• Dutch
  • Frisian
  • Afrikaans
Show full table of contents
7.2.3. Distribution of noun phrases quantified by heel and its alternants

This section discusses the syntactic distribution of noun phrases containing one of the variants of heel examined in Section 7.2.2. For each of the uses of heel we will consider whether the relevant noun phrases occur as arguments (subject, direct object, indirect object, complement of a preposition), as predicates and/or as adjuncts.

[+]  I.  Distribution as arguments

In the discussion of the external syntactic distribution of heel phrases, a distinction must be made between the various semantic readings of heel. It turns out that heel phrases normally readily appear in all argument positions, although we will show that a special proviso is needed in the case of the negative polarity reading. Heel phrases, with the notable exception of negative polar heel ones, can normally also be used as predicates or adjuncts. The possibilities are given in the table in (276); the numbers refer to the examples to be discussed in the following subsections. Negative polarity readings of pre- and post-determiner heel will be treated on a par in what follows, although the former is clearly preferred in this function, hence the distinction made in the final column in the table.

Example 276
Distribution of heel phrases as arguments, predicates and adjuncts
  pre-D heel
(Q reading)
post-D heel heel/hele
    adjectival totality degree  
subject ✓ (277a) ✓ (277b) ✓ (277c) ✓ (277d) ?/✓ (278c-e)
direct object ✓ (279a) ✓ (279b) ✓ (279c) ✓ (279d) ?/✓(279e)
indirect object ✓ (280a) ✓ (280b) ✓ (280c) ✓ (280d) ?/✓ (280e)
Complement of PP ✓ (281a) ✓ (281b) ✓ (281c) ✓ (281d) ? (281e)
predicate ✓ (282a) ✓ (282b) ✓ (282c) ✓ (282d) * (282e)
adjunct ✓(283a) ✓(284a) ✓(283b) ✓(283c) * (287)
[+]  A.  Subject

Example (277a) shows that the core reading of bare heel phrases (“exhaustive partitioning of structured units”) is readily available in subject position. The adjectival, totality and degree readings of post-determiner inflectible heel are also readily available for heel phrases in subject position.

Example 277
a. Heel de appel zit vol wormen.
Q reading
  all  the apple  sits  full [of] worms
  'The entire apple is full of worms.'
b. Een hele appel is beter dan een halve.
adjectival reading
  a whole apple  is better  than a half
  'A whole apple is better than a half one.'
c. De hele appel zit vol wormen.
totality reading
  the whole apple  sits  full [of] worms
  'The entire apple is full of worms.'
d. Er lag een hele berg appels op de tafel.
degree reading
  there  lay  a whole mountain [of] apples  on the table
  'There was quite a pile of apples lying on the table.'

The availability of the negative polarity interpretation depends on the type of verb involved. If the verb is intransitive or transitive, that is, if the phrase with heel is an underlying subject, this reading is not available, as is shown by (278a&b). However, if we are dealing with a passive or an unaccusative verb, that is, if we are dealing with a DO-subject, as in (278c-e), the negative polarity interpretation is easily possible; see also the discussion in Section, sub III. The question mark preceding pre-determiner bare heel is to indicate that it is less preferred on the negative polarity reading than post-determiner inflectible heel.

Example 278
a. * Heel die/Die hele vent werkt niet.
  all that/that whole guy  works  not
b. * Heel die/Die hele vent heeft dat boek niet gelezen.
  all that/that whole guy  has  that book  not  read
c. Dat hele/?Heel dat artikel is door iedereen al vergeten.
  that whole/all that article  is by everyone  already  forgotten
d. Dat hele/?Heel dat artikel was toen nog niet verschenen.
  that whole/all that article  was then  yet  not  appeared
e. Dat hele/?Heel dat toneelstuk kan me echt niet bekoren.
  that whole/all that play  can  me  really  not  please

We will see in the following subsection that DO-subjects behave just like objects. This means that, in technical terms, the contrast between (278a&b) and (278c-e) can be accounted for by assuming that the negative polarity item heel must be c-commanded by its licenser (the negation) at some stage in the derivation.

[+]  B.  Direct and indirect object

For direct and indirect objects, grammatical examples can be constructed for all the various uses of heel. This is illustrated for direct objects in (279). The question mark preceding pre-determiner bare heel in (279) again indicates that the example with post-determiner inflectible heel is preferred on the negative polarity reading.

Example 279
a. Ik heb heel de appel opgegeten.
Q reading
  have  all the apple  prt.-eaten
  'I ate up the entire apple.'
b. Ik wil graag een hele appel.
adjectival reading
  want  please  a whole apple
  'I would like to have a whole apple, please.'
c. Ik heb de hele appel opgegeten.
totality reading
  have  the whole apple  prt.-eaten
  'I ate the entire apple up.'
d. Ik heb een hele berg appels gegeten.
degree reading
  have  a whole mountain [of] apples  eaten
  'I ate a whole pile of apples.'
e. Ik ken die hele/?heel die vent niet.
  know  that whole/all that guy  not
  'I donʼt know that guy at all.'

The examples in (280) give comparable sentences with heel phrases functioning as indirect objects. Example (280a), which was given earlier as (165a), should be seen in the light of the discussion of the role of distributivity in Section; see also the discussion of the contrast between the examples in (166a) and (187a).

Example 280
a. Ik heb heel het huis een opknapbeurt gegeven.
Q reading
  have  all the house  a cleaning  given
  'I gave the entire house a cleaning.'
b. Ik geef een hele appel de voorkeur boven een halve.
adjectival reading
  give  a whole apple  the preference  over a half
  'I prefer a whole apple to a half one.'
c. Ik heb het hele huis een opknapbeurt gegeven.
totality reading
  have  the whole house  a cleaning  given
  'I gave the entire house a cleaning.'
d. Ik heb hele horden mensen een hand gegeven.
degree reading
  have  whole hordes [of] people  a hand  given
  'I shook hands with immense hordes of people.'
e. Ik zou die hele/?heel die vent niet eens een hand willen geven.
  would  that whole/all that guy  not even  a hand  want  give
  'I wouldnʼt even want to shake hands with that guy.'
[+]  C.  Complement of preposition

For the complement of a preposition, grammatical examples can again readily be constructed for all the various uses of heel. The negative polarity reading in (281e) is less felicitous than those in (279e) and (280e), but this might be a more general property of (some) Dutch negative polarity items. Example (281a), given earlier as (165b), again ties in with the discussion of the role of distributivity in Section; see also the discussion of the contrast between the examples in (166b) and (187b).

Example 281
a. We kijken naar heel de mens.
Q reading
  we  look  at  all the person
  'I took a view of the entire person.'
b. Ik geef aan een hele appel de voorkeur.
adjectival reading
  give  to a whole apple  the preference
  'I prefer a whole apple.'
c. Holistische geneeskunde kijkt naar de hele mens.
totality reading
  holistic healing  looks  at the whole person
d. Ik heb met hele horden mensen staan praten.
degree reading
  have  with whole hordes [of] people  stand  talk
  'I stood talking to whole hordes of people.'
e. ? Ik zou met die hele/heel die vent nog geen seconde willen praten.
  I would  with that whole/all that guy  prt no second  want talk
  'I wouldnʼt even want to talk to that guy for a second.'
[+]  II.  Distribution as predicates

The examples in (282) show that all heel phrases can be used as nominal predicates except for those involving heel used as a negative polarity item contributing condescension.

Example 282
a. Wij zijn samen heel de vakgroep.
Q reading
  we  are  together  all the department
b. Deze appel is een hele appel.
adjectival reading
  this apple  is  a whole apple
c. Wij zijn samen de hele vakgroep.
totality reading
  we  are  together  the whole department
d. Wij zijn samen een hele horde mensen.
degree reading
  we  are  together  a whole horde [of] people
e. * Hij is toch niet heel die/die hele vent van hiernaast, hè?
  he  is  prt  not  all that/that whole guy  of next.door  tag

The ungrammaticality of (282e) is entirely due to the presence of heel/hele; without it, the sentence is perfect. Since the problem with this example is clearly not due to the lack of a c-commanding licenser (which was the case with the subject cases in 278a&b), we have to find some other reason for the unacceptability of (282e). One option that comes to mind is that this is due to the fact that predicates normally provide new information, so the heel-phrase does not satisfy the D-linking requirement imposed on the negative polarity reading, which was discussed in Section, sub III.

[+]  III.  Distribution as adjuncts

Both pre-determiner bare heel and post-determiner inflectible heel show up in noun phrases that function as adverbial phrases. In (283a&b), heel and hele contribute their core quantificational semantics of exhaustivity/totality. In (283c), by contrast, the semantics of hele is that of (very) high degree; she was crying for a very long time. This difference between (283a&b) and (283c) is confirmed by the different intonation patterns they exhibit; cf. the discussion in Section

Example 283
a. Heel de dag/tijd zat ze te huilen.
  all the day/time  sat  she  to cry
a'. [HEEL de dag]/*[heel de DAG]
b. De hele dag/tijd zat ze te huilen.
  the whole day/time  sat  she  to cry
  'She was crying all day/all the time.'
b'. [de HEle dag]/*[de hele DAG]
c. Hele dagen zat ze te huilen.
  whole days  sat  she  to cry
  'She was crying for days.'
c'. [hele DAgen]/*[HEle dagen]

The unacceptable intonation pattern of (283c) is not categorically impossible for hele dagen, however. The minimal pair in (284a&b) is illustrative in this connection. While in the (a)-example the adjunct hele dagen specifies the extent of the entire duration of her working on her dissertation, in the (b)-example hele dagen says that she worked on her dissertation for an unspecified number of whole days (that is, it specifies the amount of time per day that she worked on her dissertation). In its stressed form hele is adjectival, as is clear from the fact that hele dagen alternates with halve dagen, as is shown in (284c).

Example 284
a. Ze werkte hele DAgen aan haar proefschrift.
  she  worked  whole days  on her dissertation
  'She was working on her dissertation for days (at a stretch).'
b. Ze werkte HEle dagen aan haar proefschrift.
  she  worked  whole days  on her dissertation
  'She worked full-time (whole days) on her dissertation.'
c. Ik werk HEle dagen, maar hij werkt HALve dagen.
  work  whole days  but  he  works  half days
  'I work full-time, but he works part-time.'

      In (283a&b), the adjunct reading of the heel phrases is available for both pre- and post-determiner heel. In these examples, the syntax of the overall construction makes adjunct construal the only possibility for the heel phrases. In examples of the type in (285), however, the noun phrase following the verb in principle has two construal possibilities; it can be interpreted either as the object of the verb, in which case the verb fluiten means “to play the flute”, or as an adjunct, in which case fluiten means “whistle”; see Section 8.3 for more discussion. It may be the case that adjunct construal is not equally felicitous in the two examples in (285); some (but not all) speakers find that the object reading is strongly preferred in the case of (285a), while (285b) is ambiguous. This suggests that, at least for a subset of speakers, the adverbial reading of heel phrases with pre-determiner bare heel is restricted.

Example 285
a. Ze floot heel het concert.
  she  whistled/played the flute  all the concert
b. Ze floot het hele concert.
  she  whistled/played the flute  the whole concert

      The discussion above has focused on the construal of heel phrases as temporal adverbial phrases. This is indeed by far the most frequent way in which heel phrases are used as adjuncts; the examples in (286) show that even heel phrases headed by a noun that can otherwise be used as a measure phrase for distance can receive a temporal interpretation.

Example 286
a. Zij zat heel de afstand van Amsterdam naar Tilburg te fluiten.
  she  sat  all the distance from Amsterdam to Tilburg  to whistle
b. Zij zat de hele afstand van Amsterdam naar Tilburg te fluiten.
  she  sat  the whole distance from Amsterdam to Tilburg  to whistle
  'All the way from Amsterdam to Tilburg she was whistling.'

      So far we have seen that in adjuncts heel can receive a core quantificational interpretation, a degree interpretation and a reading which is presumably to be classified as adjectival (the “full-time” interpretation of hele dagen illustrated in (284b&c)). What is impossible is for heel to be interpreted as a negative polarity item contributing condescension; while example (287) is certainly grammatical, both with and without heel/hele, the negative polarity interpretation is not available; the reading assigned to heel/hele is the core interpretation of exhaustivity/totality.

Example 287
Ik werkte (heel) die/die (hele) dag niet eens!
  worked  all that/that whole day  not  even
'I didnʼt even work that day!'
    Suggestions for further reading ▼
    • Dutch
    • Frisian
    • Afrikaans
    Show more ▼
    • Dutch
    • Frisian
    • Afrikaans
    Show more ▼
    • Dutch
    • Frisian
    • Afrikaans
    Show more ▼
    This topic is the result of an automatic conversion from Word and may therefore contain errors.
    A free Open Access publication of the corresponding volumes of the Syntax of Dutch is available at OAPEN.org.