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2.3.2. Intransitive, transitive and unaccusative prepositional object verbs
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This section discusses unergative (transitive and intransitive) and unaccusative PO-verbs in more detail. We will take as our point of departure the four generalizations in (329) from Section 2.1.2, sub IIIG, on the behavior of the counterparts of these verbs without a PP-complement.

Example 329
a. Generalization I: Er-nominalization is a sufficient (but not a necessary) condition for assuming unergative status for a verb; unaccusative verbs cannot be the input of er-nominalization.
b. Generalization II: Selection of the auxiliary zijn is a sufficient (but not a necessary) condition for assuming unaccusative status for a verb; unergative verbs take the auxiliary hebben.
c. Generalization III: The possibility of using the perfect/past participle attributively is a sufficient (but not a necessary) condition for assuming unaccusative status for a monadic verb; perfect/past participles of intransitive verbs cannot be used attributively.
d. Generalization IV: The possibility of passivization is a sufficient (but not a necessary) condition for assuming unergative status for a verb; unaccusative verbs cannot be passivized.

We start our discussion in Subsection I with transitive PO-verbs. Intransitive and unaccusative PO-verbs are compared to each other in Subsection II, subsection III discusses some examples that can possibly be considered PO-counterparts of the second class of unaccusative verbs identified in Section 2.1.2, sub III, Section 2.1.2, sub IV, finally, discusses some problematic cases.

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[+]  I.  Transitive prepositional object verbs

The sample in Table 9 shows that PP-complements of transitive PO-verbs can be headed by a wide range of prepositions. The actual choice of the preposition is fully determined by the verb in question. Although we do not know whether this is of any significance, it seems at least worthwhile to note that many of the verbs in this table are prefixed verbs or particle verbs.

Table 9: Transitive prepositional object verbs
preposition verb translation
aan iemand herinneren *(aan ...)
iemand helpen #(aan ...)
iets ontrukken *(aan ...)
to remind someone of
to help someone to
to snatch something from
bij iemand betrekken *(bij ...) to involve someone in
boven iemand begunstigen (boven ...)
iets prefereren (boven ...)
to favor someone over
to prefer something above
in iemand belemmeren (in ...)
iemand betrekken *(in ...)
iemand stijven *(in ...)
to hinder someone in
to implicate someone into
to confirm someone in
met iemand belasten *(met ...)
iemand complimenteren (met ...)
iemand helpen #(met ...)
feliciteren/gelukwensen (met ...)
to put someone in charge of
to compliment someone on
to help someone with
to congratulate someone for
naar iemand verwijzen *(naar ...) to refer someone to
om iemand benijden (om ...) to envy someone for
op iets baseren *(op ...) to base something on
over iemand inlichten (over ...) to inform someone about
tegen
iemand beschermen (tegen ...)
iets beveiligen (tegen ...)
to protect someone against
to protect something against
tot iemand aansporen (tot ...)
iemand aanzetten *(tot ...)
iemand bewegen *(tot ...)
iemand dwingen (tot ...)
iemand machtigen (tot ...)
iemand oproepen (tot ...)
iemand overhalen/overreden (tot ...)
iemand stimuleren (tot ...)
iemand uitdagen (tot...)
iemand uitnodigen #(tot ...)
iemand verleiden #(tot ...)
iemand verplichten *(tot ...)
to urge someone on to
to urge someone on to
to induce someone to
to force someone to
to authorize someone to
to incite someone to
to persuade someone to
to stimulate someone to
to challenge someone to
to invite someone to
to tempt someone to
to oblige someone to
uit iets afleiden (uit ...)
iemand redden (uit ...)
to deduce something from
to save someone from
van iemand afbrengen *(van ...)
iemand afhelpen *(van ...)
iemand beroven (van ...)
iemand beschuldigen (van ...)
iemand betichten *(van ...)
iemand ontslaan #(van ...)
iemand verwittigen ?(van)
to dissuade someone from
to rid someone of
to deprive someone of
to accuse someone of
to accuse someone of
to release someone from
to inform someone of
voor iets bestemmen *(voor ...)
iemand bedanken (voor)
iets reserveren *(voor ...)
iemand waarschuwen (voor ...)
to destine something for
to thank someone for
to reserve something for
to warn someone about/of

The table indicates whether or not the PP-complement is obligatorily present, and whether dropping the PP-complement leads to a radical change in the meaning of the verb (the cases marked with the number sign #). Our judgments are not always crystal-clear, and we would therefore not be surprised to find that judgments vary among the various groups of Dutch speakers. As far as we can see, there does not seem to be any system that determines whether the PP-complement can or cannot be omitted, or whether omission results in a radical change of meaning. We will therefore provisionally assume that this is all lexically determined.
      The examples in (330) below show that the accusative object selected by a transitive PO-verb can sometimes also remain implicit, especially in generic contexts like (330c&d). This shows that transitive PO-verbs behave like regular transitive verbs in that they can be used as pseudo-intransitives.

Example 330
a. Ik spoorde (Peter) aan tot verzet.
  urged  Peter  on  to resistance
b. Wij verwijzen (de lezer) daarvoor naar onze speciale brochure.
  we  refer  the reader  for.that  to our special brochure
c. Zij voeden (hun kinderen) op tot absolute gehoorzaamheid.
  they  educate   their children  prt.  to absolute obedience
d. Rechters veroordelen tegenwoordig vaak tot disciplinaire straffen.
  judges  sentence  nowadays  often  to disciplinary punishments

The subsections below investigate the extent to which transitive PO-verbs exhibit the properties predicted by the generalizations in (329).

[+]  A.  Er-nominalization

We have claimed in Table 7 that transitive PO-verbs are unergative verbs: they are triadic verbs selecting an external (generally agentive) argument. Generalization (329a) therefore predicts that transitive PO-verbs can be the input of er-nominalization, but the primed examples in (331) show that this is marginally possible at best. Given the fact that er-nominalization is not a necessary condition for assuming unergative status (there are also many regular transitive verbs that also resist it), this need not worry us too much.

Example 331
a. De rechter veroordeelde de dieven tot vijf jaar cel.
  the judge  convicted  the thieves  to five year imprisonment
  'The judge sentenced the thieves to five years of imprisonment.'
a'. *? een veroordelaar van dieven tot gevangenisstraf
  convict-er  of thieves  to imprisonment
b. Jan beschermt zijn huis tegen inbraak.
  Jan protects  his house  against burglary
b'. ?? een beschermer van huizen tegen inbraak
  protect-er  of houses  against burglary
[+]  B.  Auxiliary selection

Like regular transitive verbs, transitive PO-verbs select the auxiliary hebben. According to generalization (329b), this is consistent with assuming unergative status for these verbs.

Example 332
Auxiliary selection
a. De rechter heeft/*is Jan tot vijf jaar gevangenisstraf veroordeeld.
  the judge  has/is  Jan  to five year imprisonment  convicted
  'The judge has sentenced Jan to five years of imprisonment.'
b. Jan heeft/*is zijn huis tegen inbraak beschermd.
  Jan has/is  his house  against burglary  protected
  'Jan has protected his house against burglary.'
[+]  C.  Attributive use of participles

As in the case of regular transitive verbs, past/passive participles of transitive PO-verbs can only be used attributively if the noun they modify corresponds to the direct object of the verb. Attributive use of the participle with a noun that corresponds to the subject is excluded; example (333a'') is only acceptable if the modified noun, rechter, corresponds to the theme argument of the input verb. Note in passing that the PP-complements in the singly-primed examples behave like PP-complements of attributive adjectives in that they cannot follow the participles (cf. the Head-final filter on attributive adjectives) or the nouns.

Example 333
a. De rechter veroordeelde Jan tot vijf jaar gevangenisstraf.
  the judge  convicted  Jan to five yearsʼ imprisonment
a'. de tot vijf jaar gevangenisstraf veroordeelde man
  the  to five year imprisonment  convicted  man
a''. # de tot vijf jaar gevangenisstraf veroordeelde rechter
  the  to five years imprisonment  convicted  judge
b. De man beveiligd zijn huis tegen inbraak.
  the man  protects  his house  against burglary
b'. het tegen diefstal beveiligde huis
  the  against burglary  protected  house
b''. * de tegen diefstal beveiligde man
  the  against burglary  protected  man

The examples in (334) show that, as in the case of regular transitive verbs, present participles of transitive PO-verbs can be used attributively if the modified noun corresponds to the subject (agent) of the input verb.

Example 334
a. de Jan tot vijf jaar gevangenisstraf veroordelende rechter
  the  Jan to five years imprisonment  sentencing  judge
  'the judge who is sentencing Jan to five yearsʼ imprisonment'
b. de het huis tegen diefstal beveiligende man
  the  the house  against burglary  protecting  man
  'the man who is protecting the house against burglary'
[+]  D.  Passive

The examples in (335) show that transitive PO-verbs can be found in the regular passive. Since the generalization in (329d) states that the possibility of passivization is a sufficient condition for assuming unergative status, this supports our assumption that we are dealing with transitive PO-verbs in (335).

Example 335
a. Jan wordt (door de rechter) tot vijf jaar gevangenisstraf veroordeeld.
  Jan is   by the judge  to five years imprisonment  sentenced
  'Jan is sentenced (by the judge) to five yearsʼ imprisonment.'
b. Het huis wordt (door de man) tegen inbraak beveiligd.
  the house  is    by the man  against burglary  protected
  'The house is protected (by the man) against burglary.'
[+]  E.  The order of the internal arguments

To conclude this discussion of transitive PO-verbs we want to briefly address the order of the two internal arguments. Definite direct objects normally precede PP-complements, as is clear from the fact that the orders in the primed examples in (336) are at best marginally possible if the PP is assigned contrastive or emphatic focus; see Section 2.3.4, sub I, for the discussion of a number of cases in which the inverted order in the primed examples is possible.

Example 336
a. De rechter heeft Jan/iemand tot vijf jaar gevangenisstraf veroordeeld.
  the judge  has  Jan/someone   to five years imprisonment  convicted
  'The judge has sentenced Jan to five yearsʼ imprisonment.'
a'. * De rechter heeft tot vijf jaar gevangenisstraf Jan/iemand veroordeeld.
b. Jan heeft zijn huis/iets tegen diefstal beveiligd.
  Jan  has  his house/something  against burglary  protected
  'Jan has protected his house against burglary.'
b'. * Jan heeft tegen diefstal zijn huis/iets beveiligd.

Since adverbial phrases can precede the arguments of the verb, this provides us with an additional test: adverbial PPs, but not PP-complements, can precede objects. The examples in (337) show, however, that it is not the case that PP-complements categorically resist scrambling; scrambling is possible if contrastive accent is assigned to the nominal complement of the PP. The test therefore crucially involves scrambling of the PP across the object of the verb.

Example 337
a. dat Jan <op dat boek> al tijden <op dat boek> wacht.
  that  Jan   for that book  already  ages  waits
  'that Jan has been waiting for that book for ages.'
b. dat je op Jan blijkbaar niet kan rekenen.
  that  you  on Jan apparently  not  can  rely
  'that you/one apparently canʼt rely on Jan.'

If the word order test is indeed valid, example (338) shows that voor-PPs that occur with verbs of exchange cannot be considered complements, but must be considered adjuncts. This is an important conclusion since this supports the hypothesis we have put forth earlier that verbs can never take more than two internal arguments; cf. the discussion of example (291).

Example 338
a. Jan heeft voor tien euro dat boek aan Marie verkocht.
  Jan has  for ten euros  that book  to Marie  sold
  'Jan has sold that book for ten euros to Marie.'
b. Marie heeft voor tien euro dat boek van Jan gekocht.
  Marie has  for ten euros  that book  from Jan  bought
  'Marie has bought that book from Jan for ten euros.'
c. Marie betaalde Jan voor het boek tien euro.
  Marie paid  Jan for the book  ten euros

      The claim that PP-complements cannot precede nominal complements, of course, holds for the middle field of the clause only: like all complements, PP-complements can be moved into the initial position of the clause by means of topicalization or wh-movement.

Example 339
a. Tot vijf jaar gevangenisstraf heeft de rechter Jan veroordeeld.
  to five year imprisonment  has  the judge Jan  convicted
a'. Tot welke straf heeft de rechter Jan veroordeeld?
  to what punishment  has  the judge  Jan convicted
b. Tegen diefstal heeft Jan zijn huis beveiligd.
  against burglary  has  Jan his house  protected
b'. Waartegen heeft Jan zijn huis beschermd?
  against-what  has Jan  his house  protected
[+]  II.  Intransitive and unaccusative prepositional object verbs

This subsection discusses intransitive and unaccusative PO-verbs. The sample in Table 10 shows that PP-complements can be headed by a wide range of prepositions. The actual choice of the preposition is fully determined by the verb in question. The table also indicates whether or not the PP-complement must be obligatorily present, and whether dropping the PP-complement leads to a radical change in the meaning of the verb (the cases marked with the number sign #). Our judgments on these examples are not always crystal clear, and we would therefore not be surprised to find that judgments vary among the various groups of Dutch speakers. As far as we can see, there does not seem to be any system that determines whether the PP-complement can or cannot be omitted, or whether omission results in a radical change of meaning. We will therefore provisionally assume that this is all lexically determined.

Table 10: Intransitive and unaccusative prepositional object verbs
  intransitive unaccusative
aan appelleren #(aan) 'appeal to'
denken (aan) 'think about'
werken (aan) 'to work on'
ontkomen (aan) 'escape from'
toekomen *(aan) 'get round to'
wennen *(aan) 'to get used to'
bij volharden (bij) 'persevere in'
zweren #(bij) 'swear to/by'
in berusten ??(in) 'resign oneself to'
delen #(in) 'share'
groeien #(in) 'grow into'
incorporeren (in) 'incorporate in'
slagen #(in) 'succeed in'
met breken #(met) 'break with'
dwepen (met) 'idolize'
worstelen #(met) 'wrestle with'
beginnen (met)'to start with'
ophouden (met)'stop/quit'
naar grijpen #(naar) 'reach for'
kijken (naar) 'look at'
om denken #(om) 'think about'
geven #(om) 'care about'
vechten (om) 'scramble for'
komen (om)'come for'
onder
op aandringen ?(op) 'press someone'
rekenen #(op)'rely on'
wachten (op) 'wait for'
afknappen (op) 'get fed up with'
stuiten *(op) 'come across'
over heersen (over) 'rule (over)'
klagen (over) 'complain about'
regeren (over) 'rule (over)'
vallen #(over) 'trip over'
struikelen #(over) 'stumble over'
tegen strijden ?(tegen) 'fight against'
opwegen *(tegen) 'be equal to'
zondigen (tegen) 'violate'
opkomen #(tegen) 'protest against'
ingaan *(tegen) 'go against'
uitvallen #(tegen) 'let fly at'
tot bijdragen *(tot) 'contribute to'
dienen #(tot) 'be useful for'
spreken (tot) 'speak to'
komen #(tot) 'come to'
toetreden (tot) 'join'
vervallen (tot) 'deteriorate'
tussen kiezen (tussen) 'choose between'
weifelen (tussen) 'waver between'
uit ontstaan (uit) 'originate from'
voortkomen *(uit) 'follow from'
van dromen (van) 'dream about'
genieten (van) 'enjoy'
houden *(van) 'love/like'
afstappen #(van) 'abandon'
herstellen (van) 'recover from'
schrikken (van) 'be frightened of'
voor boeten (voor) 'suffer/pay for'
kiezen #(voor) 'opt for'
waken #(voor) 'watch'
zorgen (voor) 'take care of'
bezwijken (voor) 'succumb to'
opkomen #(voor) 'stand up for'
terugdeinzen (voor) 'shrink from'
schrikken (voor) 'be frightened of'
zwichten (voor) 'give in to'

The subsections below investigate the extent to which intransitive and unaccusative PO-verbs exhibit the properties predicted by the generalizations in (329). We discuss the two types simultaneously, as this will highlight the differences between them.

[+]  A.  er-nominalization

Intransitive and unaccusative PO-verbs are dyadic verbs taking an internal argument that is realized as a PP-complement. The second argument of the intransitive PO-verbs is an external (generally agentive) argument, whereas the second argument of the unaccusative PO-verbs is an internal argument with the role of theme; generalization (329a) therefore predicts that the former, but not the latter, may have a corresponding agentive ernoun. The examples in (340) show that there are indeed intransitive PO-verbs that allow er-nominalization, although it should be noted immediately that er-nominalization of intransitive PO-verbs is certainly not as common as that of regular intransitive verbs.

Example 340
Intransitive PO-verbs
a. Kleine jongens kijken graag naar gewelddadige films.
  little boys  look  gladly  at violent movies
  'Little boys like to watch violent movies.'
a'. De kijkers naar gewelddadige films zijn meestal vrij jong.
  the lookers  at  violent movies  are  generally  quite young
b. Veel ouders klagen over gewelddadige films.
  many parents  complain  about violent movies
b'. De klagers over gewelddadige films zijn vaak ouders van jonge kinderen.
  the complainers about violent movies  are  often  parents of young children

As expected, unaccusative PO-verbs do not allow er-nominalization. Some examples are given in (341).

Example 341
Unaccusative PO-verbs
a. De vluchtelingen ontkwamen aan een ernstige ramp.
  the refugees  escaped  from a severe disaster
  'The refugees escaped from a severe disaster.'
a'. * de ontkomers aan een ernstige ramp
b. De jongens bezweken voor de verleiding.
  the boys  succumbed  to the temptation
  'The boys succumbed to temptation.'
b'. * de bezwijkers voor de verleiding
[+]  B.  Auxiliary selection

Intransitive PO-verbs invariably select the perfect auxiliary hebben'to have'; the unaccusative PO-verbs in (343), on the other hand, select the auxiliary zijn. Since generalization (329b) states that selection of the auxiliary zijn is a sufficient condition for assuming unaccusative status for a verb, this means that we have now established that there are indeed unaccusative PO-verbs.

Example 342
Intransitive PO-verbs
a. De kleine kinderen hebben/*zijn naar een spannende film gekeken.
  the little children  have/are  at an exciting movie  looked
  'The little children have watched an exciting movie.'
b. Veel ouders hebben/*zijn over deze film geklaagd.
  many parents  have/are  about this movie  complained
  'Many parents have complained about this movie.'
Example 343
Unaccusative PO-verbs
a. De vluchtelingen zijn/*hebben aan een ernstige ramp ontkomen.
  the refugees  are/have  from a severe disaster  escaped
  'The refugees have escaped from a severe disaster.'
b. Jan is/*heeft onder de verleiding bezweken.
  Jan  is/has  to the temptation  succumbed
  'Jan has succumbed to temptation.'
[+]  C.  Attributive use of the past/passive and present participles

The examples in (344) show that past/passive participles of intransitive PO-verbs cannot be used attributively with nouns that correspond to their subjects.

Example 344
Intransitive PO-verbs
a. * de naar gewelddadige films gekeken kinderen
  the  at violent movies  looked  children
b. * de over deze film geklaagde ouders
  the  about this movie  complained  parents

Past participles of unaccusative verbs, on the other hand, can be used attributively with nouns corresponding to their subject, as is shown in the primeless examples in (345). The primed examples show that, like PP-complements of attributive adjectives, these PP-complements cannot follow the attributively used participle (cf. the Head-final filter on attributive adjectives) or the noun.

Example 345
Unaccusative PO-verbs
a. de aan een ernstige ramp ontkomen vluchtelingen
  the  from a severe disaster  escaped  refugees
  'the refugees who escaped from a severe disaster'
a'. * de ontkomen <aan een ernstige ramp> vluchtelingen <aan een ernstige ramp>
b. de onder de verleiding bezweken jongen
  the  to the temptation  succumbed  boy
  'the boy who succumbed to temptation'
b'. * de bezweken <onder de verleiding> jongen <onder de verleiding>

Since generalization (329c) states that the possibility of using the past/passive participle attributively is a sufficient condition for assuming unaccusative status for a monadic verb, the primeless examples in (345) provide additional evidence for the claim that there are unaccusative PO-verbs.
      For completeness' sake note that, like with regular intransitive verbs, present participles of intransitive PO-verbs can be attributively used with nouns that correspond to the subject of the clause. This is shown in (346), in which the PP-complement must again precede both the participle and the noun.

Example 346
Intransitive PO-verbs
a. de naar gewelddadige films kijkende kinderen
  the  to violent movies  looking  children
  'the children who are watching violent movies'
b. de over deze film klagende ouders
  the  about this movie  complaining  parents
  'the parents who are complaining about this movie'

The examples in (347) show that the present participle of unaccusative PO-verbs can also be used attributively with nouns that correspond to the subject of the clause. As with the regular unaccusative verbs, the difference between the examples in (345) and (347) is aspectual in nature: in the former case the event is represented as completed (perfective aspect), whereas in the latter case it is represented as ongoing (durative or imperfective aspect).

Example 347
Unaccusative PO-verbs
a. de aan een ernstige ramp ontkomende vluchtelingen
  the  from a severe disaster  escaping  refugees
  'the refugees that are escaping from a severe disaster'
b. de onder de verleiding bezwijkende jongen
  the  to the temptation  succumbing  boy
  'the boy who is succumbing to temptation'
[+]  D.  Impersonal passive

According to generalization (329d), the possibility of passivization is a sufficient condition for assuming unergative status for a verb; unaccusative verbs categorically resist passivization. The examples in (348) and (349) behave as expected: the intransitive PO-verbs in (348) can indeed occur in the impersonal passive, whereas the unaccusative ones in (349) cannot.

Example 348
Intransitive PO-verbs
a. Er wordt (door kleine kinderen) vaak naar gewelddadige films gekeken.
  there  is    by little children often  at violent movies  looked
  'Violent movies are often watched by little children.'
b. Er wordt (door ouders) vaak over deze film geklaagd.
  there  is   by parents  often  about this movie  complained
  'One (parents) often complains about this movie.'
Example 349
Unaccusative PO-verbs
a. * Er werd (door de vluchtelingen) ontkomen aan een ernstige ramp.
  there  was   by the refugees  escaped  from a severe disaster
b. * Er wordt (door Jan) vaak bezweken onder de verleiding.
  there  is   by Jan  often  succumbed  to the temptation

It should be noted, however, that there is a small set of aspectual-like verbs that do allow impersonal passivization despite the fact that they take the perfect auxiliary zijn: aanvangen/beginnen (met)'to start with', ophouden (met)'to stop with', overgaan (tot)'to proceed to'. These verbs constitute a problem for the classic unaccusativity tests: the fact that they take zijn should be sufficient to conclude that they are unaccusative and we therefore wrongly predict that the passivization in the primed examples of (350) should be impossible. We will ignore these cases here but return to them in Subsection IV.

Example 350
a. Jan is begonnen/gestopt met de bouw van het huis.
  Jan  is started/stopped  with the construction of the house
  'Jan has started/stopped building the house.'
a'. Er is begonnen/gestopt met de bouw van het huis.
  there  is started/stopped  with the construction of the house
  'The construction of the house has stopped.'
b. Daarna zijn we overgegaan tot de orde van de dag.
  after.that  are  we prt.-proceed  to the order of the day
  'After that, we proceeded to the order of the day.'
b'. Daarna werd overgegaan tot de orde van de dag.
  after.that  was  prt.-proceed  to the order of the day
[+]  E.  Conclusion

The previous subsections have shown that the two subclasses of dyadic PO-verbs we have distinguished indeed behave differently. The differences in behavior of these two types of PO-verbs are similar to the differences in behavior of the regular intransitive and unaccusative verbs. If the generalizations in (329) are indeed valid, we may therefore safely conclude that we have correctly characterized these two classes of PO-verbs as intransitive and unaccusative, respectively.

[+]  III.  A second class of unaccusative PO-verb?

Section 2.1.2, sub III, suggested that, besides unaccusative verbs taking zijn as their perfect auxiliary, there is a second class of unaccusative verbs taking the auxiliary hebben. An example of such a verb is branden'to burn' in (351a). The data to be discussed in this subsection strongly suggest that there are some PO-verbs that may also belong to this second class of unaccusative verbs. One potential example of this type is given in (351b), in which the verb branden has been used metaphorically and is clearly complemented by a PP.

Example 351
a. De kaars brandt.
  the candle  burns
  'The candle is burning.'
b. Jan brandt van verlangen.
  Jan burns  of desire

Other verbs that may belong to the second type of unaccusative PO-verbs are given in (352). This list also indicates whether or not the PP is obligatory, and whether omission of the PP results in a drastic change of meaning (the cases marked with the number sign #).

Example 352
Unaccusative prepositional object verbs (type II): afsteken (bij)'to stand out against', barsten # (van)'to swarm with', bestaan # (uit)'to consist of', (be)horen *(tot/bij)'to belong to', dateren # (van/uit)'to date from', gonzen van'to buzz', krioelen/sterven/stikken # (van)'to swarm with', passen (bij/in)'to fit', rammelen # (van de honger)'to be extremely hungry', ressorteren *(onder)'to come under', ruiken # (naar)'to smell of', smaken # (naar)'to taste like', schommelen # (tussen)'to vacillate between', smaken (naar)'to taste of', zwemen *(naar)'to incline/tend to'
[+]  A.  Er-nominalization

The subject of the PO-verbs in (352) is non-agentive, which is clear from the fact that these verbs normally take a -animate subject. The actual semantic role of the subject is often difficult to determine: the subject in (353a) might be a theme, but might also be a location; the subject in (353a') might again be a theme, but it also feels like an experiencer; the subject in (353b) acts like some kind of source; in (353c), the subjects again seem to be themes.

Example 353
a. De stad barst van de toeristen.
  the city  bursts  of the tourists
  'The city is swarming with tourists.'
a'. Jan barst van de honger/hoofdpijn.
  Jan  bursts  of the hunger/headache
  'Jan is extremely hungry/has a terrible headache'
b. Jan/de kamer ruikt naar zeep.
  Jan/the room  smells  of soap
  'Jan/the room smells of soap.'
c. Deze wijn past goed bij dit gerecht.
  this wine  fits  well  with this dish
c'. Jan past goed in onze groep.
  Jan fits  well  in our group

Given the fact that the subject is non-agentive, it does not come as a surprise that the PO-verbs in (352) cannot be used as input for er-nominalization. In this respect, these verbs behave like all unaccusative verbs.

Example 354
er-nominalization
a. * een barster van de honger/hoofdpijn
  a burst-er  of the hunger/headache
b. * een ruiker naar zeep
  a smell-er  of soap
c. * een passer bij dit gerecht/in onze groep
  a fit-er  with this dish/in our group
[+]  B.  Auxiliary selection

Like regular unaccusative verbs of the second type, the PO-verbs in (352) select the auxiliary hebben in the perfect tense. Although many of these verbs cannot readily be used in the perfect-tense construction, the contrast between the examples with hebben and zijn is clear.

Example 355
a. De stad ?heeft/*is al die tijd gebarsten van de toeristen.
  the city   has/is  all that time  burst  of the tourists
  'The city has swarmed with tourists all that time.'
a'. Jan ?heeft/*is al die tijd gebarsten van de honger/hoofdpijn.
  Jan has/is  all that time  burst  of the hunger/headache
  'Jan has been extremely hungry/has had a terrible headache all that time.'
b. Jan/de kamer heeft/*is al die tijd geroken naar zeep.
  Jan/the room  has/is  all that time  smelled  of soap
  'Jan/the room has smelled of soap all that time.'
c. Deze wijn ?heeft/*is altijd goed bij dit gerecht gepast.
  this wine  has/is  always  well  with this dish  fit
c'. Jan heeft/*is altijd goed in onze groep gepast.
  Jan  has/is  always  well  in our group  fit

The examples in (356) illustrate that unaccusative verbs of the second type show an auxiliary shift if they are supplemented with a predicative complement: with a complementive they take the auxiliary zijn. It would, of course, be decisive if the PO-verbs in (352) were to exhibit a similar shift. Unfortunately, however, these verbs cannot be supplemented with a predicative complement, because complementives never occur with verbs taking a PP-complement.

Example 356
a. Jan heeft/*is gebloed.
  Jan has/is  bled
b. Jan is/*heeft dood gebloed.
  Jan is/has  dead  bled
  'Jan has bled to death.'
[+]  C.  Attributive and predicative use of the participles

Like the regular unaccusative verbs of the second type, the past/passive participle of the PO-verbs in (352) cannot be used attributively.

Example 357
Attributive use of the past/passive participle
a. * de van de toeristen gebarsten stad
  the  of the tourists  burst  city
a'. * de van de honger/hoofdpijn gebarsten jongen
  the  of the hunger/headache  burst  boy
b. * de naar zeep geroken jongen/kamer
  the  of soap  smelled  boy/room
c. * de bij de maaltijd gepaste wijn
  the  with the dish  fit  wine
c'. * de in de groep gepaste jongen
  the  in the group  fit  boy

The examples in (358) show that past/passive participles of unaccusative verbs of the second type can be used attributively, provided that a complementive is added. Again, this cannot be used as a test for showing that the PO-verbs in (352) are also unaccusative, since the PP-complement blocks the addition of a complementive.

Example 358
de *(dood) gebloede jongen
  the    dead bled  boy
'the boy that has bled to death'

For completeness' sake, note that present participles of the PO-verbs in (352) can be used attributively (like those of all verbs discussed so far).

Example 359
Attributive use of the present participle
a. de van de toeristen barstende stad
  the  of the tourists  bursting  city
a'. de van de honger/hoofdpijn barstende jongen
  the  of the hunger/headache  bursting  boy
b. de naar zeep ruikende jongen/kamer
  the  of soap  smelling  boy/room
c. de bij de maaltijd passende wijn
  the  with the dish  fitting  wine
c'. de in de groep passende jongen
  the  in the group  fitting  boy
[+]  D.  Impersonal passive

Like unaccusative verbs (of all types), the PO-verbs in (352) cannot be passivized. This provides support for the assumption that we are indeed dealing with unaccusative verbs. Note that the ungrammaticality of the examples in (360) cannot be accounted for by assuming some kind of animacy restriction since all these verbs can take a +human subject.

Example 360
Impersonal passive
a. * Er werd (door Jan) gebarsten van de honger/hoofdpijn.
  there  was   by Jan  burst  of the hunger/headache
b. * Er wordt (door Jan) naar zeep geroken.
  there  is   by Jan  of soap  smelled
c. * Er wordt (door Jan) in de groep gepast.
  there  is   by Jan  in the group  fit
[+]  E.  Conclusion

The previous subsections discussed the PO-verbs in (352). We have seen that the behavior of these verbs differs somewhat from that of the regular unaccusative verbs of the second type, but this is due to an independent factor, viz., the fact that the PP-complement blocks the addition of a predicative complement. The fact that the verbs in (352) cannot be the input for er-nominalization and cannot be passivized provides some support in favor of the assumption that these verbs are unaccusative PO-verbs. The facts are not sufficient, however, for concluding unaccusative status for these verbs. More research is therefore needed to establish that these verbs are indeed unaccusative.

[+]  IV.  A problematic case

This subsection briefly discusses a set of PO-verbs that do not readily fit into the groups discussed in the previous subsections; they exhibit mixed behavior in the sense that they satisfy both a sufficient condition for assuming unaccusative status (they take the auxiliary zijn) and a sufficient condition for assuming unergative status (they allow passivization). A sample of these PO-verbs is given in (361).

Example 361
Prepositional object verbs selecting zijn 'to be': aanvangen met'to start with', afgaan op'to rely on', beginnen aan/met'to start (with)', doorgaan met'to continue with', eindigen met'to conclude with', ingaan op'to accept', ophouden met'to quit', overgaan (tot)'to proceed to', stoppen met'to quit', tegemoet komen aan'to meet', toekomen aan'to get to', voorbijgaan aan'to pass by', uitgaan van'to assume', vooruitlopen op'to anticipate'

A noteworthy fact is that many of the verbs in (361) are aspectual in nature: aanvangen met'to start with', beginnen (aan/met)'to start with', doorgaan met'to continue with', eindigen met'to conclude with', ophouden met'to quit', overgaan (tot)'to proceed to', stoppen met'to quit', and perhaps also toekomen aan'to get to' and vooruitlopen op'to anticipate'. Furthermore, many of these verbs are particle verbs based on the verbs gaan and komen, which do exhibit straightforward unaccusative behavior if used without a particle. Finally, it should be noted that most of the verbs in (361) cannot readily be combined with a -human subject and that those that do allow both an animate and an inanimate subject show their ambiguous behavior only if the subject is animate (which may be due to the animacy restriction on passivization).

[+]  A.  Er-nominalization

The PO-verbs in (361) do not allow er-nominalization if the PP-complement is present, which suggests that the subject is non-agentive. It should be noted, however, that the noun beginner'beginner' does exist as a lexicalized form denoting an inexperienced person in a specific domain of art, sports, science, etc. There is also a noun voorbijganger, but this noun is only used to denote a person who is literally passing by and must also be considered a lexicalized form, which is clear from the fact that the morpheme ganger is used instead of the regular form gaander. The prepositions that are given in small caps do not have an English counterpart.

Example 362
a. Marie begint aan/met een nieuw project.
  Marie  starts  with a new project
a'. * een beginner aan/met een nieuwe project
  starter  with  a new project
b. Marie loopt op de nieuwe plannen vooruit.
  Marie anticipates  op  the new plans  prt.
b'. * een vooruitloper op deze plannen
  an anticipator  of these plans
c. Jan gaat aan de details voorbij.
  Jan passes  aan  the details  by
c'. * een voorbijgaander aan de details
  by-passer  aan  the details
[+]  B.  Auxiliary selection

The PO-verbs in (361) all select the auxiliary zijn'to be'. Since we have claimed that selecting zijn is a sufficient condition for assuming unaccusative status of the verb, we should conclude that we are dealing with unaccusative PO-verbs, but we will see that this runs afoul of the fact that these verbs also allow passivization.

Example 363
a. Marie is aan/met een nieuw project begonnen.
  Marie has  with  a new project  started
b. Marie is op de nieuwe plannen vooruitgelopen.
  Marie has  op  the new plans  prt.-anticipated
c. Jan is aan de details voorbijgegaan.
  Jan has  aan  the details  by-passed
[+]  C.  Attributive and predicative use of the past/passive participle

The past/passive participles of these PO-verbs cannot readily be used attributively, although judgments may differ from case to case and from person to person. This may indicate either that the verb in question is atelic or that it is unergative. In the case of the PO-verbs afgaan op, doorgaan met, ingaan op and voorbijgaan aan, the lack of attributive use is probably due to the fact that they are contraction verbs.

Example 364
a. ?? een aan/met een nieuw project begonnen meisje
  with  a new project  started  girl
b. ?? een op de plannen vooruitgelopen meisje
  op the plans anticipated  girl
c. * een aan de details voorbijgegane jongen
  aan  the details  by-passed  boy

For completeness' sake, the examples in (365) show that the present participles can normally be used attributively. Exceptions are verbs derived from gaan, which is due to the fact that the present participles of contraction verbs generally cannot be used attributively; cf. Section A9.2.1, sub I-i.

Example 365
a. een aan/met een nieuw project beginnend meisje
  with  a new project  starting  girl
b. een op de plannen vooruitlopend meisje
  op the plans anticipating  girl
c. * een aan de details voorbijgaande jongen
  aan the details  by-passed  boy
[+]  D.  Impersonal passive

The data discussed so far are consistent with assuming unaccusative status for the PO-verbs in (361). We therefore expect that these verbs cannot be passivized either, but the examples in (366) show that this expectation is not borne out.

Example 366
a. Er wordt (door Marie) aan/met een nieuw project begonnen.
  there  is   by Marie  with  a new project  started
b. Er wordt (door Marie) op de plannen vooruitgelopen.
  there  is    by Marie  op the plans  prt.-anticipated
c. Er wordt (door Jan) aan de details voorbijgegaan.
  there  is    by Jan  aan the details  by-passed
[+]  E.  Conclusion

The PO-verbs in (361) are a problem for the generalizations in (329), according to which selection of the auxiliary zijn is a sufficient condition for assuming unaccusative status, and passivization a sufficient condition for assuming unergative status of a verb. Since the PO-verbs in (365) select zijn and also allow passivization, they pose a problem for the assumptions underlying the classification of PO-verbs insofar as these would lead to a contradiction. This problem deserves more attention in the future.

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