie ondervraagd.
  the bursary.students  were  by the committee  interrogated
b. De commissie ondervroeg [___ (de) beurspromovendi].
  the committee  interrogated  the bursary.students
c. De commissie stelde [___ (de) beurspromovendi] een vraag.
  the committee  posed  the bursary.students  a question
d. De commissie luisterde aandachtig naar [___ (de) beurspromovendi].
  the committee  listened  attentively  to  the bursary.students
[+]  II.  Distribution as predicates

The distribution of al and its alternants is rather restricted within predicative noun phrases. It seems that nominal predicates containing a form of al are more or lesss restricted to identificational copular constructions, with the singular demonstrative dit/dat'this/that' or the singular neuter personal pronoun het'it' as subject. Note that replacing the demonstrative in the primeless examples in (79) with the personal pronoun zij'they', which is expected to be acceptable since it agrees in number with the predicative noun phrase, gives rise to systematically more degraded results. This is shown by the primed examples. Example (79b) shows that, even with the demonstrative pronoun as the subject of the copular construction, it is difficult to construct pragmatically felicitous examples for allebei. This is presumably unrelated to syntax, given that noun phrases quantified by means of the otherwise identical alle + Num quantifier can be used as predicates, and that replacing alle drie with alle twee also gives rise to a marked result.

Example 79
a. Dat zijn al de beurspromovendi van onze vakgroep.
  that  are  all  the bursary.students of our department
a'. ?? Zij zijn al de beurspromovendi van onze vakgroep.
  they  are  all  the bursary.students of our department
b. Dat zijn alle drie/??allebei de beurspromovendi van onze vakgroep.
  that  are  all  three/all-both  the bursary.students of our department
b'. *? Zij zijn alle drie/allebei de beurspromovendi van onze vakgroep.
  they  are  all  three/all-both  the bursary.students of our department
c. Dat zijn alle/*beide beurspromovendi van onze vakgroep.
  that  are  all/both  bursary.students of our department
c'. Zij zijn ?alle/*beide beurspromovendi van onze vakgroep.
  they  are   all/both  bursary.students of our department

Two remarks are needed regarding (79c&c') with beide. First, these examples show that beide is impossible as a quantifier of a predicate nominal. Instead, de beide must be used in contexts of this type: Dat/??Zij zijn de beide beurspromovendi van onze vakgroep. This shows that, in contrast to what is the case in the templates in (78), beide and de beide do not freely alternate if they are construed as quantifiers of a predicative noun phrase. Second, example (79c) with beide should not be confused with (80), in which beiden is construed as a floating quantifier of the pronominal subject.

Example 80
Dat/Zij zijn beiden beurspromovendi van onze vakgroep.
  they  are  both  bursary.students of our department
'They are both bursary students of our department.'

The two examples differ in intonation pattern: whereas beide beurspromovendi in (79c) forms a single intonation phrase, beiden in (80) is followed by a brief intonation break. Further, since the associate of the floating quantifier is +human, the rules of orthography demand that an -n be added to beide in (80); see the introduction to Section 7.1.4.

[+]  III.  Distribution as adjuncts

The distribution of al phrases in adjunct positions is restricted to phrases that function as temporal modifiers. In the case of bare al, the adverbial phrases in question can be headed by the singular noun tijd'time' (81a) or by the plural nouns shown in (81b). The determiner used is preferably the distal demonstrative die; although the proximate demonstrative deze and the definite article de also occur, they sound marked, although the definite article is pretty common if the noun phrase is modified by, e.g., a relative clause, as in al de keren dat hij hier was'all the times that he was here'; see Section, sub V, for the use of singular relative pronoun dat in this example instead of the plural relative pronoun die.

Example 81
a. Hij zat al die/??deze/??de tijd niks te doen.
  he  sat  all that/this/the  time  nothing  to do
  'He was doing nothing all that time.'
b. Hij zat al die/??deze/??de keren/uren/dagen/jaren niks te doen.
  he  sat  all those/these/the  times/hours/days/years  nothing  to do
  'He was doing nothing during all those occasions/hours/days/years.'

For the other forms only the plural nouns are possible, if any are possible at all. The acceptability of adjunct construal varies substantially from case to case; simplex alle in (82b) is fine with all plural nouns listed, but other alternants pick out only one or two. In (82a), the determiner used is normally also the distal demonstrative die, although proper contextualization may render alle twee/allebei de keren felicitous.

Example 82
a. Hij zat alle twee/allebei die keren/?uren/?dagen/?jaren niks te doen.
  he  sat  all two/all-both  those times/hours/days/years  nothing  to do
b. Hij zat alle keren/uren/dagen/jaren niks te doen.
  he  sat  all times/hours/days/years  nothing  to do
c. Hij zat beide keren/?uren/dagen/??jaren niks te doen.
  he  sat  both times/hours/days/years  nothing  to do

The examples in (83) show that, even though alle does combine with singular tijd in on the high degree reading “lots of time” (cf. Section 7.1.1, sub III), it cannot be construed with tijd as a temporal adjunct. To express what the English prose translation of (83b) expresses, Dutch resorts to al die tijd in (81b). Alternatively, the constructions heel de/die tijd or de/die hele tijd'the whole time' can be used; these are discussed in Section 7.2.

Example 83
a. Ik heb alle tijd.
  have  all time
  'I have lots of time.'
b. * Ik heb alle tijd niks zitten doen.
  have  all time  nothing  sit  do
  'I was doing nothing all [of] the time.'
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