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7.1.2. Conversion: Non-verbal uses of participles and ( te-)infinitives
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For the description of verb clusters it is necessary to take into account that certain non-finite verb forms may undergo conversion: past/passive participles and te-infinitives, for example, may be used as adjectives, and bare infinitives may be used as heads of nominal phrases. If such cases are wrongly analyzed as verbs, we will get a severely distorted picture of the behavior of verb clusters. The examples in (15), for instance, show that whereas verbal past participles can normally occupy any position in the clause-final verb cluster they belong to, their adjectival counterparts functioning as complementives must precede the verb cluster. By not including adjectival participles like geïrriteerd in (15b), we eliminate the need for introducing complicated exception clauses in our generalization concerning word order in verb clusters.

Example 15
a. dat Jan het boek morgen <gelezen> zal <gelezen> hebben <gelezen>.
  that  Jan the book  tomorrow    read  will  have
  'that Jan will have read the book tomorrow.'
b. dat Jan hierover <geïrriteerd> zal <*geïrriteerd> raken <*geïrriteerd>.
  that  Jan here-about    annoyed  will  get
  'that Jan will become annoyed about this.'

The examples in (16) show that something similar holds for te-infinitives; while verbal te-infinitives normally follow their governing verb, most speakers require that te-infinitives functioning as complementives precede the clause-final verb cluster; cf. Section A6.5, sub IV. By not including adjectival te-infinitives like te lezen in (16b), we again eliminate the need to introduce complicated exception clauses in our generalization concerning word order in verb clusters.

Example 16
a. dat Jan dat boek <*te lezen> probeert <te lezen>.
  that  Jan that book      to read  tries
  'that Jan is trying to read that book.'
b. dat dit boek gemakkelijk <te lezen> is <%te lezen>
  that  this book  easy    to read  is
  'that this book is easy to read.'

The examples in (17) show that in the case of bare infinitives we have to take into account that they can be nominalized: whereas verbal bare infinitives normally follow the other verbs in the verb cluster, bare-inf nominalizations must precede the verb cluster. By not including nominalized bare infinitives like the first occurrence of zwemmen in (17b), we can simply say that bare infinitives must appear to the right of their governing verb in clusters containing three verbs.

Example 17
a. dat ik Jan <*zwemmenV> wil zien <zwemmenV>
  that  Jan  want  see
  'that I want to see Jan swim.'
b. dat Jan <zwemmenN> wil leren <zwemmenV>
  that  Jan    swim  wants  learn
  'that Jan wants to learn swimming/to swim.'

In short, if we do not sufficiently take the possibility of conversion into account, we will not be able to express the proper word order generalizations. For this reason the following subsections will discuss a number of cases that must be excluded from our discussion of verb clusters and formulate a number of preliminary word order generalizations that will be the point of departure for our discussion of word order in verb clusters in Section 7.3. The discussion will be relatively brief given that more detailed discussions can be found in Sections A9 and N1.3.1.2.

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[+]  I.  Past/passive participles

The examples in (18) show that past and passive participles can normally appear either before or after the perfect/passive auxiliary.

Example 18
a. dat Jan het boek nog niet <gebracht> heeft <gebracht>.
past
  that  Jan  the book  not yet    brought  has
  'that Jan hasnʼt brought the book yet.'
b. dat het boek morgen <gebracht> wordt <gebracht>.
passive
  that  the book  tomorrow    brought  is
  'that the book will be brought tomorrow.'

A complicating factor is that past/passive participles sometimes exhibit adjectival behavior as is clear from the fact that they may be used in prenominal attributive position, which is normally reserved for adjectives; this is shown for the participle getrouwd'married' in the primeless examples in (19). That the participle is adjectival in nature in these examples is also clear from the fact that it exhibits adjectival inflection: in indefinite singular noun phrases headed by a neuter noun, it is inflected by the null affix -Ø, whereas it is inflected by -e in all other cases; see Section A1.2. The examples in (19) illustrate this for the neuter noun stel'couple' only; we added examples with the adjective aardig'nice' for comparison.

Example 19
a. een getrouwd-Ø stel
  married  couple
a'. een aardig-Ø stel
  nice  couple
b. het getrouwd-e stel
  the  married  couple
b'. het aardig-e stel
  the  nice  couple
c. (de) getrouwd-e stellen
  the  married  couples
c'. (de) aardig-e stellen
  the  nice  couples

The adjectival use of past/present participle is easy to detect in examples such as (19), in which it is used as a prenominal attributive modifier, but it is more difficult in other cases. Consider the examples in (20). Example (20a) has two interpretations, which can be brought to the fore by means of adverbial modification. Example (20b) shows that (20a) can have an activity reading, which can be enhanced by using a temporal adverbial phrase like gisteren'yesterday' that refers to a relatively short time interval, and example (20c) shows that it also has a property reading which can be brought to the fore by means of adverbial phrases like nog steeds'still'.

Example 20
a. dat het stel getrouwd is.
  that  the couple  married  is
b. dat het stel gisteren getrouwd is.
activity
  that  the couple  yesterday  married  is
  'that the couple married yesterday.'
c. dat het stel nog steeds getrouwd is.
property
  that  the couple  yet  still  married  is
  'that the couple is still married.'

Section A9 accounted for these two readings of (20a) by assuming that this example is structurally ambiguous: on the activity reading we are dealing with a perfect-tense construction with the verbal complex is getrouwd (that is, with a verbal participle), whereas on the property reading we are dealing with a copular construction with a complementive (that is, an adjectival participle). That this distinction is in the right direction is clear from example (21): since the prefix on- can only occur with adjectives, we correctly predict it to be blocked by the presence of an adverbial phrase like gisteren'yesterday'.

Example 21
dat het stel nog steeds/*gisteren ongetrouwd is.
  that  the couple  yet still/yesterday  unmarried  is
'that the couple is still unmarried.'

Furthermore, we correctly predict that the participle has the distribution of an adjectival complementive if an adverbial phrase like nog steeds'still' is present: contrary to the past participle in (20b), the adjectival participle must occur left-adjacent to the verbs in clause-final position.

Example 22
a. dat het stel gisteren <getrouwd> is <getrouwd>.
activity
  that  the couple  yesterday     married  is
b. dat het stel nog steeds <getrouwd> is <??getrouwd>.
property
  that  the couple  yet  still     married  is

The claim that we are dealing with an adjectival participle in examples such as (22b) is important given that this enables us to put forward the word order generalization in (23) that past/passive participles may either precede of follow their auxiliary.

Example 23
Generalization I: Past/passive participles either precede or follow their governing auxiliary.

Observe that the case discussed in this subjection is just one instantiation of a larger set of constructions that may involve adjectival participles; we refer the reader to Section 6.2.3 and Section 2.5.1.3, sub IID, for a discussion of more cases.

[+]  II.  Te-infinitives

Te-infinitives normally follow their governing verb. This is illustrated in the examples in (24) for the modal verb lijken and the semi-aspectual verb zitten.

Example 24
a. dat Jan dat boek <*te lezen > blijkt <te lezen>.
  that  Jan that book      to read  turns.out
  'that Jan turns out to be reading that book.'
b. dat Jan dat boek <*te lezen> zit <te lezen>.
  that  Jan that book      to read  sits
  'that Jan is reading that book.'

A complicating factor is that te-infinitives are like past/passive participles in that they sometimes exhibit adjectival behavior. Example (25a) clearly shows that they may be used in prenominal attributive position, which is normally reserved for adjectives. Example (25b) shows that these so-called modal infinitives are also used as complementives: like run-of-the-mill adjectival complementives, they must precede the finite verb in clause-final position. For a detailed discussion of modal infinitives, we refer the reader to Chapter A9.

Example 25
a. de gemakkelijk te lezen boeken
  the  easy  to read  books
  'the books that are easy to read'
b. dat deze boeken gemakkelijk <te lezen> zijn <*te lezen>.
  that  these books  easy    to read  are
  'that these books are easy to read.'

The claim that we are dealing with adjectival te-infinitives in examples such as (25) is important given that this enables us to put such cases aside as irrelevant for the description of verb clusters and to put forward the word order generalization in (26) that te-infinitives must follow their governing verb.

Example 26
Generalization II: T e -infinitives follow their governing verb.

The case of modal infinitives seems to be just one instantiation of a larger set of te-infinitives that can be used as complementives; another typical example is given in (27), which is again characterized by the fact that the te-infinitive exhibits the prototypical behavior of complementives that they occur left-adjacent to the verbs in clause-final position; we refer the reader to Section 6.2.3 for more examples of this sort and for more extensive discussion.

Example 27
dat de kat te weinig <te eten> heeft gekregen <*te eten>.
  that  the cat  too little    to eat  has  gotten
'that the cat has had too little to eat.'
[+]  III.  Bare infinitives

The distribution of bare infinitives seems to be slightly more complex than that of participles and te-infinitives. Although they normally follow their governing verb, they are sometimes also able to precede it if the verb cluster consists of no more than two verbs. So, while (28a) has the stylistically marked option of placing the verb zwemmen'to swim' in front of its governing verb gaan'to go', this word order is unacceptable in examples such as (28b) with a more complex verb cluster.

Example 28
a. dat Marie <zwemmen> gaat <zwemmen>.
  that  Marie    swim  goes
  'that Marie is going to swim.'
b. dat Marie <*zwemmen> zou <*zwemmen> gaan <zwemmen>.
  that  Marie      swim  would  go
  'that Marie would be going to swim.'

A complicating factor is that bare infinitives may also be used as nominalizations, as is illustrated in (29); given that zwemmen functions as the subject of the clause, a nominalization analysis seems to be the only viable one; see Sections N1.3.1.2 and N2.2.3.2 for extensive discussion of this type of bare-inf nominalization.

Example 29
Zwemmen is vermoeiend.
  swim  is tiring
'Swimming is tiring.'

Of course, the possibility of nominalization does not create any problems in the case of aspectual non-main verbs like gaan'to go' in (28), as such verbs cannot take nominal complements. Things are different, however, with verbs like leren'to learn/teach', which can select a noun phrase as their complement. The examples in (30) show that zwemmen can be used with such verbs in the same positions as the noun phrase iets nieuws'something new'.

Example 30
a. dat Marie iets nieuws/zwemmen leert.
  that  Marie something new/swim  learns
  'that Marie is learning something new/swimming.'
b. dat Marie iets nieuws/zwemmen zou leren.
  that  Marie something new/swim  would  learn
  'that Marie would learn something new/swimming.'

Since (28b) has shown that bare infinitives must follow their governing verbs in clusters of three verbs, the acceptability of (30b) with zwemmen would be very surprising if zwemmen were part of the verb cluster, but it falls into place quite naturally if we consider it a nominalization.
      Example (31a) shows that zwemmen does not have to appear in front of the verb in clause-final position, but may also follow it. We indicated by means of subscripts that this goes hand in hand with a difference in categorial status of the bare infinitive: if it follows the verb leren, it is not a nominalization but a regular verb. This difference in categorial status can be made visible by means of the distribution of the IPP-effect in the corresponding perfect-tense examples: if the bare infinitive following leren is truly verbal, we would expect it to trigger the IPP-effect; if the bare infinitive preceding leren is nominal, we would expect it not to be compatible with the IPP-effect. The (b)-example in (31) show that these expectations are borne out.

Example 31
a. dat Marie <zwemmenN> leert <zwemmenV>.
  that Marie    swimming  learns    swim
  'that Marie is learning swimming/to swim.'
b. dat Marie heeft leren/*geleerd zwemmenV.
  that  Marie has  learn/learned  swim
  'that Marie has learned to swim.'
b'. dat Marie zwemmenN heeft geleerd/*leren.
  that  Marie swimming  has  learned/learn
  'that Marie has learned swimming.'

We refer the reader to Section 5.2.3.1 for a more extensive discussion of the differences in syntactic behavior of verbal and nominal bare infinitives. Here we will simply repeat the tests that were proposed there to determine the categorial status of bare infinitives.

Example 32
The verbal and nominal use of bare infinitives
  infinitival clause nominalization
is part of the verbal complex +
precedes/follows the governing verb normally follows precedes
triggers IPP-effect +
allows focus movement +
may follow negation expressed by niet'not' +
can be preceded by the article geen'no' +

Now that we have shown that examples in which bare infinitives precede the verb(s) in clause-final position must be instances of nominalizations, we can now put forward the generalization in (33). The part between parentheses is added to allow the option that bare infinitives precede their governing verb in clusters of no more than two verbs; we will return to that issue in Section 7.3.

Example 33
Generalization III: Bare infinitives follow their governing verb (in clusters consisting of three or more verbs).
[+]  IV.  Aan het +infinitive

The progressive aan het + Vinf + zijn construction is problematic in the sense that it is not clear what the precise syntactic status of the aan het + Vinf sequence is. Section 1.5.3, sub I, argues that there are reasons for assuming that it is a complementive PP headed by the preposition aan, but that there are also reasons for assuming that it is merely a non-finite form of the verb. Although we have left the issue undecided, we will not include the progressive construction in our discussion of verb clusters for the simple reason that the aan-phrase has the external distribution of a complementive: example (34b) shows that the sequence aan het wandelen must precede the verb(s) in clause-final position, which is surprising in view of the fact that in general verbs may follow their governing verb. The assumption that the aan-phrase is a prepositional complementive also accounts for the fact illustrated in (34c) that the verb zijn appears as a past participle in the perfect tense; if the aan het + Vinf sequence were a non-finite verb form, we would wrongly expect the infinitival form wezen'to be', given that such complex perfect-tense constructions normally exhibit the IPP-effect. For completeness' sake, example (34c') shows that the aan het + Vinf sequence cannot follow the other clause-final verbs in the perfect tense either.

Example 34
a. Jan is aan het wandelen op de hei.
  Jan is aan het walk  on the moor
  'Jan is walking on the moor.'
b. dat Jan <aan het wandelen> is <*aan het wandelen> op de hei.
  that  Jan   aan het walk  is  on the moor
  'that Jan is walking on the moor.'
c. dat Jan aan het wandelen is geweest/*wezen op de hei.
  that  Jan aan het walk  is been/be  on the moor
  'that Jan has been walking on the moor.'
c'. * dat Jan is wezen/geweest aan het wandelen op de hei.
  that  Jan is be/been  aan het walk  on the moor
[+]  V.  Summary

This section has shown that past/passive participles and ( te-)infinitives can be non-verbal in nature: participles and te-infinitives sometimes exhibit adjectival behavior and bare infinitives can be nominalized. It implies that we must take care before concluding that such elements are part of a verb cluster: they may also function as a complementive or simply head a nominal direct object. This provides solid ground for excluding such cases from the discussion of verb clusters.

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