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5.1.2.4. Reported speech
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The complement clauses discussed in the preceding sections all have the form of finite embedded clauses, that is, they are introduced by a complementizer ( dat'that' or of'whether') or a wh-phrase, and have the finite verb in clause-final position. Complement clauses of this kind are also found in sentences such as (123a), in which the speaker reports what someone else has said, thought, etc. The sentences in (123b&c) show, however, that there are also alternative ways.

Example 123
a. Jan zei/dacht dat hij ziek was.
indirect reported speech/quote
  Jan said/thought  that  he  ill  was
  'Jan said/thought that he was ill.'
b. Jan zei/dacht: "Ik ben ziek".
direct reported speech/quote
  Jan said/thought    I  am  ill
  'Jan said/thought: "Ik ben ziek".'
c. Jan zei/dacht hij was ziek.
semi-direct reported speech/quote
  Jan said/thought  he  was  ill

Although the examples in (123) show that constructions like these are not strictly limited to speech proper but may also pertain to thoughts, they are normally said to involve reported speech. We will therefore refer to the whole set of constructions as reported speech constructions, and to the parts in italics, which express the reported parts, as quotes. Although quotes are often analyzed as direct object clauses (see, e.g., Haeseryn et al. 1997), we will see that this is not entirely correct for all cases: see also Corver (1994), Corver & Thiersch (2003), and De Vries (2006). For this reason we will refer to the clauses headed by the verb of saying/thinking not as matrix clauses but, more neutrally, as say-clauses.
      The way of reporting speech in (123a) is normally referred to as indirect reported speech. An important property of this construction is that the embedded clause(s) does/do not necessarily correspond in a one-to-one fashion to the actual utterance(s) of the source indicated: for example, if Jan is a very talkative person, the embedded clause may simply summarize a story that took 30 minutes to tell, that is, example (123a) does not imply that Jan literally said: "Ik ben ziek". This distinguishes indirect from direct reported speech; example (123b) is only true if Jan pronounced the sentence Ik ben ziek, for which reason we repeated this sentence literally in the translation of (123b). Another difference, which is illustrated in (124), is that direct quotes can consist of a sequence of independent sentences, whereas in indirect reported speech constructions each assertion must be realized as a separate dependent clause.

Example 124
a. Jan zei/dacht [[dat hij ziek was] en [dat hij thuis bleef]].
indirect
  Jan said/thought    that he ill  was  and   that he  at.home  stayed
  'Jan said that he was ill and that he would stay at home.'
b. Jan zei/dacht: "Ik ben ziek. Ik blijf thuis".
direct
  Jan said/thought    I  am  ill  stay  at.home
  'Jan said: "Ik ben ziek. Ik blijf thuis".'

In example (123c), we are dealing with semi-direct reported speech (also known as erlebte rede), which constitutes a kind of in-between category. It differs from indirect reported speech in that the quote has the form of a main clause. This is clear from the position of the finite verb: if we are dealing with indirect reported speech, the finite verb should occupy the clause-final position, whereas it should be in second position in semi-direct reported speech. The placement of the finite verb is clearly related to the distribution of the complementizer: the examples in (125) show that the complementizer is obligatory in indirect reported speech constructions with declarative quotes, but that it cannot appear in semi-direct reported speech constructions. This also shows that semi-direct reported speech constructions such as (125b) cannot be derived from direct reported speech constructions such as (125a) by deletion of the complementizer dat, but that they constitute a construction type in their own right.

Example 125
a. Jan zei *(dat) hij ziek was.
indirect
  Jan said    that  he  ill  was
  'Jan said that he was ill.'
b. Jan zei (*dat) hij was ziek.
semi-direct
  Jan said     that  he  was  ill

Although semi-direct reported speech does not involve a literal quote, it differs from indirect reported speech in that the relation with what was actually said is much tighter. Example (123c), for instance, suggests that Jan said something like Ik ben ziek. Semi-direct quotes differ from direct quotes mainly in that first and second person pronouns are replaced by third person pronouns and that the present tense of the reported sentence is adapted to conform to the past tense of the verb zeggen'to say'; cf. Lodewick (1975:169-70). The semi-direct equivalent of the direct reported speech construction in (126a) would then be as in (126b).

Example 126
a. Jan dacht: "Ik haat je uit de grond van mijn hart".
direct
  Jan thought    I  hate  you  from the bottom of my heart
b. Jan dacht, hij haatte hem uit de grond van zijn hart.
semi-direct
  Jan said  he  hated  him  from the bottom of his heart

      Semi-direct reported speech is not often used in colloquial speech but is regularly found as a stylistic device in modern literature, especially for expressing the internal thoughts of the protagonist(s) of a story (the so-called interior monologue); Lodewick in fact claims that it is a characteristic feature of impressionistic writings from around 1900. The use of semi-direct reported speech constructions implies that, like direct quotes, semi-direct quotes may involve sequences of sentences; this expectation is borne out, as is illustrated in (127b) by means of the semi-direct counterpart of the direct reported speech construction in (124b), repeated here as (127b).

Example 127
a. Jan zei/dacht: "Ik ben ziek. Ik blijf thuis".
direct
  Jan said/thought    I  am  ill  I stay  at.home
  'Jan said: "Ik ben ziek. Ik blijf thuis".'
b. Jan zei/dacht, hij was ziek, hij bleef thuis.
semi-direct
  Jan said/thought  he  was  ill  he  stayed  at.home

      Embedded clauses in indirect reported speech constructions such as (123a) can be pronominalized (Jan zei het'Jan said it'), which suggests that they function as direct object clauses. It is often assumed without much argumentation that direct and semi-direct reported speech constructions like (123b&c) also involve direct object clauses; see Haeseryn et al. (1997:1100). This is, however, far from obvious: the quotes in the two examples in (127) consist of series of sentences, and this makes it is very unlikely that quotes have the function of direct object. In fact, it may even be the case that we are dealing with a relation of an entirely different sort given that the part Jan zei need only be used in examples like (123b&c) when the context leaves open what the source of the quote is; if the source is known, it can readily be omitted. This is illustrated in the little scene in (128), which might be used as the start of a story. See also the discussion of what Huddleston and Pullum (2002: 1029) call free indirect/direct speech.

Example 128
Jan kwam in zijn pyjama de kamer binnen.
  Jan came  in his pajamas  the room  inside
'Jan entered the room in his pajamas.'
a. (Hij dacht:) "Ik ben ziek. Ik blijf thuis".
direct
  he thought    I  am  ill  stay  at.home
  '(He thought:) "Ik ben ziek. Ik blijf thuis".'
b. (Hij dacht,) hij was ziek; hij bleef thuis.
semi-direct
  he thought  he  was  ill  he  stayed  at.home
  '(He thought,) he was ill. He would stay in.'

Matrix clauses in indirect reported speech constructions, on the other hand, can only be left unexpressed under very special circumstances. Sentence (129b), for example, cannot replace the continuations of the story in (128a&b), but is only acceptable as an answer to a question such as (129a)—we are dealing with some kind of ellipsis; the part of the answer that can be recovered from the original question (here: the matrix clause) is simply omitted.

Example 129
a. Wat zei Jan?
  what  said  Jan
  'What did Jan say?'
b. Dat hij ziek was en dat hij thuis bleef.
indirect
  that  he  ill  was and  that  he  at.home  stayed
  'That he was ill and that he would stay in.'

We will see in Subsection II that this difference is reflected in several other ways, and that there are reasons for assuming that in many cases direct and semi-direct reported speech constructions are not regular transitive constructions. Instead, the quotes function as full-fledged sentences with parenthetical say-clauses.
      We already mentioned that semi-direct reported speech is normally used in written language and cannot be found in colloquial speech so frequently, subsection III will show, however, that there is also a reported speech construction that is normally avoided in writing but which is highly frequent in speech; cf. Verkuyl (1977) and Romein (1999). This construction, which is illustrated in (130), involves the quotative preposition van followed by an intonation break, which may optionally be preceded by a hesitation marker like eh'er', and a quote. The quote can be either direct or, less frequently, indirect; cf. Verkuyl (1977).

Example 130
a. Marie dacht van (eh) ... Hij komt straks wel weer terug.
  Marie thought  van  er  he comes  later  prt  again  back
  'Marie thought something like: "Heʼll probably return later again".'
b. Marie dacht van (eh) ... dat hij straks wel weer terug komt.
  Marie thought  van   er  that  he  later  prt  again  back  comes

The three types of reported speech constructions introduced above will be discussed in separate subsections, subsection I discusses indirect reported speech and shows that the indirect quote functions as a regular argument clause, subsection II continues with a discussion of (semi-)direct reported speech and argues that the say-clause in such constructions is often (but not always) parenthetical, subsection III concludes with a discussion of the colloquial quotative van-construction in (130).

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[+]  I.  Indirect reported speech

Quotes in indirect reported speech constructions behave in many respects like other types of direct object clauses. The following subsections will show this for a number of properties of object clauses, which are discussed more extensively in Sections 5.1.2.1 to 5.1.2.3. We will also discuss some facts not mentioned there, which can be used to provide support for the claim that indirect quotes are regular object clauses.

[+]  A.  Selection restrictions on the embedded clause

The form of indirect quotes is determined to a large extent by the main verb: verbs like zeggen'to say' and denken'to think' select declarative clauses, whereas verbs like vragen'to ask' select interrogative clauses. See Section 5.1.2.1 for a more extensive discussion of the selection restrictions on declarative and interrogative object clauses.

Example 131
a. dat Peter zei/dacht [dat Jan ziek was].
  that  Peter said/thought   that  Jan ill  was
  'that Peter said/thought that Jan was ill.'
b. dat Marie vroeg [of Jan ziek was].
  that  Marie asked  whether  Jan ill  was
  'that Marie asked whether Jan was ill.'
[+]  B.  Position of the embedded clause

The examples in (131) show that indirect quotes normally follow the verb(s) in clause-final position—placing such quotes in the middle field is normally marked and triggers a factive reading; cf. Section 5.1.2.3. Topicalization of indirect quotes is possible, in which case they are optionally followed by the resumptive pronoun dat'that'; see Section 5.1.2.2 for a more extensive discussion of the placement of direct object clauses.

Example 132
a. [Dat Peter ziek is] (dat) zei/dacht Jan.
  that  Peter ill  is   that  said/thought  Jan
b. [Of Jan ziek was] (dat) vroeg Marie.
  whether  Jan ill  was   that  asked  Marie
[+]  C.  The use of an anticipatory pronoun

The use of an anticipatory pronoun seems possible but marked; the examples in (133) are more likely to be construed with a regular, discourse-related interpretation of the pronoun, which again favors a factive reading of the embedded clause; see Section 5.1.2.3, sub IIIB.

Example 133
a. dat Peter het zei/dacht [dat Jan ziek was].
  that  Peter it  said/thought   that  Jan ill  was
  'that Peter said/thought it that Jan was ill.'
b. dat Marie het vroeg [of Jan ziek was].
  that  Marie it  asked  whether  Jan ill  was
  'that Marie asked it whether Jan was ill.'
[+]  D.  Wh-extraction

Embedded declarative clauses are fully transparent for wh-extraction in the sense that both arguments and adjuncts can be extracted. See Section 5.1.1, sub III, for discussion of the fact that wh-extraction becomes unacceptable if an anticipatory or deictic pronoun is added.

Example 134
a. Wiei zei/dacht je [dat ti dat boek gekocht had]?
subject
  who  said/thought  you   that  that book  bought  has
  'Who did you say/think had bought that book.'
b. Wati zei/dacht je [dat Peter ti gekocht heeft]?
object
  what  said/thought  you   that  Peter  bought  has
  'What did you say/think that Peter has bought?'
c. Wanneeri zei/dacht je [dat Peter ti vertrokken was]?
adjunct
  when  said/thought  you   that  Peter  left  had
  'When did you say/think that Peter had left?'

Wh-extraction is not possible from embedded interrogative clauses. The standard analysis in generative grammar is that this is due to the fact that wh-extraction cannot apply in one fell swoop but must proceed via the clause-initial position of the object clause; this position is available in declarative examples such as (134), but occupied by a wh-phrase in embedded wh-questions such as (135) or a phonetically empty question operator in embedded yes/no-questions.

Example 135
a. * Wiei vroeg je [watjtitj gekocht heeft]?
subject
  who  asked  you  what  bought  has
  Compare: '*Who did you ask what has bought?'
b. * Watj vroeg je [wieititj gekocht heeft]?
object
  what  asked  you  who  bought  has
  Compare: '*What did you ask who has bought?'
c. * Wanneerj vroeg je [wieititj vertrokken was]?
adjunct
  when  asked  you   who  left  had
  Compare: '*When did you ask who had left?'

Note in passing that, contrary to what has been reported for English, wh-extraction of the subject in (134a) is acceptable despite the presence of a complementizer and that most Dutch speakers find the three examples in (135) equally unacceptable. We will not digress on these issues here but refer the reader instead to Section 11.3.1 for an extensive discussion of the restrictions on wh-extraction. Note also that example (135c) is fully acceptable if wanneer'when' is construed as a modifier of the matrix clause but this is, of course, not the reading intended here (as is indicated by the placement of the trace tj within the embedded clause).

[+]  E.  Binding

Referential personal pronouns as part of an indirect quote can be bound by an antecedent in the say-clause; see Section N5.2.1.5, for an extensive discussion of binding of such pronouns. Since such pronouns can also co-refer with some referential expression as a result of accidental coreference, we have to appeal to examples in which the antecedent is a quantified expression like iedereen'everyone' or niemand'nobody' in order to show this. Example (136a) first shows that the pronoun hij cannot be used as referentially dependent on a universally/negatively quantified expression if the latter is part of some other sentence; in such cases, the pronoun must refer to some known entity in the domain of discourse. The fact that the pronoun can have a bound-variable reading, that is, can be interpreted as referentially dependent on the quantifiers in (136b) shows that we are not dealing with accidental coreferentiality but with binding. Italics indicate the intended binding relation.

Example 136
a. * Iedereen/ Niemand bleef thuis. Hij was ziek.
  everybody/nobody   stayed  at.home  he  was  ill
b. Iedereen/ Niemand zei [dat hij ziek was].
  everybody/nobody  said   that  he  ill  was
  'Everybody/Nobody said that he was ill.'

The acceptability of the bound variable reading in (136b) unambiguously shows that we are dealing with an object clause; if the indirect quote were not the object of the verb zeggen'to say', there would be no c-command relation between the subject of the say-clause and the pronoun and, consequently, binding would be wrongly predicted to be impossible, just as in (136a).

[+]  F.  Licensing of negative polarity items

That indirect quotes are object clauses is also shown by the fact that negative polarity items (NPIs) like ook maar iets'anything' as part of an indirect quote can be licensed by some negative element in the say-clause. The reason is that, like binding, NPI licensing requires c-command between the NPI and its licenser. NPI-licensing is excluded in (137a) since the NPI and its potential licenser niemand'nobody' are not in the same sentence and there is consequently no c-command relation between them; NPI-licensing is possible in (137b) since the subject of the matrix clause does c-command the NPI in the embedded object clause. Italics indicate the relation between the NPI and its intended licenser.

Example 137
a. Niemand bleef thuis. *Hij had daar ook maar iets te doen.
  nobody  stayed  at.home    he  had  there  anything  to do
b. Niemand dacht dat hij thuis ook maar iets te doen had.
  nobody  thought  that  he  at.home  anything  to do  had
  'Nobody thought that he had anything to do at home.'
[+]  G.  Conclusion

The previous subsections have shown that quotes in indirect reported speech constructions are direct object clauses. They exhibit the behavior of regular object clauses, which was discussed more extensively in Sections 5.1.2.1 to 5.1.2.3. Additionally, the discussion of binding and NPI-licensing has established that subjects of say-clauses c-command the constituents in indirect quotes, which lends credence to the claim that such quotes are regular direct object clauses.

[+]  II.  Direct and semi-direct reported speech

This subsection discusses the question as to whether (semi-)direct quotes should be considered direct object clauses, subsections A and B show that the evidence is rather varied, from which we will conclude that (semi-)direct reported speech constructions are often structurally ambiguous, subsection C provides some additional support for this conclusion, and Subsection D concludes with a brief note on the internal structure of the relevant constructions. Since (semi-)direct reported speech constructions have not yet been studied extensively from a syntactic point of view, much of what follows is tentative in nature and should therefore be taken with care.

[+]  A.  Direct reported speech

Direct reported speech constructions are often ambiguous. We will argue that such constructions allow not only an analysis as regular transitive constructions in which the quote functions as a direct object, but also an analysis in which the quote can function as a main clause with an embedded parenthetical say-clause; cf. De Vries (2006).

[+]  1.  Are direct quotes direct objects?

Example (138a) strongly suggests that the direct quote in (138b) functions as the direct object of the verb zeggen'to say'. The fact that the pronoun in (138a) cannot be omitted shows that zeggen is a transitive verb that cannot be used pseudo-intransitively. The fact that the direct quote is the only candidate that could function as direct object in (138b) therefore seems to leave us no other option than to conclude that it must have this syntactic function.

Example 138
a. Jan zei *(het).
  Jan said     it
b. Jan zei: "Ik ben ziek".
  Jan said    I  am  ill

Although this line of argumentation seems quite convincing, there are various reasons to reject the conclusion that direct quotes always function as object clauses. First, it seems that introducing the direct quote with an anticipatory/deictic pronoun het'it' is not normally possible. Although example (139a) is fully acceptable, the pronoun het does not seem to refer to the direct quote but to some other proposition. This is evident from the fact illustrated in (139b) that the pronoun can be replaced by an indirect quote such as the one in square brackets. Besides, example (139c) shows that we would rather use phrases like als volgt'as follows' or the manner adverb zo'thus' if we want to anticipate the direct quote.

Example 139
a. Jan vroeg het haar eindelijk: "Als ik je zie begint mijn hart te bonken: boem, boem, boem ... Ik kan niet langer zonder jou!"
  'Jan finally asked her it: "Whenever I see you my heart starts pounding boom, boom, boom ... I can no longer live without you!"'
b. Jan vroeg haar eindelijk [of ze met hem wilde trouwen]: "Als ik je zie begint mijn hart te bonken: boem, boem, boem ... Ik kan niet langer zonder jou!"
  'Jan finally asked her whether she would marry him: "Whenever I see you my heart start pounding boom, boom, boom ... I can no longer live without you!"'
c. Jan vroeg het haar als volgt/zo: "Als ik je zie begint mijn hart te bonken: boem, boem, boem .... Ik kan niet langer zonder jou!"
  'Jan finally asked her it as follows/thus: "Whenever I see you my heart starts pounding boom, boom, boom ... I can no longer live without you!"'

From the discussion of the examples in (139) we are forced to conclude that the direct quote does not function as a direct object in the examples in (139). Barbiers (2000:190) even suggests that postverbal direct quotes are not even part of the preceding say-clauses given that their intonation contour is entirely independent; they are always preceded by a distinct intonation break. He suggests that this makes it more likely that postverbal direct quotes function as some kind of afterthought since afterthoughts exhibit the same prosodic effect. Barbiers does not claim that direct quotes are never direct objects, but he asserts that they can only have this function if they occur in the middle field of the clause, as in (140), in which case they have the same distribution as nominal objects. Note in passing that examples such as (140) quickly degrade when the quote gets longer.

Example 140
a. Jan heeft "hallo" tegen de leraar gezegd.
  Jan has  hello  to the teacher  said
  'Jan has said "hallo" to the teacher.'
b. Jan heeft "ik ben ziek" tegen de leraar gezegd.
  Jan has    I  am  ill  to the teacher  said
  'Jan has said "Ik ben ziek" to the teacher.'

In (140) it is not entirely clear whether we are really dealing in (140) with reported speech in the sense intended here. It may also be the case that we simply have to do with an autonomous use of the word/phrase in question. That this may be the case is strongly suggested by the fact that an utterance such as (140a) can quite naturally be followed by something such as (141a). De Vries (2006) provides a similar example and adds that the quote can also be in a language other than Dutch. This again suggests that quotes may involve the autonomous use of the word/phrase in question, and that this is the reason why they behave syntactically as nominal arguments of the verb. In the discussion below we will ignore the autonomous use of quotes in the middle field of the clause.

Example 141
a. Dat is onbeleefd: hij had "goedemorgen" moeten zeggen.
  that is rude he should    good.morning  have  said
  'That is rude: he should have said "goedemorgen".'
b. John heeft "I am ill" tegen de leraar gezegd.
  John has    I am ill  to the teacher  said
  'John has said "Iʼm ill" to the teacher.'

      Barbiers does not discuss direct quotes in the left periphery of the utterance, as in (142), but it seems that such constructions show that direct quotes have an ambiguous syntactic status. Although the construction in (142a) is the one commonly used, the examples in (142b&c) show that it is also possible to add the demonstrative pronoun dat or the manner adverb zo as a resumptive element.

Example 142
a. "Ik ben ziek", zei Jan.
  am  ill  said  Jan
  '"Ik ben ziek", Jan said.'
b. "Ik ben ziek", dat zei Jan.
  am  ill  that  said  Jan
c. "Ik ben ziek", zo zei Jan.
  am  ill  thus  said  Jan

Subsection B will show that example (142b) can be analyzed as a left-dislocation construction. This example would then receive a similar analysis as example (143a) in which the resumptive pronoun dat has a neuter singular antecedent functioning as the logical direct object of the sentence. Example (143b) is added to show that other resumptive pro-forms are used when the left-dislocated element has some other logical function: the resumptive pro-form dan, for example, is used when the left-dislocated element is the temporal adverb morgen'tomorrow'.

Example 143
a. Dat boek, dat heb ik al gelezen.
  that book  that  have  already  read
  'That book, Iʼve already read it.'
b. Morgen, dan ga ik naar Groningen.
  tomorrow  then  go  to Groningen
  'Tomorrow, Iʼll be going to Groningen then.'

Although Subsection B will argue that (142c) is not a left-dislocation construction, the fact that the manner adverb zo is used in a similar resumptive function immediately suggests that the direct quote does not function as the logical direct object of the say-clause. This conclusion receives further support from (144). Example (144a) shows that the left-dislocation construction with the resumptive pronoun dat does not allow the addition of the object pronoun het, which is to be expected given that the resumptive pronoun already performs this function. Example (144b), on the other hand, shows that, in the right context, the addition of the object pronoun het is admissible in the construction with zo, which proves that the direct quote does not function as the logical direct object of the say-clause in this case.

Example 144
a. "Ik ben ziek", dat zei Jan *(het).
  am  ill  that  said  Jan     it
b. "Ik ben ziek", zo zei Jan (het).
  am  ill  thus  said  Jan   it

The fact that direct quotes need not function as (logical) direct objects of the say-clause, established by the examples in (139) and (142) to (144), shows that our earlier conclusion on the basis of example (138a) that the verb zeggen'to say' may not occur without a direct object is wrong; if a direct quote is present with some other function than (logical) direct object of the say-clause, the direct object of the verb zeggen can apparently remain unexpressed.
      To sum up, this subsection has provided evidence that direct quotes preceded by a say-clause do not function as the (logical) direct object of this say-clause. The situation is different when the say-clause follows the quote; the quote may then have the function of (logical) direct object, in which case the resumptive pronoun dat can be inserted between the quote and the finite verb, or it may have an adverbial function, in which case the resumptive pro-form surfaces as the manner adverb zo. Observe that this conclusion raises the question as to how the selection restrictions imposed by the matrix verbs on the direct quote can be accounted for if the latter functions as an adjunct. Given that this cannot be accounted for by normally assumed syntactic means (that is, subcategorization), a pragmatic account seems to be called for. We leave this for future research.

Example 145
a. Jan zei/*vroeg: "Els wil vast wel een ijsje".
  Jan  said/asked    Els  wants  prt  prt  an ice.cream
  'Jan said: "Iʼm sure Els would like to have an ice cream".'
b. Jan vroeg/*zei: "Wie wil er een ijsje?".
  Jan asked/said    who  wants  there  an ice.cream
  'Jan asked: "Who would like to have an ice cream?".'
[+]  2.  Direct quotes and parenthetical clauses

The previous subsection has shown that direct quotes can but need not function as direct object clauses of verbs of saying/thinking when they precede the say-clause. The following question now arises: what is the structure of those constructions in which the quote does not function as direct object? This subsection argues that direct quotes are regular main clauses in such cases, which contain a parenthetical say-clause. A first step in the argument involves the possible word orders in the three constructions in (146).

Example 146
a. "Peter zal het boek morgen brengen", zei Marie.
  Peter will  the book  tomorrow  bring  said Marie
  '"Peter zal het boek morgen brengen", Marie said.'
b. "Peter zal het boek morgen brengen", dat zei Marie.
  Peter will  the book  tomorrow  bring  that  said  Marie
c. "Peter zal het boek morgen brengen", zo zei Marie.
  Peter will  the book  tomorrow  bring  thus  said  Marie

We begin our discussion with example (146b), which we analyze as a left-dislocation construction. Example (147a) shows that the direct quote need not precede the say-clause but can also be right-dislocated, in which case the resumptive pronoun dat will be replaced by the proximate demonstrative pronoun dit'this'. The example which is crucial for our discussion is (147b), which shows that the direct quote cannot be split by the say-clause.

Example 147
a. Marie zei dit: "Peter zal het boek morgen brengen".
  Marie said  this:    Peter will  the book  tomorrow  bring
  'Marie said the following: "Peter zal het boek morgen brengen".'
b. * "Peter", dat/dit zei Marie, "zal het boek morgen brengen".
  Peter  that/this  said  Marie    will  the book  tomorrow  bring

We should keep in mind, however, that reliable judgments on examples such as (147b) are sometimes hampered by the fact that the same string is acceptable with a non-quote interpretation: the speaker then simply provides a statement of his own and uses a parenthetical clause to point at Marie as his source of information. This is brought out in example (148a), in which the adverb tenminste'at least' forces the intended non-quote reading. Example (148b) shows that the parenthetical clause cannot appear in a position preceding the constituent in sentence-initial position (here: Peter).

Example 148
a. "Peter", dat zei Marie tenminste, "zal het boek morgen brengen".
  Peter  that  said  Marie  at.least   will  the book  tomorrow  bring
  'According to Marie at any rate, Peter will bring the book tomorrow.'
b. * Marie zei dat/dit tenminste, "Peter zal het boek morgen brengen".
  Marie  said  that/this  at.least    Peter will  the book  tomorrow  bring

Putting aside the non-quote reading, we are forced to conclude that the construction in (146b) with resumptive dat differs sharply from the construction in (146a) without a resumptive pronoun. The examples in (149) bear out that in the latter case the direct quote can be split in various places by the say-clause. The examples in (150) show that the same thing holds for construction (146c) with zo.

Example 149
a. "Peter zal het boek morgen brengen", zei Marie.
  Peter will  the book  tomorrow  bring  said Marie
  'Peter will bring the book tomorrow, Marie said.'
b. "Peter", zei Marie, "zal het boek morgen brengen".
c. "Peter zal", zei Marie, "het boek morgen brengen".
d. "Peter zal het boek ", zei Marie, "morgen brengen".
e. ? "Peter zal het boek morgen", zei Marie, "brengen".
Example 150
a. "Peter zal het boek morgen brengen", zo zei Marie.
  Peter will  the book  tomorrow  bring  thus  said Marie
b. "Peter", zo zei Marie, "zal het boek morgen brengen".
c. "Peter zal", zo zei Marie, "het boek morgen brengen".
d. "Peter zal het boek ", zo zei Marie, "morgen brengen".
e. ? "Peter zal het boek morgen", zo zei Marie, "brengen".

The fact that the direct quotes can be split in (149) and (150) suggests that we are dealing with parenthetical constructions. A potential problem is that example (151a) shows that the presumed parenthetical say-clause in (149) may also precede the quote; this is unexpected as example (148b) has shown that parenthetical clauses cannot do so. However, there seems to be more to this than meets the eye given that the say-clause in (150) behaves as expected and is indeed unable to precede the quote: example (151b) is only acceptable if the sentence contains an object pronoun like het.

Example 151
a. Marie zei: "Peter zal het boek morgen komen brengen".
  Marie said  Peter will  the book  tomorrow  come  bring
b. Marie zei *(het) zo: "Peter zal het boek morgen komen brengen".
  Marie said   it  thus    Peter will  the book  tomorrow  come  bring

The fact that the addition of het to the examples in (150) is unusual, to say the least, suggests that (149) and (150) involve constructions entirely different from (151); whereas the former involve parenthetical say-clauses, the say-clauses in the latter may be regular transitive main clauses.
      If we are indeed concerned with parenthetical clauses in (149) and (150), we expect to find a wider range of examples that do not involve verbs of saying/thinking. This expectation is borne out; in fact, writers have created an infinite number of variations on this theme. A number of rather conventional examples are given in (152). Note that the quotes cannot be analyzed as arguments of the verbs beginnen'to start', vervolgen'to continue', and besluiten'to conclude' in these examples: these verbs already have a direct object, zijn verhaal'his story'; see De Vries (2006) for a number of less conventional examples.

Example 152
a. "De wind", (zo) begon hij zijn verhaal, "was stormachtig".
  the wind  thus  started  he  his story    was tempestuous
  '"The wind", (thus) he started his story, "was tempestuous".'
b. "De boot" (zo) vervolgde hij zijn verhaal, "was in gevaar".
  the boat  thus  continued  he  his story    was in danger
  '"The boat", (thus) he continued his story, "was in danger".'
c. "De schipper", (zo) besloot hij zijn verhaal, "spoelde dood aan".
  the skipper  thus  concluded  he  his story    washed  dead  ashore
  '"The skipper", (thus) he concluded his story, "washed ashore dead".'

In order to give an impression of the semantic verb types that can be used in parenthetical say-clauses, we provide a small sample in (153), adapted from De Vries (2006). Note that this list includes a number of intransitive verbs like schreeuwen'to shout', which provides further support for the claim that a direct quote does not function as an argument of the main verb in parenthetical say-clauses.

Example 153
a. Saying, thinking and writing: antwoorden'to answer', denken'to think', prediken'to preach', schrijven'to write', vertellen'to tell', vragen'to ask', zeggen'to say'
b. Manner of speech and sound emission, schreeuwen'to shout', vloeken'to curse', zuchten'to sigh', giechelen'to giggle', schateren'to roar', trompetteren'to trumpet', sissen'to hiss', zingen'to sing'
c. Thinking, observation and explanation: concluderen'to conclude', denken'to think', fantaseren'to fantasize', opmerken'to observe', peinzen'to contemplate', verduidelijken'to clarify'
[+]  B.  Semi-direct reported speech

Semi-direct reported speech constructions exhibit more or lesss the same syntactic behavior as their direct counterparts. The direct reported speech constructions in (139), for instance, can easily be transformed into the semi-direct reported speech constructions in (154). It shows that, like direct quotes, semi-direct quotes need not function as direct objects of the verb zeggen'to say'. It may therefore be the case that in examples such as (154) the direct quote is actually not part of the first sentence, but consists of a series of independent sentences.

Example 154
a. Jan vroeg het haar eindelijk. Als hij haar zag, begon zijn hart te bonken: boem, boem, boem ... Hij kon niet langer zonder haar!
  'Jan finally asked her it. Whenever he saw her his heart started pounding boom, boom, boom ... He could no longer live without her!'
b. Jan vroeg haar eindelijk of ze met hem wilde trouwen. Als hij haar zag, begon zijn hart te bonken: boem, boem, boem ... Hij kon niet langer zonder haar!
  'Jan finally asked her whether she would marry him. Whenever he saw her his heart started pounding boom, boom, boom ... He could no longer live without her!'
c. Jan vroeg het haar als volgt/zo. Als hij haar zag, begon zijn hart te bonken: boem, boem, boem ... Hij kon niet langer zonder haar!
  'Jan finally asked her it as follows/thus. Whenever he saw her his heart started pounding boom, boom, boom ... He could no longer live without her!'

The hypothesis that semi-direct quotes are independent sentences may also account for the fact that semi-direct quotes cannot be embedded whereas direct reported speech constructions can. The acceptability contrast between the two primed examples in (155) illustrates this. However, it may not be a syntactic issue after all: embedding semi-direct speech constructions may simply be inconsistent with the fact that a semi-direct quote is a stylistic means used for expressing the internal thoughts of the protagonist(s) of a story; see the discussion in the introduction to Section 5.1.2.4. We leave this issue for future research.

Example 155
a. Jan dacht: "Ik ben ziek".
  Jan thought  I  am  ill
a'. Ik weet zeker dat Jan dacht: "Ik ben ziek".
  know  for.sure  that  Jan  thought    I  am  ill
b. Jan dacht: hij was ziek.
  Jan thought  he  was  ill
b'. $ Ik weet zeker dat Jan dacht hij was ziek.
  know  for.sure  that  Jan  thought  he  was  ill

Like direct quotes, semi-direct quotes seem to have an ambiguous syntactic status, as is clear from the fact that the direct quotes in (142) can be replaced by semi-direct quotes without any difficulty.

Example 156
a. Hij was ziek, zei Jan.
  he  was ill  said  Jan
  'He was ill, Jan said.'
b. Hij was ziek, dat zei Jan.
  he  was  ill  that  said  Jan
c. Hij was ziek, zo zei Jan.
  he  was ill  thus  said  Jan

The acceptability of (156b&c) suggests that semi-direct quotes may function as independent sentences with parenthetical say-clauses. This is confirmed by the examples in (157), which show that the say-clauses may split the quotes.

Example 157
a. Hij, zei Jan, was ziek.
  he  said  Jan  was  ill
b. Hij, zo zei Jan, was ziek.
  he  thus  said  Jan  was  ill

The acceptability of (156b) suggests that semi-direct quotes may also function as direct objects, which seems to be confirmed by the fact illustrated in (158a) that the say-clause with resumptive dat cannot split the quote. Note, however, that this sentence is fully acceptable if it is interpreted as an assertion made by the speaker himself, who simply points to Jan as his source of information by means of a parenthetical clause, as in (158b).

Example 158
a. * Hij, dat zei Jan, was ziek.
semi-direct quote
  he,  that said Jan,  was ill
b. Hij, dat zei Jan tenminste, was ziek.
non-quote
  he,  that said Jan at least,  was ill

The difference between the semi-direct reported speech constructions in (157) and the non-quote construction in (158b) can be brought out even more clearly by taking coreferentiality into account: whereas the pronouns in the quotes in (157) can be interpreted as coreferential with the subject Jan of the say-clauses, the pronoun in (158b) does not allow this so easily. We illustrate this in the primeless examples of (159) by means of slightly more elaborate examples. Example (159b') shows that the proper name in (159b) must be replaced by a pronoun in order to allow the intended coreferentiality reading, and even then this reading is often emphasized in speech by addition of the emphatic marker zelf'himself'. Note that some of our informants do allow the intended coreference relation indicated in (159b); this is indicated by the percentage sign.

Example 159
a. Morgen zou hij, (zo) zei Jan, vroeg vertrekken.
  tomorrow  would  he,  thus said  Jan  early  leave
  'He, said Jan, would leave early tomorrow.'
b. % Morgen zou hij, dat zei Jan tenminste, vroeg vertrekken.
  tomorrow  would  he,  thus  said  Jan  at.least  early  leave
b'. Morgen zou hij, dat zei hij tenminste (zelf), vroeg vertrekken.
  tomorrow  would  he,  thus  said he  at.least  himself  early  leave

Although the discussion above suggests that semi-direct quotes may function not only as independent sentences but also as direct objects of the verb of saying, it should be noted that they never occur in the middle field of the say-clause: the direct reported speech construction in (140b), repeated here as (160a), does not have a semi-direct counterpart: example (160b) is unacceptable under the intended reading and can at best be interpreted as a direct quote, that is, with the interpretation that Jan literally said "Hij was ziek".

Example 160
a. Jan heeft "ik ben ziek" tegen de leraar gezegd.
  Jan has    I  am  ill  to the teacher  said
  'Jan has said "Iʼm ill" to the teacher.'
b. # Jan heeft hij was ziek tegen de leraar gezegd.
  Jan has  he was ill  to the teacher  said

In addition, the examples in (161) show that it is impossible to use semi-direct quotes as the complement of a noun.

Example 161
a. Jan beweerde: "ik ben ziek".
  Jan claimed    I  am  ill
a'. Jans bewering "Ik ben ziek" kwam als een nare verrassing.
  Janʼs assertion   I am ill  came  as a nasty surprise
b. Jan beweerde hij was ziek.
  Jan claimed  he  was  ill
b'. * Jans bewering hij was ziek kwam als een vervelende verrassing.
  Janʼs assertion  he was ill  came  as a nasty surprise

      If say-clauses without resumptive dat are indeed parenthetical clauses, we expect that, just as in the case of direct quotes, we should find a wider range of examples that do not involve verbs of saying/thinking. This expectation is again borne out. A number of rather conventional examples are given in (162). As in (152), the quote cannot be analyzed as an argument of the verbs beginnen'to start', vervolgen'to continue', and besluiten'to conclude' since these already have a direct object, zijn verhaal'his story'. Analyzing the say-clauses as parentheticals seems the only option therefore.

Example 162
a. Hij moest, (zo) begon de schipper zijn verhaal, bij storm uitvaren.
  he had.to thus  started  he skipper  his story  during storm   out sail
  'He had to set sail, (thus) the skipper started his story, during a gale.'
b. Zijn boot (zo) vervolgde de schipper zijn verhaal, was in gevaar.
  his boat  thus  continued  the skipper  his story  was in danger
  'His boat, (thus) the skipper continued his story, was in danger.'
c. Dit, (zo) besloot de schipper zijn verhaal, redde hem van de dood.
  this  thus  concluded  the skipper  his story  saved him from the death
  'This, thus the skipper concluded his story, saved him from death.'
[+]  C.  Additional evidence for structural ambiguity

This subsection discusses a number of additional arguments, mainly taken from Corver (1994) and Corver & Thiersch (2003), in favor of the conclusion reached in the previous subsections that (semi-)direct reported speech constructions can be structurally ambiguous. Their point of departure is the observation in Reinhart (1983) that (semi-)direct reported speech constructions can also be semantically ambiguous; the say-clause may be either subject- or speaker-oriented. We will see that this semantic ambiguity correlates with the structural ambiguity discussed in the previous subsections.

[+]  1.  Subject-oriented reading

The subject-oriented reading is triggered by questions such as (163a). The interrogative clause is transitive and directed towards the subject matter of the addressee's thoughts; the answer in (163b) therefore plausibly involves a transitive structure as well. The fact that the direct quote in (163b) may be replaced by the indirect quote in (163b') provides additional support for this conclusion, given that Subsection I has established that an indirect quote also has the function of direct object.

Example 163
a. Wat denk je?
  what  think  you
  'What do you think?'
b. Ik vertrek om zeven uur, denk ik.
  leave  at seven oʼclock  think I
b'. [Dat ik om zeven uur vertrek] denk ik.
  that  at seven oʼclock  leave  think  I
[+]  2.  Speaker-oriented reading

The speaker-oriented reading is triggered by questions such as (164a). The person asking the question is not interested in the addressee's thoughts but in information about a specific state of affairs. The person answering the question simply adds a parenthetical say-clause as a warning; he is not completely sure that his answer is/will come true. The suggestion that we are dealing with a parenthetical say-clause implies that the direct quote in (164b) is a main clause, and this correctly predicts that it cannot be replaced by an indirect quote, as the latter functions as an embedded clause; example (164b') is not a felicitous answer to question (164a).

Example 164
a. Hoe laat vertrek je?
  how late  leave  you
  'When will you leave?'
b. Ik vertrek om zeven uur, denk ik.
  leave  at seven o'clock,  think I
b'. # [dat ik om zeven uur vertrek], denk ik.
  that  at seven o'clock  leave  think  I

Note in passing, however, that the transitive construction Ik denk dat ik om zeven uur vertrek'I think that I will leave at seven o'clock' would be a felicitous answer to (164). It is not entirely clear why this is possible and why a similar transitive reading of the say-clause is blocked for example (164b').

[+]  3.  Differences between the subject- and the speaker-oriented reading

Our suggestion that the subject- and speaker-oriented readings are associated with, respectively, transitive and parenthetical structures is supported by a number of additional facts, although it should be noted that judgments of the relevant examples are sometimes subtle. First, since we have seen that (semi-)direct quotes can only be split by parenthetical clauses, we predict that an example such as (165) cannot be used as an answer to the question Wat denk je?'What do you think?' in (163a); it does seem that it can only be used as an answer to the question Hoe laat vertrek je?'At what time will you leave?' in (164a).

Example 165
Ik vertrek, denk ik, om zeven uur.
  leave  think  I at seven oʼclock

Secondly, we predict that the direct object clause will be semantically reconstructed in its original object position in the subject-oriented construction. This means that a referential expression like Jan that is embedded in the quote cannot be bound by, e.g., the subject of the say-clause because this would violate binding condition C on referential expressions. This also seems to be the case: whereas the pronoun hij can readily be interpreted as coreferential with Jan in (166b), this seems excluded in example (166b'); see Reinhart (1983) for similar judgments on English. Of course, the intended interpretation is that Jan is the brother of the person answering the question.

Example 166
a. Wat zei je broer?
  what  said  your brother
  'What did your brother say?'
b. Hij was ziek, zei Jan.
  he was ill  said Jan
b'. * Jan was ziek, zei hij.
  Jan  was ill  said  he

Reconstruction is not relevant in the case of the speaker-oriented reading, and we therefore correctly predict that the question in (167a) can be answered by the primed (b)-example. Corver & Thiersch claim that the primeless (b)-example is marked as an answer to (167a). If so, this may follow from the fact that, apart from cases of reconstruction, referential expressions tend to precede pronouns that they are coreferential with.

Example 167
a. Waarom bibbert je broer zo?
  why  shivers  your brother  like.that
  'Why is your brother shivering like that?'
b. % Hij was ziek, zei Jan.
  he was ill  said Jan
b'. Jan was ziek, zei hij.
  Jan  was ill  said  he

Corver & Thiersch provide similar evidence based on bound-variable readings of pronouns. Our prediction is that such readings are only possible if the say-clause is transitive, that is, if it has a subject-oriented reading. Corver & Thiersch claim that this is indeed borne out, but some speakers have difficulty with getting a bound variable reading in both cases. For this reason we have added a percentage sign to example (168a').

Example 168
a. Wat zei iedereen?
  what  said  everyone
  'What did everyone say?'
a'. % Hij zou staken, zei iedereen.
  he  would  go.on.strike  said  everyone
b. Waarom loopt iedereen weg?
  why  walks  everyone  away
  'Why is everyone walking away?'
b'. * Hij zou staken, zei iedereen.
  he  would  go.on.strike  said  everyone

A final piece of evidence supporting the claim that subject- and speaker-oriented readings are associated with, respectively, the transitive and the parenthetical structure is provided in (169). The tag question ... of toch niet? is used as an afterthought expressing doubt on the part of the speaker about the preceding assertion: De auto is kapot, ... of toch niet'The car is broken, ... or maybe not?' The (a)-examples in (169) show that the tag question can have scope over the entire preceding clause when we are dealing with the transitive, subject-oriented construction: the speaker expresses doubt about whether Jan did indeed say that the car was broken. In the (b)-examples, on the other hand, the tag question has scope over the quote only; the speaker expresses his doubt about whether the car was broken at all, not about whether Jan was his source of information. This contrast will follow from our proposal if parenthetical clauses are not part of the core information. The scope of the tag questions in (169) is indicated by italics.

Example 169
a. Wat zei Jan over die auto?
  what  said  Jan  about that car
  'What did Jan say about that car?'
a'. Hij was kapot, zei Jan, ... of toch niet?
  he  was  broken  said Jan,  or prt  not
  'It was broken, said Jan, ... or did he not?'
b. Wat is er met die auto?
  what  is  there  with that car
  'What is the matter with that car?'
b'. Hij was kapot, zei Jan, ... of toch niet?
  he  was  broken  said Jan,  or prt  not
  'It was broken, said Jan, ... or was it not?'
[+]  D.  The structure of parenthetical (semi-)direct reported speech constructions

The discussion in the previous subsections has shown that analyzing the say-clauses such as (170) as parentheticals seems a feasible option. It is, however, far from clear what the internal structure of these parenthetical clauses is. Due to the fairly recent discovery that (semi-)direct reported speech constructions may involve parenthetical clauses, the issue has not received much attention in the literature so far.

Example 170
"Peter zal het boek morgen brengen", (zo) zei Marie.
  Peter will  the book  tomorrow  bring  thus  said Marie
'"Peter zal het boek morgen brengen", Marie said.'

An analysis was proposed for English in Branigan & Collins (1993), Collins & Branigan (1997) and Collins (1997); it involves movement of a phonetically empty operator that functions as the object of the verb of saying into the clause-initial position of the parenthetical say-clause. The desired interpretation is derived by assuming that the empty operator is coindexed with the quote. Applied to the Dutch cases, this would correctly account for the fact that the verb of saying is the first visible element in the parenthetical clause in (146a) as the first position of the clause is filled by a phonetically empty element.

Example 171
a. [Ik ben ziek]i , [OPi zei Jan ti].
b. [Hij was ziek]i , [OPi zei Jan ti].

However, the proposal in (171) does not account for the fact established in the previous subsections that the overt counterpart of the postulated empty operator is zo'so', not dat'that' (which in fact also holds for English). A proposal that would solve this problem can be found in Corver (1994) and Corver & Thiersch (2003), who assume that zo is phrasal and, in fact, contains a phonetically empty pronominal element pro functioning as a direct object; see De Vries (2006) for a similar intuition.

Example 172
a. [Ik ben ziek]i , [[pro-zo]i zei Jan ti].
b. [Hij was ziek]i , [[pro-zo]i zei Jan ti].

Although this proposal may raise all kinds of technical issues (like the fact that Dutch normally does not allow pro objects and that pro is not directly related by movement to the object position of the parenthetical clause), it would account for the fact that het cannot be present in parenthetical say-clauses. In structures such as (173) the direct object is expressed twice; once by pro and once by the pronoun het.

Example 173
a. * [Ik ben ziek]i , [[pro-zo]i zei Jan het ti].
b. * [Hij was ziek]i , [[pro-zo]i zei Jan het ti].

A potential problem for this proposal is that zo can sometimes be combined with a direct object; this was shown in (152) and (162) above where the (optional) noun phrase zijn verhaal'his story' clearly functions as a direct object. In examples such as (151b), repeated below as (174b), a direct object is even obligatory: whereas the pronoun het can be left out in the (transitive) direct reported speech construction in (174a), it must be present in the construction with zo in (174b). If zo indeed contained an empty pronominal element, this would be surprising.

Example 174
a. Marie zei: "Peter zal het boek morgen komen brengen".
  Marie said  Peter will  the book  tomorrow  come  bring
b. Marie zei *(het) zo: "Peter zal het boek morgen komen brengen".
  Marie said   it  thus    Peter will  the book  tomorrow  come  bring

For completeness' sake, it should be noted that there are also (transitive) direct reported speech constructions with zo in which the pronoun can be left out. This is the case in constructions such as (175) containing discourse particles like nog and maar.

Example 175
a. Ik zei (het) nog zo; "je moet opletten voor die auto".
  said   it  prt. so   you  must  take.heed  of that car
b. Ik zeg (het) maar zo: "morgen is er weer een dag".
  say   it  prt so  tomorrow  is there  again  a day

The discussion above seems to lead to the rather ad hoc assumption that in certain constructions zo obligatorily contains the empty pronoun pro, whereas in other constructions it cannot or only optionally do so. However, if we reject Corver & Thiersch' proposal for this reason, we have to conclude that we may leave the direct object of the verb zeggen unexpressed in examples like (149) and (150), despite the fact that example (138a) has shown that the verb zeggen normally cannot occur without a direct object. This position would be equally ad hoc. It shows that we do not yet have a fully satisfactory analysis for parenthetical say-clauses at our disposal. Since we have nothing more enlightening to say about this issue at the moment, we leave it for future research and simply conclude that direct and semi-direct reported speech constructions can be ambiguous.

[+]  III.  Quotative and polar van-constructions

We conclude the discussion of reported speech with a look at quotative van-constructions such as (176), which are typically (but not exclusively) found in colloquial speech and informal writing; see Verkuyl (1977), Romein (1999), and, especially, Foolen et al. (2006). The literature often claims that the quotative preposition van is of a similar kind as the preposition van that we find in polar van-constructions such as (176b). For this reason, we will also discuss the latter construction in this subsection.

Example 176
a. Jan zei van ... kom morgen maar even langs.
  Jan said  van  come  tomorrow  prt  along  come
  'Jan said something like: "Drop in tomorrow, if you like".'
b. Jan zei van niet/wel.
  Jan said  van not/aff
  'Jan denied/affirmed it.'

Observe that we do not use quotation marks in the quotative van-construction since we will see that it differs from the direct reported speech construction discussed in Subsection II in that it is not used to reproduce utterances literally.

[+]  A.  Quotative van-constructions

This subsection investigates the quotative van-construction and is organized as follows, subsection 1 discusses the internal make-up of the quotative van-phrase, Subsection 2 the meaning of the quotative van-construction as a whole, and Subsection 3 some of its syntactic properties. As we go along, we will point out a number of differences between quotative van-constructions and reported speech constructions without van.

[+]  1.  The quotative van-phrase

Quotative van-constructions involve the quotative preposition van, which is followed by an optional hesitation marker like eh'er', an intonation break, and a quote. The examples in (177) show that the quote can be declarative or interrogative in nature; the reader can find many more interrogative examples on the internet by doing a Google search on, e.g., the strings [ vroeg van kan] (... asked van be able ...) or [ vroeg van hoe] (... asked van how ...).

Example 177
a. Marie dacht van (eh) ... hij komt straks wel weer terug.
  Marie thought  van  er  he comes  later  prt  again  back
  'Marie thought something like: "Heʼll probably come back later".'
b. Marie vroeg van (eh) ... kan je me even helpen?
  Marie asked van  er  can  you  me  for.a.moment  help
  'Marie asked something like: "Can you help me a moment?".'
b'. Marie vroeg van (eh) ... wie leest zoʼn boek nou?
  Marie asked van  er  who  reads  such.a book  now
  'Marie asked something like: "Who on earth reads a book like that?".'

The examples in (177) involve direct quotes but it is also possible to have indirect quotes. The examples in (178) show that the quotes can again be declarative or interrogative in nature; the reader can find many more interrogative examples on the internet by a Google search on, e.g., the strings [ vroeg van of] (... asked van whether ...) or [ vroeg van hoe] (... asked van how ...).

Example 178
a. Marie dacht van (eh) ... dat hij straks wel weer terug komt.
  Marie thought  van  er  that  he  later  prt  again  back  comes
b. Marie vroeg van (eh) ... of ik eventjes kan helpen.
  Marie asked van  er  whether  for.a.moment  can  help
b'. Marie vroeg van (eh) ... wie zoʼn boek nou leest?
  Marie asked van  er  who  such.a book  now reads

Quotative van-constructions frequently occur with verbs normally taking a direct quote in writing. Romein (1999) even suggests that the preposition van has a similar function as the colon in written language. It should be noted, however, that the quotative van-phrase may also be used as modifier/complement of non-verbal phrases that cannot be used in direct reported speech constructions without van; cf. Foolen et al. (2006). This will be clear from the difference in acceptability between the primeless and primed examples in (179).

Example 179
a. Hij zit daar met een gezicht van ... ik heb niets verkeerds gedaan.
  he  sits  there  with a face  van  have  nothing wrong  done
  'He sits there with a face expressing: "I havenʼt done anything wrong".'
a'. * Hij zit daar met een gezicht: "ik heb niets verkeerds gedaan".
  he  sits  there  with a face    I  have  nothing wrong  done
b. Hij had het idee van ... nu eventjes doorbijten!
  he  had  the idea  van  now  for.a.while  keep.trying
  'He had the idea: "Just grin and bear it for a while!".'
b'. * Hij had het idee: "Nu eventjes doorbijten!".
  he  had  the idea    now  for.a.while   keep.trying
[+]  2.  Meaning aspects of the quotative van-construction

Direct reported speech constructions without van differ in another respect: the quote following quotative van need not be identical to the reported utterance or thought, but is presented as an approximation at best; cf. Van Craenenbroeck (2002) and Foolen et al. (2006: 142-3). This is clear from the fact illustrated in (180) that quotative van-phrases often co-occur with the indefinite pronoun iets/zoiets'something'. Note that in (180a) the preposition van can be replaced by als'like' if the construction contains a verb of speaking or thinking; this seems less felicitous in cases such as (180b), in which the quotative van-phrase functions as a modifier/complement of a nominal phrase.

Example 180
a. Hij dacht (zo)iets van/als ... dat vertik ik!
  he  thought  something  van/like  that  refuse.flatly  I
  'He thought something like "Iʼll be damnʼd if I do that!".'
b. Hij had een houding van/?als ... dat vertik ik!
  he  had  an attitude  van/like  that  refuse.flatly  I
  'His attitude was something like "Iʼll be damnʼd if I do that!".'

That we are dealing with sloppy quotes may find additional support in the fact, illustrated in (181), that quotative van can easily be replaced by phrasal prepositions like in de trant/geest van and op een manier van, which are all semantically close to English like.

Example 181
a. Hij zei iets in de geest/trant van ... wat maakt het uit?
  he  said  something  in the spirit/manner of  what  makes  it  prt.
  'He said something like "What difference does it make?".'
b. Hij keek op een manier van ... wat willen die mensen van me?
  he looked  in a manner of  what  want  those people  from me
  'He looked like he was thinking "What do these people want from me?".'

In fact, the quote may even be invented by the speaker himself in order to give a subjective typification of some (aspect of) a person. This is what is the case in examples (179a) and (180b) above: the quote is used to provide a characterization of the presumed attitude of the person under discussion, and need not have anything to do with what that person actually said or thought. That we are nevertheless dealing with some sort of reported speech construction is clear from the fact that, just like in direct reported speech constructions without van, the part following van need not be well-formed Dutch, but can be virtually any sound; cf. Hoeksema (2006).

Example 182
a. De ober zei (iets) van ... Non monsieur! Pas possible!
  the waiter  said  something  van  non monsieur  pas possible
  'The waiter said something like "Non monsieur! Pas possible!".'
b. De trein ging van ... tjoeke, tjoeke, tjoek.
  the trein  went van  tjoeke, tjoeke, tjoek
  'The trein made a sound like "choo-choo-choo".'

Note in passing that in Foolen et al. (2006) the approximate/typificational reading of the quotative van-construction is related to the fact that the preposition van may also have an approximate/typificational function in non-quotative constructions. This is illustrated in (183) by means of the phrasal predicate iets (weg) hebben van'to look like/resemble'.

Example 183
a. Hij heeft iets van Mick Jagger.
  he  has  something  van Mick Jagger
  'He reminds me of Mick Jagger in a way.'
b. Hij heeft iets weg van een filmster.
  he  has  something  away  van a movie star
  'He looks a bit like a movie star.'

Related to the typificational reading of the quotative van-construction is that the quote is often some conventionalized expression providing a more or lesss generally recognizable characterization of some state of affairs. Some cases were provided earlier but in (184) we add two, slightly abbreviated, attested examples; the quote in (184b) is a fixed expression in Dutch. We refer to Foolen et al. (2006) for a more extensive discussion of the pragmatic and sociolinguistic aspects related to the actual use of the quotative van-construction.

Example 184
a. een wereldbeeld van je bent voor of tegen ons
  world.view  van  you  are  for  or  against  us
  'a world view of the type: "Youʼre either for or against us"'
b. een sfeer van doe maar gewoon, dan doe je al gek genoeg
  an atmosphere  van  do  prt normally  then  do you  already  crazy enough
  'an atmosphere of the type: "be normal, then youʼre being crazy enough as it is"'

That we are dealing with a subjective typification is clear from the fact that the quotative van-constructions are not compatible with factive predicates like betreuren in (185); cf. Van Craenenbroeck (2002). Since betreuren normally does not take a direct quote, we also give an example with an indirect quote.

Example 185
a. Jan zei/*betreurde (iets) van ... Ik ben ziek.
  Jan said/regretted  something  van  am  ill
b. Jan zei/*betreurde (iets) van ... dat hij ziek was.
  Jan said/regretted  something  van  that  he  ill  was
[+]  3.  Syntactic behavior of the quotative van-phrase

The quotative preposition van and the quote can be separated by an (optional) hesitation marker and an intonation break. Otherwise, however, they are always adjacent: it is not possible to place, e.g., adverbial material between the preposition and the quote or to separate them by movement. We illustrate the latter in (186) by means of topicalization; the trace ti indicates the normal position of the quote.

Example 186
a. * [Ik ben ziek]i zei Jan (iets) van ti.
  am  ill  said  Jan  something  van
b. * [dat hij ziek was]i zei Jan (iets) van ti.
  that  he  ill  was  said  Jan  something  van

Probably related to the adjacency requirement is that quotative van-constructions cannot be used as parenthetical clauses, as is shown by the contrast in (187); see also Van Craenenbroeck (2002).

Example 187
a. Jan is, zei Marie, al vanaf gisteren ziek.
  Jan is,  said Marie  already  since yesterday  ill
  'Jan has been ill since yesterday, said Marie.'
b. * Jan is, zei Marie iets van, al vanaf gisteren ziek.
  Jan is,  said  Marie something  van  already  since yesterday  ill

Example (188a&b) show that quotative van-phrases are normally placed in the position following the verb in clause-final position; note that the indefinite pronoun iets/zoiets (if present) must precede the clause-final verb. The (c)-examples show that topicalization is normally not possible either, regardless of whether or not the preposition van is stranded.

Example 188
a. Hij zal wel (iets) denken van ... die is gek!
  he  will  prt  something  think  van  that.one  is crazy
  'Heʼll probably think something like: "That one is crazy!".'
b. ?? Hij zal wel (iets) van ... die is gek! denken.
  he  will  prt  something  van  that.one  is  crazy  think
c. * Van ... die is gek! zal hij wel denken.
  van  that.one  is  crazy  will  he  prt  think
c'. * Die is gek! zal hij wel (iets) denken van.
  that.one  is  crazy  will  he  prt  something  think  van

Another thing to note is that quotative van-constructions differ from (in)direct reported speech constructions in that they never contain an anticipatory pronoun. This contrast is illustrated in (189).

Example 189
a. dat Jan het eindelijk vroeg: "Wil je met me trouwen!"
  that  Jan it  finally  asked    want you  with me  marry
  'that Jan finally asked it: "Will you marry me!".'
a'. dat Jan (*het) eindelijk vroeg van ... wil je met me trouwen.
  that  Jan     it  finally  asked van  want  you  with me  marry
b. dat Jan het eindelijk vroeg of ze met hem wilde trouwen.
  that  Jan it  finally  asked  whether  she  with him  wanted.to  marry
  'that Jan finally asked it if she would marry him.'
b'. dat Jan (*het) eindelijk vroeg van of ze met hem wilde trouwen.
  that  Jan    it  finally  asked van  whether  she  with him wanted.to marry
[+]  B.  Polar van-constructions

This subsection discusses polar van-constructions such as (190a). The name of this construction derives from the fact that the complement of van is typically one of the polar adverbs wel and niet, which function, respectively, as affirmative marker and negation. We will compare a polar van-construction such as (190a) to a polar van-construction such as (190b) which involves the polar elements ja'yes' and nee'no'; we will see that, although the two constructions look very similar at first sight, they exhibit a quite different behavior.

Example 190
a. Ik dacht van wel/niet.
polar van wel/niet-construction
  thought  van  aff/not
b. Ik dacht van ... ja/nee.
polar van ja/nee-construction
  thought  van  yes/no

In order to make the comparison between the two polar van-constructions in (190) easier, Subsection 1 begins with a brief comparison of the syntactic behavior of polar wel/niet and polar ja/nee'yes/no'. This will show that the former normally functions as a constituent of a clause while the latter does not, subsection 2 then continues with an investigation of a number of differences in use of the van wel/niet- and the van ja/nee-phrases, subsection 3 goes on to discuss a number of syntactic properties of polar van wel/niet-phrases, and Subsection 4 concludes with a brief discussion of a suggestion in Hoeksema (2006) that the polar van wel/niet- and van ja/nee-constructions in (190) are special cases of, respectively, indirect and direct quotation.

[+]  1.  The syntactic function of ja/nee'yes/no' and wel/niet

This subsection discusses several differences between ja/nee'yes/no' and wel/niet. A first difference is that ja and nee are used in answering yes/no-questions, whereas wel and niet are adverbs used as an affirmation and a negation marker, respectively. The (b)-examples in (191) show that ja/nee and wel / niet crucially differ: the former can be used as independent utterances in response to a question whereas the latter cannot.

Example 191
a. Komt Jan morgen?
speaker A
  comes  Jan tomorrow
  'Will Jan come tomorrow?'
b. Ja/Nee.
speaker B
  yes/no
b'. * Wel/niet.
  aff/not

Another difference between ja/nee and wel / niet is that the former are never clausal constituents, whereas the latter must be. This is demonstrated by the (b)-and (c)-examples in (192) which show that ja/nee must precede the element in sentence-initial position, and must therefore be sentence-external. The polarity adverbs, on the other hand, always occupy a sentence-internal position, preferably in the middle field of some clause. The (b)- and (c)-examples in (192) are intended as answers to the question in (192a).

Example 192
a. Komt Jan morgen?
  comes  Jan tomorrow
b. Ja, ik denk dat hij komt.
  yes,  think  that  he comes
  'Yes, I think he will.'
b'. Nee, ik denk dat hij niet komt.
  No  think  that he not comes
  'No, I think he wonʼt.'
c. Ik denk dat hij wel komt.
  think that  he  aff  comes
  'I think he will.'
c'. Ik denk dat hij niet komt.
  think  that  he  not  comes
  'I think he wonʼt.'

Note in passing that the examples in (193) show that the elements welles and nietes, which are used to bring about a truth transition by contradicting some immediate preceding assertion in discourse, behave in this respect like ja/nee and not like wel/niet. Contrary to what is claimed by Hoeksema (2006:fn.2), the forms welles and nietes also occur in polar van-constructions, as is clear from, e.g., the following, completely natural example: Jambers zegt van nietes, De Pauw zegt van welles waarop [...]'Jambers says it is the case, De Pauw says it is not, after which [...]' (Nieuwsblad.be, September 3, 2004). We will, however, not discuss nietes and welles here, but simply assume that at least for some speakers they behave like ja and nee in the relevant respects.

Example 193
a. Jan is niet hier.
  Jan is not here 
  'Jan isnʼt here.'
a'. Welles, ik zag hem net.
  he.is saw  him  just.now
  'Yes, he is, I saw him just now.'
b. Jan is er al.
  Jan is here  already
  'Jan is already here.'
b'. Nietes, hij belde net dat hij ziek is.
  he.is.not  he  phoned  just  that  he  ill  is
  'No, he isnʼt, he just phoned to tell that heʼs ill.'

      The fact that the ja/nee cannot be used as clausal constituents leaves us with no other option than to analyze examples such as (190b) as quotative van-constructions with a direct quote. That the polar adverbs wel / niet do not occur as independent utterances (apart from cases of ellipsis) makes such an analysis unlikely for example (190a). This conclusion is supported by examples (194b&c); whereas ja and nee are quite normal as direct quotes in reported speech constructions without van, the polar adverbs wel and niet are not. We added the primed examples to show that ja/nee and wel / niet are possible in the corresponding van-constructions.

Example 194
a. Marie vroeg: "Komt Jan morgen?"
speaker A
  Marie asked  comes  Jan tomorrow
b. Ik antwoordde snel: "Ja/nee".
speaker B
  answered  quickly    yes/no
b'. Ik antwoordde snel van ja/nee.
c. * Ik antwoordde snel: "wel/niet".
speaker B
  answered  quickly    aff/not
c'. Ik antwoordde snel van wel/niet.

The claim that the polar van-constructions with ja/nee are quotative van-constructions with a direct quote receives further support from example (195a), which shows that the complement of van can be supplemented with all kinds of other material. Example (195b), on the other hand, does not allow such supplements, which again suggests that van-constructions with wel / niet do not involve a direct quote.

Example 195
a. Ik dacht van ... ja/nee.
  thought  van  yes/no
a'. Ik dacht van ... ja/nee, (maar) dat wil ik ook!
  thought  van  yes/no   but  that  want  also
b. Ik dacht van wel/niet.
  thought  van  aff/not
b'. * Ik dacht van wel/niet, (maar) dat wil ik ook!
  thought  van  aff/not  but that want  also
[+]  2.  Differences in use between van ja/nee and van wel/niet phrases

The two polar van-constructions in (190), which are repeated below as (196), are subject to different conditions on their use as well. Whereas the van-construction with ja/nee in (196b) can be used in any situation in which it is relevant to report the speaker's thoughts, the van-construction with wel / niet in (196a) is used in specific circumstances only.

Example 196
a. Ik dacht van wel/niet.
  thought  van  aff/not
b. Ik dacht van ... ja/nee.
  thought  van  yes/no

In fact, the two constructions often seem to be in complementary distribution. A first illustration of this is provided by the question-answer pair in (197): example (197b) is infelicitous because it does not provide an answer to question (197a) but simply presents the speaker's thoughts; example (197c), on the other hand, is completely natural as an answer to (197a).

Example 197
a. Komt Peter morgen?
question
  comes  Peter tomorrow
  'Will Peter come tomorrow?'
b. $ Ik denk van ja/nee.
answer
c. Ik denk van wel/niet.
answer

It is interesting to compare the question-answer pair in (197) to the one in (198) since this shows that we find a similar contrast between direct and indirect reported speech constructions. It seems to confirm that van ja/nee phrases function as direct quotes, and it might suggest that polar van wel/niet phrases have a status similar to that of an indirect quote.

Example 198
a. Komt Peter morgen?
question
  comes  Peter tomorrow
  'Will Peter come tomorrow?'
b. $ Ik denk: "ja/nee".
answer
  I think   yes/no
c. Ik denk dat hij wel/niet komt.
answer
  think  that  he  aff/not  comes
  'I think that he will/wonʼt.'

That the two polar van-constructions are in complementary distribution is also suggested by the discourse chunk in (199), which involves the denial of some presupposed truth. Again, the response in (199b) is not felicitous given that quotes are normally not the most suitable items to perform this function; the response in (199c), on the other hand, does have the intended effect of denying the presupposed truth of the proposition "Jan does not come tomorrow".

Example 199
a. Jan komt morgen niet.
speaker A
  Jan comes  tomorrow  not
  'Jan wonʼt come tomorrow.'
b. $ Dat is niet waar. Hij zei daarnet nog van ja.
speaker B
  that  is not true  he  said  just/now  still  van  yes
c. Dat is niet waar. Hij zei daarnet nog van wel.
speaker B
  that  is not  true  he  said  just/now  still van  aff
  'That isnʼt true. He just told me that he would.'

The examples in (200) show again that direct quotes in direct reported speech constructions without van pattern with van ja/nee-phrases, whereas indirect quotes pattern with polar van wel/niet-phrases.

Example 200
a. Jan komt morgen niet.
speaker A
  Jan comes  tomorrow  not
  'Jan wonʼt come tomorrow.'
b. $ Dat is niet waar. Hij zei daarnet nog: "Ja".
speaker B
  that  is not  true  he  said  just/now  still   yes
c. Dat is niet waar. Hij zei daarnet nog dat hij wel komt.
speaker B
  that  is not  true  he  said  just/now  still that he  aff  comes
  'That isnʼt true. He just told me that he would.'

A final illustration of the complementary distribution of van ja/nee- and van wel/niet-phrases is given in (201), in which speaker B indicates that the information provided by speaker A clashes with the information available to him and, implicitly, that he will update his knowledge state.

Example 201
a. Jan komt morgen niet.
speaker A
  Jan comes  tomorrow  not
  'Jan wonʼt come tomorrow.'
b. $ Bedankt, ik dacht van ja.
speaker B
  thank.you  thought  van  yes
c. Bedankt, ik dacht van wel.
speaker B
  thank.you  thought  van aff
  'Thanks for telling me, because I thought he would.'

Again, the examples in (202) are again added to show that van ja/nee-phrases behave like direct quotes in reported speech constructions without van, whereas van wel/niet-phrases behave like indirect quotes.

Example 202
a. Jan komt morgen niet.
speaker A
  Jan comes  tomorrow  not
  'Jan wonʼt come tomorrow.'
b. $ Bedankt, ik dacht: "Ja".
speaker B
  thank.you  thought   yes
c. Bedankt, ik dacht dat hij wel kwam.
speaker B
  thank.you  thought  that  he aff came
  'Thanks for telling me, because I thought he would.'

To summarize the findings above, we can say that the two van-constructions in (196) differ in that van wel/niet-phrases are normally used as a response to some question, as a denial of some presupposed truth, or to indicate a mismatch in information, whereas van ja/nee-phrases are simply used as direct quotes. A similar difference in use can be observed between indirect and direct reported speech without van, which may have led Hoeksema (2006) to the claim that, whereas van-constructions with ja/nee are instantiations of the direct quotative van-construction, polar van-constructions are instantiations of the indirect quotative van-construction. We return to this suggestion in Subsection 4 after having investigated some of the syntactic properties of van wel/niet-phrases.

[+]  3.  Syntactic behavior of the van wel/niet-phrases

The previous subsection has established that direct quotes cannot be used to answer questions; see the discussion of (197) and (198). This means that we can use question-answer pairs to exclude unwanted intervention of direct quotative van-readings; this is what we will do in this subsection in order to investigate the syntactic behavior of polar van wel/niet-phrases in more detail. Paardekooper (1986: 149-50) has shown that the internal make-up of such phrases is quite rigid. First, the affirmative and negative adverbs wel and niet are part of a severely restricted paradigm. Although examples such as (203) with the epistemic modals zeker'certainly' and mogelijk'possibly' are sometimes taken to be acceptable, we were not able to find any clear cases on the internet; since we consider them degraded, we mark them with a number sign.

Example 203
a. Komt Jan straks?
yes/ no question
  comes  Jan later
b. # Ik denk van zeker/natuurlijk/misschien/mogelijk.
  think  van  certainly/naturally/maybe/possibly

The examples in (204) show that other adverbial phrases are also straightforwardly excluded, which implies that polar van wel/niet-constructions are not usable as answers to wh-questions, but always pertain to the truth or falsehood of some proposition.

Example 204
a. Wie komt er morgen?
  who  comes  there  tomorrow
  'Who is coming tomorrow?'
a'. * Ik denk van Jan.
wh-question
  think  van  Jan
b. Wanneer komt Jan?
  when  comes  Jan
  'When will Jan come?'
b'. * Ik denk van straks.
wh-question
  I think  van  later

The fact that polar van wel/niet-constructions must involve the truth or falsehood of some proposition immediately accounts for the fact, noticed both by Paardekooper (1986) and Hoeksema (2006), that polar van wel/niet-phrases require the verb to be non-factive; (205a) shows that polar van wel/niet with a factive verb like betreuren'to regret' gives rise to a severely degraded result. A potential counterexample is weten'to know' in (205b), which is normally factive but common in the van wel/niet-construction when combined with the adverb zeker; the reason for the contrast between the construction with and without zeker is that the collocation zeker weten can readily be interpreted non-factively as "to be convinced of"; see Hoeksema (2006: 142) for further discussion of more apparent exceptions.

Example 205
a. * Ik betreur van wel/niet.
  I regret  van  aff/not
b. Jan wist *(zeker) van wel/niet.
  Jan knew   for.sure  van  aff/not

For completeness' sake, the examples in (206) show that the factivity restriction also holds for non-verbal predicates. Non-factive bang zijn'to fear' does allow a polar van wel/niet-phrase whereas factive gek zijn'to be strange' does not.

Example 206
a. Ik ben bang dat ze Peter ontslaan.
non-factive
  am  afraid  that  they  Peter  fire
  'Iʼm afraid that they will fire Peter.'
a'. Ik ben bang van wel/niet.
  am  afraid  van  aff/not
b. Het is gek dat ze Peter ontslaan.
factive
  it  is strange  that  they  Peter  fire
  'It is strange that they will fire Peter.'
b'. * Het is gek van wel/niet.
  it  is strange  van  aff/not

Hoeksema (2006) collected a sample of verbs that may occur with a polar van ja/nee- or van wel/niet-phrase on the basis of 1.000 occurrences from written sources published after 1600. Most of these verbs occur infrequently in this construction; we have selected those verbs that occur at least five times in the corpus, resulting in Table (207) where the numerals indicate the number of instances found by Hoeksema. Unfortunately, Hoeksema does not distinguish the two constructions, and we have therefore added our own intuitions on whether the verb in question is more normal with a van wel/niet or a van ja/nee phrase: w>j indicates that van wel/niet is the preferred form, j>w indicates that van ja/nee is the preferred form, and w indicates that the use of a van ja/nee-phrase is infelicitous or even excluded. These judgments were confirmed by a more or lesss impressionistic investigation of the results of a Google search on the strings [V van ja/nee] and [V van wel/niet]. Table (207) supports Hoeksema's (2006:150ff.) conclusion from his diachronic investigation of polar van-constructions that the constructions with van wel/niet-phrases are much more common in present-day Dutch than constructions with van ja/nee-phrases (contrary to what was the case in earlier stages of the language).

Example 207
Frequently occurring verbs in van ja/nee and van wel/niet phrases
aannemen'to assume' 16 w schijnen'to seem' 7 w
antwoorden'to reply' 39 j>w schudden'to shake' 52 j>w
beweren'to claim' 15 w vermoeden'to suspect' 16 w
denken'to think' 208 w>j verzekeren'to assure' 5 w
dunken 'to think' 13 w>j volhouden'to maintain' 5 w
geloven'to believe' 87 w>j vinden'to consider/think' 69 w
hopen'to hope' 51 w vrezen'to fear' 35 w
knikken'to nod' 34 j>w wedden'to bet' 6 w
menen'to suppose' 57 w zeggen'to say' 104 w>j

Many of the verbs in Table (207) can also be used as bridge verbs licensing extraction of a wh-phrase from their complement clause; see Table (331) in Section 5.1.5, sub I. Of course we expect this because such bridge verbs must also be non-factive, just like verbs taking a van wel/niet-phrase. It is interesting to note, though, that three out of the seven verbs that do not occur in the list of bridge verbs prefer a van ja/nee-phrase; we return to these verbs in Subsection 4.
      Polar van wel/niet-phrases are also quite rigid when it comes to modification. Modal adverbs are occasionally judged as acceptable and also occur with a very low frequency on the internet, as was shown by a Google search (2/29/2012), on the string [ denk [±past] van adverb wel/niet] for the adverbs zeker'certainly', misschien'maybe', natuurlijk'naturally', mogelijk'possibly' and helaas'unfortunately'. We found that zeker is used to modify both wel and niet, misschien is used to modify wel, and helaas is used to modify niet. We did not find any cases in which the adverbs natuurlijk or mogelijk were used as modifiers. Other adverbs seem categorically excluded.

Example 208
a. Ik denk van zeker/natuurlijk wel.
attested cases
  think van  certainly/naturally  aff
b. Ik denk van zeker/helaas niet.
attested cases
  think van  certainly/unfortunately  not
c. * Ik denk van morgen/hier wel/niet.
  think van  tomorrow/here  aff/not

Paardekooper also observed that polar van wel/niet-phrases must follow the verbs in clause-final position. The contrast between the (b)-examples in (209) shows that they cannot occur in the middle field of the clause.

Example 209
a. Komt er een reorganisatie?
question
  comes  there  a reorganization
  'Will there be a reorganization?'
b. Jan liet duidelijk blijken dat hij dacht van wel.
answer
  Jan let  clearly  show  that  he  thought  van  aff
  'Jan made it perfectly clear that he though that there would be.'
b'. ?? Jan liet duidelijk blijken dat hij van wel dacht.
  Jan let  clearly  show  that  he  van  aff  thought

Moreover, the examples in (210) show that topicalization of polar van wel/niet-phrases also leads to a degraded result, regardless of whether the preposition van is stranded or not. See Hoeksema (2008) for the same observations.

Example 210
a. Ik denk van wel/niet.
  think  van aff/not
b. *? Van wel/niet denk ik.
b'. * Wel/Niet denk ik van.

Paardekooper concluded from the immobility of polar van wel/niet-phrases that we are not dealing with regular quotes as these normally do allow topicalization, subsection A has shown, however, that quotes from quotative van-constructions must also follow the verbs in clause-final position, and this still leaves open the possibility that polar van-constructions are indirect quotative van-constructions, as was indeed suggested in Hoeksema (2006).

[+]  4.  Are polar van-constructions quotative van-constructions?

The previous subsections have shown that polar van ja/nee-constructions must be analyzed as direct quotative van-constructions constructions, leading to the prediction that this type of van-construction can only occur with verbs that may take direct quotes in reported speech without van. Hoeksema (2006) is probably correct in claiming that this expectation is borne out; the primed examples in (211) with beweren'to claim' and geloven'to believe' feel uncomfortable, and, although they do occur on the internet, they have a much lower frequency than the corresponding examples with zeggen'to say' and denken'to think'. We indicate this by using the percentage mark.

Example 211
a. Jan zei/??beweerde: "Peter is ziek".
  Jan said/claimed    Peter is ill
a'. Jan zei/%beweerde van ja/nee.
  Jan said/claimed  van yes/no
b. Jan dacht/*geloofde: "Els is aardig".
  Jan thought/believed    Els is nice
b'. Jan dacht/%geloofde van ja/nee.
  Jan thought/believed  van yes/no

Hoeksema also suggests that polar van wel/niet-constructions are indirect quotative van-constructions, which is in keeping with the findings of Subsection 2 that indirect quotes behave like polar van wel/niet phrases in that they can be used as a response to some question, as a denial of some presupposed truth, or to indicate a mismatch in information. Furthermore, it correctly predicts that polar van wel/niet phrases can be used as the complement of verbs taking indirect quotes.

Example 212
a. Jan zei/beweerde dat Peter ziek was.
  Jan said/claimed  that  Peter ill  was
a'. Jan zei/beweerde van wel/niet.
  Jan said/claimed  van aff/not
b. Jan dacht/geloofde dat Els aardig is.
  Jan thought/believed  that  Els nice  is
b'. Jan dacht/geloofde van wel/niet.
  Jan thought/believed  van aff/not

The suggested analyses of the two polar van-constructions correctly account for the placement of the van wel/niet-phrases: examples (209)-(210) in Subsection 3 have shown that they behave like van-phrases in indirect quotative van-constructions since they obligatorily follow the verbs in clause-final position. A potential problem is that van-phrases in direct quotative van-constructions have the same property, and we would therefore predict that polar van ja/nee-phrases also need to follow the verbs in clause-final position. However, Hoeksema (2008:74ff.) found that this expectation is not borne out: in about 5% of the cases the van ja/nee-phrase may occur in the middle field of the clause. Hoeksema relates this to the fact that (short) direct quotes may occasionally also occur in the middle field of the clause; see Subsection IIA, for a discussion of such cases.

Example 213
a. dat Jan <van ja> zei <van ja>.
  that  Jan   van yes  said
b. dat Jan <"ja"> zei <"ja">.
  that  Jan     yes  said

It seems that this suggestion can be supported by the examples in (214). The primeless examples show that the verbs knikken'to nod' and schudden'to shake (one's head)' can only be combined with a direct quote if the latter precedes the verb in clause-final position, and our judgment of the primed examples show that the corresponding van ja/nee-phrase likewise prefers to precede the verbs in clause-final position. Our intuitions are confirmed by a Google search (3/2/2012) on the strings [ <van ja> geknikt <van ja>] and [ <van nee> geschud <van nee>], which showed that preverbal placement is more frequent than postverbal placement of the van ja/nee-phrase; the absolute numbers are given in square brackets.

Example 214
a. Jan heeft <"ja"> geknikt <*"ja">.
  Jan  has     yes  nodded
a'. Jan heeft <van ja> geknikt < ?van ja>.
37/12
  Jan has    van yes  nodded
b. Jan heeft <"nee"> geschud <*"nee">.
  Jan has      no  shaken
b'. Jan heeft <van nee> geschud < ?van nee>.
24/4
  Jan has     van no  shaken

The discussion above has shown that there may indeed be reasons to think that the polar van ja/nee- and polar van wel/niet-constructions are special instantiations of, respectively, direct and indirect quotative van-constructions. However, the evidence so far is still a little scanty; a more detailed investigation may therefore be needed to provide a solid foundation for this idea.

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