• Dutch
  • Frisian
  • Afrikaans
Show full table of contents
12.1. General introduction
quickinfo

This section deals with a number of general issues related to the postverbal field, subsection I starts with a discussion of various differences between the postverbal field and the clause-initial position, the position that is the target of wh-movement, subsection II shows that clausal constituents exhibit a different relative order in postverbal position than in the middle field. This so-called mirror effect will be used in Subsection III to argue that the postverbal field can also be filled in the absence of clause-final verbs, subsection IV shows that we should distinguish various types of postverbal phrases: extraposed phrases, which are clearly clause-internal and will be the focus of this chapter, and right-dislocated phrases, for which it is not so obvious that they are located clause-internally, subsection V concludes with a discussion of the functional motivation for extraposition.

readmore
[+]  I.  The clause-final field is accessible to more than one constituent

The part of the clause preceding the finite verb in second position should be characterized as a position rather than as a field, as it can be occupied by a single constituent only; see Section 11.3 for extensive discussion. This clearly does not hold for the postverbal field, which can be occupied by an (in principle) indeterminate number of constituents; the primeless examples in (7) provide cases in which the number of postverbal constituents range from 0 to 2, and it is undoubtedly not difficult to construct or find examples with more than two postverbal constituents; the primed examples are added to show that there can be only one constituent in clause-initial position.

Example 7
a. Jan zal na zijn vakantie graag op Marie dʼr kat passen.
0
  Jan will  after his vacation  gladly  after Marie her cat  look
  'Jan will be only too glad to look after Marieʼs cat after his vacation.'
b. Jan zal na zijn vakantie graag passen op Marie dʼr kat.
1
b'. Op Marie dʼr kat zal Jan na zijn vakantie graag passen.
c. Jan zal graag op Marie dʼr kat passen na zijn vakantie.
1
c'. Na zijn vakantie zal Jan graag op Marie dʼr kat passen.
d. Jan zal graag passen op Marie dʼr kat na zijn vakantie.
2
d'. * Op Marie dʼr kat na zijn vakantie zal Jan graag passen.
d''. * Na zijn vakantie op Marie dʼr kat zal Jan graag passen.

In the early stages of generative grammar the examples in (7b-d) were derived from (7a) by a movement rule known as extraposition, which moves the PP from a preverbal position into the postverbal field. A problem for this proposal, which was already noted by Koster (1973), is that it is not in keeping with Emonds’ (1976) structure preservation principle, which requires movement to target an independently motivated position; this principle is satisfied by wh-movement, as there is clearly an identifiable clause-initial position, but this is not obviously the case for extraposition given that we are dealing with a set of positions; if the postverbal position of the phrases in (7) is indeed derived by movement, we may be dealing with a set of rules, which each may have their own properties. We will nevertheless stick to the notion of extraposition in order to refer to constructions with clause-internal postverbal constituents.

[+]  II.  The mirror effect

The primeless examples in (7) show that adverbial and argument PPs may occupy various positions in the clause: clause-initial, preverbal and postverbal. The examples in (8) further show that extraposition affects the linear order of these PPs: the (a)-examples first show that in the middle field of the clause adverbial PPs precede argument PPs as a rule (if the clause is pronounced with a neutral intonation pattern), while the (b)-examples show that in postverbal position the order is normally reversed; since Koster (1974) this phenomenon is often referred to as the mirror effect.

Example 8
a. Jan zal na zijn vakantie graag op Marie dʼr kat passen.
adv > compl
  Jan will after his vacation  gladly  after Marie her cat  look
  'Jan will be only too glad to look after Marieʼs cat after his vacation.'
a'. * Jan zal graag op Marie dʼr kat na zijn vakantie passen.
compl > adv
b. Jan zal graag passen op Marie dʼr kat na zijn vakantie.
compl > adv
  Jan will  gladly  look  after Marie her cat  after his vacation
  'Jan will be only too glad to look after Marieʼs cat after his vacation.'
b'. * Jan zal graag passen na zijn vakantie op Marie dʼr kat.
adv > compl
[+]  III.  The postverbal field can also be filled in the absence of clause-final verbs

At first sight it may seem difficult to determine whether extraposition may also apply if the main verb occupies the verb-second position and there are consequently no verbs to be found in clause-final position. There are, however, various ways to establish this in an indirect way. First, we may appeal to the mirror effect discussed in the previous subsection: since the examples in (8) have shown that adverbial phrases precede PP-complements in the middle field of the clause but follow them in extraposed position, the acceptability of the word order in (9b) shows that at least the adverbial PP can be extraposed.

Example 9
a. Jan past na zijn vakantie op Marie dʼr kat.
non-extraposed
  Jan looks  after his vacation  after Marie her cat
  'Jan will be looking after Marieʼs cat after his vacation.'
b. Jan past op Marie dʼr kat na zijn vakantie.
extraposed
  Jan looks  after Marie her cat  after his vacation
  'Jan will be looking after Marieʼs cat after his vacation.'

Second, we may make use of the fact that certain elements, like complementives and verbal particles, are normally left-adjacent to the verb(s) in clause-final position. The primeless examples in (10) illustrate this by showing that, although the PPs in the primeless examples can be placed either in pre- or in postverbal position, they crucially cannot be located in the position indicated by the asterisk in between the complementive/particle and the clause-final main verb. From the fact that these PPs can follow the complementive/particle in the primed examples, we may again deduce that extraposition does not depend on the presence of a clause-final verb, but applies across-the-board; cf. Koster (1974).

Example 10
a. Jan is <tijdens zijn vakantie> ziek <*> geweest <tijdens zijn vakantie>.
  Jan is    during his vacation  ill  been
  'Jan has been ill during his vacation.'
a'. Jan was <tijdens zijn vakantie> ziek <tijdens zijn vakantie>.
  Jan was    during his vacation  ill
  'Jan was ill during his vacation.'
b. De politie heeft Els <tijdens de rellen> op <*> gepakt <tijdens de rellen>.
  the police  has  Els    during the riots  prt.  taken
  'The police have arrested Els during the riots.'
b'. De politie pakte Els <tijdens de rellen> op <tijdens de rellen>.
  the police  took  Els    during the riots  prt.
  'The police arrested Els during the riots.'
[+]  IV.  Not all postverbal elements are extraposed

At first sight it seems relatively easy to establish whether a certain element is extraposed by considering its position with respect to the clause-final verb(s), complementives or particles. This, however, is only seemingly so as it is necessary to distinguish various types of postverbal constituents, which can easily be illustrated by means of the placement of noun phrases. Example (11a) first shows that nominal arguments cannot be extraposed: placing the nominal object de directeur to the right of the clause-final participle gesproken'spoken' is excluded. The (b)-examples in (11) show, however, that placing this noun phrase to the right of the participle is possible if the regular object position is filled by some other noun phrase; the comma indicates that the postverbal noun phrase is generally preceded by an intonation break.

Example 11
a. Ik heb gisteren <de directeur > gesproken <*de directeur >.
  have  yesterday    the manager  spoken
  'I spoke to the manager yesterday.'
b. Ik heb gisteren dhr. Jansen gesproken, de directeur.
  have  yesterday  Mr. Jansen  spoken  the manager
  'I spoke to Mr. Jansen yesterday, the manager.'
b'. Ik heb dhr. Jansen/ʼm gisteren gesproken, de directeur.
  have  Mr. Jansen/him yesterday  spoken  the manager
  'I spoke to Mr. Jansen/him yesterday, the manager.'

The postverbal noun phrases in (b)-examples have properties different from run-of-the-mill extraposed phrases. The fact that the regular object position is filled by the noun phrase dhr. Jansen, for example, shows that the postverbal noun phrase is not selected by the verb but that, instead, we are dealing with a parenthetical constituent which is not an integral part of the clause; cf. Klein (1977) and De Vries (2009). This conclusion is supported by the fact that the postverbal noun phrase is separated from the preceding clause by an intonation break; this suggests that we are dealing with an apposition, that is, an addition intended to clarify some potential indistinctness in the preceding clause. Note that the postverbal noun phrase can be used to provide either discourse-new or discourse-old information. We will follow De Vries in referring to the former as afterthought right-dislocation and to the latter as backgrounding right-dislocation; the two cases differ prosodically in that the former but not the latter is assigned accent, as is indicated by the small capitals in (11b).
      Afterthoughts and backgrounded phrases can readily be recognized if they are associated with arguments, as these are normally obligatorily present. It is, however, harder if they are associated with optional constituents, such as the adverbial comitative met-PP in dat Jan graag (met Peter) schaakt'that Jan likes to play chess '( 'with Peter'). Examples such as (12), in which the adverbial met-PP is realized in the middle field of the clause, are of course straightforward: the postverbal met-PP can only be right-dislocated, as is also clear from the fact that it must be preceded by an intonation break.

Example 12
a. * dat Jan graag met hem schaakt met Peter.
no intonation break
  that Jan  gladly  with him  plays.chess  with Peter
b. dat Jan graag met hem schaakt, met Peter/Peter.
intonation break
  that  Jan gladly  with  him  plays.chess  with Peter

If the preverbal adverbial PP is not present in the middle field, as in the examples in (13), we have to rely on intonation entirely. Recognizing an afterthought still seems relatively easy because it is signaled by an additional contrastive accent; furthermore, freestanding afterthoughts can often be preceded by appositional markers such as en wel. However, it can be quite difficult to distinguish an extraposed PP from a backgrounded PP as this crucially hinges on the intonation break, which can be quite difficult to detect in casual (fast) speech.

Example 13
a. dat Jan graag schaakt met Peter.
  that  Jan gladly  plays.chess  with Peter
b. dat Jan graag schaakt, (en wel) met Peter.
  that  Jan gladly  plays.chess  and prt  with Peter
c. dat Jan graag schaakt, met Peter.
  that  Jan gladly  plays.chess  with Peter

This makes distinguishing extraposition from backgrounding in constructions like (12) quite a delicate matter; our judgments on the examples given here and later in this chapter are based on our own intuitions as to whether an intonation break is needed, possible or obligatory in slow, careful speech. One fact that may help to distinguish extraposed from backgrounded phrases is that backgrounding right-dislocation does not affect the intonation contour of the clause. If the postverbal phrase is assigned (non-contrastive) sentence accent, as in (14a), we can safely conclude that we are dealing with extraposition (sentence accent is indicated by means of italics). However, if sentence accent is assigned to (some constituent preceding) the clause-final verb, as in (14b), it is again not evident whether we are dealing with extraposition or backgrounding. Afterthought right-dislocation in (14c) is again relatively easy to recognize: it does not affect the placement of the sentence accent and the afterthought itself is assigned an additional accent.

Example 14
a. dat Jan graag schaakt met Peter.
extraposition
  that  Jan gladly  plays.chess  with Peter
b. dat Jan graag schaakt met Peter.
extraposition/backgrounding
  that  Jan gladly  plays.chess  with Peter
c. dat Jan graag schaakt, met Peter.
afterthought
  that  Jan gladly  plays.chess  with Peter

A syntactic test that may be helpful in distinguishing the various types of postverbal phrases is VP-topicalization. The examples in (15a&b) show that run-of-the-mill extraposed constituents like clausal and prepositional direct objects are pied piped under VP-topicalization.

Example 15
a. Jan heeft haar niet verteld dat hij gaat emigreren.
  Jan has  her  not  told  that  he  goes  emigrate
  'Jan hasnʼt told her that he is going to emigrate.'
a'. Verteld dat hij gaat emigreren heeft hij haar niet.
a''. ?? Verteld heeft hij haar niet dat hij gaat emigreren.
b. Jan heeft niet gewacht op toestemming.
  Jan has  not  waited  for permission
  'Jan hasnʼt waited for permission.'
b'. Gewacht op toestemming heeft Jan niet.
b''. ?? Gewacht heeft Jan niet op toestemming.

Stranding of clausal and prepositional direct objects is only possible if they are right-dislocated, that is, preceded by an intonation break. In the case of the clausal object, this is only fully acceptable if the anticipatory pronoun het is present (due to the fact that the verb vertellen'to tell' requires a direct object) while in the case of the PP the anticipatory pronominal PP er ...op'for it' may be absent (since wachten'to wait' can also be used without a PP-complement).

Example 16
a. Verteld heeft hij ??(het) haar niet, dat hij gaat emigreren.
  told  has  he      it  her  not  that  he  goes  emigrate
b. Gewacht heeft Jan (er) niet (op), op toestemming.
  waited  has  Jan there  not  for  for permission

The examples in (17) show that right-dislocated phrases do display a tendency to strand; the (b)-examples show that pied piping of afterthoughts requires us to use quite distinct/long intonation breaks (indicated by em-dashes), and even then some speakers tend to reject it; the (c)-examples show that pied piping of backgrounded phrases gives rise to a straightforwardly bad result. Stranding is easily possible in both cases.

Example 17
a. Jan heeft nog nooit met hem geschaakt, met Peter/Peter.
  Jan has  yet  never  with  him  played.chess  with Peter
  'Jan has never played chess with him, with Peter.'
b. Met hem geschaakt heeft Jan nog nooit, met Peter.
b'. % Met hem geschaakt — met Peter— heeft Jan nog nooit.
c. Met hem geschaakt heeft Jan nog nooit, met Peter.
c'. *? Met hem geschaakt, met Peter, heeft Jan nog nooit.

It is not a priori clear that the markedness of pied piping in (17c') is syntactic in nature, as De Vries (2002:292) suggests that pied piping of backgrounded phrases may be incompatible with the focus/topic interpretation assigned to topicalized phrases. What is important for us at this stage is, however, that extraposed phrases seem to be preferably pied piped under VP-topicalization, while backgrounded right-dislocated phrases tend to be stranded, and that some speakers allow both options in the case of afterthoughts (given the right intonation contour).
      This subsection has shown that it is often not possible to conclude on the basis of postverbal placement of a constituent alone that we are dealing with extraposition; we may also be dealing with, e.g., an afterthought or a backgrounded phrase. Furthermore, distinguishing extraposition from backgrounded phrases may be hazardous as the intonation break that characterizes the latter can be quite difficult to detect in casual (fast) speech; we therefore have to appealed to our own intuition on the use of intonation breaks in slow, careful speech. Finally, we proposed VP-topicalization as a means of distinguishing extraposition from right-dislocation: extraposed phrases tend to be pied piped, while backgrounded phrases tend to be stranded under VP-topicalization. For a more detailed discussion of right dislocation, we refer the reader to Section 14.3.

[+]  V.  Factors potentially favoring extraposition

If we put aside cases in which extraposition is impossible or obligatory, we have to raise the question as to what determines whether or not extraposition takes place. To our knowledge, this question has not received much attention in the literature so far. One factor that may play a role is information structure. That this is the case is suggested by the examples in (18). Although it is not easy to detect a clear meaning difference between the two orders in the active clause in (18a), the impersonal passive constructions in the (b)-examples show that the absence of expletive er has a degrading effect on extraposition if the middle field of the clause is empty. Because Bennis (1986) has shown that expletive er signals the absence of presuppositional material, the contrast between the two (b)-examples suggests that presuppositional material has to precede the clause-final verb, see also Haeseryn et al. (1997:1366). That extraposed phrases are part of the focus (new information) of the clause is supported by the fact that under a neutral, non-contrastive intonation pattern, they tend to receive sentence accent (indicated by italics); see also Zwart (2011:63-4).

Example 18
a. dat Jan <op de architect> wacht <op de architect>.
  that  Jan    for the architect  waits
  'that Jan is waiting for the architect.'
b. dat er <op de architect> gewacht wordt <op de architect>.
  that  there   for the architect  waited is
  'that the architect is being waited for.'
b'. dat <op de architect> gewacht wordt <?op de architect>.
  that   for the architect  waited is
  'that the architect is waited for.'

Although example (18b) shows that PPs presenting discourse-new material can occur preverbally, there are cases in which discourse-new material must be extraposed. The examples in (19) illustrate this for an adverbial clause of reason. Although we have seen in examples (7) to (10) that adverbial clauses can occur in preverbal position, the clause in (19a&b) is preferably placed in clause-final position. This preference for extraposition may be due to prosodic reasons, as clauses and other long phrases give rise to an awkward intonation contour if they precede the clause-final verb(s); cf. Truckenbrodt (1995) and De Vries (2002:260). This holds especially if the clause immediately precedes a verb with sentence accent, as is clear from the fact that the result is much better in (19b') in which the adverbial clause is followed by other material. This is a more general phenomenon; we refer the reader to Haeseryn et al (1997:1366) for similar cases in which a clause immediately precedes a negative adverb niet with sentential stress.

Example 19
a. dat Jan vertrok [omdat hij kwaad was].
  that  Jan left  because  he  angry  was
  'that Jan left because he was angry.'
b. ? dat Jan [omdat hij kwaad was] vertrok.
  that  Jan because  he  angry  was  left
b'. dat Jan [omdat hij kwaad was] onmiddellijk vertrok.
  that  Jan because  he  angry  was  immediately  left

Another factor that may affect the placement of constituents that optionally undergo extraposition is related to processing: there is a tendency to minimize the distance between the finite verb in clause-initial position and the non-finite verb(s) in clause-final position and to reduce the complexity of the middle field. Extraposed material is therefore expected to be more frequently found in long and complex sentences; cf. Haeseryn et al. (1997).

References:
  • Bennis, Hans1986Gaps and dummiesDordrechtForis Publications
  • Emonds, Joseph1976A transformational approach to English syntax: root, structure-preserving, and local transformationsNew YorkAcademic Press
  • Haeseryn, Walter, Romijn, Kirsten, Geerts, Guido, Rooij, Jaap de & Toorn, Maarten C. van den1997Algemene Nederlandse spraakkunstGroningenNijhoff
  • Haeseryn, Walter, Romijn, Kirsten, Geerts, Guido, Rooij, Jaap de & Toorn, Maarten C. van den1997Algemene Nederlandse spraakkunstGroningenNijhoff
  • Haeseryn, Walter, Romijn, Kirsten, Geerts, Guido, Rooij, Jaap de & Toorn, Maarten C. van den1997Algemene Nederlandse spraakkunstGroningenNijhoff
  • Klein, M1977Appositionele constructies in het NederlandsUniversity of NijmegenThesis
  • Koster, Jan1973PP over V en de theorie van J. EmondsSpektator2294-309
  • Koster, Jan1974Het werkwoord als spiegelcentrumSpektator3601-618
  • Koster, Jan1974Het werkwoord als spiegelcentrumSpektator3601-618
  • Truckenbrodt, Hubert1995Extraposition from NP and prosodic structureBeckman, Jill (ed.)Proceedings of NELS 252503-517
  • Vries, Mark de2002The syntax of relativizationAmsterdamUniversity of AmsterdamThesis
  • Vries, Mark de2002The syntax of relativizationAmsterdamUniversity of AmsterdamThesis
  • Vries, Mark de2009The right and left periphery in DutchThe Linguistic Review26291-327
  • Zwart, Jan-Wouter2011The syntax of DutchCambridgeCambridge University Press
Suggestions for further reading ▼
phonology
  • Dutch
  • Frisian
  • Afrikaans
Show more ▼
morphology
  • Dutch
  • Frisian
  • Afrikaans
  • Ellipsis
    [88%] Frisian > Morphology > Inflection > Adjectives
  • In prenominal position
    [88%] Frisian > Morphology > Inflection > Adjectives
  • Cardinal numbers
    [88%] Frisian > Morphology > Inflection > Numerals
  • -s
    [87%] Frisian > Morphology > Word formation > Derivation > Suffixation > Adverbial suffixes > Noun as base
  • Weak verbs
    [86%] Frisian > Morphology > Inflection > Verbs
Show more ▼
syntax
  • Dutch
  • Frisian
  • Afrikaans
Show more ▼
cite
print
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.