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5.1.2.3. Factive versus non-factive complement clause constructions
quickinfo

Section 5.1.2.2, sub II, has shown that finite object clauses normally do not appear in the middle field of the matrix clause. The relevant examples are repeated here as (81).

Example 81
a. Jan heeft gisteren beweerd [dat Els gaat emigreren].
  Jan has  yesterday  claimed   that  Els  goes  emigrate
  'Jan said yesterday that Els is going to emigrate.'
a'. * Jan heeft [dat Els gaat emigreren] gisteren beweerd.
b. Peter zal grondig onderzoeken [of het waar is].
  Peter will  thoroughly  investigate  whether  it  true  is
  'Peter will investigate thoroughly whether it is true.'
b'. * Peter zal [of het waar is] grondig onderzoeken.

There is, however, a systematic exception to this rule: the examples in (82) show that factive verbs like onthullen'to reveal' and betreuren'to regret' do allow the embedded clause to appear in the middle field. The acceptability of the primed examples decreases when they become longer and more complex, but this simply reflects the fact that, in general, longer constituents prefer to occur in extraposed position.

Example 82
a. Jan heeft gisteren onthuld [dat Els gaat emigreren].
  Jan has  yesterday  revealed   that  Els goes  emigrate
  'Jan revealed yesterday that Els is going to emigrate.'
a'. Jan heeft [dat Els gaat emigreren] gisteren onthuld.
b. Jan heeft nooit betreurd [dat hij taalkundige is geworden].
  Jan has  never  regretted   that  he  linguist  has become
  'Jan has never regretted that he has become a linguist.'
b'. Jan heeft [dat hij taalkundige is geworden] nooit betreurd.

The fact that factive clauses can occur in nominal argument positions was first noticed by Kiparsky & Kiparsky (1970) and since then it has widely been assumed that factive clauses are nominal in nature. Additional support for claiming that factive clauses differ from argument clauses is that there are more systematic differences between the two. The subsections below discuss some of these differences as well as some other conspicuous properties of embedded factive clauses.

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[+]  I.  The truth of the embedded proposition is presupposed

The main difference between (81a) and the primeless examples in (82) is related to the truth of the proposition expressed by the embedded clause; cf. Kiparsky & Kiparsky (1970). Non-factive verbs are used to assert the truth of the argument clause with varying degrees of decisiveness: by using (83a), the speaker expresses that Jan can be held responsible for the truth of the proposition "Els is going to emigrate", whereas this holds only to a lesser extent when he uses (83b).

Example 83
a. Jan heeft beweerd [dat Els gaat emigreren].
non-factive
  Jan has  claimed   that  Els goes  emigrate
  'Jan has said that Els is going to emigrate.'
b. Jan vermoedt [dat Els gaat emigreren].
non-factive
  Jan suspects   that  Els goes  emigrate
  'Jan suspects that Els is going to emigrate.'

Factive verbs, on the other hand, are used if the speaker presupposes the truth of the proposition expressed by the embedded clause, and asserts something about it: by using (84a), the speaker asserts about the embedded proposition "Els is going to emigrate" that Jan revealed it and by using (84b) he asserts about the same proposition that Peter regrets it.

Example 84
a. Jan heeft onthuld [dat Els gaat emigreren].
factive
  Jan has  revealed    that  Els goes  emigrate
  'Jan has revealed that Els is going to emigrate.'
b. Peter betreurt [dat Els gaat emigreren].
factive
  Jan  regrets    that  Els goes  emigrate
  'Jan regrets that Els is going to emigrate.'

That the speaker does not commit himself to the truth of the proposition expressed by the argument clauses of the non-factive verbs beweren'to claim' and vermoeden'to suspect' in (83) is clear from the fact that he can without much ado deny that the proposition is true. The speaker may simply think or know that the information source is wrong, consequently, his denial of the proposition "Els is going to emigrate" in the examples in (85) leads to a semantically coherent result.

Example 85
a. Jan heeft beweerd [dat Els gaat emigreren], maar dat is niet waar.
  Jan has  claimed   that  Els goes  emigrate  but  that  is not true
  'Jan has claimed that Els is going to emigrate, but that isnʼt true.'
b. Jan vermoedt [dat Els gaat emigreren], maar dat is niet waar.
  Jan suspects   that  Els goes  emigrate  but  that  is not true
  'Jan suspects that Els is going to emigrate, but that isnʼt true.'

Things are different in sentences such as (84) with the factive verbs onthullen'to reveal' or betreuren'to regret'; by using these verbs the speaker expresses that he himself considers the proposition "Els is going to emigrate" to be true, and the denial of this proposition in the examples in (86) therefore leads to semantically incoherent or at least surprising results.

Example 86
a. $ Jan heeft onthuld [dat Els gaat emigreren], maar dat is niet waar.
  Jan has  revealed   that  Els goes emigrate  but  that  is  not  true
  'Jan has revealed that Els is going to emigrate, but that isnʼt true.'
b. $ Jan betreurt [dat Els gaat emigreren], maar dat is niet waar.
  Jan  regrets    that  Els goes  emigrate  but  that  is not true
  'Jan regrets that Els is going to emigrate, but that isnʼt true.'
[+]  II.  Properties of factive verbs

The question as to whether a complement clause does or does not allow a factive reading depends mainly on the meaning of the verb/predicate in the matrix clause. In (87) we provide some examples of predicates that are typically used in factive or non-factive contexts, as well as some predicates that can comfortably be used in either context; see Kiparsky & Kiparsky (1970) for a similar list for English.

Example 87
a. Non-factive verbs: beweren'to claim', concluderen'to conclude', veronderstellen'to suppose', denken'to think', hopen'to hope', vinden'to consider', volhouden'to maintain', zich verbeelden'to imagine'
b. Factive verbs: begrijpen'to comprehend', betreuren'to regret', duidelijk maken'to make clear', negeren'to ignore', onthullen'to reveal', toegeven'to admit', toejuichen'to applaud', vergeten'to forget', weten'to know'
c. Verbs that can be factive or non-factive; vertellen'to tell', bekennen'to admit/confess', erkennen'to admit', geloven'to believe', ontkennen'to deny', vermoeden'to suspect', verwachten'to expect', voorspellen'to predict'

Kiparsky & Kiparsky (1970) propose various tests that can be used to determine whether or not we are dealing with a factive verb/predicate. Some of these appeal to specific properties of English, so we will only discuss those tests that make the desired distinction for Dutch as well. We will also discuss a number of tests proposed in Barbiers (2000).

[+]  A.  Paraphrase by het feit dat ...'the fact that ...'

One way of making visible that the truth of the embedded proposition is presupposed is by making use of a paraphrase with the nominal object het feit'the fact'; the contrast in the examples in (88) shows that addition of the noun phrase is impossible if the embedded clause is non-factive, but normally acceptable (albeit sometimes clumsy) if it is factive.

Example 88
a. * Jan heeft het feit beweerd [dat Els gaat emigreren].
non-factive
  Jan has  the fact  claimed  that  Els goes  emigrate
  Intended reading: 'Jan has claimed that Els is going to emigrate.'
b. Jan heeft het feit onthuld [dat Els gaat emigreren].
factive
  Jan has  the fact  revealed   that  Els goes emigrate
  'Jan has revealed the fact that Els is going to emigrate.'

Since the direct object in (88b) is the discontinuous phrase het feit dat Els gaat emigreren, it need not surprise us that Kiparsky & Kiparsky (1970) have proposed that underlyingly factive clauses are noun phrases. If true, it would immediately account for the fact that factive clauses can be placed in clause-internal position, given that the clausal complement of feit can also be placed immediately after the noun. Observe that the complex noun phrases may either follow or precede the adverb waarschijnlijk'probably'; this will become relevant later in our discussion.

Example 89
a. Jan heeft waarschijnlijk [het feit [dat Els gaat emigreren]] onthuld.
  Jan has  probably   the fact   that  Els goes emigrate  revealed
  'Jan has probably revealed (the fact) that Els is going to emigrate.'
b. Jan heeft [het feit [dat Els gaat emigreren]] waarschijnlijk onthuld.
  Jan has   the fact that  Els goes emigrate  probably  revealed
  'Jan has probably revealed (the fact) that Els is going to emigrate.'
[+]  B.  Negation does not affect the presupposed truth of a factive clause

Negation of the examples in (83) and (84) has different consequences for the truth of the proposition expressed by the embedded clauses. Consider the negated counterparts of the (a)-examples, given in (90).

Example 90
a. Jan heeft niet beweerd [dat Els gaat emigreren].
non-factive
  Jan has  not  claimed   that  Els goes  emigrate
  'Jan hasnʼt claimed that Els is going to emigrate.'
b. Jan heeft niet onthuld [dat Els gaat emigreren].
factive
  Jan has  not revealed    that  Els goes  emigrate
  'Jan hasnʼt revealed that Els is going to emigrate.'

The addition of negation to the non-factive construction in (90a) has the effect that the truth of the embedded proposition is no longer asserted. The presupposed truth of the embedded proposition in (90b), on the other hand, is not affected; the speaker still implies that the proposition "Els is going to emigrate" is true. Observe that the use of negation leads to an incoherent pragmatic result with the factive verb weten'to know' in simple present constructions with a first person subject: by using example (91c) the speaker expresses that he has no knowledge of the truth of a proposition he presupposes to be true. This problem, of course, does not arise in (91a&b) given the speaker can readily assert that some other person/the speaker-in-the-past was not aware of the truth of this proposition.

Example 91
a. Jan weet niet [dat Els gaat emigreren].
  Jan knows  not   that  Els goes  emigrate
  'Jan doesnʼt know that Els is going to emigrate.'
b. Ik wist niet [dat Els gaat emigreren].
  knew   not  that  Els goes  emigrate
  'I didnʼt know that Els is going to emigrate.'
c. $ Ik weet niet [dat Els gaat emigreren].
  know  not   that  Els goes  emigrate
  'I donʼt know that Els is going to emigrate.'
[+]  C.  Questioning does not affect the presupposed truth of a factive clause

The formation of a yes/no-question, as in (92), reveals a similar contrast as the addition of negation: example (92a) no longer asserts the truth of the embedded proposition "Els is going to emigrate", whereas the presupposed truth of this proposition is not affected by question formation in (92b).

Example 92
a. Heeft Jan beweerd [dat Els gaat emigreren]?
non-factive
  has  Jan claimed   that  Els goes  emigrate
  'Did Jan claim that Els is going to emigrate?'
b. Heeft Jan onthuld [dat Els gaat emigreren]?
factive
  has  Jan revealed    that  Els goes  emigrate
  'Did Jan reveal that Els is going to emigrate?'

Like negation, questioning leads to an incoherent pragmatic result with the factive verb weten'to know' in simple present constructions with a first person subject: by using example (93c) the speaker is asking whether he himself has knowledge of the truth of a proposition he presupposes to be true. This problem, of course, does not arise in (93a&b) since the speaker can readily ask whether some other person is or whether the speaker-in-the-past was aware of the truth of this proposition.

Example 93
a. Weet Jan [dat Els gaat emigreren]?
  knows  Jan   that  Els goes  emigrate
  'Does Jan know that Els is going to emigrate?'
b. Wist ik (toen) [dat Els gaat emigreren]?
  knew   then   that  Els goes  emigrate
  'Did I know then that Els is going to emigrate?'
c. $ Weet ik [dat Els gaat emigreren]?
  know   that  Els goes  emigrate
  'Do I know that Els is going to emigrate?'
[+]  D.  Question-answer pairs

Consider the question-answer pairs in (94). The answers in the (a)-examples show that non-factive verbs can be used perfectly easily when the speaker wants to diminish his responsibility for the correctness of the answer or to attribute the responsibility for the correctness of the answer to some other person. The (b)-examples, on the other hand, show that factive verbs cannot be used in the syntactic frame "subject + V + answer" at all. See Section 5.1.5, sub II, for more discussion of question-answer pairs such as (94).

Example 94
Wie gaat er emigreren?
  who  goes  there  emigrate
'Who is going to emigrate?'
a. Ik denk/vermoed Els.
  think/suspect  Els
  'Els, I think/suspect.'
a'. Jan zei net Els.
non-factive
  Jan said  just.now  Els
  'Els, Jan said just now.'
b. * Ik onthul Els.
  reveal  Els
b'. * Jan onthulde net Els.
factive
  Jan revealed just.now Els

The question-answer pairs in (95) show that we find a similar contrast between non-factive and factive verbs in the answers to yes/no-questions: whereas the non-factive verbs in the (a)-answer can be combined with a polar phrase van niet/wel (literally: of + negative/affirmative marker"), the factive verbs in the (b)-answers cannot. For a more extensive discussion of such polar phrases we refer to Section 5.1.2.4, sub IIIB.

Example 95
Gaat Els binnenkort emigreren?
  goes  Els soon  emigrate
'Will Els emigrate soon?'
a. Peter zegt van niet, maar ik denk van wel.
non-factive
  Peter says  van not but  I think  van aff
  'Peter says she wonʼt but I think she will'
b. * Jan heeft onthuld van niet/wel.
factive
  Jan has  revealed  van  not/aff
  Intended reading: 'Jan has revealed that she will (not).'
b'. * Peter betreurt van niet/wel.
factive
  Peter regrets van  not/aff
  Intended reading: 'Peter regrets that she will (not).'
[+]  E.  Wh-extraction

Non-factive and factive clauses differ in that the latter are so-called weak islands for wh-movement. While the primeless examples in (96) show that non-factive clauses allow extraction of both objects and adjuncts, the primed examples show that factive clauses allow the extraction of objects only; the trace is used to indicate that the wh-phrase is interpreted as part of the embedded clause. The acceptability contrast between the two (b)-examples thus shows that factive clauses are less transparent than non-factive clauses.

Example 96
a. Wati denk je [dat Peter ti gekocht heeft]?
non-factive
  what  think  you   that  Peter  bought  has
  'What do you think that Peter has bought?'
a'. Wati betreur je [dat Peter ti gekocht heeft]?
factive
  what  regret  you   that  Peter  bought  has
  'What do you regret that Peter has bought?'
b. Wanneeri denk je [dat Peter ti vertrokken is]?
non-factive
  when  think  you   that  Peter  left  has
  'When do you think that Peter left?'
b'. * Wanneeri betreur je [dat Peter ti vertrokken is]?
factive
  when  regret  you   that  Peter  left  has
[+]  F.  Negative polarity items

That factive clauses are less transparent than non-factive clauses is also borne out by the examples in (97). The contrast between the primeless and primed examples shows that negative polarity items like ook maar iets'anything' or een bal (lit.: a testicle) can be licensed by negation in the matrix clause if they are part of a non-factive clause, but not if they are part of a factive clause. It should be noted, however, that the strength of the argument is somewhat weakened by the fact that this type of long-distance licensing of negative polarity items is only possible with a limited number of non-factive verbs; see Klooster (2001:316ff.).

Example 97
a. Ik denk niet [dat Jan ook maar iets gedaan heeft].
non-factive
  think  not   that  Jan ook maar  anything  done  has
  'I donʼt think that Jan has done anything.'
a'. * Ik onthul niet [dat Jan ook maar iets gedaan heeft].
factive
  reveal  not   that  Jan ook maar  anything  done  has
b. Ik denk niet [dat Jan (ook maar) een bal gedaan heeft].
non-factive
  think  not   that  Jan ook maar  a testicle  done  has
  'I donʼt think that Jan has lifted so much as a finger.'
b'. * Ik onthul niet [dat Jan (ook maar) een bal gedaan heeft].
factive
  reveal  not   that  Jan ook maar  a testicle  done  has
[+]  III.  Factors affecting factivity

The discussion in Subsection II may have suggested that the verb/predicate of the matrix clause fully determines whether the embedded proposition can be construed as factive or not. However, it seems that there are a number of additional factors that may affect a verb's ability to take a factive complement; in fact, Barbiers (2000:193) claims that a factive reading can be forced upon the clausal complement of most verbs in (87a).

[+]  A.  Adverbial phrases

It is frequently not immediately obvious whether we can classify a specific verb as factive or non-factive. For example, Kiparsky & Kiparsky (1970) take a verb such as geloven'to believe' in (98) to be non-factive, which at first sight seems to be confirmed by the fact that placing the dependent clause in the middle field of the matrix clause gives rise to a degraded result.

Example 98
a. dat Marie gelooft [dat Els gaat emigreren].
  that Marie  believes   that  Els goes emigrate
  'that Marie believes that Els is going to emigrate.'
b. * dat Marie [dat Els gaat emigreren] gelooft.

However, when we add an adverb like eindelijk'finally' or nooit'never', as in (99), placement of the dependent clause in the middle field of the matrix clause becomes much more acceptable. This indicates that it is not just the verb which determines whether the construction is factive or not, but that the wider syntactic context also plays a role.

Example 99
a. dat Marie eindelijk/nooit gelooft [dat Els gaat emigreren].
  that Marie  finally/never  believes   that  Els goes  emigrate
  'that Marie finally/never believes that Els is going to emigrate.'
b. dat Marie [dat Els gaat emigreren] eindelijk/nooit gelooft.
[+]  B.  The anticipatory pronoun het'it'

Addition of the anticipatory pronoun het may also favor a factive reading of an embedded proposition; cf. Kiparsky & Kiparsky (1970: 165). This is very clear with a verb such as verwachten'to expect': whereas examples such as (100a) without the anticipatory pronoun are normally used when the expectation is not borne out, examples such as (100b) with the anticipatory pronoun het are regularly used when the expectation is fulfilled.

Example 100
a. Ik had verwacht [dat Els zou emigreren].
  had expected   that  Els would  emigrate
  'Iʼd expected that Els would emigrate (but I was wrong).'
b. Ik had het verwacht [dat Els zou emigreren].
  had it  expected   that  Els would  emigrate
  'I had expected it that Els would emigrate (and you can see that I was right).'

Application of this test is not always easy, however. For example, it is not true that factive clauses must be introduced by the anticipatory pronoun; many factive verbs can occur without it, as will be clear from inspecting the factive constructions discussed so far. It will also be clear from the fact that a factive reading of example (100a) is greatly favored when we add the adverb al'already', as in (101a). For completeness' sake, (101b) shows that al can also be added to (100b).

Example 101
a. Ik had al verwacht [dat Els zou emigreren].
  had already  expected   that  Els would  emigrate
  'Iʼd already expected that Els would emigrate.'
b. Ik had het al verwacht [dat Els zou emigreren].
  had it  already  expected   that  Els would  emigrate
  'I had already expected it that Els would emigrate.'

Complications also arise in examples containing the pronoun het. Consider the examples in (102) with the verb vertellen'to tell', which can also be used either as a non-factive or as a factive verb. The former is clear from (102a), which shows that the speaker has no trouble in denying the truth of the proposition expressed by the complement clause in the first conjunct by means of the second conjunct. The continuation in (102b) is of course compatible with a factive interpretation.

Example 102
Jan heeft me verteld [dat hij decaan wordt] ...
  Jan has  me told   that  he  dean  becomes
'Jan has told me that heʼll become dean of the faculty ... '
a. ... maar dat was maar een geintje.
non-factive
  but  that  was  just  a joke
  '... but that was just a joke.'
b. ... maar dat wist ik al.
factive
  but  that  knew  already
  '... but I knew that already.'

Example (103) seems to support the claim that adding the anticipatory pronoun het'it' to the first conjunct in (102) favors a factive reading: the continuation in (103a) seems marked because it suggests that the speaker is contradicting himself by denying the presupposed truth of the complement clause in the first conjunct.

Example 103
Jan heeft het me verteld [dat hij decaan wordt] ...
  Jan has  it  me told   that  he  dean  becomes
'Jan has told me that heʼll become dean of the faculty ... '
a. # ... maar dat was maar een geintje.
non-factive
  but  that  was  just  a joke
  '... but that was just a joke.'
b. ... maar dat wist ik al.
factive
  but  that  knew  already
  '... but I knew that already.'

However, giving a reliable judgment on the acceptability of (103a) is hampered by the fact that het'it' need not be interpreted as an anticipatory pronoun but can also be used as a regular pronoun referring to some previous proposition, in which case the postverbal clause simply repeats the contents of that proposition as some kind of afterthought. This interpretation is especially clear when the clause is preceded by an intonation break. The fact that this reading is possible is indicated by the number sign #.

[+]  C.  Passivization

If the presence of the anticipatory pronoun het'it' really does trigger a factive reading of the complement clause, this would be in line with the observation in Haeseryn et al. (1997:1138) that passive constructions with factive verbs normally take the anticipatory pronoun het'it' as their subject, while passive constructions with non-factive verbs are normally impersonal, that is, involve the expletive er'there'. As English has no impersonal passive, this effect cannot be replicated in the translations; English uses it throughout.

Example 104
a. Er/#Het wordt algemeen beweerd [dat Jan decaan wordt].
non-factive
  there/it  is  generally  claimed   that  Jan dean  becomes
  'It is generally claimed that Jan will become dean.'
b. Het/??Er wordt algemeen toegejuicht [dat Jan decaan wordt].
factive
  it/there  is  generally  applauded   that  Jan dean  becomes
  'It is generally applauded that Jan will become dean.'

Haeseryn et al. (1997) also note that the use of the pronoun het becomes fully acceptable in (104a) if the embedded clause is preceded by an intonation break: this triggers the regular pronominal interpretation already mentioned in connection with (103a) where the pronoun refers to some previously given proposition, repeated by the embedded clause as an afterthought. This is again indicated by the number sign.
      Applying the passivization test to the examples in (102) and (103) and using the continuation ... maar dat was een geintje'... but that was a joke', we get the results in the (a)-examples in (105). The use of the impersonal passive in the primeless example gives rise to a fully coherent result but the use of the personal passive in the primed example again has the feeling of a contradiction. But example (105a') becomes acceptable again if the pronoun het is taken to refer to some previous proposition, in which case the clause is preferably preceded by an intonation break. For completenesssake, the (b)-examples show that the continuation with ... maar dat wist ik al'... but I knew that already' is compatible with both the impersonal and the personal passive.

Example 105
a. Er werd me verteld [dat hij decaan wordt], maar dat was een geintje.
  there  was  me told   that he dean becomes  but  that  was  a joke
  'I was told that heʼll become dean of the faculty but that was just a joke '
a'. # Het werd me verteld [dat hij decaan wordt], maar dat was een geintje.
  it  was  me told   that he dean becomes  but  that  was  a joke
b. Er werd me verteld [dat hij decaan wordt], maar dat wist ik al.
  there  was  me told   that he dean becomes  but  that  knew  already
  'I was told that heʼll become dean of the faculty but I knew that already.'
b'. Het werd me verteld [dat hij decaan wordt], maar dat wist ik al.
  it  was  me told   that he dean becomes  but  that  knew  already
  'It was told to me that heʼll become dean but I knew that already.'
[+]  D.  Placement of the dependent clause in the middle field of the matrix clause

The examples in (106) show that placement of the object clause in the middle field blocks the non-factive reading; the continuation in (106a) give rise to an incoherent reading. This shows that word order may disambiguate examples such as (102).

Example 106
Jan heeft me [dat hij decaan wordt] gisteren verteld ...
  Jan has  me  that he dean becomes  yesterday  told
'Jan told me yesterday that heʼll become dean of the faculty ...'
a. $ ... maar hij maakte maar een geintje.
non-factive
  but  he made  just  a joke
  '... but he just made a joke.'
b. ... maar dat wist ik al.
factive
  but  that  knew  already
  '... but I knew that already.'
[+]  IV.  The position of the factive clause in the middle field

Factive clauses occupying a position in the middle field of the matrix clause may be separated from the verbs in clause-final position by one or more adverbs (if present). This is illustrated in (107) by means of the modal adverb waarschijnlijk'probably'.

Example 107
a. dat Jan waarschijnlijk betreurt [dat hij taalkundige is geworden].
  that  Jan probably  regrets   that  he  linguist  has become
  'that Jan probably regrets that he has become a linguist.'
b. * dat Jan waarschijnlijk [dat hij taalkundige is geworden] betreurt.
c. dat Jan [dat hij taalkundige is geworden] waarschijnlijk betreurt.

It should be noted that the pattern in (107) differs from the pattern that we find with the noun phrase het feit dat ...'the fact that ...' in (108). As (107b) and (108b) differ in acceptability, this can be taken as a potential problem for the hypothesis in Kiparsky & Kiparsky (1970) that factive clauses are reduced noun phrases.

Example 108
a. dat Jan waarschijnlijk het feit betreurt [dat hij taalkundige is geworden].
  that  Jan probably  the fact regrets   that  he  linguist  has become
  'that Jan probably regrets the fact that he has become a linguist.'
b. dat Jan waarschijnlijk het feit [dat hij taalkundige is geworden] betreurt.
c. dat Jan het feit [dat hij taalkundige is geworden] waarschijnlijk betreurt.

One way to approach this problem for Kiparsky & Kiparsky's hypothesis might be to claim that the word order difference between (107a) and (107c) suffices to make the information-structural distinction between focus ("discourse-new information") and presupposition ("discourse-old information"), whereas in (108) this distinction rather relies on the position on the nominal part het feit; see Section N8.1.3 for discussion. It remains to be seen, however, whether this line of thinking would lead to a fully satisfactory account of the contrast between (107) and (108).

[+]  V.  Wh-extraction from factive clauses

If we accept the suggestion from Section N8.1.3 that the word order in (108c) is derived by leftward movement of the nominal object, it seems rather attractive to assume that the order in (107c) is derived by leftward movement of the factive clause. An empirical argument in favor is that we may now appeal to the freezing effect: the factive clause is a strong island for wh-extraction if part of the middle field of the matrix clause, but not if it follows the verbs in clause-final position.

Example 109
a. Welki boek heeft Jan altijd betreurd [dat hij ti niet gekocht heeft]?
  which book  has  Jan always  regretted   that  he  not  bought  has
  'Which book has Jan always regretted that he hasnʼt bought?'
b. * Welki boek heeft Jan [dat hij ti niet gekocht heeft] altijd betreurd?
  which book  has  Jan   that  he  not  bought  has  always  regretted

Recall from Subsection IIE, however, that factive clauses are weak islands in the sense that wh-extraction is restricted to nominal objects; wh-extraction of, e.g., adverbial phrases is excluded irrespective of the position of the factive clause; this is illustrated again in (110).

Example 110
a. * Waari heeft Jan altijd betreurd [dat hij ti zijn boek gepubliceerd heeft]?
  where  has  Jan always regretted   that  he  his book  published  has
b. * Waari heeft Jan [dat hij ti zijn boek gepubliceerd heeft] altijd betreurd?
  where  has  Jan   that  he  his book  published  has  always  regretted

The observation that factive clauses exhibit the behavior of weak islands is actually another problem for Kiparsky & Kiparsky's hypothesis that factive clauses are reduced noun phrases; complex noun phrases are generally strong islands in the sense that they also block extraction of nominal objects from their clausal complement. The examples in (111) show that this holds irrespective of whether the clause precedes or follows the verbs in clause-final position.

Example 111
a. * Welki boek heeft Jan altijd het feit betreurd [dat hij ti niet gekocht heeft]?
  which book has  Jan always  the fact  regretted that he  not  bought  has
b. * Welki boek heeft Jan altijd het feit [dat hij ti niet gekocht heeft] betreurd?
  which book has  Jan always  the fact that he  not  bought  has  regretted
[+]  VI.  The syntactic status of factive clauses

So far, we have more or lesss adopted Kiparsky & Kiparsky's hypothesis that factive clauses are reduced noun phrases, but Subsections IV and V have discussed a number of potential problems for this hypothesis. So, it might be advisable to look for another analysis to account for the differences in behavior between non-factive and factive clauses. One such analysis is provided in Barbiers (2000), who argues that while non-factive clauses are complements of the verb, factive clauses are adjuncts. This proposal is interesting because it would immediately account for the fact that factive clauses can occur in the middle field of the clause, given that this is generally possible with adjunct clauses, as is shown by the examples in (112).

Example 112
a. dat Peter [nadat hij afscheid genomen had] snel vertrok.
  that  Peter   after  he  leave  taken  had  quickly  left
  'that Peter left quickly after heʼd said good-bye.'
a'. dat Peter snel vertrok [nadat hij afscheid genomen had].
b. dat Jan [omdat hij ziek was] niet kon komen.
  that  Jan   because  he  ill  was  not  could  come
  'that Jan couldnʼt come because he was ill.'
b'. dat Jan niet kon komen [omdat hij ziek was].

If factive clauses are indeed adjuncts, we expect them to entertain a looser relation to the matrix verb than non-factive verbs. Barbiers claims that this expectation is indeed borne out and he demonstrates this by pointing to the fact that non-factive clauses must be pied-piped under VP-topicalization, whereas factive clauses can be stranded.

Example 113
a. Jan zal niet vinden [dat het probleem nu opgelost is].
  Jan will  not  find   that  the problem  now  solved  is
  'Jan wonʼt think that the problem has been solved now.'
a'. * Vinden zal Jan niet [dat het probleem nu opgelost is].
b. Jan zal niet toegeven [dat het probleem nu opgelost is].
  Jan will  not  admit   that  the problem  now  solved  is
  'Jan wonʼt admit that the problem has been solved now.'
b'. Toegeven zal Jan niet [dat het probleem nu opgelost is].

Another observation provided by Barbiers that may point in the same direction is that stranding of the clause may disambiguate examples such as (114a): whereas (114a) can be factive (the speaker knows that Jan has been ill) or non-factive (the speaker expects that Jan will tell a lie, e.g., to excuse his absence), example (114b) can only have the former reading.

Example 114
a. Jan zal wel vertellen [dat hij ziek was].
non-factive or factive
  Jan will  prt  tell  that  he  ill  was
  'Jan will probably say that he was ill.'
b. Vertellen zal Jan wel [dat hij ziek was].
factive only

However, there are at least three potential problems with Barbiers' proposal. First, the judgments in (113) and (114) are somewhat delicate and not all speakers are able to produce the same results. Second, as was pointed out by Barbiers himself, the hypothesis does not account for the fact that factive clauses are weak (and not strong) islands, given that adjunct clauses normally block wh-extraction of nominal objects as well. Third, assigning adjunct status to factive clauses would lead to the expectation that factive clauses can be omitted (which adjunct clauses generally can), which is not borne out: *Jan betreurde. We therefore leave the question as to whether Barbiers' hypothesis is tenable to future research.

[+]  VII.  Factive interrogative clauses

The term factivity is mostly restricted to verbs selecting declarative clauses, due to the fact that it is defined in terms of the truth value of the proposition expressed by sentential complements. A typical example of such a definition is found in Crystal (1991): the term factivity is "used in the classification of verbs, referring to a verb which takes a complement clause, and where the speaker presupposes the truth of the proposition expressed in that clause". The application of this definition is illustrated again in the examples in (115), in which S1 ⇒ S2 stands for "by uttering sentence S1 the speaker presupposes that the proposition P expressed by S2 is true".

Example 115
a. Jan denkt dat Els morgen vertrekt. ⇏ Els vertrekt morgen.
non-factive
  Jan thinks  that  Els tomorrow  leaves  Els leaves  tomorrow
  'Jan thinks that Els is leaving tomorrow. ⇏ Els is leaving tomorrow.'
b. Jan betreurt dat Els morgen vertrekt. ⇒ Els vertrekt morgen.
factive
  Jan regrets  that  Els tomorrow  leaves  Els leaves  tomorrow
  'Jan regrets that Els is leaving tomorrow. ⇒ Els is leaving tomorrow.'

Definitions of this sort exclude the existence of factive verbs selecting an interrogative complement clause: interrogative clauses differ from declaratives in that they do not express full propositions as they are characterized by indeterminacy in the value of some variable represented by the yes/no-operator or wh-phrase; cf. Grimshaw (1979). Whether or not this exclusion is justified can be tested by investigating factive verbs like vergeten'to forget' and weten'to know',both of which may also take an interrogative complement clause. First, consider the examples in (116).

Example 116
a. Jan weet dat Els morgen vertrekt. ⇒ Els vertrekt morgen.
  Jan knows  that  Els tomorrow leaves  Els leaves  tomorrow
  'Jan knows that Els is leaving tomorrow. ⇒ Els is leaving tomorrow.'
b. Jan weet of Els morgen vertrekt. ⇏ Els vertrekt morgen.
  Jan knows  whether  Els tomorrow  leaves  Els leaves  tomorrow
  'Jan knows whether Els is leaving tomorrow. ⇏ Els is leaving tomorrow.'

This sentence pair indeed suggests that verbs taking an interrogative argument clause are non-factive: by uttering sentence (116b), the speaker does not commit himself to the truth of the proposition expressed by the sentence on the right-hand side of the arrow. This is not surprising, of course: the speaker's reference to Jan as a source of more information about the truth of the proposition only makes sense if the speaker does not know the answer to the embedded question himself.
      Things seem to be different, however, with embedded wh-questions. Consider the contrast between the examples in (117). By uttering the sentence in (117a) the speaker does not entail that the proposition "Els is leaving" is true, whereas the speaker does entail this by uttering the sentence in (117b).

Example 117
a. Jan vroeg wanneer Els vertrekt. ⇏ Els vertrekt.
  Jan asked  when  Els leaves  Els leaves
  'Jan asked when Els is leaving. ⇏ Els is leaving.'
b. Jan weet wanneer Els vertrekt. ⇒ Els vertrekt.
  Jan knows  when  Els leaves  Els leaves
  'Jan knows when Els is leaving. ⇒ Els is leaving.'

The verbs vragen'to ask' and weten'to know' thus differ in that the first is clearly non-factive, but that the second is factive in the slightly more restricted sense that the truth of the proposition expressed by the non-wh part of the complement clause is presupposed by the speaker. The examples in (118) show that this difference between vragen and weten not only holds in cases in which the wh-phrase is an adjunct of the embedded clause, but also if it is an argument.

Example 118
a. Jan vroeg wie er vertrekt. ⇏ Er vertrekt iemand.
  Jan asked who  there  leaves  there  leaves  someone
  'Jan asked who is leaving. ⇏ someone is leaving.'
b. Jan weet wie er vertrekt. ⇒ Er vertrekt iemand.
  Jan knows  who  there  leaves  there  leaves  someone
  'Jan knows who is leaving. ⇒ someone is leaving.'

As we have seen in Subsection II, factive verbs have the property that negating or questioning the clause they are heading does not affect the entailment, that is, the examples in (119) have the same entailment as example (116a).

Example 119
a. Jan weet niet dat Els morgen vertrekt. ⇒ Els vertrekt morgen.
  Jan knows  not  that  Els tomorrow  leaves  Els leaves  tomorrow
  'Jan doesnʼt know that Els is leaving tomorrow. ⇒ Els is leaving tomorrow.'
b. Weet Jan dat Els morgen vertrekt? ⇒ Els vertrekt morgen.
  knows  Jan that  Els tomorrow leaves  Els leaves  tomorrow
  'Does Jan know that Els is leaving tomorrow? ⇒ Els is leaving tomorrow.'

The examples in (120) show that the (b)-examples in (117) and (118) likewise pass this litmus test for factivity; by uttering the sentences on the left-hand side of the arrow the speaker entails that the propositions expressed by the sentences on the right-hand side of the arrows are true.

Example 120
a. Jan weet niet wanneer Els vertrekt. ⇒ Els vertrekt.
  Jan knows  not when  Els leaves  Els leaves
  'Jan doesnʼt know when Els is leaving. ⇒ Els is leaving.'
a'. Weet Jan wanneer Els vertrekt? ⇒ Els vertrekt.
  knows  Jan when  Els leaves  Els leaves
  'Does Jan know when Els is leaving? ⇒ Els is leaving.'
b. Jan weet niet wie er vertrekt. ⇒ Er vertrekt iemand.
  Jan knows  not who  there  leaves  there  leaves  someone
  'Jan doesnʼt know who is leaving. ⇒ Someone is leaving.'
b'. Weet Jan wie er vertrekt? ⇒ Er vertrekt iemand.
  knows  Jan  who  there  leaves  there  leaves  someone
  'Does Jan know who is leaving? ⇒ Someone is leaving.'

The syntactic tests for factivity yield slightly equivocal results. Like the factive declarative clause in (121a), the factive interrogative clauses in (121b&c) can be introduced by the anticipatory pronoun het'it'.

Example 121
a. Jan weet het dat Els morgen vertrekt.
  Jan knows  it  that  Els tomorrow  leaves
  'Jan knows it that Els is leaving tomorrow.'
b. Jan weet het wanneer Els vertrekt.
  Jan knows  it  when  Els leaves
  'Jan knows it when Els is leaving.'
c. Jan weet het wie er vertrekt.
  Jan knows  it  who  there  leaves
  'Jan knows it who is leaving.'

However, it seems that placement of a factive complement in the middle field of the matrix clause gives rise to a less felicitous result if the complement clause is interrogative than if it is declarative; whereas (122a) is merely stylistically marked, the examples in (122b&c) seem degraded (although they may improve a little with a contrastive accent on the wh-word).

Example 122
a. dat Jan [dat Els morgen vertrekt] nog niet weet.
  that  Jan   that  Els tomorrow  leaves  not yet knows
  'that Jan doesnʼt yet know that Els is leaving tomorrow.'
b. ?? dat Jan [wanneer Els vertrekt] nog niet weet.
  that  Jan   when  Els leaves  not yet  knows
  'that Jan doesnʼt yet know when Els will be leaving.'
c. ?? dat Jan [wie er vertrekt] nog niet weet.
  that  Jan   who  there  leaves  not yet  knows
  'that Jan doesnʼt yet know who is leaving.'

Note that the distinction between two types of wh-questions is not new and dates back at least to Groenendijk & Stokhof (1984:91ff.), who phrase the distinction in terms of pragmatic implicatures instead of factivity, that is, the speaker's presupposition. Since a detailed study of the syntactic behavior of factive interrogative constructions is not yet available as far as we know, we will leave this to future research.

[+]  VIII.  Conclusion

The previous subsections have shown that there are a large number of systematic differences between non-factive and factive clauses, which suggests that they must also receive a different syntactic analysis. Kiparsky & Kiparsky (1970) argued that the difference should be expressed by assuming a difference in categorial status: non-factive clauses are clausal complements and factive clauses are reduced nominal complements. Barbiers (2000) argued that the distinction is related to syntactic function: non-factive clauses are complements of the verb, whereas factive clauses are adjuncts. The two proposals are embedded in a larger set of theoretical assumptions and we have seen that they each have their own problems. The discussion has revealed at any rate that the fact that factive clauses can occur in the middle field of the matrix clause is not just some isolated fact but that it is part of a wider set of facts that still needs to receive an explanation.

References:
  • Barbiers, Sjef2000The right periphery in SOV languages: English and DutchSvenonius, Peter (ed.)The derivation of VO and OVAmsterdam/PhiladelphiaJohn Benjamins45-67
  • Barbiers, Sjef2000The right periphery in SOV languages: English and DutchSvenonius, Peter (ed.)The derivation of VO and OVAmsterdam/PhiladelphiaJohn Benjamins45-67
  • Barbiers, Sjef2000The right periphery in SOV languages: English and DutchSvenonius, Peter (ed.)The derivation of VO and OVAmsterdam/PhiladelphiaJohn Benjamins45-67
  • Barbiers, Sjef2000The right periphery in SOV languages: English and DutchSvenonius, Peter (ed.)The derivation of VO and OVAmsterdam/PhiladelphiaJohn Benjamins45-67
  • Crystal, David1991A dictionary of linguistics and phonetics (third edition)Blackwell Publisher
  • Grimshaw, Jane1979Complement selection and the lexiconLinguistic Inquiry10279-326
  • Groenendijk, Jeroen & Stokhof, Martin1984Studies on the semantics of questions and the pragmatics of answersUniversity of AmsterdamThesis
  • 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
  • Kiparsky, Paul & Kiparsky, Carol1970FactBierwisch, Manfred & Heidolph, Karl Erich (eds.)Progress in linguisticsThe Hague/ParisMouton143-173
  • Kiparsky, Paul & Kiparsky, Carol1970FactBierwisch, Manfred & Heidolph, Karl Erich (eds.)Progress in linguisticsThe Hague/ParisMouton143-173
  • Kiparsky, Paul & Kiparsky, Carol1970FactBierwisch, Manfred & Heidolph, Karl Erich (eds.)Progress in linguisticsThe Hague/ParisMouton143-173
  • Kiparsky, Paul & Kiparsky, Carol1970FactBierwisch, Manfred & Heidolph, Karl Erich (eds.)Progress in linguisticsThe Hague/ParisMouton143-173
  • Kiparsky, Paul & Kiparsky, Carol1970FactBierwisch, Manfred & Heidolph, Karl Erich (eds.)Progress in linguisticsThe Hague/ParisMouton143-173
  • Kiparsky, Paul & Kiparsky, Carol1970FactBierwisch, Manfred & Heidolph, Karl Erich (eds.)Progress in linguisticsThe Hague/ParisMouton143-173
  • Kiparsky, Paul & Kiparsky, Carol1970FactBierwisch, Manfred & Heidolph, Karl Erich (eds.)Progress in linguisticsThe Hague/ParisMouton143-173
  • Kiparsky, Paul & Kiparsky, Carol1970FactBierwisch, Manfred & Heidolph, Karl Erich (eds.)Progress in linguisticsThe Hague/ParisMouton143-173
  • Kiparsky, Paul & Kiparsky, Carol1970FactBierwisch, Manfred & Heidolph, Karl Erich (eds.)Progress in linguisticsThe Hague/ParisMouton143-173
  • Klooster, Wim2001Grammatica van het hedendaags Nederlands. Een volledig overzichtDen HaagSDU Uitgeverij
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