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5.2.3.3. Perception verbs
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Perception verbs like zien'to see' and horen'to hear' can select a finite or a bare infinitival complement clause. Examples showing this are given in (667), in which the complement clauses are in italics, subsection I starts by pointing out some differences in meaning between the two types of construction.

Example 667
a. Jan zag dat Marie/zij aan haar dissertatie werkte.
finite
  Jan saw  that  Marie/she  on her dissertation  worked
  'Jan saw that Marie/she was working on her PhD thesis.'
a'. Jan zag Marie/haar aan haar dissertatie werken.
bare infinitival
  Jan saw  Marie/her  on her dissertation  work
  'Jan saw Marie/her working on her PhD thesis.'
b. Marie hoorde dat Peter/hij in de keuken werkte.
finite
  Marie heard  that  Peter/he  in the kitchen  worked
  'Marie heard that Peter/he was working in the kitchen.'
b'. Marie hoorde Peter/hem in de keuken werken.
bare infinitival
  Marie heard  Peter/him  in the kitchen  work
  'Marie heard Peter/him working in the kitchen.'

In some grammars, the perception verbs are taken to be non-main verbs when they select a bare infinitival clause; Subsection II will discuss our reasons for assuming that they are main verbs, just like when they take a finite clause. The primed examples in (667) are different from most other cases in which a main verb takes a bare infinitival clause in that the subject of the infinitival clause appears as the accusative object of the construction as a whole, which is known as the accusativus-cum-infinitivo (AcI) effect, subsection III will show that this fact makes an analysis of the phrases headed by the bare infinitive as bare-inf nominalizations very unlikely since the subjects of the input verb of such nominalizations are normally left implicit or expressed by means of a van- or a door-PP; they are never expressed by means of a noun phrase. However, since example (668) shows that the subject of the bare infinitival clause can be omitted under certain conditions as well, we still have to appeal to the tests in Table (599) from Section 5.2.3 in order to establish whether we are dealing with verbal or nominal complements in cases like these.

Example 668
Ik hoorde (de kinderen) een liedje zingen.
  heard   the children  a song  sing
'I heard (the children) sing a song.'

The discussion continues in Subsection IV with a more detailed discussion of the behavior and distribution of the subject of the bare infinitival verb as well as the AcI-effect, subsection V concludes the discussion with a number of smaller remarks.

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[+]  I.  Meaning: direct involuntary sensory perception

Example (667) above shows that perception verbs like zien'to see' and horen'to hear' can select finite or bare infinitival complement clauses. This subsection discusses an important semantic difference between the two types of clauses: whereas constructions with a bare infinitival complement clause normally imply that the subject of the perception verb is a witness of the eventuality denoted by the infinitival clause, constructions with a finite complement clause leave this issue open.
      Section 5.1.2.1, sub II, has shown that we should distinguish two groups of perception verbs: verbs of involuntary and verbs of voluntary perception. The difference is especially clear in the domain of vision and hearing: zien'to see' and horen'to hear' are used for involuntary perception, whereas kijken'to look' and luisteren'to listen' are used for the active use of vision and hearing. The two verb types differ markedly in how they handle complementation by means of a finite clause; whereas verbs of involuntary perception normally take declarative finite clauses as their complement, verbs of voluntary perception normally take interrogative clauses. Since Section 5.1.2.1, sub II, has also shown that the verbs proeven'to taste', ruiken'to smell' and voelen'to feel' can be used in both contexts, we may conclude that these verbs are homophonous.

Example 669
a. Marie zag/*keek [dat de zon opkwam].
  Marie saw/looked   that  the sun  prt.-rose
  'Marie saw that the sun was rising.'
a'. Marie keek/*zag [of de zon opkwam].
  Marie looked/saw  whether  the sun  prt.-rose
  'Marie looked whether the sun was rising.'
b. Jan hoorde/*luisterde [dat de deur klapperde].
  Jan heard/listened   that  the door  rattle
  'Jan heard that the door was rattling.'
b'. Jan luisterde/*hoorde [of de deur klapperde].
  Jan listened/heard  whether  the door  rattle
  'Jan listened whether the door was rattling.'

The examples in (670) show that the two types of perception verb differ in yet another way: whereas the verbs of involuntary perception may occur in AcI-constructions, the verbs of voluntary perception cannot. For convenience, the bare infinitival clauses are given in straight brackets and their subjects in italics; in order to avoid confusion it should be noted that the brackets are used here to indicate that the strings form semantic units and are not intended to imply that these strings are also syntactic units: we will see in Subsection III that these strings may be discontinuous if the finite verb is in clause-final position.

Example 670
a. Marie zag/*keek [de zon opkomen].
  Marie saw/looked   the sun  prt.-rise
  'Marie saw the sun rise.'
b. Jan hoorde/*luisterde [de deur klapperen].
  Jan heard/listened   the door  rattle
  'Jan heard the door rattle.'

      The primeless acceptable examples in (669) differ semantically from the acceptable ones in (670) in that only the latter imply that the subject of the perception verb actually witnessed the eventuality expressed by the infinitival clause. This can be demonstrated by means of the contrast in (671): (671b) is awkward as it is incompatible with our knowledge of the world, since we know that the rising of the sun cannot be perceived auditorily; (671a), on the other hand, is perfectly acceptable because Marie may have had some indirect auditory evidence for assuming that the sun was rising—she may have been told so or she may have heard that the birds started singing.

Example 671
a. Marie hoorde [dat de zon opkwam].
  Marie heard   that  the sun  prt.-rose
  'Marie heard that the sun was rising.'
b. $ Marie hoorde [de zon opkomen].
  Marie heard   the sun  prt.-rise

Since the AcI-constructions express that the subjects of the perception verbs have direct sensory evidence for assuming that the proposition expressed by the bare infinitival clause is true, it is tempting to interpret AcI-constructions of this type as evidential sensory modal constructions in the sense of Palmer's (2001) classification of modal constructions, which was introduced in Section 5.2.3.2, sub III. A semantic argument in favor of this might be built on Palmer's claim that cross-linguistically there are normally no more than three different markers for expressing sensory evidentiality: one for seeing, one for hearing, and one functioning as a multi-purpose marker. This seems consistent with the fact that especially the verbs proeven'to taste' and ruiken'to smell' are rare in Dutch AcI-constructions; although the primeless examples in (672) are perfectly acceptable, their AcI-counterparts are marked and certainly not very frequent; see Haeseryn et al. (1997: 1014) for the same observation.

Example 672
a. Ik proef [dat het snoepje van smaak verandert].
  taste   that  the candy  of flavor  changes
  'Iʼm tasting that the candy is changing its flavor.'
a'. ?? Ik proef [het snoepje van smaak veranderen].
  taste   the candy  of flavor  change
b. Ik ruik [dat de aardappelen aanbranden].
  smell   that  the potatoes  prt-burn
  'I smell that the potatoes are getting burnt.'
b'. ?? Ik ruik [de aardappelen aanbranden].
  smell   the potatoes  prt-burn

AcI-constructions with the perception voelen'to feel' seem to have an intermediate status; although they are not very frequent, examples such as (673) are impeccable and are easy to find on the internet.

Example 673
a. Ik voel [mijn vingers tintelen].
  feel   my fingers  tingle
b. Ik voelde [het glas uit mijn vingers glijden].
  felt   the glass  from my fingers  slip
  'I felt the glass slip from my fingers.'

While examples with verbs proeven'to taste', ruiken'to smell' and voelen'to feel' are not common, Dutch seems to have a multi-purpose verb that may be found in AcI-constructions to express sensory perception, namely the verb vinden'to think/consider'. The examples in (674) show that this verb can be used in the context of all types of sensory stimuli. Observe that vinden differs from the perception verbs in that it normally also expresses some sort of subjective evaluation by the subject of vinden; Marie has a high opinion of Jan's dancing skills, she likes the taste/smell of the soup, but dislikes the feel of the sweater on her skin.

Example 674
a. Marie vindt [Jan goed dansen en zingen].
vision/hearing
  Marie thinks  Jan well  dance and sing
  'Marie thinks that Jan is dancing and singing well.'
b. Marie vindt [die soep lekker ruiken/smaken].
smell/taste
  Marie thinks  that soup  nice  smell/taste
  'Marie thinks that the soup smells/taste nice.'
c. Marie vindt [die trui naar prikken].
touch
  Marie thinks  that sweater  unpleasantly  prickle
  'Marie thinks that that sweater is unpleasantly itchy.'

It is important in this connection to stress that eventualities that cannot be directly perceived by means of the senses cannot be used in AcI-constructions with vinden. This is illustrated in the examples in (675); since the truth of the states of Peter knowing a great deal and Jan being a nice person cannot be directly perceived by the senses, the examples in (675) are unsuitable. We added example (675b') to show that the requirement that the eventuality be directly perceived by the senses holds for bare infinitival constructions only; if vinden takes a complementive, the resulting construction simply expresses a subjective evaluation.

Example 675
a. * Marie vindt [Peter veel weten].
  Marie thinks   Peter much  know
  'Intended reading 'Marie thinks that Peter knows much.'
b. * Marie vindt [Peter aardig zijn].
  Marie thinks   Peter  kind  be
  Intended reading: 'Marie considers Peter to be kind.'
b'. Marie vindt [Peter intelligent/aardig].
  Marie considers   Peter intelligent/kind

      Section 5.2.3.2, sub III, has shown that many modal verbs selecting a bare infinitival complement clause can be used in several modal functions. If verbs of involuntary perception are indeed modal in nature, we expect to see something similar with these verbs; this seems to be confirmed by the perception verb zien'to see'. A special interpretation of the infinitival construction containing zien'to see' is what Van der Leek (1988) refers to as the illusory reading: example (676a) does not express that Jan is observing some eventuality but that he surmises that Peter will go to London soon; along the same lines, example (676b) expresses that Jan does not expect that Els will leave soon. It thus seems that in these uses the verb zien'to see' expresses some kind of epistemic modality.

Example 676
a. Jan ziet Peter binnenkort naar Londen gaan.
  Jan sees  Peter soon  to London  go
  'Jan envisages that Peter will go to London soon.'
b. Jan ziet Els niet snel vertrekken.
  Jan sees  Els  not  soon  leave
  'Jan canʼt quite see Els leaving soon.'

Note in passing that it is not clear whether the negation in (676b) is part of the infinitival or the matrix clause given that subject of the embedded infinitival clause, the noun phrase Els, may have been scrambled across it. In principle, pronominalization should be able to clarify whether negation can be construed with the perception verb, but unfortunately it seems that (for some as yet unknown reason) pronominalization does not yield a satisfactory result: the example #Jan ziet dat (niet) does not readily allow the intended epistemic reading.

[+]  II.  Perception verbs are main verbs

Based on the assumption that clauses can have at most one main verb, Haeseryn et al. (1997:946-7) claim that perception verbs function as non-main verbs in AcI-constructions. This leads to the conclusion that perception verbs are homophonous: they are main verbs if they take a noun phrase or a finite clause as their object, but non-main verbs if they take a bare infinitival clause. Given that the core meaning of the perception verbs is similar in all these cases, this conclusion is a little suspicious. Our definition that main verbs are verbs with an argument structure, on the other hand, treats all cases in a uniform way.
      First, the examples in (677) show that bare infinitival complement clauses selected by perception verbs can be pronominalized. The standard assumption that (pronominal) noun phrases must be assigned a thematic role (that is, be semantically licensed) by the verb, in tandem with our claim that non-main verbs are incapable of doing this, leads to the conclusion that perception verbs are also main verbs in AcI-constructions. The coindexing indicates that the pronoun dat has the same interpretation as the infinitival clause within brackets.

Example 677
a. Marie/zij zag [de zon opkomen]i en Jan/hij zag dati ook.
  Marie/she  saw   the sun  prt.-rise  and  Jan/he  saw  that  too
  'Marie/she saw the sun rise, and Jan/he saw that too.'
b. Jan/hij hoorde [de deur klapperen]i en Els/zij hoorde dati ook.
  Jan/he heard   the door  rattle  and  Els/she  heard  that  too
  'Jan/he heard the door rattle and Els/she heard that too.'

On top of this, it is clear that the nominative subjects of the constructions in (677) are not introduced as arguments of the bare infinitives but of the perception verbs. This again shows that perception verbs take arguments, and are therefore main verbs by definition.

[+]  III.  Perception verbs take bare infinitival complement clauses

Bare infinitives can be used as heads of both bare infinitival clauses and bare-inf nominalizations. As a result, it is not always possible to tell immediately whether constructions in which a main verb takes a bare infinitival involve nominal or clausal complementation. This subsection argues on the basis of the tests developed in Section 5.2.3.1, repeated here as (678), that perception verbs can actually take bare infinitival complement clauses.

Example 678
The verbal and nominal use of bare infinitives
    infinitival clause nominalization
I is part of the verbal complex +
II precedes/follows the governing verb normally follows precedes
III triggers IPP-effect +
IV allows focus movement +
V may follow negative adverb niet'not' +
Vi can be preceded by the article geen'no' +

We can distinguish two different cases, which will be discussed in two separate subsections: cases such as (679a) in which the subject of the bare infinitival is expressed by means of an accusative noun phrase and cases such as (679b) in which the subject is left implicit.

Example 679
a. Ik hoorde de kinderen een liedje zingen.
  heard  the children  a song  sing
  'I heard the children sing a song.'
b. Ik hoorde een liedje zingen.
  heard  a song  sing
[+]  A.  Phrases in which the subject of the bare infinitival is expressed

An overtly expressed subject of the bare infinitive makes it very unlikely that we are dealing with a bare-inf nominalization. The reason is that in nominalizations the subject of the input verb is never expressed by means of a prenominal noun phrase: it is either left implicit or it is expressed by a postnominal van- or door-PP. We illustrate this in (680) by means of nominalizations of an intransitive, a transitive and an unaccusative verb. Note that we used det-inf nominalizations in the primeless examples because bare-inf nominalizations greatly favor their nominal argument in prenominal position; we refer the reader to section N1.3.1.2, sub III for a detailed discussion of the position and form of the arguments of the two types of nominalization.

Example 680
a. [Het lachen (van kinderen)] klinkt vrolijk.
intransitive
  the  laughing   of children  sounds  merrily
  'The laughing of children sounds merry.'
a'. * [(Het) kinderen lachen] klinkt vrolijk.
  the  children  laugh  sounds  merry
b. [Het dieren verzorgen (door kinderen)] is erg educatief.
transitive
  the  animals  look.after    by children  is quite educational
  'Caring for animals by children is highly educational.'
b'. * [(Het) kinderen dieren verzorgen] is erg educatief.
  the  children  animals  look.after  is quite educational
c. [Het vallen (van bladeren)] gebeurt in de herfst.
unaccusative
  the fall   of leaves  happens  in the autumn
  'The falling of leaves happens in autumn.'
c'. * [(Het) bladeren vallen] gebeurt in de herfst.
  the  leaves  fall  happens  in the autumn

The crucial thing for our present purpose is that the primed examples in (680) are unacceptable, regardless of whether or not the determiner het'the' is present, whereas the AcI-constructions in (681) are fully acceptable.

Example 681
a. Jan zag [de kinderen lachen].
  Jan saw   the children  laugh
b. Jan zag [de kinderen de dieren verzorgen].
  Jan saw   the children  the animals  look.after
  'Jan saw the children care for the animals.'
c. Jan zag [de bladeren vallen].
  Jan saw the leaves  fall

The fact that the subject of the input verbs of the nominalizations in (680) cannot be expressed by means of a noun phrase in prenominal position makes it very unlikely that the bracketed phrases in (681) are bare-inf nominalizations; we can safely conclude that we are dealing with bare infinitival complement clauses. That this is the correct analysis is also clear from the fact that the bare infinitivals allow splitting: the bare infinitives preferably follow the perception verbs in clause-final position and are thus normally separated from their nominal arguments, which must precede the clause-final verb cluster as a whole (test I and II in Table (678)).

Example 682
a. dat Jan de kinderen zag lachen.
  that  Jan the children  saw  laugh
  'that Jan saw the children laugh.'
b. dat Jan de kinderen de dieren zag verzorgen.
  that  Jan  the children  the animals  saw  look.after
  'that Jan saw the children looking after the animals.'
c. dat Jan de bladeren zag vallen.
  that  Jan the leaves  saw  fall
  'that Jan saw the leaves fall.'

More support for assuming that we are dealing with bare infinitival complement clauses is that the presence of the bare infinitive triggers the IPP-effect (test III); in perfect-tense constructions such as (683), the perception verbs cannot surface as past participles but must occur in their infinitival form instead. The fact that the bare infinitives cannot precede the perception verb also shows that it is impossible to construe a bare infinitives as the head of a bare-inf nominalization (test II); cf. Jan heeft die film gezien'Jan has seen that movie'.

Example 683
a. Jan heeft de kinderen zien/*gezien lachen.
  Jan has  the children  see/seen  laugh
  'Jan has seen the children laugh.'
a'. * Jan heeft de kinderen lachen zien/gezien.
  Jan has  the children  laugh  see/seen
b. Jan heeft de kinderen de dieren zien/*gezien verzorgen.
  Jan has  the children  the animals  see/seen  look.after
  'Jan has seen the children look after the animals.'
b'. * Jan heeft de kinderen de dieren verzorgen zien/gezien.
  Jan has  the children  the animals  look.after  see/seen
c. Jan heeft de bladeren zien/*gezien vallen.
  Jan has  the leaves  see/seen  fall
  'Jan has seen the leaves fall.'
c'. * Jan heeft de bladeren vallen zien/gezien.
  Jan has  the leaves  fall  see/seen

Although these facts establish fairly firmly that the phrases between brackets in the AcI-constructions in (681) cannot be bare-inf nominalizations, we will nevertheless apply the remaining tests for the sake of completeness. First, the primeless examples in (684) show that the bare infinitives can follow the negative adverb niet but cannot be preceded by the negative article geen'no'; tests V and VI thus confirm that we are dealing with bare infinitivals.

Example 684
a. dat Jan de kinderen niet/*geen lachen zag.
  that  Jan the children  not/no  laugh  saw
  'that Jan didnʼt see the children laugh.'
b. dat Jan de kinderen de dieren niet/*geen verzorgen zag.
  that  Jan  the children  the animals  not/no  look.after  saw
  'that Jan didnʼt see the children look after the animals.'
c. dat Jan de bladeren niet/*geen vallen zag.
  that  Jan the leaves  not/no  fall  saw
  'that Jan didnʼt see the leaves fall.'

Second, the examples in (685) show that although the bare infinitives may precede the perception verbs in clause-final position, they cannot be moved further leftward by means of focus movement despite the fact that the intended meaning of these examples is completely plausible: "that Jan liked to see ....."; test IV thus confirms again that the bracketed phrases are not nominal but verbal in nature.

Example 685
a. * dat Jan [de kinderen lachen] graag zag.
  that  Jan   the children  laugh  gladly  saw
b. * dat Jan [de kinderen de dieren verzorgen] graag zag.
  that  Jan   the children  the animals  look.after  gladly  saw
c. * dat Jan [de bladeren vallen] graag zag.
  that  Jan   the leaves  fall  gladly  saw

In short, we have ample evidence for concluding that the presence of a noun phrase corresponding to the subject of the bare infinitival is incompatible with analyses according to which the perception verb zien in (681) is complemented by a bare-inf nominalization—instead we are dealing with bare infinitival object clauses.

[+]  B.  Phrases in which the subject of the bare infinitival is left implicit

The subject of the embedded bare infinitival clause can be left implicit under certain conditions. Examples such as (686) suggest that the bare infinitive must be transitive; omitting the subject of monadic (intransitive and unaccusative) verbs normally gives rise to a marked result.

Example 686
a. Ik hoorde (de kinderen) liedjes zingen.
transitive
  heard   the children  songs  sing
  'I heard the children sing a song/I heard the song being sung.'
b. Ik hoorde ??(Peter) slapen.
intransitive
  heard      Peter  sleep
  'I heard Peter sleep.'
c. Ik hoorde *(de kinderen) stiekem vertrekken.
unaccusative
  I heard     the children  sneakily  leave
  'I heard the children leave on the quiet.'

The degraded status of the examples in (686b&c) supports the conclusion from the previous subsection that perception verbs are incompatible with nominalizations as bare-inf nominalizations are not sensitive to the adicity of the input verb: the examples in (687) are all fully acceptable.

Example 687
a. Liedjes zingen is leuk.
transitive
  songs  sing  is fun
  'Singing songs is fun.'
b. Slapen is noodzakelijk.
intransitive
  sleep  is necessary
  'Sleeping is necessary.'
c. Stiekem vertrekken is stout.
unaccusative
  sneakily  leave  is naughty
  'Leaving surreptitiously is naughty.'

The examples in (688) show, however, that there is at least one exception to the general rule that the subject of monadic verbs cannot be left out in AcI-constructions; verbs expressing sound emission normally give rise to fully acceptable results.

Example 688
a. Ik hoorde Peter snurkenV.
  heard  Peter  snore
  'I heard Peter snore.'
a'. Ik hoorde snurken?.
  heard  snore
  'I heard snoring.'
b. Ik hoorde iemand gillenV.
  heard  someone  scream
  'I heard someone scream.'
b'. Ik hoorde gillen?.
  heard  scream
  'I heard screaming.'
c. Ik hoorde de machine brommenV.
  heard  the machine  buzz
  'I heard the machine buzz.'
c'. Ik hoorde brommen?.
  heard  buzz
  'I heard buzzing.'

Since we cannot a priori exclude an analysis according to which the primed examples involve bare-inf nominalizations, we will investigate these cases in somewhat greater detail. Before we do so, it should be pointed out that the infinitival clause in example (686a), which is the one typically discussed in the descriptive and theoretical literature, likewise involves sound emission. This example may therefore belong to the same type as the examples in (688), which seems to be borne out by the fact that its pseudo-intransitive counterpart, Ik hoorde zingen (lit.: I heard sing), is acceptable; cf. Vanden Wyngaerd (1994:ch.3). For this reason, we will include example (686a) in our investigation below.
      The tests from Table (678) should again be helpful in establishing whether the bare infinitive is nominal or verbal in nature, or whether it can be both. Let us first consider whether the infinitive can be verbal. If so, it should be part of the verbal complex and hence be able to appear last in the clause-final verb cluster (test I and II). The examples in (689) show that this is indeed the case, regardless of whether the subject of the infinitive is overtly expressed or implicit. The fact illustrated in (689b) that the constituent headed by the bare infinitive can be split by the verb horen likewise shows that the bare infinitive is part of the verb cluster.

Example 689
a. dat ik (Peter) hoorde snurkenV.
  that   Peter  heard  snore
  'that I heard Peter snore/that I heard snoring.'
b. dat ik (de kinderen) een liedje hoorde zingenV.
  that   the children  a song  heard  sing
  'that I heard the children sing a song/that I heard a song being sung.'

Test III applies to the examples in (690). That the bare infinitive can be verbal in nature is shown by the fact, illustrated by the primeless examples, that it triggers the IPP-effect, again regardless of whether the subject of the infinitive is overtly expressed or implicit. The primed examples show, however, that the IPP-effect does not arise if the bare infinitive precedes the verbal sequence. This, as well as the fact that the subject must be omitted in that case, shows that the bare infinitive can also be nominal in nature.

Example 690
a. dat ik (Peter) heb horen/*gehoord snurkenV.
  that   Peter  have  hear/heard  snore
  'that Iʼve heard Peter snore.'
a'. dat ik (*Peter) snurkenN heb gehoord.
  that    Peter  snore  have  heard
  'that Iʼve heard snoring.'
b. dat ik (de kinderen) een liedje heb horen/*gehoord zingenV.
  that   the children  a song  have  hear/heard  sing
  'that Iʼve heard the children sing a song.'
b'. dat ik (*de kinderen) een liedje zingenN heb gehoord.
  that   the children  a song  sing  have  heard
  'that Iʼve heard singing of a song.'

That we are dealing with a nominalization is also clear from the fact illustrated in (691) that the phrase headed by the bare infinitive may undergo focus movement (test IV); again this requires that the subject be left implicit.

Example 691
a. dat ik (*Peter) snurkenN niet graag hoor.
  that     Peter  snore  not  gladly  hear
  'that I donʼt like to hear snoring.'
b. dat ik (*de kinderen) liedjes zingenN graag hoor.
  that      the children  songs  sing  gladly  hear
  'that I like to hear singing of songs.'

That the bare infinitives can be verbal or nominal is also supported by the fact that the bare infinitive in example (692) can be preceded by either the negative adverb niet'not' or the negative article geen'no' (tests V and VI). In the former case, the bare infinitive must be interpreted as verbal, as is also clear from the fact that its subject can be overtly expressed, whereas in the latter case it must be parsed as nominal, as is also clear from the fact that its subject must be left implicit.

Example 692
a. dat ik (Peter) niet snurkenV hoor.
snurken is verbal
  that   Peter  not  snore  hear
  'that I donʼt hear Peter snore.'
b. dat ik <*Peter)> geen <*Peter> snurkenN hoor.
snurken is nominal
  that      Peter  no  snore  hear
  'that I hear no snoring.'

      The discussion above has established that the perception verb horen may take a bare infinitival complement clause with an implicit subject. It is doubtful whether verbs like zien'to see' or vinden'to consider' also have this option. The examples in (693), for example, show that leaving the subject of the infinitival complement of zien implicit always gives rise to a degraded result. This suggests that leaving the subject implicit is only possible if the bare infinitive is selected by a verb of sound emission; cf. Petter (1998:145)

Example 693
a. Ik zag ??(een gewapende bende) een bank beroven.
transitive
  saw     an armed gang  a bank  rob
  'I saw an armed gang rob a bank.'
b. Ik zag (*Peter) acteren.
intransitive
  saw     Peter  act
c. Ik zag (*een kaars) doven.
unaccusative
  saw a candle  go.out
[+]  C.  Conclusion

The two previous subsections have established that perception verbs can indeed take bare infinitival clauses as their complement. In fact, this seems to be the only viable analysis for constructions in which the subject of the bare infinitival is expressed by means of an accusative noun phrase—subjects of bare-inf nominalizations are never expressed by means of nominal phrases. If the subject of the bare infinitival is left implicit, on the other hand, it would in principle be possible to analyze the projection of the bare infinitive as a bare-inf nominalization. We investigated such constructions by means of the tests from Table (678) and found such structures to be ambiguous. However, we also saw that the ambiguity arises only with the verb horen'to hear', that is, if the bare infinitive is selected by a verb of sound emission.

[+]  IV.  The subject of the bare infinitival clause

This subsection discusses the subject of bare infinitival complement clauses in examples such as (694), in which we have marked the infinitival clauses with square brackets and italicized its presumed subject.

Example 694
a. Jan zag [Marie/haar aan haar dissertatie werken].
  Jan saw   Marie/her  on her dissertation  work
  'Jan saw Marie work on her PhD thesis.'
b. Marie hoorde [Peter/hem in de keuken werken].
  Marie heard   Peter/him  in the kitchen  work
  'Marie heard Peter work in the kitchen.'

Subsection A begins by showing that the accusative objects in (667) are not internal arguments of the perception verbs but external arguments of the infinitival verbs and thus function as the subject of the embedded infinitival clauses. The fact that these subjects appear with accusative case is normally attributed to the fact that bare infinitival clauses of perception verbs are transparent for case-assignment, as a result of which the perception verbs are able to assign accusative case to them; this will be discussed in Subsection B, subsection C returns to the fact mentioned in Subsection III that under certain conditions the subject of the infinitival clause can be omitted, and we will show that in such cases it can be alternatively expressed by means of an agentive door-phrase.

[+]  A.  The direct object is not an internal argument of the perception verb

Subsection I claimed that the noun phrases de zon'the sun' and de deur'the door' in the AcI-constructions in the primed examples in (695) are subjects of the infinitival verbs. A first, not very strong, argument in favor of this claim is that these noun phrases also function as the subjects of the verbs opkomen and klapperen'to rattle' in the finite complement clauses in the primeless examples.

Example 695
a. Marie zag [dat de zon opkwam].
  Marie saw   that  the sun  prt.-rose
  'Marie saw that the sun was rising.'
a'. Marie zag [de zon opkomen].
  Marie saw   the sun  prt.-rise
  'Marie saw the sun rise.'
b. Jan hoorde [dat de deur klapperde].
  Jan heard that  the door  rattled
  'Jan heard that the door rattled.'
b'. Jan hoorde [de deur klapperen].
  Jan heard  the door rattle
  'Jan heard the door rattle.'

A more conclusive argument is that the finite and infinitival clauses behave in a similar way under pronominalization: the pronoun dat can not only be used to pronominalize the finite clauses in the primeless examples but also the complete bracketed phrase in the primed examples. The fact that the noun phrases de zon and de deur are part of the pronominalized phrases unambiguously shows that they are part of the infinitival clause and are therefore not introduced as internal arguments of the perception verbs. This leaves us with the only option that they function as subjects of the bare infinitival clauses.

Example 696
a. Marie zag [dat de zon opkwam] en Peter zag dat ook.
  Marie saw   that  the sun  prt.-rose  and  Peter  saw  that  too
a'. Marie zag [de zon opkomen] en Peter zag dat ook.
  Marie saw   the sun  prt.-rise  and  Peter  saw  that  too
b. Jan hoorde [dat de deur klapperde] en Els hoorde dat ook.
  Jan heard    that  the door  rattled  and  Els heard  that  too
b'. Jan hoorde [de deur klapperen] en Els hoorde dat ook.
  Jan heard   the door  rattle  and  Els heard  that  too

      That the accusative noun phrases in AcI-constructions are not internal arguments of the perception verbs is also clear from the fact that they can be pronominalized by means of the weak anaphor zich. The primeless examples in (697) first show that this is never possible if the accusative object is an internal argument of the verb; this is in accordance with the generalization from Section N5.2.1.5, sub III, that the simplex reflexive zich cannot be bound by a co-argument. The coindexing in (697) indicates the intended binding relation.

Example 697
a. Mariei zag Peter/zichzelfi/*zichi (op televisie).
  Marie saw  Peter herself/refl  on television
b. Jani hoorde Els/zichzelfi/*zichi (op de radio).
  Jan heard  Els/himself/refl  on the radio

The examples in (698) show that the simplex reflexive zich is possible in AcI- constructions with perception verbs. Note in passing that the simplex reflexive often can be replaced by the complex reflexive zichzelf without a distinct difference in meaning.

Example 698
a. Marie ziet [Peter/zich/zichzelf in de spiegel kijken].
  Marie saw   Peter/refl/herself  in the mirror  look
  'Marie saw Peter/herself look in the mirror.'
b. Jan hoorde [Els/zich/zichzelf zingen].
  Jan heard   Els/refl/himself  sing
  'Jan heard Els/himself sing.'
c. Jan voelde [zich/?zichzelf in slaap sukkelen].
  Jan felt   refl/himself  in sleep  plod
  'Jan felt himself doze off.'

Constructions like (698a&b) do not seem very frequent in speech and may feel somewhat forced, for the simple reason that people tend not to register their own actions by visual or auditory means. Examples such as (698c), on the other hand, are quite common, and the same thing holds for more special infinitival constructions with zien'to see' such as (699) that express an illusory/epistemic reading. Note in passing that in examples like (698c) and (699) the use of weak reflexives seems preferred to the use of complex reflexives.

Example 699
a. Jan ziet zich/?zichzelf binnenkort naar Londen gaan.
  Jan sees  refl/himself  soon  to London  go
  'Jan envisages himself going to London soon.'
b. Jan ziet zich/?zichzelf niet snel vertrekken.
  Jan sees  refl/himself not  soon  leave
  'Jan canʼt quite see himself leaving soon.'

The fact that the simplex reflexive is possible in examples like (698) and (699) is consistent with the generalization that simplex reflexive zich cannot be bound by a co-argument if the reflexive functions as the subject of the bare infinitival; it would be highly surprising, however, if it functioned as an internal argument of the perception verbs.

[+]  B.  Case-marking of the subject of the infinitival clause

Although it is generally assumed that the subject of the infinitival clause is assigned accusative case by the perception verb, this is not easy to establish in Dutch. Of course, it is clear that we are not dealing with nominative case: the form of the pronoun in example (700a) shows that the subject of the infinitival clause is assigned objective case. And that we are dealing with accusative (and not dative) case might be supported by the fact that this case is indeed morphologically expressed in the German counterpart of this example in (700b); cf. Drosdowski (1995:739).

Example 700
a. Ik zag [Jan/hem dichterbij komen].
Dutch
  saw   Jan/him  closer  come
  'I saw Jan/him come closer.'
b. Ich sah [(den) Johann/ihnacc. näher kommen].
German
  saw     the Johann/him  closer  come

There is, however, little independent evidence for claiming that the accusative case is assigned by the perception verb. One way of establishing this would be by appealing to passivization: the fact that the accusative subject of the infinitival clause in the English example in (701a) is promoted to subject of the matrix clause in the corresponding passive construction in (701b) can be seen as evidence in favor of "exceptional case marking" of the subject of the infinitival clause by the matrix verb to expect.

Example 701
a. John expects [Bill/him to read the book].
b. Bill/Hei was expected [ti to read the book].

This kind of evidence is, however, not available in Dutch AcI-constructions: passivization of such examples is always impossible. The (a)-examples in (702) show this for a construction in which the infinitive is monadic (that is, intransitive or unaccusative), and the (b)-examples for a construction in which the infinitive is transitive; we have also shown for the latter case that varying the position of the object of the embedded infinitive does not affect the acceptability judgments.

Example 702
a. Jan zag [Marie/haar slapen/vertrekken].
  Jan saw   Marie/her   sleep/leave
a'. * Marie/Zij was gezien slapen/vertrekken.
  Marie/she  was seen  sleep/leave
b. Jan hoorde [Marie/haar een liedje zingen].
  Jan heard   Marie/her  a song  sing
  'Jan heard Marie/her sing a song.'
b'. * Marie/Zij was <een liedje> gehoord <een liedje> zingen.
  Marie/she  was     a song  heard  sing

It seems quite a robust generalization for Dutch that "intermediate" verbs cannot appear as participles. This is clear from the so-called infinitivus-pro-participio effect that we find in the perfect-tense counterpart of examples such as (703a).

Example 703
a. Jan wil je boek lezen.
  Jan want  your book  read
  'Jan wants to read your book.'
b. Jan heeft je boek willen/*gewild lezen.
  Jan has  your book  want/wanted  read
  'Jan has wanted to read your book.'

The examples in (704) show, however, that this is probably not the reason for the unacceptability of the primed examples in (702): the result of passivization is also unacceptable if we replace the participles in these examples by infinitives.

Example 704
a. * Marie/zij was zien slapen/vertrekken.
  Marie/she  was see  sleep/leave
b. * Marie/zij was <een liedje> horen <een liedje> zingen.
  Marie/she  was     a song  hear  sing

The examples in (705) further show that impersonal passivization of constructions in which the subject of the bare infinitival clause is left implicit is also impossible. Note in passing that impersonal examples like dat er snurken werd gehoord'that someone heard snoring' are fully acceptable; this could be used as an additional argument for the claim in Subsection III that examples like dat Jan snurken hoorde'that Jan heard snoring' may involve a bare-inf nominalization.

Example 705
a. dat Jan hoorde snurken.
  that  Jan  heard  snore
  'that Jan heard snore/snoring.'
a'. * dat er werd gehoord snurken.
  that  there  was  heard  snore
b. dat Jan liedjes hoorde zingen.
  that  Jan songs  heard   sing
  'that Jan heard singing/songs being sung.'
b'. * dat er liedjes werd gehoord zingen.
  that  there  songs  was  heard  sing

The unacceptability of the primed examples in (705) shows that the unacceptability of the primed examples in (702) is not related to the promotion of the accusative object to subject, and that this cannot be used as an argument against the standard "exceptional case marking" approach to Dutch AcI-constructions. The unacceptability of passivization of AcI-constructions remains in itself somewhat mysterious; see Bennis & Hoekstra (1989b) for an attempt to account for this.
      For completeness' sake, we want to conclude by noting that the primed examples in (702) cannot be saved by substituting te-infinitives for the bare infinitives either. In this respect, Dutch sharply differs from English, which is otherwise similar to Dutch in that it does not allow passivization of the bare infinitival construction; see Burzio (1981:319) and Bennis & Hoekstra (1989b).

Example 706
a. * Marie/Zij was gezien (te) slapen/vertrekken.
  Marie/she  was seen   to  sleep/leave
a'. Marie was seen *(to) sleep/leave.
b. * Marie/Zij was <een liedje> gehoord <een liedje> (te) zingen.
  Marie/she  was     a song  heard   to  sing
b'. Marie was heard *(to) sing a song.

The discussion above thus shows that there is no clear-cut evidence that the subject of the bare infinitival clause is assigned case by the perception verb; the main reason for assuming this is that subjects of infinitival clauses normally cannot be assigned case by some element internal to infinitival clauses.

[+]  C.  Suppression of the embedded subject

Although subjects of infinitival complement clauses of perception verbs can always be realized as nominal phrases, in some cases they do not have to be present. A typical example illustrating this is given in (707a). Since example (707b) shows that the omitted subject can be overtly expressed by means of an agentive door-phrase, De Geest (1972), Bennis & Hoekstra (1989b), and Bennis (2000) argue that non-realization of the subject is the result of a passive-like process. De Geest further supports this proposal by pointing out that (707b) has more or lesss the same reading as the somewhat awkward morphological passive example in (707c).

Example 707
a. Ik hoor [(Marie) een liedje zingen].
  hear    Marie  a song  sing
  'I hear (Marie) sing a song.'
b. Ik hoor [een liedje zingen (door Marie)].
  hear   a song  sing  by Marie
c. ? Ik hoor [een liedje gezongen worden].
  hear   a song  sung  be

A potential problem with analyses of this sort is that they may lead to the expectation that subjects of infinitival clauses headed by intransitive verbs like klagen'to complain' are also optional given that Dutch allows impersonal passivization: cf. Er werd geklaagd over de kou'People complained about the cold' (lit: there was complained about the cold). Examples like (708a&b) suggest, however, that this expectation is not fulfilled: leaving out the subject of the infinitival clause seems to give rise to a degraded result. It is not very clear what this shows, however, as the morphological passive in (707c) is also unacceptable, as is clear from the fact that a Google search (4/10/2014) on the string [ V over * geklaagd worden], in which V stands for various present- and past-tense forms of horen, did not produce in any results.

Example 708
a. Ik hoor [Marie over de kou klagen].
  hear   Marie  about the cold  complain
b. *? Ik hoor [over de kou klagen (door Marie)].
  hear   about the cold  complain   by Marie
c. * Ik hoor [over de kou geklaagd worden (door Marie)].
  hear   about the cold  complained  be    by Marie

Furthermore, we have seen in Subsection III that the acceptability of omitting the subject also depends on the matrix verb: examples in the literature typically involve the perception verb horen'to hear', and the examples in (709a&b) show that many speakers are less willing to accept similar examples with zien. This would of course be surprising if we were dealing with a productive syntactic process. It may be interesting to note in this connection that the infinitival morphological passive in (709c) is fully acceptable.

Example 709
a. Ik zag [??(een gewapende bende) een bank beroven].
  I saw      an armed gang  a bank  rob
  'I saw an armed gang rob a bank.'
b. ?? Ik zag [een bank beroven (door een gewapende bende)].
  I saw   a bank  rob   by an armed gang
c. Ik zag [een bank beroofd worden (door een gewapende bende)].
  I saw   a bank  robbed  be   by an armed gang
  'I saw a bank being robbed by an armed gang.'

Since the differences noted above have hardly been investigated in the literature so far, it is clear that more research is needed before we can draw any firm conclusions: for example, it is not clear to us to what extent the tendencies noted above are systematic and/or shared by larger groups of speakers.

[+]  V.  Some additional remarks on perception verbs

This subsection concludes the discussion of the perception verbs with two remarks related to their use in AcI-constructions. Some more remarks on the perception verbs can be found in Section 5.2.3.4, sub VI.

[+]  A.  Aan het + Infinitive complement?

Haeseryn et al. (1997:1053ff.) note that perception verbs can be complemented by means of the progressive aan het + Vinf phrase. The primeless examples in (710) show that the logical subject of the infinitive is realized in that case as an accusative object. Although Haeseryn et al. do not explicitly analyze the primeless examples as AcI-constructions, they do suggest such an analysis by relating the primeless examples to the primed examples, which clearly are cases of AcI-constructions.

Example 710
a. We hoorden Peter/hem aan het rommelen op zolder.
  we  heard  Peter /him  aan het  mess.about  in the.attic
  'We heard Peter/him rummaging about in the attic.'
a'. We hoorden Peter/hem rommelen op zolder.
  we  heard  Peter /him  mess.about  in the.attic
  'We heard Peter/him rummaging about in the attic.'
b. Ik zag Marie/haar aan het schoffelen in de tuin.
  saw  Marie/her  aan het  hoe  in the garden
  'I saw Marie/her weeding the garden.'
b'. Ik zag Marie/haar schoffelen in de tuin.
  I saw Marie/her  hoe  in the garden
  'I saw Marie/her weed the garden.'

The primed and primeless examples differ, however, in various ways. First, we notice that the two constructions may markedly differ in word order; in embedded clauses the aan het + Vinf phrase must precede the perception verb in clause-final position, whereas the bare infinitive normally follows it (although it can also precede it if the perception verb is finite, that is, in verb sequences of no more than two verbs).

Example 711
a. dat we Peter/hem <*hoorden> aan het rommelen <hoorden> op zolder.
  that  we Peter /him      heard  aan het  mess.about  in the.attic
a'. dat we Peter/hem < hoorden> rommelen <hoorden> op zolder.
  that  we Peter /him     heard mess.about  in the.attic
b. dat ik Marie/haar <*zag> aan het schoffelen <zag> in de tuin.
  that  Marie/her      saw aan het  hoe  in the garden
b'. dat ik Marie/haar <zag> schoffelen <zag> in de tuin.
  that  Marie/her    saw  hoe  in the garden

Second, the examples in (712) show that while the bare infinitives trigger the IPP-effect in perfect-tense constructions, the aan het + Vinf phrases do not. Note in passing that the bare infinitives rommelen en schoffelen in the primed examples must be last in the clause-final verbal sequences, which confirms that they are verbal.

Example 712
a. We hebben Peter/hem aan het rommelen gehoord/*horen op zolder.
  we  have  Peter /him  aan het  mess.about  heard/hear  in the.attic
  'Weʼve heard Peter/him rummaging about in the attic.'
a'. We hebben Peter/hem horen/*gehoord rommelen op zolder.
  we  heard  Peter /him  hear/heard  mess.about  in the.attic
  'Weʼve heard Peter/him rummaging about in the attic.'
b. Ik heb Marie/haar aan het schoffelen gezien/*zien in de tuin.
  saw  Marie/her  aan het  hoe  seen/see  in the garden
  'Iʼve seen Marie/her weeding the garden.'
b'. Ik heb Marie/haar zien/*gezien schoffelen in de tuin.
  have  Marie/her  see/seen  hoe  in the garden
  'Iʼve seen Marie/her weed the garden.'

The fact that the aan het + Vinf phrases do not trigger the IPP-effect strongly suggests that they are not verbal in nature. This is confirmed by the fact that they must precede the clause-final verbal sequence. Finally, the examples in (713) show that the aan het + Vinf phrases cannot be moved into a more leftward position in the middle field of the clause. This strongly suggests that such phrases function as a complementives, which is in accordance with the findings in the more general discussion of the progressive aan het + Vinf phrase in Section 1.5.3, sub I.

Example 713
a. Ik heb hem < zojuist> aan het rommelen <*zojuist> gehoord op zolder.
  have  him   just.now  aan het mess.about  heard  in the.attic
  'Iʼve just heard him rummaging about in the attic.'
b. Ik heb haar < zojuist> aan het schoffelen gezien in de tuin.
  saw  her   just.now  aan het  hoe  seen in the garden
  'Iʼve just seen Marie/her weeding the garden just now.'
[+]  B.  Nominalization of AcI-constructions

Subsection III has argued that AcI-constructions like Jan hoort kinderen/hen lachen'Jan hears children/them laugh' cannot be analyzed such that the perception verb takes a bare-inf nominalization as its complement because the subject of the input verb (here: kinderen/hen) cannot be realized as a prenominal noun phrase in such nominalizations. What we did not discuss, however, is that the complete AcI-construction can be the input for bare-inf and det-inf nominalization; the singly-primed examples in (714) are cases of the former and the doubly-primed examples are cases of the latter.

Example 714
a. dat Jan [de kinderen hoort lachen].
  that  Jan   the children  hears  laugh
  'that Jan hears the children laugh.'
a'. [Kinderen horen lachen] is altijd een feest.
  children  hear  laugh  is always  a party
  'Hearing children laugh is always a joy.'
a''. [Het horen lachen van de kinderen] is altijd een feest.
  the  hear  laugh  of the children  is always  a party
b. dat Jan [de kinderen de dieren ziet verzorgen].
  that  Jan   the children  the animals  sees  look.after
  'that Jan sees the children look after the animals.'
b'. [Kinderen dieren zien verzorgen] is altijd een feest.
  children  animals  see  look.after  is always  a party
  'Seeing children look after animals is always a joy.'
b''. [Het zien verzorgen van de dieren door de kinderen] is altijd een feest.
  the  see  look.after  of the animals  by the children  is always  a party
c. dat Jan [de bladeren ziet vallen].
  that  Jan   the leaves  sees  fall
  'that Jan sees the leaves fall.'
c'. [Bladeren zien vallen] betekent dat de herfst begint.
  leaves  see  fall  means  that  the autumn  starts
  'Seeing leaves fall is a sure sign that autumn has started.'
c''. [Het zien vallen van de bladeren] betekent dat de herfst begint.
  the  see  fall  of the leaves  means  that  the autumn  starts

Examples like these may prove very important in the final analysis of the nominalization process since they show that nominalization involves not only the conversion of a simplex verb into a noun but may in fact take as its input a complex syntactic object, in this case the phrase consisting of the perception verb and the bare infinitive. This, in turn, may favor an approach in which bare-inf and det-infnominalization are seen as processes that apply in syntax given that, under standard assumptions, syntactic objects like verbal complexes are not stored in the lexicon; if so, this disfavors any approach that claims that bare-inf and det-infnominalization are morphological processes that take place in the lexicon. We leave this suggestion for future research.

References:
  • Bennis, Hans2000Syntaxis van het NederlandsAmsterdamAmsterdam University Press
  • Bennis, Hans & Hoekstra, Teun1989Why Kaatje was not heard sing a songJaspers, Danny, Klooster, Wim, Putseys, Yvan & Seuren, Pieter (eds.)Sentential complementation and the lexiconDordrechtForis Publications21-40
  • Bennis, Hans & Hoekstra, Teun1989Why Kaatje was not heard sing a songJaspers, Danny, Klooster, Wim, Putseys, Yvan & Seuren, Pieter (eds.)Sentential complementation and the lexiconDordrechtForis Publications21-40
  • Bennis, Hans & Hoekstra, Teun1989Why Kaatje was not heard sing a songJaspers, Danny, Klooster, Wim, Putseys, Yvan & Seuren, Pieter (eds.)Sentential complementation and the lexiconDordrechtForis Publications21-40
  • Burzio, Luigi1981Intransitive verbs and Italian auxiliariesCambridge, MAMITThesis
  • Drosdowski, Günther1995Duden Grammatik der deutschen GegenwartsspracheDer Duden in 12 Bänden Bd. 04MannheimDudenverlag
  • Geest, Wim de1972Complementaire constructies bij verba sentiendi in het NederlandsGentThesis
  • Haeseryn, Walter, Romijn, Kirsten, Geerts, Guido, Rooij, Jaap de & Toorn, Maarten C. van den1997Algemene Nederlandse spraakkunstGroningenNijhoff
  • Haeseryn, Walter, Romijn, Kirsten, Geerts, Guido, Rooij, Jaap de & Toorn, Maarten C. van den1997Algemene Nederlandse spraakkunstGroningenNijhoff
  • Haeseryn, Walter, Romijn, Kirsten, Geerts, Guido, Rooij, Jaap de & Toorn, Maarten C. van den1997Algemene Nederlandse spraakkunstGroningenNijhoff
  • Leek, Frederike van der1988ZICH en ZICHZELF: syntaxis en semantiek IISpektator17
  • Palmer, F.R2001Mood and ModalityCambridge University Press
  • Petter, Marga1998Getting PRO under control. A syntactic analysis of the nature and distribution of unexpressed subjects in non-finite and verbless clausesAmsterdamFree University AmsterdamThesis
  • Wyngaerd, Guido vanden1994PRO-legomena. Distribution and Reference of infinitival subjectsLinguistic Models 19Berlin/New YorkMouton de Gruyter
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