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8.1.3. Object noun phrases in the middle field of the clause: Scrambling
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Generally, nominal objects can occupy various positions in the so-called middle field of the clause, that is, that part of the clause bounded to the left by the C(omplementizer)-position, which is filled by the complementizer in embedded clauses and by the finite verb in main clauses, and bounded to the right by the verbs in clause-final position (if present). This variation in word order especially relates to the position of the nominal object relative to adverbial phrases of various sorts: for instance, the noun phrase zijn auto'his car' in (24) can either follow or precede the modal adverb waarschijnlijk'probably'.

Example 24
a. dat Jan waarschijnlijk zijn auto verkoopt.
  that  Jan probably  his auto  sells
  'that Jan will probably sell his car.'
a'. dat Jan zijn auto waarschijnlijk verkoopt.
b. Jan heeft waarschijnlijk zijn auto verkocht.
  Jan has  probably  his car  sold
  'Jan probably sold his car.'
b'. Jan heeft zijn auto waarschijnlijk verkocht.

Since the direct object is generally assumed to be base-generated within the VP, it is expected to be adjacent to the main verb, as in the primeless examples in (24). In order to account for the word orders in the primed examples, it has been assumed that Dutch has a scrambling rule that may move the arguments of the verb from their VP-internal base-position into a position preceding the adverbs. The structures of the primed examples in (24) are therefore assumed to be as indicated in (25).

Example 25
Scrambling
a. [ ... C ... DPi ... ADV ... [VP ... ti V]].
b. dat Jan zijn autoi waarschijnlijk [VPti verkoopt].
c. Jan heeft zijn autoi waarschijnlijk [VPti verkocht].

Actually, it can be argued that there are various types of scrambling (cf., e.g., Neeleman 1994b); for example, there is a rule of Focus movement, which optionally places emphatically or contrastively focused phrases, and a rule of Neg-movement (Haegeman 1995), which obligatorily places negative phrases into a more leftward position in the middle field. We will not discuss these two movement types here, given that they are not restricted to nominal objects, but restrict our attention to the type of scrambling in (25a), which is limited to nominal objects and can be recognized by the fact that the moved phrase is never accented. We will see that word order variations like those in (24) are typically related to the information structure of the clause: scrambled noun phrases normally belong to the presupposition (“old” information) whereas noun phrases that are not scrambled are instead part of the focus (“new” information) of the clause. Other effects of scrambling may be that the moved noun phrase is assigned a special (e.g., generic or partitive) meaning.

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[+]  I.  Clauses containing a clausal adverb

This subsection discusses the distribution of nominal objects in clauses containing a clausal adverb such as modal adverbs or adverbs of frequency. It will be shown that the position of the noun phrase is intimately related to the information structure of the clause, especially the distinction between focus and presupposition, that is, “new” and “old” information. These notions will be explained in Subsection A. We start with a discussion of definite noun phrases and personal pronouns, which is followed by a discussion of indefinite and quantified noun phrases.

[+]  A.  Definite noun phrases

Definite nominal objects can occur both to the left and to the right of a clausal adverb. The placement of the noun phrase to the left or to the right of such an adverb is not free, however, but intimately related to the information structure of the clause. Consider the examples in (26). The direct object het boek in (26a) follows the modal adverb waarschijnlijk'probably' and is construed as part of the “new” information or focus of the clause; due to the prosodic structure of Dutch clauses, the sentence accent naturally falls on the direct object, which enhances a focus interpretation for this noun phrase. In (26b), on the other hand, the object has been scrambled to the left of the adverb, and as a result it no longer receives sentence accent; scrambled nominal objects cannot be interpreted as (part of the) focus, but are rather construed as topics of discussion, belonging to the “old” information or presupposition of the utterance (Verhagen 1986).

Example 26
a. Hij heeft waarschijnlijk het boek gelezen.
  he  has  probably  the book  read
b. Hij heeft het boek waarschijnlijk gelezen.
  he  has  the book  probably  read

At this point a remark on the terminology is in order. The notions “new” and “old” information may be confusing since the former suggests that the referent of the noun phrase het boek in (26) is not part of the domain of discourse (domain D), whereas the latter suggests that it is. This is clearly not the case, since in both cases the hearer is assumed to be able to uniquely identify this referent. The notions rather refer to the information structure of the clause; the “old” information refers to the entities currently under discussion, whereas the “new” information refers to entities that may be part of the background of the discourse (that is, part of domain D) but were so far not a topic of discussion. In order to avoid the misleading connotations of the notions of “new” and “old” information, we will generally use the notions “focus” and “presupposition” in this work (despite the fact that the former can be easily confused with the notion of contrastive or emphaticfocus).
      The distinction between presupposition and focus is especially clear in question-answer contexts. A question like (27a) introduces the referent of het boek as a topic of discussion, and therefore the answer preferably has the noun phrase in front of the adverb, that is, presents the noun phrase as “old” information; in actual speech, this is made even clearer by replacing the noun phrase het boek by the personal pronoun het, which typically refers to “old” information (see Subsection B below).

Example 27
a. Wat heeft Jan met het boek gedaan?
question
  what  has  Jan  with  the book  done
b. ?? Hij heeft waarschijnlijk het boek gelezen.
answer = ( 26a)
b'. Hij heeft het boek waarschijnlijk gelezen.
answer = ( 26b)

      A question like (28a), on the other hand, clearly does not presuppose the referent of the noun phrase het boek to be a topic of discourse, and now the preferred answer has the noun phrase following the adverb. The answer in (28b') with the nominal object preceding the adverb is only possible if the context provides more information, e.g., if the participants in the discourse know that Jan had the choice between reading a set of articles or reading a certain book; in that case the nominal object preceding the adverb is likely to have contrastive accent.

Example 28
a. Wat heeft Jan gelezen?
question
  what  has  Jan read
b. Hij heeft waarschijnlijk het boek gelezen.
answer = ( 26a)
b'. *? Hij heeft het boek waarschijnlijk gelezen.
answer = ( 26b)

That the noun phrase het boek refers to “new” information is also clear from the fact that replacing the noun phrase het boek by the personal pronoun het gives rise to an infelicitous result: using the pronoun makes the answer uninformative since it presupposes (contrary to fact) that the identity of the referent is already known to the person asking the question.
      Note that in (28) the activity of reading is still presupposed as a topic. This is not the case in an example such as (29), but in this case also the utterance with the direct object following the adverb is strongly preferred. The answer with the nominal object preceding the adverb is only possible if the context provides more information, e.g., if the participants in the discourse know that Jan had the choice between reading the book or following a crash course in linguistics. Note that (29) shows that (26a) can be construed not only with the noun phrase het boek, but also with the complete verb phrase het boek gelezen, as “new” information.

Example 29
a. Wat heeft Jan gedaan?
question
  what  has  Jan done
b. Hij heeft waarschijnlijk het boek gelezen.
answer = ( 26a)
b'. *? Hij heeft het boek waarschijnlijk gelezen.
answer = ( 26b)

To conclude we want to note that according to some research the informational-structural effect described above are tendencies not absolute rules.

[+]  B.  Referential personal pronouns

Referential personal pronouns are typically used to refer to active topics of discussion. Therefore, we correctly predict them to normally occur in a position preceding the clausal adverbs. This is clear from the fact that in an example such as (30a), the pronoun het must precede the adverb waarschijnlijk'probably'.

Example 30
Jan heeft <het> waarschijnlijk <*het> gelezen.
  Jan has     it  probably  read
'Jan has probably read it.'

The requirement that personal pronouns precede the clausal adverbs can, however, be overruled in contrastive contexts by assigning contrastive focus accent to the pronoun. Given the fact that weak pronouns cannot be assigned accent, this is only possible with strong pronouns. Some illustrative examples are given in (31); the primed examples show that in these cases placement of the contrastively focused pronoun in front of the adverb is also possible, and even seems to be preferred by some. Note that the ungrammatical variant of (30) cannot be saved by assigning contrastive accent to the pronoun het, due to the fact that het normally cannot be assigned accent; cf. Section 5.2.1.1, sub V.

Example 31
a. Jan kiest waarschijnlijk (?)mij/*me als begeleider, niet jou.
  Jan chooses  probably     me/me  as supervisor,  not you
a'. Jan kiest mij waarschijnlijk als begeleider, niet jou.
b. Jan heeft waarschijnlijk (?)hem/*’m uitgenodigd, niet haar.
  Jan has  probably     him/him  prt.-invited  not her
b'. Jan heeft hem waarschijnlijk uitgenodigd, niet haar.

If the negative adverb niet'not' is placed in the first conjunct, both orders are completely acceptable; this is illustrated in (32). The difference between the primeless and the primed examples is that in the former the negative adverb niet acts as constituent negation and in the latter as sentential negation; cf. Section 8.1.3, sub IV.

Example 32
a. Jan kiest waarschijnlijk niet mij als begeleider, maar jou.
  Jan chooses  probably  not  me  as supervisor,  but you
a'. Jan kiest mij waarschijnlijk niet als begeleider, maar wel jou.
  Jan chooses  me  probably  not  as supervisor,  but  aff.  you
b. Jan heeft waarschijnlijk niet hem uitgenodigd, maar haar.
  Jan has  probably  not  him  prt.-invited  but  her
b'. Jan heeft hem waarschijnlijk niet uitgenodigd, maar wel haar.
  Jan has  him  probably  not  prt.-invited  but  aff. her
[+]  C.  Indefinite noun phrases

Scrambling of indefinite nominal objects across a clausal adverb is possible in some but not all constructions. If it occurs, scrambling has important semantic repercussions: it may change the scope relation between the indefinite noun phrase and some other quantified expression, or force a generic reading on the moved noun phrase.

[+]  1.  Scope

The examples in (33) show that (both nonspecific and specific) indefinite nominal objects cannot readily appear to the left of a modal adverb like waarschijnlijk.

Example 33
a. dat Jan waarschijnlijk een vriend zal bezoeken.
  that  Jan probably  a friend  will  visit
a'. *? dat Jan een vriend waarschijnlijk zal bezoeken.
b. dat Jan waarschijnlijk [NP vrienden] zal bezoeken.
  that  Jan probably  friends  will  visit
b'. *? dat Jan [NP ∅ vrienden] waarschijnlijk zal bezoeken.

      However, scrambling of indefinite nominal objects is often possible if the clausal adverb expresses frequency, and coincides with a difference in scope. First, consider example (34a), in which the indefinite noun phrase follows the adverbial phrase elke dag'every day'. This example asserts that Jan has the habit of watching (at least) one program a day on TV, where the program may change from day to day. However, if the speaker has a specific television program in mind that Jan watches every day (e.g., the eight oʼclock news), he is not likely to use example (34a); he would probably use an example such as (34b) instead, where één is stressed so that we cannot determine whether we are dealing with the indefinite article een'a' or the numeral één'one'. The fact that a nonspecific indefinite bare plural like programmaʼs in the primed examples cannot be placed in front of the adverb, however, suggests the latter.

Example 34
a. dat Jan elke dag een programma op tv bekijkt.
  that  Jan every day  a program  on TV  watches
a'. dat Jan elke dag programmaʼs op tv bekijkt.
  that  Jan every day  programs on TV  watches
b. dat Jan één programma op tv elke dag bekijkt.
  that  Jan a/one program  on TV  every day  watches
b'. ?? dat Jan programmaʼs op tv elke dag bekijkt.
  that  Jan programs on TV  every day  watches

This suggestion is also supported by the fact that a plural noun phrase preceded by a numeral show the same difference in reading as (34a&b): (35a) expresses that Jan watches two programs every day, where the programs may change from day to day, whereas (35b) expresses that Jan watches the same two programs every day.

Example 35
a. dat Jan elke dag twee programmaʼs op tv bekijkt.
  that  Jan every day  two programs on TV  watches
b. dat Jan twee programmaʼs op tv elke dag bekijkt.
  that  Jan two programs on TV  every day  watches

From this we may conclude that the difference in scope between the indefinite noun phrase and the universally quantified adverbial phrase is reflected in the linear order of the two: in (35a) the universal operator expressed by the temporal adverbial phrase has scope over the existential operator implied by the indefinite noun phrase (∀t ∃x), and in (35b) the scope relation is inverted (∃x ∀t).

[+]  2.  Genericity

Another possible effect of scrambling is that the indefinite noun phrase receives a generic interpretation. Consider the examples in (36). Example (36a) expresses that Jan is reading something which is probably a bestseller (or, alternatively, that Jan is doing something, which is probably reading a bestseller). Example (36a'), on the other hand, expresses that bestsellers are likely to be read by Jan. The same pattern is even clearer in (36b&b'): (36b) expresses that Jan generally reads some bestseller, whereas (36b') expresses that most bestsellers are read by Jan. The (c)-examples provide similar examples with plural noun phrases: (36c) expresses that Jan generally reads bestsellers, whereas (36c') expresses that most bestsellers are read by Jan.

Example 36
a. dat Jan waarschijnlijk een bestseller leest.
  that  Jan probably  a bestseller  reads
a'. dat Jan een bestseller waarschijnlijk leest.
b. dat Jan meestal een bestseller leest.
  that  Jan generally  a bestseller  reads
b'. dat Jan een bestseller meestal leest.
c. dat Jan meestal bestsellers leest.
  that  Jan generally  bestsellers reads
c'. dat Jan bestsellers meestal leest.

      Scrambling of indefinite nominal objects is also possible, and is perhaps even preferred, if the noun phrase contains an attributive adjective like volgende'next' or nieuwe'new' or an ordinal numeral, as in the examples in (37). The indefinite noun phrases in these examples seem comparable to English noun phrases containing free choice any: Jan will turn down any invitation that comes next; the Security Council will condemn any attack that comes next. Since we are not aware of any discussion of data like these in the literature, we will leave these for future research; see also example (64) for comparable examples with the negative adverb niet'not'.

Example 37
a. Jan zal een volgende/nieuwe uitnodiging waarschijnlijk afslaan.
  Jan will  a next/new invitation  probably  turn.down
  'Jan will probably turn down any invitation that comes next/new invitation.'
a'. ? Jan zal waarschijnlijk een volgende/nieuwe uitnodiging afslaan.
b. De Veiligheidsraad zal een nieuwe/tweede aanval waarschijnlijk veroordelen.
  the Security Council  will  a new/second attack  probably  condemn
  'The Security Council will probably condemn a subsequent/second attack.'
b. ? De Veiligheidsraad zal waarschijnlijk een nieuwe/tweede aanval veroordelen.
[+]  D.  Quantified noun phrases and quantifiers

This subsection discusses scrambling of quantified nominal objects and quantifiers, and its semantic effects. Existentially, universally and negatively quantified noun phrases are discussed in separate subsections. Before we start we want to note that the felicitousness of a certain word order is often determined not only by the quantifier in question, but also by the meaning of the predicate; certain orders may be infelicitous because they give rise to an improbable reading with some predicates. In the following we will abstract away from these effects of the choice of the predicate but simply select predicates that give rise to felicitous results.

[+]  1.  Existentially quantified noun phrases

The placement of an existentially quantified nominal object with respect to a modal adverb like waarschijnlijk'probably' seems to depend on the nature of the quantifier. If the quantifier normally triggers a nonspecific reading of the noun phrase, as does enkele'some' in (38a&a'), the nominal object is preferably placed after the adverb. If the quantifier allows both a nonspecific and a specific reading, as does veel'many' in (38b&b'), the nominal object can readily occur on either side of the adverb. If the quantifier normally triggers a specific reading, as does sommige'some' in (38c'), the nominal object is preferably placed in front of the adverb. In all cases, a nominal object in front of the adverb is construed as specific, wheras one following the adverb is construed as nonspecific (unless it is assigned emphatic focus).

Example 38
a. dat Jan waarschijnlijk enkele boeken weggooit.
  that  Jan probably  some books  throws.away
a'. ? dat Jan enkele boeken waarschijnlijk weggooit.
b. dat Jan waarschijnlijk veel boeken weggooit.
  that  Jan probably  many books  throws.away
b'. dat Jan veel boeken waarschijnlijk weggooit.
c. ? dat Jan waarschijnlijk sommige boeken weggooit.
  that  Jan probably  some books  throws.away
c'. dat Jan sommige boeken waarschijnlijk weggooit.

Note that we have avoided the use of the terms weak and strong quantifier (cf. Section 6.2.1, sub II) in the description of the data in (38): since we will see in the next subsection that the (strong) universal quantifier alle is preferably placed after the clausal adverbs, we cannot say that strong quantifiers are preferably scrambled, whereas weak quantifiers are preferably left in their position to the right of the clausal adverbs. Nevertheless, this seems to provide an apt description of the behavior of the strong/weak existential quantifiers.
      In (35), we have observed that scrambling of indefinite nominal objects affects the scope relations in the clause. If we are dealing with a noun phrase containing an existential quantifier, the same effect can be observed. Consider the examples in (39). In (39a) the frequency adverb has scope over the quantified noun phrase veel boeken'many books': as a result the sentence expresses that it is often the case that Jan is reading many books. In (39b), on the other had, it is the noun phrase that has scope over the adverb: as a result the sentence expresses that there are many books that Jan often reads.

Example 39
a. dat Jan vaak veel boeken leest.
  that  Jan  often  many books  reads
b. dat Jan veel boeken vaak leest.

This difference in interpretation can also be held responsible for the fact that an adverb like meestal'usually' cannot follow a quantified nominal object: whereas it makes perfect sense to claim that Jan usually reads many books, it seems weird to say that many books are usually read by Jan. Similarly, it may account for the fact that a strong noun phrase like sommige boeken'some books', which presupposes a certain set of books and is therefore specific, cannot readily be used in the position following the adverb.

Example 40
a. dat Jan meestal veel boeken leest.
  that  Jan  usually  many books  reads
a'. ?? dat Jan veel boeken meestal leest.
b. *? dat Jan vaak sommige boeken leest.
  that  Jan  often  some books  reads
b'. dat Jan sommige boeken vaak leest.

      The existential personal pronouns iemand'someone' and iets'something' also allow both a nonspecific and a specific interpretation. As in the quantified noun phrases discussed above, the availability of these readings depends on whether the noun phrase occurs to the right or to the left of the adverb. Note that the specific readings in the primed examples are not completely natural.

Example 41
a. dat Jan waarschijnlijk iemand uitnodigt.
  that  Jan  probably  someone  prt.-invites
a'. ? dat Jan iemand waarschijnlijk uitnodigt.
b. dat Jan waarschijnlijk iets aan Peter wil geven.
  that  Jan  probably  something  to Peter  wants  give
b'. ? dat Jan iets waarschijnlijk aan Peter wil geven.

Again, the position of the nominal object affects the scope readings: whereas the frequency adverb has scope over the existential pronouns in the primeless examples of (42), the pronouns have scope over the adverb in the primed examples. As a result, (42a) asserts that it has often been the case that Jan insulted some person or other, whereas (42a') expresses that there is a certain person who has often been insulted by Jan. Similarly, (42b) asserts that it has often been the case that Jan dropped something, whereas (42b') expresses that there is a certain thing that has often been dropped by Jan. Observe that, in contrast to the primed examples in (41), the primed examples in (42) are impeccable.

Example 42
a. dat Jan vaak iemand heeft uitgescholden.
  that  Jan often someone  has  prt.-insulted
a'. dat Jan iemand vaak heeft uitgescholden.
b. dat Jan vaak iets laat vallen.
  that Jan  often  something  drops
b'. dat Jan iets vaak laat vallen.
[+]  2.  Universally quantified noun phrases

The examples in (43) suggest that universally quantified phrases have some preference for the position following the modal adverb waarschijnlijk'probably', but both orders seem to be grammatical. The difference between the two examples seems to be related to the information structure in the clause. In (43b), it is only the action of inviting that is part of the focus of the clause. Example (43a) is compatible with various information structures: the focus of the clause can be formed by the full VP alle studenten uitnodigen, the noun phrase alle studenten, or the quantifier alle — in the first two cases sentence stress falls on the noun studenten, and in the third case on the quantifier alle.

Example 43
a. Marie zal waarschijnlijk alle studenten uitnodigen.
  Marie  will  probably  all students  prt.-invite
  'Marie will probably invite all students.'
b. (?) Marie zal alle studenten waarschijnlijk uitnodigen.

The two examples also seem to differ in interpretation. Example (43a) can be interpreted either as referring to a single event of inviting all the students or as referring to several separate events of inviting a student or subgroup of students, whereas (43b) strongly favors the latter interpretation. This meaning difference is probably related to the scope of the modal adverb waarschijnlijk'probably'. In (43b) the universally quantified phrase is outside the scope of the modal adverb, and, as a result, it is claimed for each individual student that he will probably be invited. In (43a), on the other hand, the universally quantified phrase is within the scope of the modal adverb, and, as a result, it is claimed that it is probably the case that all students will be invited, where it is immaterial whether they are invited individually or as a group. The universal quantifiers iedereen'everyone' and alles'everything' also seem to prefer the position to the right of the modal adverb, but again both orders seem to be acceptable.

Example 44
a. dat Jan waarschijnlijk iedereen/alles meeneemt.
  that  Jan  probably  everyone/everything  prt.-takes
  'that Jan probably takes everyone/everything with him.'
b. ? dat Jan iedereen/alles waarschijnlijk meeneemt.

      Universally quantified nominal objects can readily occur on both sides of the adverbs of frequency. This gives rise to a difference in interpretation, which can again be expressed in terms of scope: in (45a'), the universally quantified noun phrase is outside the scope of the adverb, and as a result it is claimed for each individual book in the relevant domain of discourse that John often takes it with him; in (45a), on the other hand, the universally quantified noun phrase is within the scope of the frequency adverb, and as a result it is claimed that it is often the case that John takes all books with him. Examples (45b&b') show that the same thing holds for universal quantifiers such as alles'everything'.

Example 45
a. dat Jan vaak alle boeken meeneemt.
  that  Jan often  all books  prt.-takes
  'that Jan often takes all books with him.'
a'. dat Jan alle boeken vaak meeneemt.
b. dat Jan vaak alles meeneemt.
  that  Jan often  everything  prt.-takes
  'that Jan often takes everything with him.'
b'. ? dat Jan alles vaak meeneemt.
[+]  3.  Negative quantifiers

Given that the negative quantifiers niemand'nobody' and niets'nothing' do not allow a specific interpretation, it does not come as a surprise that such noun phrases must follow the modal adverbs, as is illustrated by (46a&b). Another factor that may play a role here is that, in general, negative phrases tend to follow the modal adverbs. This even holds for subjects, as is shown in (46c).

Example 46
a. dat Jan <*niemand> waarschijnlijk <niemand> uitnodigt.
  that  Jan      nobody  probably  invites
b. dat Jan <*niets> waarschijnlijk <niets> aan Peter wil geven.
  that  Jan   nothing  probably  to Peter  wants  give
c. dat <??niemand> waarschijnlijk <niemand> dat boek gelezen heeft.
  that       nobody  probably  that book  read  has

      However, unlike modal adverbs, the negative quantifiers can precede the frequency adverbs. The two examples in (47), which are the negative counterparts of the primed examples in (42), respectively express that there is not a certain person who has often been insulted by Jan and that there is not a certain thing that has often been dropped by Jan.

Example 47
a. dat Jan niemand vaak heeft uitgescholden.
  that  Jan nobody  often  has  prt.-insulted
b. dat Jan niets vaak laat vallen.
  that  Jan nothing  often  drops

The examples in (48) show that the negative quantifiers can also follow the adverbs of frequency. In these examples the quantifier is in the scope of the adverb: (48a) expresses that it is often the case that Jan does not want to see anyone and (48b) that it is often the case that Jan does not want to eat anything.

Example 48
a. dat Jan vaak niemand wil zien.
  that  Jan often  nobody  wants  see
  'that Jan often doesnʼt want to see anyone.'
b. dat Jan vaak niets wil eten.
  that  Jan often  nothing  wants  eat
  'that Jan often doesnʼt want to eat anything.'
[+]  E.  Interplay of indirect and direct objects

In the previous subsections, we have seen that scrambling is related to several meaning aspects of the clause: scrambling affects the information structure of the clause, it affects the scope relations between quantifiers, and it may trigger a partitive or generic reading of the moved nominal object. This subsection will show that there are also syntactic constraints on this movement.
      So far, we have mainly considered scrambling of the direct object in the clause, but indirect objects behave in more or lesss the same way. This implies that in double object constructions such as (49), there are various word order possibilities. In (49a), neither of the objects is scrambled, which leads to an interpretation according to which both the indirect and the direct object are part of the focus of the clause. In (49b), the indirect object is scrambled, but the direct object is not, which leads to an interpretation according to which the indirect object is part of the presupposition, and the direct object is part of the focus of the clause. In (49c), both objects are scrambled, which leads to a reading according to which they are both part of the presupposition. Given this, one would expect that it is also possible to scramble just the direct object, that is, to move the direct object across the indirect object. As is shown in (49d), however, this is not possible, from which we conclude that the indirect object blocks movement of the direct object. In order to express that it is only the indirect object that belongs to the focus of the clause, one has to use (49a) with sentence accent on the noun moeder (and not on the direct object, as would normally be the case), or a construction with a periphrastic indirect object: dat Jan het boek waarschijnlijk aan zijn moeder heeft gegeven'that Jan probably has given the book to his mother'.

Example 49
a. dat Jan waarschijnlijk zijn moeder het boek heeft gegeven.
  that  Jan probably  his mother  the book  has  given
  'that Jan probably has given his mother the book.'
b. dat Jan zijn moeder waarschijnlijk het boek heeft gegeven.
c. dat Jan zijn moeder het boek waarschijnlijk heeft gegeven.
d. * dat Jan het boek waarschijnlijk zijn moeder heeft gegeven.

      If the two objects are personal pronouns, they are considered to be part of the presupposition of the clause (unless they are assigned emphatic or contrastive focus), as a result of which they must precede the adverb. Remarkably, this results in a change of order of the two objects: the ungrammaticality of (50c) shows that the direct object may no longer follow the indirect object, but must precede it, as in (50d).

Example 50
a. * dat Jan waarschijnlijk haar het heeft gegeven.
b. * dat Jan haar waarschijnlijk het heeft gegeven.
c. * dat Jan haar het waarschijnlijk heeft gegeven.
d. dat Jan het haar waarschijnlijk heeft gegeven.
  that  Jan it  her  probably  has  given
  'that Jan probably has given it to her.'

      If only the indirect object is a pronoun, we correctly predict that it must precede the adverb (unless it is assigned emphatic focus). The direct object may either follow or precede the adverb, depending on whether it is seen as part of the focus or the presupposition of the clause.

Example 51
a. * dat Jan waarschijnlijk haar het boek heeft gegeven.
b. dat Jan haar waarschijnlijk het boek heeft gegeven.
  that  Jan her  probably  the book  has  given
  'that Jan probably has given her the book.'
c. dat Jan haar het boek waarschijnlijk heeft gegeven.

If only the direct object is a pronoun, it must be scrambled. In that case, the indirect object cannot remain in its position after the adverb (unless, perhaps, when it is emphatically stressed), which is probably due to the fact that it would block scrambling of the direct object in this position; cf. example (49d). Note that, as is shown in (52c&d), the pronoun can either precede or follow the indirect object. The question mark within parentheses in (52d) is used to indicate that this example seems fully acceptable but marked compared to the periphrastic construction dat Jan het waarschijnlijk aan zijn moeder heeft gegeven'that Jan has probably given it to his mother'.

Example 52
a. * dat Jan waarschijnlijk zijn moeder het heeft gegeven.
b. * dat Jan het waarschijnlijk zijn moeder heeft gegeven.
c. ? dat Jan zijn moeder het waarschijnlijk heeft gegeven.
  that  Jan his mother  it  probably  has  given
  'that Jan probably has given it to his mother.'
d. (?) dat Jan het zijn moeder waarschijnlijk heeft gegeven.

      The examples in this subsection suggest that scrambling of the direct object is not possible across the indirect object if the latter occurs in the position following the clausal adverb, that is, if the latter is not scrambled. Here it should be noted that this constraint applies not only to scrambling but also to wh-movement and topicalization (Haegeman 1991 and Den Dikken 1995). The examples in (53) show that wh-movement of the direct object gives rise to a marginal result if the indirect object follows the clausal adverb waarschijnlijk but is perfectly acceptable if the indirect object is scrambled. This shows that the relevant constraint is not based on some “preference rule” that wants to keep the order of the indirect and direct object fixed in order to facilitate parsing, because this would leave the contrast between the primeless and primed examples in (53) unexplained. Therefore, some deeper principle must be at work here; see Broekhuis (2000/2008) for a proposal.

Example 53
a. *? Wat heeft hij vaak zijn moeder aangeboden?
a'. Wat heeft hij zijn moeder vaak aangeboden?
  what  has  he  his mother  often  prt.-offered
  'What did he often offer to his mother?'
b. *? Dat boek heeft hij vaak zijn moeder aangeboden.
b'. Dat boek heeft hij zijn moeder vaak aangeboden.
  that book  has  he  his mother  often  prt.-offered
  'That book he has often offered to his mother.'
[+]  II.  Clauses containing a VP adverb

Subsection I has shown that nonspecific nominal objects cannot readily be scrambled across a clausal adverb. We may not, however, conclude from this that nonspecific nominal objects categorically resist scrambling. Consider the examples in (54), which show that nonspecific indefinite nominal objects may either precede or follow VP adverbs of time and place. The sentences differ in the assignment of the sentence accent. In the primeless examples, sentence accent is preferably assigned to the nominal head of the indefinite object, whereas in the primed examples it is preferably assigned to the nominal head of the complement of the adverbial PP. This corresponds to the prominence within the focus field of the clause, that is, within the part of the clause expressing “new” information, which can roughly be defined as that part of the middle field of the clause following the clausal adverbs. In the primeless examples the object is the most prominent element in the focus field, whereas in the primed examples it is the adverbial phrase that is most prominent; cf. Broekhuis (2007/2008).

Example 54
a. Jan heeft waarschijnlijk in de tuin een boek gelezen.
  Jan has  probably  in the garden  a book  read
  'Jan probably read a book in the garden.'
a'. Jan heeft waarschijnlijk een boek in de tuin gelezen.
b. Jan heeft mogelijk al in de pauze een kop koffie gedronken.
  Jan has  possibly  already  during the break  a cup of coffee  drunk
  'Jan has possibly already drunk a cup of coffee during the break.'
b'. Jan heeft mogelijk al een kop koffie in de pauze gedronken.

The hypothesis that the orders in (54) are related to prominence within the focus field predicts that the orders in the primed examples are only possible if the VP adverb can be interpreted as part of the focus of the clause. Since indefinite nominal objects are more likely to be part of the focus of the clause than, e.g., adverbial pro-forms such as daar'there' and toen'then', it does not really come as a surprise that the primed examples in (55) are unacceptable.

Example 55
a. Jan heeft waarschijnlijk daar een boek gelezen.
  Jan has  probably  there  a book  read
  'Jan probably read a book there.'
a'. * Jan heeft waarschijnlijk een boek daar gelezen.
b. Jan had mogelijk toen een kop koffie gedronken.
  Jan had  possibly  then  a cup of coffee  drunk
  'Jan had possibly drunk a cup of coffee then.'
b'. * Jan had mogelijk een kop koffie toen gedronken.

      In (56), we show that similar facts can be found with nonspecific indefinite nominal objects containing a quantifier or a numeral. Substituting a pro-form for the adverbial phrase in the primed examples in (56) leads to unacceptability.

Example 56
a. Jan heeft waarschijnlijk in de tuin enkele/twee boeken gelezen.
  Jan has  probably  in the garden  some/two books  read
a'. Jan heeft waarschijnlijk enkele/twee boeken in de tuin gelezen.
b. Jan heeft waarschijnlijk in de pauze enkele/twee koppen koffie gedronken.
  Jan has  probably  during the break  some/two cups of coffee  drunk
b'. Jan heeft waarschijnlijk enkele/twee koppen koffie in de pauze gedronken.

Definite nominal objects, on the other hand, do not readily follow the VP adverbs. The primeless examples in (57) seem grammatical but are certainly marked compared to the primed ones. The primeless examples also show that they are preferably pronounced with an emphatic or contrastive focus accent on the noun, indicated by small caps. In the primed examples the adverbial PP can be replaced by the pro-forms daar'there' and toen'then'; this is most likely when these pro-forms are assigned emphatic or contrastive focus.

Example 57
a. ? Jan heeft waarschijnlijk in de tuin het boek gelezen.
  Jan has  probably  in the garden  the book  read
a'. Jan heeft waarschijnlijk het boek in de tuin gelezen.
b. ? Jan heeft waarschijnlijk in de pauze zijn koffie genuttigd.
  Jan has  probably  during the break  his coffee  drunk
b'. Jan heeft waarschijnlijk zijn koffie in de pauze genuttigd.

It should be noted however, that examples like (57a&b) are fully acceptable if we are dealing with more or lesss fixed collocations like het gras maaien'to mow the grass/lawn' in (58) .

Example 58
a. Jan heeft waarschijnlijk in de tuin het gras gemaaid.
  Jan has  probably  in the garden  the grass  mown
  'Jan has probably mown the lawn in the garden.'
b. Jan heeft waarschijnlijk in de pauze het gras gemaaid.
  Jan  has  probably  during the break  the grass  mown
  'Jan has probably mown the lawn during the break.'

      The examples in this subsection have shown that we cannot claim that scrambling of nonspecific indefinite nominal objects is categorically blocked, since scrambling of such noun phrases is possible across VP adverbs. The effect of this kind of scrambling seems to be related to prominence in the focus field (the field expressing the new information of the clause). This fact has received little attention in the literature so far, and we believe that more research is needed in order to obtain a better understanding of the factors that affect the order of the constituents in the focus field of the clause. Furthermore, we want to refer the reader to Slioussar (2007) for relevant discussion pertaining to scrambling in Russian, which can perhaps partly be carried over to Dutch.

[+]  III.  Clauses containing an adverb to the left of a clausal adverb

Whereas VP-adverbs must occur to the right of clausal adverbs, there are also adverbial phrases that may occur to the left of typical clausal adverbs like the modal verb waarschijnlijk'probably'. This holds, for example, for the time and place adverbs in (59). Example (59a) shows that such time adverbs may co-occur with time adverbs that function as VP-adverbs; the former are used to restrict the relevant time interval during which the event may in principle take place (time interval j in the tense representations given in Section V1.5), whereas the latter pinpoint the time at which the event denoted by the main verb actually takes place (time interval k). In (59b), the two adverbial phrases of place exhibit similar behavior: the first restricts the location at which the event can in principle take place, whereas the second pinpoints the actual place where it takes place.

Example 59
a. Jan zal morgen waarschijnlijk om drie uur vertrekken.
  Jan will  tomorrow  probably  at 3 oʼclock  leave
  'Tomorrow, Jan will probably leave at 3 oʼclock.'
b. Jan zal in Amsterdam waarschijnlijk bij zijn tante logeren.
  Jan will in Amsterdam probably with his aunt stay
  'In Amsterdam Jan will probably stay with his aunt.'

The examples in (60) show that although scrambling of a definite noun phrase across the clausal adverb is possible, scrambling across the higher locational or temporal adverbial phrase gives rise to a marked result; placing the noun phrase in front of the higher place/time adverb normally requires that the adverbial phrase be assigned accent.

Example 60
a. Jan zal <?het boek> morgen <het boek> waarschijnlijk <het boek> lezen.
  Jan will   the book  tomorrow  probably  read
  'Jan will probably read the book tomorrow.'
b. Jan zal <?het boek> thuis <het boek> waarschijnlijk <het boek> lezen.
  Jan will     the book  at.home  probably  read
  'Jan will probably read the book at home.'

The behavior of definite pronouns differs markedly from that of definite noun phrases; the pronoun must cross not only the clausal adverb but also the higher place/time adverb.

Example 61
a. Jan zal <het> morgen <*het> waarschijnlijk <*het> lezen.
  Jan will     it  tomorrow  probably  read
  'Jan will probably read the book tomorrow.'
b. Jan zal <het> thuis <*het> waarschijnlijk <het boek> lezen.
  Jan will     it  at.home  probably  read
  'Jan will probably read the book at home.'

The contrast between the examples in (60) and (61) suggests that definite pronouns must be moved into some more leftward position than definite noun phrases.

[+]  IV.  Clauses containing the negative adverb niet'not'

In clauses with a neutral intonation pattern, the negative adverb niet'not' expressing sentential negation normally cannot be followed by a direct object. Since niet can be followed by other types of constituents, like the PP-complement op zijn vader in (62b), we cannot account for the fact that the noun phrase het boek must precede the negation by assuming that the negative adverb niet and the verb are somehow conflated; the fact that the PP-complement follows the negative adverb suggests that the latter is external to the VP. If so, we should conclude that nominal objects must be scrambled to a position in front of the negative adverb.

Example 62
a. Jan heeft <het boek> niet <*het boek> gelezen.
  Jan has     the book  not  read
  'Jan didnʼt read the book.'
b. Jan heeft waarschijnlijk niet op zijn vader gewacht.
  Jan  has  probably  not  for his father  waited
  'Probably, Jan didnʼt wait for his father.'

Example (63a) shows that indefinite nominal objects can normally neither precede nor follow the negative adverb; rather, they require that sentential negation be expressed by means of the negative article geen'no', as in (63b). Note that the examples in (63a) are acceptable if een is stressed, in which case we are probably dealing with the numeral één'one'; see Subsection IC, for similar data with clausal adverbs. The example with the nominal object preceding the negative adverb then receives a specific interpretation, and the one with the nominal object following the negative adverb receives a “not a single” reading. For a more extensive discussion of the negative article geen and data of this sort, see Section 5.1.5.

Example 63
a. Jan heeft <??een boek> niet <*een boek> gelezen.
  Jan has       a book  not  read
b. Jan heeft geen boek gelezen.
  Jan has  no book  read
  'Jan hasnʼt read a book.'

An exception to the rule that indefinite nominal objects cannot precede the negative adverb niet are indefinite noun phrases containing an attributive adjective like volgende'next' or nieuwe'new' or an ordinal numeral, as in the examples in (64). Indefinite noun phrases of this type are also exceptional in that they can precede modal adverbs like waarschijnlijk'probably'; cf. example (37). Note that the indefinite nominal object cannot follow the negative adverb niet, which is of course in accordance with the general rule that noun phrases cannot follow a negative adverb. The negative article geen'no' cannot be used in examples of this kind.

Example 64
a. Jan zal een volgende/nieuwe uitnodiging niet afslaan.
  Jan will  a next/new invitation  not  turn.down
  'Jan wonʼt turn down any invitation that comes next/new invitation.'
a'. * Jan zal niet een volgende/nieuwe uitnodiging afslaan.
b. De Veiligheidsraad zal een nieuwe/tweede aanval niet veroordelen.
  the Security Council  will  a new/second attack  not  condemn
  'The Security Council will not condemn a subsequent/second attack.'
b. * De Veiligheidsraad zal niet een nieuwe/tweede aanval veroordelen.

      From the discussion above we can conclude that the negative adverb niet cannot be followed by a noun phrase. Note, however, that (65a), in which the nominal object is assigned contrastive focus, is acceptable; in this case we are not dealing with sentential negation but with constituent negation, which is clear from the fact that the negative adverb is preferably pied-piped by topicalization of the noun phrase. This example therefore does not conflict with the general rule that noun phrases cannot follow sentential negation.

Example 65
a. Hij heeft niet het/een boek gelezen (maar het/een artikel).
  he has  not the/a book  read,   but  the/an article
  'He didnʼt read the book (but the article).'
b. <Niet> het/een boek heeft hij <?niet> gelezen (maar het/een artikel).

This may be different in the case of (66), in which it is not simply the object het boek that is contrasted but the whole VP het boek gelezen. In this case, the negative adverb is preferably stranded by topicalization of the VP, although pied piping is at least marginally possible. If this indicates that we are dealing with sentential negation, example (65b) must be seen as an exception to the general rule that noun phrases cannot follow sentential negation.

Example 66
a. Hij heeft niet [VP het/een boek gelezen] (maar [VP de/een film gezien]).
  he has  not  the/a book  read   but  the/a movie  seen
  'He didnʼt read the book, but saw the film.'
b. <?Niet> [VP het/een boek gelezen] heeft hij <niet> (maar [VP de/een film gezien]).

      It is not easy to decide whether indefinite nominal objects preceding sentential negation allow a nonspecific interpretation or not. Although the noun phrase vier boeken can be placed either before or after the clausal adverb waarschijnlijk, a nonspecific interpretation is not readily obtained. Rather, the nominal object following waarschijnlijk seems to be interpreted specifically (and the one preceding it seems to prefer a partitive reading). It seems that the quantifier iemand'someone' in (67b) also receives a specific interpretation in both positions, although the judgments seem a bit murky in this case.

Example 67
a. Jan heeft <vier boeken> waarschijnlijk <vier boeken> niet gelezen.
  Jan has    four books  probably  not read
b. Jan heeft <iemand> waarschijnlijk <?iemand> niet gezien.
  Jan has   someone  probably  not  seen

      A clearer picture arises in the case of the adverbs of frequency. In (68a), the nominal object precedes the adverbial phrase, and therefore we are clearly dealing with a specific indefinite noun phrase. As we have seen in Section 8.1.3, sub IC, indefinite nominal objects following adverbs of frequency must be given a nonspecific interpretation. The fact that example (68b) is marked therefore suggests that indefinite nominal objects preceding the negative adverb niet cannot readily receive a nonspecific interpretation. For completeness’ sake, (68c) shows that, in accordance with our earlier observation, the indefinite nominal object cannot follow the negative adverb niet either.

Example 68
a. Jan heeft twee boeken al drie keer niet kunnen lenen.
  Jan has  two books  already three times  not  can  borrow
  'Already three times Jan couldnʼt borrow two books.'
b. ?? Jan heeft al drie keer twee boeken niet kunnen lenen.
c. * Jan heeft al drie keer niet twee boeken kunnen lenen.

      It is not clear whether there is a syntactic reason for the fact that indefinite nominal objects preceding the negative adverb niet cannot readily be construed as nonspecific: since the negative adverb normally follows the clausal adverb (cf. (62a)), there is no a priori reason for assuming that scrambling of a nonspecific indefinite nominal object across it is blocked. It might just as well be the case that there are more pragmatic reasons for assuming that nonspecific indefinite nominal objects cannot precede and, hence, fall outside the scope of negation: it simply does not seem very informative to claim about some unidentified entity that a certain proposition does not apply to it. Of course, it does make sense to have a nonspecific nominal object within the scope of negation, since that would amount to having a negative existential quantifier, as in the English example I didnʼt see a thing. However, Dutch uses special negative forms in such cases: the negative article geen'no', and the negative quantifiers niets'nothing' and niemand'nobody'.

[+]  V.  Conclusion

This previous subsections have discussed scrambling of nominal objects and has shown that different types of noun phrases have different scrambling options: generally speaking, we can say that definite pronouns scramble more often than definite noun phrases, which, in turn, scramble more often than indefinite noun phrases. We have also seen that the domains in which scrambling applies differ for the different types of noun phrases. Indefinite noun phrases can cross certain VP-adverbs but not clausal adverbs; definite noun phrases may cross clausal adverbs if they are part of the presupposition of the clause but cannot readily cross adverbs that precede these clausal adverbs; definite pronouns, finally, must precede the clausal adverbs as well as the adverbs preceding them.
      In the literature, the fact that scrambling of nominal objects may involve different domains of application is not generally taken into account, with the result that the occurrence of a presuppositional definite noun phrase after any adverb is sometimes taken as counterevidence for the claim that such noun phrases must scramble; cf. De Hoop (2000/2003) and Van Bergen & De Swart (2010). The primeless examples in (69) suggest that this view is too simple: scrambling of the definite noun phrase can only be observed if a clausal adverb like waarschijnlijk is present (or discourse particles like maar; cf. Zwart 2011). It therefore does not come as a surprise either that the primed examples in (69) allow two readings: one in which the definite noun phrase is part of the focus and one in which it is part of the presupposition of the clause.

Example 69
a. Jan zal morgen <het boek> waarschijnlijk <het boek> lezen.
  Jan will   tomorrow    the book probably  read
  'Jan will probably read the book tomorrow.'
a'. Jan zal morgen het boek lezen.
b. Jan zal thuis <het boek> waarschijnlijk <het boek> lezen.
  Jan will  at.home    the book probably  read
  'Jan will probably read the book at home.'
b'. Jan zal thuis het boek lezen.

Although we cannot exclude beforehand the possibility that presuppositional definite noun phrases may fail to scramble under certain conditions, we believe that we can only gain a deeper insight in the factors involved if we first investigate more thoroughly the properties of the adverbs that may precede them. This is clearly a topic for future research.

References:
  • Bergen, Geertje van & Swart, Peter de2010Scrambling in spoken Dutch: Definiteness versus weight as determinants of word order variationCorpus Linguistics and Linguistic Theory6267-295
  • Broekhuis, Hans2000Against feature strength: the case of Scandinavian object shiftNatural Language & Linguistic Theory18673-721
  • Broekhuis, Hans2007Subject shift and object shiftJournal of Comparative Germanic Linguistics10109-141
  • Broekhuis, Hans2008Derivations and evaluations: object shift in the Germanic languagesStudies in Generative GrammarBerlin/New YorkMouton de Gruyter
  • Broekhuis, Hans2008Derivations and evaluations: object shift in the Germanic languagesStudies in Generative GrammarBerlin/New YorkMouton de Gruyter
  • De Hoop, Helen2003Scrambling in Dutch: optionality and optimalityKarimi, Simin (ed.)Word order and scramblingMalden, MA/OxfordBlackwell Publishing
  • Dikken, Marcel den1995Particles: on the syntax of verb-particle, triadic, and causative constructionsOxford studies in comparative syntaxNew York/OxfordOxford University Press
  • Haegeman, Liliane1991Scrambling, clitic placement and Agr recursion in West Flemish
  • Haegeman, Liliane1995The syntax of negationCambridge studies in linguistics 75CambridgeCambridge University Press
  • Hoop, Helen de2000<i>Ot</i>je en scrambling in het NederlandsTabu3097-112
  • Neeleman, Ad1994Complex predicatesUtrechtUniversity of UtrechtThesis
  • Slioussar, Natalia2007Grammar and Information Structure. A study with reference to RussianUniversity of Utrecht/LOTThesis
  • Verhagen, Arie1986Linguistic theory and the function of word order in Dutch. A study on interpretive aspects of the order of adverbials and noun phrasesDordrechtForis Publications
  • Zwart, Jan-Wouter2011The syntax of DutchCambridgeCambridge University Press
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