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Show full table of contents Heel/hele versus geheel/gehele

We close this discussion of the noun phrase internal distribution of heel/hele with a note about its morphological form. While post-determiner heel often alternates with geheel, as seen in (270a), pre-determiner bare heel never alternates with geheel in the present-day vernacular; (270b) is unacceptable. (The Woordenboek der Nederlandsche Taal lists a variety of examples in which bare geheel linearly precedes the determiner, but these all sound archaic and/or awkward, and we will not include them here.)

Example 270
a. de hele/gehele wereld
  the  whole  world
b. heel/*geheel de wereld
  all  the world

      Of the four different readings we have discerned for post-determiner heel (cf. Section, only one is readily available for geheel; the phrase de gehele taart in (271) strongly prefers a totality reading for gehele, although a purely adjectival interpretation may be marginally available as well.

Example 271
A semantic comparison between post-determiner heel and geheel
    de hele taart de gehele taart
adjectival cake that has no slice missing + ??
totality cake in its totality + +
degree quite a cake +
negative polarity that (blasted) cake ... at all +

That gehele can sometimes have a purely adjective reading is clear from a fixed collocation like gehele getallen'numerals that are not fractions'. That we are dealing with purely adjectival geheel in this case is clear from the fact that geheel combines with the plural count noun getallen: just like quantificational heel, quantificational geheel normally cannot combine with plural count nouns.
      In what follows we will illustrate the ban on degree and negative polarity readings for post-determiner geheel with reference to the types of examples used in our discussion of the semantics of post-determiner heel in Section The discussion will show that the semantic contribution of geheel is mainly that of totality quantification; replacing heel by geheel in contexts where it does not have the core semantics of totality yields ungrammatical outputs.
      For degree- heel, the difference with geheel can best be illustrated with reference to the triplet in (196), repeated here as (272) with gehele given as an alternant for heel. We see that only the third intonation contour, corresponding to the adjectival “complete/total” interpretation, is acceptable with geheel; the two other degree contours are impossible with geheel.

Example 272
a. een hele/*gehele verza—meling
high degree
b. een hele/*gehele verzameling
“quite” degree
c. een hele/gehele verzameling
adjectival: “complete”

Accordingly, in examples of the type in (192), repeated as (273), heel does not alternate with geheel. Note that (273c) is marginally possible with geheel if it contributes totality quantification; the intended reading here is that of high degree.

Example 273
a. Dat is een heel/*geheel gedoe.
  that  is  whole  hassle
b. Dat is een hele/*gehele toer.
  that  is  whole  tour de force
c. Ze maakten een hele/#gehele scène.
  they  made  whole  scene
d. Dat was een hele/*gehele opluchting.
  that was a whole  relief
  'That was quite a relief.'

The semantic difference between een heel/hele N and een geheel/gehele N can also be held responsible for the contrast in (274). The nouns immediately following ( ge) hele in this example are used quantificationally, and not referentially; cf. Section 4.1.1. Since the nouns are quantificational, degree modification is possible, but because they are non-referential, they cannot be the target of “totality” quantification by geheel/gehele.

Example 274
Er stond een hele/*gehele hoop/stoet toeristen voor de deur.
  there  stood  whole  heap/load [of] tourists  in.front.of  the door
'There were loads of tourists in front of the door.'

      The (a)-examples in (275) show that degree-like readings of hele in the examples in (200) and (205) are also unavailable for gehele, and the (b)-examples show that the same thing holds for the negative polarity reading of heel in (206).

Example 275
a. * Jij bent al een gehele vent/heer/meid/dame/bink!
  you  are  already  a whole guy/gentleman/girl/lady/tough guy
a'. * Hij is een gehele vent/kerel.
  he  is a whole guy/fellow
b. * Ik had het gehele mens niet gezien.
  had  the whole person  not  seen
b'. * Ik was die gehele Bert Mulder allang weer vergeten.
  was  that whole Bert Mulder  already.long  again  forgotten

       Geheel and heel are different not only with respect to their noun phrase internal distribution but also with respect to their external syntactic distribution. We will see this in Section 7.2.3, in which the external behavior of the constituents containing heel and its alternants is discussed.

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