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7.1.1. Clause splitting: verb clustering vs. (remnant) extraposition
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Chapter 5 and Chapter 6 have discussed cases in which, respectively, a main and a non-main verb take a clause or a smaller verbal projection as their complement. We have seen that finite clauses introduced by the finite complementizer dat'that' or of'whether' and infinitival complement clauses introduced by the complementizer-like element om are normally in extraposed position, that is, placed after the matrix verb in clause-final position. This is illustrated in the examples in (3), in which the matrix verb is underlined and the complement clause is in square brackets with the categorial label CP (= complementizer phrase). Since CPs do not allow splitting, we can put such cases aside for our present purpose.

Example 3
a. dat Jan verwacht [CP dat Peter zal komen].
  that  Jan expects  that  Peter will  come
  'that Jan expects that Peter will come.'
b. dat Jan betwijfelt [CP of Peter zal komen].
  that  Jan doubts  whether  Peter will  come
  'that Jan doubts whether Peter will come.'
c. dat Jan popelt [CP (om) PRO te komen].
  that  Jan  is.eager  comp  to come
  'that Jan is eager to come.'

Infinitival clauses without the complementizer-like element om are sometimes also in extraposed position, but sometimes also allow or even require clause splitting, which is what we typically find if the complement clause is a bare infinitival clause. This is illustrated in the examples in (4) in which the dependent bare infinitival is in italics; in (4a) the matrix verb is a main verb, whereas in (4b) it is the aspectual non-main verb gaan'to go'. We underlined the verbs in order to push to the fore that clause splitting results in clustering of the verbs in clause-final position.

Example 4
a. dat ik een liedje hoorde zingen.
  that  a song  heard  sing
  'that I heard singing a song.'
b. dat Jan een boek gaat lezen.
  that  Jan  a book  goes  read
  'that Jan is going to read a book.'

The examples in (5) show that in the northern varieties of Dutch, verb clusters are normally impermeable. This is clear from the fact that the objects of the bare infinitives cannot follow the clause-final matrix verbs; see Section 7.4 for a discussion of a number of exceptional cases. The percentage signs indicate, however, that permeation of the cluster is possible in some southern varieties of Dutch, especially in West-Flanders; cf. Sections 5.2.3 and 6.2, and Barbiers (2008:ch.2). For ease of exposition, we will follow the northern intuitions in the discussions below and simply mark permeated verb clusters as unacceptable.

Example 5
a. % dat ik hoorde een liedje zingen.
  that  heard  a song  sing
b. % dat Jan gaat een boek lezen.
  that  Jan goes  a book  read

Constructions such as (4) are not only special in requiring verb clustering, but also because they exhibit a special behavior in the perfect tense; while verbs governed by a perfect auxiliary normally appear as past participles, the non-finite verbs in (4) appear as infinitives if governed by a perfect auxiliary. This so-called infinitivus-pro-participio (IPP) effect is illustrated in (6).

Example 6
a. dat ik een liedje heb horen/*gehoord zingen.
  that  a song  have  hear/heard  sing
  'that Iʼve heard singing a song.'
b. dat Jan een boek is gaan/*gegaan lezen.
  that  Jan  a book  is go/gone  read
  'that Jan has started to read a book.'

Section 5.2.2.3 argues that verb clustering and the IPP-effect go hand in hand, and can in fact be used as diagnostic properties of structures exhibiting monoclausal behavior, that is, structures consisting of two separate clauses but behave as if we are dealing with one single clause; see Table 1.

Table 1: Structures exhibiting mono- and biclausal behavior
  monoclausal biclausal
verb clustering +
infinitivus-pro-participio +

If so, the notions of clause splitting and verb clustering do not have the same extension: the extension of the latter is a subset of the extension of the former. That clause splitting need not involve verb clustering in the technical sense of the word can be shown by the examples in (7). Example (7a) first shows that te-infinitival complement clauses may also be split by the finite verb in clause-final position. This example differs from those in (4), however, in that the object of the infinitive may also follow the matrix verb in clause-final position, as is shown by (7b). Example (7a) also differs from those in (4) in that it does not exhibit the IPP-effect; in the perfect-tense example in (7c) the verb beweren'to claim' surfaces in its participial form and cannot surface as an infinitive.

Example 7
a. dat Jan dat boek beweert te lezen.
  that  Jan  that book  claims  to read
  'that Jan is claiming to read that book.'
b. dat Jan beweertdat boek te lezen.
  that  Jan  claims  to read
  'that Jan is claiming to read that book.'
c. dat Jan dat boek heeft beweerd/*beweren te lezen.
  that  Jan  that book  has  claimed/claim  to read
  'that Jan has claimed to read that book.'

If verb clustering and the IPP-effect do go hand in hand, we have to conclude that (7a) does not involve verb clustering. Section 5.2.2.3 therefore analyzed (7a) as a case of remnant extraposition, that is, the infinitival clause is in extraposed position but its object is extracted from it by leftward movement across the finite verb; see Section 4.4.3, sub IV, for a more extensive introduction to this notion. The structure of this example is therefore as indicated in (8); see Reuland (1981), Den Besten & Rutten (1989), Rutten (1991), Broekhuis et al. (1995), and many others.

Example 8
dat Jan dat boeki beweert [ti te lezen].
  that  Jan that book  claims  to read

Support for the analysis in (8) comes from the fact that if the embedded te-infinitive has two (or more) dependents, they may occur on different sides of the matrix verb beweren, although this option is generally considered marked, as compared to the two alternative orders.

Example 9
a. dat Jan beweert Marie dat boek te geven.
  that  Jan  claims  Marie that book  to give
  'that Jan is claiming to give Marie that book.'
b. (?) dat Jan Mariebeweertdat boek te geven.
c. dat Jan Mariedat boek beweertte geven.

Example (9b) can neither be derived by extraposition of the full te-infinitival nor by verb clustering, but it can be derived by what we have called remnant extraposition, that is, extraposition plus leftward movement of the indirect object Marie. If this analysis is viable, example (9c) can, of course, be analyzed in a similar way as (9b) by leftward movement of both the indirect and the direct object. The examples in (9) can thus be analyzed as in (10).

Example 10
a. dat Jan beweert [Marie dat boek te geven].
extraposition
b. dat Jan Mariei beweert [ti dat boek te geven].
remnant extraposition
c. dat Jan Mariei dat boekj beweert [titj te geven].
remnant extraposition

      Section 5.2.2.3 has also shown that some cases of splitting of te-infinitivals do involve verb clustering in the technical sense. Consider the primeless examples in (11), which at first sight suggest that proberen is just like beweren.

Example 11
a. dat Jan dat boek probeert te lezen.
  that  Jan that book  tries  to read
  'that Jan is trying to read that book.'
b. dat Jan probeert dat boek te lezen.
  that  Jan tries  that book  to read
  'that Jan is trying to read that book.'

However, when we consider the perfect-tense counterparts of these two examples in (12), we see that they exhibit different behavior with respect to the IPP-effect: whereas the verb proberen can appear either as a participle or as an infinitive in the split pattern, it must appear as a participle in the non-split pattern.

Example 12
a. dat Jan dat boek heeft geprobeerd/proberen te lezen.
  that  Jan that book  has  tried/try  to read
  'that Jan has been trying to read that book.'
b. dat Jan heeft geprobeerd/*proberen dat boek te lezen.
  that  Jan  has  tried/try  that book  to read
  'that Jan has been trying to read that book.'

If verb clustering and the IPP-effect are two sides of the same coin, we should conclude that (11a) is actually ambiguous: it involves remnant extraposition if proberen surfaces as a participle in the corresponding perfect-tense construction in (12a), but verb clustering if it surfaces as an infinitive. This conclusion receives more support from a consideration of cases in which the infinitive has two or more dependents. The primeless examples in (13) show that the IPP-effect can only occur if all dependents precede the finite verb in clause-final position.

Example 13
a. dat Jan Mariedat boek heeft proberen te geven.
  that  Jan Marie that book  has  try  to give
  'that Jan has tried to give Marie that book.'
b. * dat Jan Marie heeft proberen dat boek te geven.
  that  Jan Marie  has  try  that book  to give
c. * dat Jan heeft proberen Mariedat boek te geven.
  that  Jan has  try  Marie that book  to give

The examples in (14) show that all examples in (13) become acceptable if we replace the infinitive proberen by the participle geprobeerd, but then we are no longer dealing with verb clustering but with (remnant) extraposition. As in (9), placing the dependents of the infinitive on different sides of the matrix verb (here: probe ren) is generally considered marked, as compared to the alternative orders.

Example 14
a. dat Jan Mariedat boek heeft geprobeerd te geven.
  that  Jan Marie that book  has  tried  to give
b. (?) dat Jan Marie heeft geprobeerd dat boek te geven.
  that  Jan Marie  has  tried  that book  to give
c. dat Jan heeft geprobeerd Mariedat boek te geven.
  that  Jan has  tried  Marie that book  to give

      The discussion above has revealed that there are two tests which we can apply in order to determine whether we are dealing with verb clustering or (remnant) extraposition: (i) only the former exhibits the IPP-effect, and (ii) only the latter allows permeation of the verbal sequence by the dependents of the embedded main verb (in the northern varieties of Dutch). Our discussion in Sections 7.2 and 7.3 will only consider cases that satisfy both tests.

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References:
  • Barbiers, Sjef, Bennis, Hans, Vogelaer, Gunther de, Devos, Magda & Ham, Margreet van de2008Syntactic atlas of the Dutch dialectsAmsterdamAmsterdam University Press
  • Besten, Hans den & Rutten, Jean1989On verb raising and free word order in DutchJaspers, Dany, Klooster, Wim, Putseys, Yvan & Seuren, Pieter (eds.)Sentential complementation and the lexiconDordrecht/ProvidenceForis Publications41-56
  • Broekhuis, Hans, Besten, Hans den, Hoekstra, Kees & Rutten, Jean1995Infinitival complementation: on remnant extrapositionThe Linguistic Review1293-122
  • Reuland, Eric1981On extraposition of complement clausesNELS11296-318
  • Rutten, Jean-Baptist1991Infinitival complements and auxiliariesAmsterdamUniversity of AmsterdamThesis
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