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8.4. The unmarked order of adverbial modifiers
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This section discusses the unmarked order of adverbial phrases. Establishing this order is not an easy task since the placement of adverbials exhibits a certain amount of freedom; adverbials are like most clausal constituents in that they may undergo various kinds of movement. Subsection I reviews a number of movement processes that may affect the surface order of adverbials, so as to restrict the discussion in such a way that we eliminate their interference as much as possible. Because it is relatively uncontroversial that VP adverbials follow clause adverbials in the unmarked order, we will be able to split our investigation into two parts: Subsections II and III discuss the unmarked word order of various subtypes of VP adverbials and clause adverbials, respectively. For want of sufficiently detailed research, the results in this section should be seen as preliminary, as will also be clear from the fact that we will have to leave various questions open for the moment.

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[+]  I.  Movement operations affecting adverbials

This subsection will show that adverbials can undergo various kinds of movement, which complicates our investigation of the unmarked word order of adverbials considerably. We can curb the interference of movement, however, by investigating the order of adverbials in the middle field of the clause only, thus eliminating the effects of wh-movement and extraposition discussed in Subsections A and B. This reduction leaves us with movement operations affecting the word order in the middle field, such as focus movement and weak proform shift; these movement operations will be briefly addressed in Subsections C and D.

[+]  A.  Wh-movement (wh-question formation and topicalization)

Most adverbials are like other clausal constituents in that they can be moved into clause-initial position under certain conditions. This holds especially for adverbial phrases that can be questioned, as shown in (180) for three kinds of VP adverbials.

Example 180
a. Hoe heb je geslapen? Erg goed!
manner
  how  have  you  slept  very well
  'How did you sleep? Very well!'
b. Waarmee heb je dat gat gevuld? Met zand.
means
  with.what  have  you  that hole  filled  with sand
  'With what have you filled that hole? With sand.'
c. Met wie heb je gedanst? Met Jan.
comitative
  with who  have  you  danced  with Jan
  'Who have you danced with? With Jan.'

It will be clear that this sort of movement may affect the relative word order of adverbials when more than one adverbial phrase is present. This is illustrated in (181) for temporal and comitative adverbials; although we will see that there is reason for assuming that temporal adverbials precede comitative adverbials in the unmarked order, wh-movement can easily reverse this order.

Example 181
a. Jan heeft gisteren met Peter/ʼm gedanst.
  Jan has yesterday with Peter/him danced
  'Jan danced with Peter/him yesterday.'
b. Met wie heeft Jan gisteren gedanst?
  with whom  has  Jan yesterday  danced
  'With whom did Jan dance yesterday?'

Many adverbials that cannot be questioned can still be placed in sentence-initial position by topicalization. This holds, e.g., for modal adverbs; although Section 8.3.3 has shown that they cannot be questioned, the examples in (182) show that topicalization can change the unmarked order of the temporal clause adverbial morgen'tomorrow' and the adverb waarschijnlijk'probably'.

Example 182
a. Jan gaat morgen waarschijnlijk al om drie uur weg.
  Jan goes  tomorrow  probably  already  at 3 oʼclock  away
  'Jan will probably leave tomorrow at three o'clock already.'
b. Waarschijnlijk gaat Jan morgen al om drie uur weg.
  probably  goes  Jan tomorrow  already  at 3 oʼclock  away

Note in passing that there are additional restrictions on wh-movement; the examples in (183) show, for instance, that while temporal VP adverbials may cross temporal clause adverbials in questions, this is more difficult in topicalization constructions. Since this kind of intervention effect has not been studied in detail, we leave the issue to future research.

Example 183
a. Hoe laat gaat Jan morgen weg? Om drie uur.
  how late  goes  Jan tomorrow  away  at 3 oʼclock
  'When will Jan leave tomorrow? At 3 oʼclock.'
b. ?? Om drie uur gaat Jan morgen weg.
  at 3 oʼclock  goes  Jan  tomorrow  away

For our present purpose, it suffices to say that the effects of wh-movement can be easily eliminated by restricting our attention to the relative order of adverbials in the middle field of the clause; for a detailed discussion of wh-movement, we refer the reader to Section 11.3.

[+]  B.  Extraposition

Another way of affecting the unmarked order of adverbials is by extraposition, which is especially common for adverbials of the category PP or clause. We will see later that there are grounds for assuming that contingency adverbials such as vanwege het mooie weer'because of the nice weather' in (184a) precede comitative adverbials such as met Els'with Els' in the unmarked order. Nevertheless, extraposition of the contingency adverbial can easily reverse this order, as shown in (184b). In fact, (184c) shows that simultaneous extraposition of the two adverbials also requires the order to be inverted, a phenomenon that has become known as the mirror effect; cf. Koster (1974).

Example 184
a. Jan is vanwege het mooie weer met Els gaan wandelen.
  Jan is because.of the nice weather  with Els  go  walk
  'Jan has gone walking with Els because of the nice weather.'
b. Jan is met Els gaan wandelen vanwege het mooie weer.
  Jan is with Els  go  walk  because.of the nice weather
c. Jan is gaan wandelen met Els vanwege het mooie weer.
  Jan is go  walk with Els  because.of the nice weather

For our present goal, it again suffices to say that the interference of extraposition can be easily eliminated by restricting our attention to the relative order of adverbials in the middle field of the clause; for a detailed discussion of extraposition including the mirror effect, we refer the reader to Chapter 12.

[+]  C.  Focus movement

Even if we restrict our investigation to the middle field of the clause, we still have to deal with movement operations affecting the word order in this domain of the clause. One such movement operation is focus movement, which may move a contrastively focused phrase into a position preceding the negative clause adverb niet'not'. This is illustrated in (185), where focus accent is indicated by small caps.

Example 185
a. Jan heeft niet met Marie gedanst.
  Jan has  not with Marie danced
  'Jan hasnʼt danced with Marie.'
b. Jan heeft met Marie niet gedanst (maar wel met Els).
  Jan has  with Marie  not  danced   but  aff  with Els
  'Jan hasnʼt danced with Marie (but he has with Els).'

One way of excluding focus movement is by restricting our investigation to sentences with a neutral (non-contrastive) intonation pattern. With prepositional adverbial phrases it is often possible to exclude focus movement by using a weak pronoun as the complement of the preposition (or, alternatively, the weak pronominal PP ermee'with it'), as is illustrated in (186). For more information about focus movement, we refer the reader to Section 13.3.2.

Example 186
Jan heeft <*met ʼr> niet <met ʼr> gedanst.
  Jan has     with her  not  danced
'Jan hasnʼt danced with her.'
[+]  D.  Weak proform shift

Weak proforms strongly prefer placement in the left periphery of the middle field of the clause, regardless of their syntactic function. That this also holds for adverbial phrases is illustrated by means of the locational adverbs in (187): while placing the adverbial PP in Leiden in a position preceding the modal adverb waarschijnlijk'probably' leads to a severely degraded result, the corresponding weak locational proform er must precede it.

Example 187
a. Jan woont <*?in Leiden> waarschijnlijk al jaren <in Leiden>.
  Jan lives    in Leiden   probably  already  years
  'Jan has probably been living in Leiden for years.'
b. Jan woont <er> waarschijnlijk <*er> al jaren.
  Jan lives  there  probably  already  years
  'Jan has probably lived there for years.'

For our present purpose, it suffices to say that the effect of weak proform shift can be eliminated by simply excluding weak proforms from our investigation; for more discussion of weak proform shift, we refer the reader to Section 13.4.

[+]  E.  Conclusion

This subsection has shown that the investigation of the unmarked order of adverbials is complicated by the fact that most adverbials are like other clausal constituents in that they can be moved under certain conditions. In order to eliminate the effects of movement as much as possible, we will restrict our investigation in the following subsections to the relative order of adverbials in the middle field of the clause. Furthermore, we will only discuss sentences with a neutral intonation pattern and avoid the use of weak adverbial proforms.

[+]  II.  VP adverbials

This subsection discusses the unmarked order of the VP adverbials in (188). Since Cinque’s (1999) seminal study on adverbial placement, it has often been claimed that the order of VP adverbials is essentially free. Schweikert (2005) and Cinque (2006) dismissed this claim, however, and argued that VP adverbials have a rigid underlying order. This section will show that this claim is indeed correct, although we will end up with somewhat different conclusions about the unmarked order of VP adverbials than the order proposed by Schweikert.

Example 188
VP adverbials
a. Process: manner; instrument; means; volition; domain
b. Agentive: passive door-PP; comitative met-PP
c. Spatio-temporal: place; time
d. Contingency: cause, reason, purpose, result, concession
e. Predicate-degree: erg'very'; een beetje'a bit'
[+]  A.  Process adverbials

We will investigate the unmarked order of the process adverbial by considering the placement of the various subtypes relative to adjectival manner adverbials such as zorgvuldig'carefully'. Although it is not difficult to find instrument/means adverbials to the left of manner adverbs, as illustrated in the primeless examples in (189), there is cause for assuming that this order is the result of focus movement: the primed examples show that their pronominalized counterpart ermee'with it' cannot precede the manner adverb but has to follow it.

Example 189
a. Jan heeft de ring <met een kwast> zorgvuldig <met een kwast> gereinigd.
  Jan has  the ring    with a brush  carefully  cleaned
  'Jan has cleaned the ring carefully with a brush.'
a'. Jan heeft de ring <*ermee> zorgvuldig <ermee> gereinigd.
  Jan has  the ring      with.it  carefully  cleaned
  'Jan has cleaned the ring carefully with it.'
b. Jan heeft <met zand> zorgvuldig het gat <met zand> gevuld.
  Jan has    with sand  carefully  the hole filled
  'Jan has filled the hole carefully with sand.'
b'. Jan heeft <*ermee> zorgvuldig het gat <ermee> gevuld.
  Jan has      with.it  carefully  the hole  filled
  'Jan has filled the hole carefully with it.'

Observe that pronominal PPs are preferably split, as in Jan heeft er de ring zorgvuldig mee gereinigd and Jan heeft er zorgvuldig het gat mee gevuld, but this is not relevant here. Since instrument and means adverbials do not easily co-occur, we will not discuss their relative order here.
      Example (190a) shows that manner adverbs tend to precede domain adverbials under a non-contrastive intonation pattern: a Google search (11/3/2015) has shown that the order medisch–grondig/zorgvuldig occurred only 5 times, while the order grondig/zorgvuldig –medisch resulted in 50 hits. This finding is consistent with the fact that domain adverbials tend to follow instrumental PPs such as met medicijnen'with medicines' in example (190b). Recall that the judgments given only hold under a non-contrastive intonation pattern: assigning focus accent to medisch much improves the marked order.

Example 190
a. Jan is <??medisch> grondig/zorgvuldig <medisch> onderzocht.
  Jan has.been     medically  thoroughly/carefully  examined
  'Jan has been thoroughly/carefully examined medically.'
b. HIV kan <??medisch> met medicijnen <medisch> behandeld worden.
  HIV  can     medically  with medicines  treated  be
  'HIV can be medically treated with medicines.'

Example (191a) finally shows that volition adverbials precede manner adverbs. By transitivity we can conclude that they will also precede the other process adverbials; that this conclusion is indeed correct is shown in (191b) for a means adverbial.

Example 191
a. dat Jan zich <vrijwillig> intensief <*vrijwillig> inzet voor de club.
  that  Jan refl   voluntarily  intensively  labors  for the club
  'that Jan voluntarily dedicates himself to the club intensively.'
b. dat Jan het gat <??met zand> vrijwillig <met zand> vulde.
  that  Jan the hole      with sand  voluntarily  filled
  'that Jan voluntarily filled the hole with sand.'

The examples in this subsection thus suggest that the unmarked order of process adverbials is as follows: volition > manner > instrument/means > domain.

[+]  B.  Agentive adverbials

The passive construction in (192b) clearly shows that passive door-phrases precede comitative met-phrases: inverting the order results in a severely degraded result.

Example 192
a. dat Marie het artikel met Jan besprak.
  that  Marie the article  with Jan  discussed
  'that Marie discussed the article with Jan.'
b. dat het artikel <door Marie> met Jan <*door Marie> besproken werd.
  that  the article    by Marie  with Jan  discussed  was
  'that the article was discussed with Jan by Marie.'

Although it is not difficult to find agentive door-phrases to the left of manner adverbs, there is evidence that this order is the result of focus movement: example (193a) shows that the door-phrase must follow the manner adverb if the nominal complement of the preposition door is a weak pronoun. Since comitative met-PPs must follow agentive door-PPs, we expect by transitivity that they also follow manner adverbials in the unmarked order: example (193b) shows that this expectation is indeed borne our.

Example 193
a. dat het gat <door Jan/*ʼm> zorgvuldig <door Jan/ʼm> gevuld werd.
  that  the hole     by Jan/him  carefully  filled  was
  'that the hole was carefully filled by Jan/him.'
b. dat Marie het probleem <met Jan/*ʼm> grondig <met Jan/ʼm> besprak.
  that  Marie the problem    with Jan/him  thoroughly  discussed
  'that Marie discussed the problem with Jan/him thoroughly.'

Example (194a) shows that comitative met-PPs precede instrument/means adverbials in the unmarked order: inverting the order gives rise to a degraded result regardless of the form of the nominal complement of the preposition met. Since comitative met-PPs follow agentive door-PPs in the unmarked order, we expect by transitivity that door-phrases also precede instrument/means adverbials; example (194b) shows that this expectation is also borne out.

Example 194
a. dat Jan het gat met Marie/ʼr met zand vulde.
  that  Jan the hole  with Marie  with sand  filled
  'that Jan filled the hole with sand with Marie/her.'
b. dat het gat door Jan/ʼm met zand gevuld werd.
  that  the hole  by Jan/him  with sand  filled  was
  'that the hole was filled with sand by Jan/him.'

The examples in this subsection have established that in the unmarked case agentive adverbials are located between the manner and the instrument/means adverbials, while agentive door-PPs precede comitative met-PPs. We therefore conclude that the unmarked order of process and agentive adverbials is as follows: volition > manner > agentive > comitative > instrument/means > domain.

[+]  C.  Spatio-temporal adverbials

In the middle field of the clause, temporal VP adverbials precede locational VP adverbials, and they both seem most comfortable in a position preceding the manner adverbs, although it is not easy to show conclusively that this is their unmarked position.

Example 195
a. dat Jan waarschijnlijk om drie uur in het park gaat wandelen.
  that  Jan probably  at 3 o’clock  in the park  goes  walk
  'that Jan will probably go walking in the park at 3 oʼclock.'
b. dat Jan waarschijnlijk om drie uur zachtjes wegsluipt.
  that  Jan probably  at 3 o’clock  quietly  away-slips
  'that Jan probably slips away quietly at 3 o'clock.'
c. dat Jan waarschijnlijk in het park intensief wil trainen.
  that  Jan probably  in the park  intensively  wants  train
  'that Jan probably wants to train intensively in the park.'

It is also difficult to establish the unmarked order of the spatio-temporal and volitional adverbials such as vrijwillig ‘voluntarily’ and graag'gladly', as the latter can easily appear in the positions indicated by “✓” and only marginally appear in the position indicated by the question mark.

Example 196
Jan gaat waarschijnlijk <✓> om drie uur <✓> in het park <?> wandelen.
  Jan goes probably  at 3 o’clock  in the park  walk
'Jan will probably go walking gladly in the park at three o'clock.'

We assume provisionally that the volitional adverbs are base-generated above the temporal adverbials and that the alternate orders are derived by leftward movement of the spatio-temporal adverbials. If true, this gives rise to the following unmarked order of VP adverbials: volition > temporal > locational > manner > agentive > comitative > instrument/means > domain.

[+]  D.  Contingency adverbials

The examples in (197) show that contingency adverbials precede time adverbials; inverting this order gives rise to an infelicitous result. It is not easy to establish whether the various subtypes of contingency adverbs exhibit an unmarked order, as they do not easily co-occur; we will therefore not digress on this issue.

Example 197
a. dat Jan waarschijnlijk door de file te laat in Utrecht zal zijn.
  that  Jan probably  by the traffic.jam  too late  in Utrecht  will  be
  'that Jan will probably be in Utrecht too late due to the traffic jam.'
b. dat Jan waarschijnlijk vanwege het vakantieverkeer vroeg vertrekt.
  that  Jan probably  because.of the holiday.traffic  early  leaves
  'that Jan will probably leave early because of the holiday traffic.'
c. dat Jan waarschijnlijk ondanks de file op tijd in Utrecht zal zijn.
  that  Jan probably  despite the traffic.jam  in time  in Utrecht  will  be
  'that Jan will probably be in Utrecht in time despite the traffic jam.'

Example (198) shows that the contingency adverbials also preferably precede the volition adverbials.

Example 198
dat de minister <??vrijwillig> vanwege het schandaal <vrijwillig> aftrad.
  that  the minister    voluntarily  because.of the scandal  resigned
'that the minister resigned voluntarily because of the scandal.'

This means that so far we have established the following unmarked order of VP adverbials: contingency > volition > temporal > locational > manner > agentive > comitative > instrument/means > domain.

[+]  E.  Predicate-degree adverbials

VP adverbials such as erg in (199) normally follow the locational VP adverbials. Although it is not difficult to find agentive door-phrases to the left of predicate-degree adverbials, there is reason for assuming that this is the result of focus movement: Example (199a) shows that the door-phrase must follow the degree adverbial if the nominal complement of the preposition door is a weak pronoun.

Example 199
a. Marie wordt waarschijnlijk <??erg> in Utrecht <erg> bewonderd
  Marie  is  probably   greatly  in Utrecht  admired
  'Marie is probably admired greatly in Utrecht.'
b. Marie wordt <door Peter/*ʼm> erg <door Peter/ʼm> bewonderd.
  Marie is    by Peter/him  greatly  admired
  'Marie is greatly admired by Peter/him.'

Because manner and degree adverbials do not seem to co-occur, the examples in (199) make the picture complete by showing that the predicate-degree adverbs are located between the locational and the agentive adverbials in the unmarked case.

[+]  F.  Conclusion

The discussion above has shown that VP adverbials exhibit the unmarked word order in (200). Since the relative order of VP adverbials has not received much attention in the literature so far, we have to leave it to future research to investigate whether this linear hierarchy can stand closer scrutiny.

Example 200
Unmarked word order ofVP adverbials: contingency> volition > temporal > locational > manner/predicate-degree > agentive > comitative > instrument/means > domain.
[+]  III.  Clause adverbials

This subsection discusses the unmarked word order of the set of clause adverbials in (201), which were also taken as our point of departure in Section 8.2.2. It should be pointed out that this set of clause adverbials is not identical to the set of adverbials that Cinque (1999) locates in the functional domain, as some of the these were shown to function as VP adverbials according to the adverbial tests introduced in Section 8.1; this holds, e.g., for volition adverbials like vrijwillig'voluntarily' and opzettelijk'deliberately'. The main conclusion of our discussion will be, however, that the unmarked order found in Dutch shows a considerable similarity to what is expected on the basis of the Cinque’s cross-linguistic structural hierarchy of adverbials in the functional domain of the clause. His structural, top-down order more or lesss coincides with the unmarked linear, left-right order in the middle field of the clause.

Example 201
a. Polarity: negation ( niet'not' ); affirmation (wel)
b. Focus particles ( alleen'only', ook'too', zelfs'even', etc.)
c. Aspectual: habitual; iterative; frequentative; continuative; etc.
d. Clause-degree ( bijna'nearly'; amper'hardly', etc.)
e. Propositional modal ( waarschijnlijk'probably', blijkbaar'apparently', etc.)
f. Subject-oriented ( stom genoeg'stupidly', wijselijk'wisely', etc.)
g. Subjective: factive (e.g., helaas'unfortunately' ); non-factive
h. Point-of-view ( volgens Els'according to Els' )
i. Spatio-temporal: place; time
j. Contingency: cause; reason; condition; concession
k. Domain ( juridisch gezien'legally', moreel gezien 'morally', etc.)
l. Conjunctive ( echter'however', derhalve'therefore', etc.)
m. Speech-act related ( eerlijk gezegd'honestly' , etc.)

In order to facilitate the discussion, the adverbials in (201) are already listed in the order that more or lesss reflects their unmarked linear order in the middle field of the clause, although it is not always easy to demonstrate this because of co-occurrence restrictions. For this reason, we restrict ourselves to a limited subset of clear cases; a more detailed discussion is not possible at this stage for want of sufficiently rich empirical research. We will also divide the clause adverbial types into several larger subgroups. Subsection A starts with the adverbials in (201a-e), which we will refer to as scope-bearing adverbials, as these can be seen as operators over the proposition expressed by the lexical domain of the verb. Subsection B discusses the adverbials in (201f-h), which we will refer to as evaluative adverbials as these are involved in providing a subjective evaluation of the proposition expressed by the clause. Subsection C addresses the spatio-temporal and the contingency adverbials in (201i&j) and Subsection D concludes with the remaining cases in (201k-m).

[+]  A.  Scope-bearing adverbials

The polarity adverbials functions as the demarcations par excellence of the boundary between the lexical and the functional domain: in non-contrastive contexts, they are followed by the VP adverbials and preceded by the clause adverbials. We illustrate this in (202) for the comitative VP adverbial met ʼm'with him' and the epistemic clause adverbial waarschijnlijk'probably'.

Example 202
dat Marie waarschijnlijk niet/wel met ʼm wil spelen.
  that  Marie probably  not/aff  with him  wants  play
'that Marie probably wants/doesnʼt want to play with him.'

Note in passing that there are robust reasons for assuming that at least the negative adverb niet is located in the specifier position of a functional projection NegP, which may also be the landing site of larger negative phrases in the clause; if so, it shows clearly that negation itself is part of the functional domain of the clause. We will not digress on this here but refer the reader to Section 13.3.1 for extensive discussion.
      Example (203a) illustrates that focus particles such as ook'also' are placed between the epistemic modals and the polarity adverbials. Example (203b) shows that contrastively focused phrases may occupy the same position as focus particles; for this reason, Section 13.3.2 argues that focus particles are part of a functional projection FocP. Note in passing that the negative adverb niet can easily substitute for affirmative wel in these examples.

Example 203
a. dat Marie waarschijnlijk ook wel met ʼm wil spelen.
  that  Marie probably  also  aff  with him  wants  play
  'that Marie probably also wants to play with him.'
b. dat Marie waarschijnlijk ook met hem wel wil spelen.
  that  Marie probably  also with him  aff  wants  play
  'that Marie probably also wants to play with him.'

      Aspectual adverbials precede the focus particles but follow the modal epistemic modals. We illustrate this for the habitual adverbial gewoonlijk'usually'; example (204a) shows that it must precede the focus particle ook, while the slightly awkward example in (204b) shows that it must follow the epistemic modal waarschijnlijk.

Example 204
a. dat Marie gewoonlijk ook wel met ʼm wil spelen.
  that  Marie usually  also  aff  with him  wants  play
  'that Marie usually does want to play with him as well.'
b. dat Marie waarschijnlijk gewoonlijk wel met ʼm wil spelen.
  that  Marie probably  usually  aff  with him  wants  play
  'that probably Marie usually does wants to play with him.'

Example (205a) shows that the clause-degree adverbial bijna can precede focus particles such as ook, but that it is not entirely impossible to have it after the focus particles. In many cases the second order is fully acceptable but this may be due to the fact that bijna can also be used as a non-clausal modifier; cf. bijna leeg'nearly empty'. The somewhat awkward construction in example (205b) shows that clause-degree adverbials follow the epistemic modals.

Example 205
a. dat Marie <bijna> ook <?bijna> met ʼm ging spelen.
  that  Marie   nearly  also  with him  went  play
  'that Marie nearly started to play with him as well.'
b. dat Marie waarschijnlijk bijna ook met ʼm ging spelen.
  that  Marie  probably  nearly  also  with him  went  play
  'that Marie probably nearly also started to play with him.'

We conclude from the examples in (205) that clause-degree adverbials are located in between the epistemic modals and the focus particles but it is clear that this must be a preliminary conclusion: more research is needed to establish this more firmly.
      Above it was already shown for the epistemic modals that propositional-modal adverbials precede negation, focal particles, frequentative adverbial and clause-degree adverbials. The fact that the epistemic modal waarschijnlijk'probably' in the examples given above can easily be replaced by blijkbaar'evidently' shows that this also holds for evidential modals. Since the epistemic and evidential modal adverbials do not easily co-occur, we will not speculate on their relative order.
      The discussion above has shown that scope-bearing clause adverbials exhibit the unmarked word order in (206). Because relatively little research on Dutch has been done in this area, our conclusions should be considered provisional.

Example 206
Unmarked word order of scope-bearing clause adverbials: propositional modal > clause-degree > aspectual > focus > negation
[+]  B.  Evaluative adverbials

The placement of subject-oriented adverbials such as wijselijk'wisely' with respect to the scope adverbials discussed in the previous subsection is not entirely clear. Example (207a) first provides a clear example showing that speaker-oriented adverbials must precede focus particles and negation; the asterisks indicate positions in which subject-oriented adverbials cannot occur. Example (207b) shows that subject-oriented adverbials can easily precede aspectual adverbials such as habitual gewoonlijk, but placing them after gewoonlijk is at least marginally possible. The slightly awkward (c)-examples, finally, show that for some speakers the relative order of the subject-oriented and propositional adverbials is essentially free; judgments seem to vary from speaker to speaker and from instance to instance.

Example 207
a. dat Marie <wijselijk> ook <*> niet <*> met ʼm wil spelen.
  that  Marie    wisely  also  not  with him  wants  play
  'that Marie wisely doesnʼt want to play with him either.'
b. dat Marie <wijselijk> gewoonlijk <?wijselijk> niet met ʼm wil spelen.
  that  Marie   wisely  usually  not  with him  wants play
  'that wisely Marie normally/often doesnʼt want to play with him.'
c. dat Marie wijselijk waarschijnlijk <#> niet met ʼm wil spelen.
  that  Marie wisely  probably  not  with him  wants  play
  'that wisely Marie probably doesnʼt want to play with him.'
c'. dat Marie wijselijk blijkbaar <#> niet met ʼm wil spelen.
  that  Marie wisely evidently not  with him  wants  play
  'that wisely Marie apparently doesnʼt want to play with him.'

We provisionally conclude from (207) that speaker-oriented adverbials precede all scope adverbials with the exception of the propositional modal adverbials. That their ordering vis-a-vis propositional modals is not very strict may be related to the fact that at least the epistemic modals are also evaluative, in the sense that they too provide an assessment of the state-of-affairs expressed by the clause.
      Subjective adverbials like gelukkig'fortunately' and helaas'unfortunately' are factive in the sense that they imply that the proposition is true; this accounts for the fact illustrated in (208) that they always give rise to an awkward result in combination with propositional adverbials, as these crucially do not presuppose the truth of the proposition.

Example 208
a. $ dat Jan <gelukkig> waarschijnlijk <gelukkig> vertrekt.
  that  Jan   fortunately  probably  leaves
b. $ dat Jan <helaas> waarschijnlijk <helaas > vertrekt.
  that  Jan  unfortunately  probably  leaves

Example (209) shows that non-factive subjective adverbials such as naar ik vrees'as I fear' must precede the propositional modals such as waarschijnlijk'probably' (unless naar ik vrees is preceded and followed by an intonation break, in which case we are dealing with an epenthetic construction). We therefore conclude that the subjective adverbials precede the propositional adverbials in the unmarked order.

Example 209
dat Marie naar ik vrees waarschijnlijk niet met ʼm wil spelen.
  that  Marie as I fear  probably  not  with him  wants  play
'that I fear that Marie probably doesn't want to play with him.'

      Subjective adverbials and epistemic modals provide an assessment of the state-of-affairs referred to by the sentence. The default interpretation is that the assessment is the speaker’s but this interpretation can easily be overridden by contextual information. One way of doing this is by using a point-of-view adverbial such as volgens Els'according to Els'; cf. Section 8.2.2, sub VIII. The examples in (210) show that such adverbials precede the subjective and epistemic modal adverbials: this might be a matter of scope, given that the interpretation of the latter depends on the former, but this is probably not the full story because subsection C will show that they also precede spatio-temporal and contingency adverbials.

Example 210
a. Jan komt <volgens Els> zeker <??volgens Els> op visite.
epistemic
  Jan comes  according.to Els  certainly  on visit
b. Jan bleef <volgens Els> wijselijk <??volgens Els> thuis.
subject-oriented
  Jan stayed  according.to Els  wisely  at.home
c. Jan is <volgens Els> gelukkig <??volgens Els> ontslagen.
subjective
  Jan is  according.to Els  fortunately  fired

      The discussion in this subsection has shown that we can extend the word-order generalization in (206) to the one in (211). Our conclusions should again be considered as preliminary, for the reason indicated in the previous subsection.

Example 211
Unmarked word order of scope-bearing and evaluative clause adverbials: point-of-view > subjective > subject-oriented/propositional modal > clause-degree > aspectual > focus > negation
[+]  C.  Spatio-temporal and contingency adverbials

The examples in (212) show that clausal spatio-temporal adverbials can easily precede the propositional modals. That spatio-temporal adverbials cannot follow the propositional adverbials is sometimes difficult to demonstrate because the resulting strings are often acceptable under an alternative analysis: for instance, morgenvroeg in dat Jan waarschijnlijk morgenvroeg vertrekt'that Jan will probably leave early tomorrow' clearly functions as a one-word VP adverbial. We refer to Section 8.2 for an extensive discussion on determining the actual status of spatio-temporal adverbials as VP or as clause adverbials.

Example 212
a. dat Jan morgen waarschijnlijk vroeg vertrekt.
  that  Jan tomorrow  probably  early  leaves
  'that Jan will probably leave early tomorrow.'
b. dat Jan in Utrechtwaarschijnlijk bij zijn tante logeert.
  that  Jan in Utrecht probably  with his aunt  stays
  'that Jan will probably stay with his aunt in Utrecht.'

The examples in (213) show that clausal spatio-temporal adverbials can also precede subject-oriented adverbs such as wijselijk'wisely' and subjective adverbials such as helaas'unfortunately', although the reverse order seems at least marginally possible, too.

Example 213
a. dat Jan <morgen> helaas/wijselijk <(?)morgen> niet komt.
  that  Jan tomorrow  unfortunately/wisely  not  comes
  'that Jan unfortunately/wisely wonʼt come tomorrow.'
b. dat Jan <in Utrecht> helaas/wijselijk <(?)in Utrecht> niet overnacht.
  that  Jan in Utrecht   unfortunately/wisely  not  stays.overnight
  'that Jan unfortunately/wisely wonʼt spend the night in Utrecht.'

Point-of-view adverbials such as volgens Els'according to Els', on the other hand, preferably precede the spatio-temporal adverbials; this illustrated in (214).

Example 214
a. dat Jan <??morgen> volgens Els <morgen> niet komt.
  that  Jan    tomorrow  according.to Els  not comes
  'that according to Els Jan wonʼt come tomorrow.'
b. dat Jan <??in Utrecht> volgens Els <in U.> waarschijnlijk overnacht.
  that  Jan      in Utrecht  according.to Els  probably  stays.overnight
  'that according to Els Jan will probably spend the night in Utrecht.'

Contingency adverbials can precede or follow the clausal spatio-temporal adverbials; we illustrate this in (215) for the reason adverbial wegens ziekte'because of illness' only. It seems that the order in which they precede the spatio-temporal adverbials is somewhat more natural but the contrast is not sharp, so we will leave it for later to determine the unmarked order more precisely. Example (215c) further shows that contingency adverbials prefer to precede subject-oriented adverbials.

Example 215
a. dat Els <morgen> vanwege ziekte <morgen> waarschijnlijk niet zingt.
  that  Els  tomorrow  because.of illness  probably  not  sings
  'that Els probably wonʼt sing tomorrow because of illness.'
b. dat Els <in Utrecht> vanwege ziekte <in U.> waarschijnlijk niet zingt.
  that  Els    in Utrecht  because.of illness  probably  not  sings
  'that Els probably wonʼt sing in Utrecht because of illness.'
c. dat Els morgen <??wijselijk> vanwege ziekte <wijselijk> niet zingt.
  that  Els  tomorrow       wisely  because .of illness  not  sings
  'that Els wisely wonʼt sing tomorrow because of illness.'

We provisionally conclude on the basis of the examples in this subsection that the spatio-temporal and contingency adverbials are located between the point-of-view and the subjective adverbials, although there is still unclarity about the unmarked order of the spatio-temporal and the subjective/subject-oriented adverbials.

Example 216
Unmarked word order of clause adverbials: point-of-view > contingency/spatio-temporal > subjective > subject-oriented/ propositional modal > clause-degree > aspectual > focus > negation
[+]  D.  Remaining cases

Domain adverbials such as jurid isch gezien'legally speaking/from a legal point of view' in (217) are relatively high in the functional domain in the clause. Because they restrict the application of the complete clause, there is a strong tendency to place them in sentence-initial position, but they may also occur in the middle field of the clause.

Example 217
a. Juridisch gezien heeft Jan waarschijnlijk gelijk.
  legally seen  has  Jan probably  right
  'Legally speaking, Jan is probably correct.'
b. Jan heeft juridisch gezien waarschijnlijk gelijk.
  Jan has  legally seen  probably  right

Something similar holds for speech-act related adverbials such as eerlijk gezegd'honestly speaking' in (218). Because they comment on the speech act as a whole, there is a strong tendency to place them in sentence-initial position but, again, they may occur in the middle field of the clause.

Example 218
a. Eerlijk gezegd kan ik het niet geloven.
  honestly spoken  can  it  not  believe
  'Honestly speaking, I cannot believe it.'
b. Ik kan het eerlijk gezegd niet geloven.
  can  it  honestly spoken  not  believe

It is, however, not easy to determine their unmarked position in the middle field of the clause more precisely: the examples in (219) show, for instance, that the domain and speech-act related adverbials can be placed before or after the clausal temporal adverbials. Judgments seem to differ from case to case and person to person, and both orders can be found on the internet.

Example 219
a. Jan had <juridisch gezien> gisteren <juridisch gezien> gelijk.
  Jan had    legally seen  yesterday  right
  'Legally speaking, Jan was right yesterday.'
b. Ik kon het <eerlijk gezegd> gisteren <eerlijk gezegd> niet geloven.
  could  it   honestly spoken  yesterday  not  believe
  'Honestly speaking, I couldnʼt believe it yesterday.'

An additional problem for determining the unmarked position of domain and speech-act adverbials more precisely is that they often occur as parentheticals. This is especially clear for the speech-act adverbial eerlijk gezegd, as the examples in (220) show that it may also precede the first position of the sentence or be placed in clause-final position; the comma’s indicate an intonation break.

Example 220
a. Eerlijk gezegd, ik kan het niet geloven.
  honestly spoken  can  it  not  believe
b. Ik kan het niet geloven, eerlijk gezegd.
  can  it  not  believe  honestly spoken

Similar problems arise for conjunctive adverbials such as echter'however' in (221), which can be used at various positions in the sentence. The options available seem to differ from case to case.

Example 221
a. Echter, Jan zal morgen waarschijnlijk vroeg vertrekken.
  however  Jan will  tomorrow  probably  early  leave
  'However, Jan will probably leave early tomorrow.'
b. Jan, echter, zal morgen waarschijnlijk vroeg vertrekken.
c. Jan zal echter morgen waarschijnlijk vroeg vertrekken.
d. Jan zal morgen echter waarschijnlijk vroeg vertrekken.

Because the word order problems pointed out above have not yet been investigated in greater depth, it seems premature to speculate on the precise unmarked position of these adverbials: we can only conclude that that they are relatively high in the linear hierarchy in (216).

[+]  IV.  Conclusion

This section has discussed the unmarked order of adverbial phrases. In order to eliminate the effects of movement as much as possible we restricted our attention to the order of adverbials in the middle field of the clause. Furthermore, we excluded sentences with contrastive accent and adverbial proforms. Our investigation has shown that both the VP adverbials as well as the clause adverbials are subject to ordering restrictions. The two linear hierarchies in (222) summarize our findings. We did not include the domain, speech-act related and conjunctive adverbials in these hierarchies: although it is clear that they are located high up in the hierarchy in (222a), it is difficult for various reasons to locate them more precisely.

Example 222
Unmarked word order of adverbials in the middle field of the clause
a. Clause adverbials: point-of-view > contingency/spatio-temporal > subjective > subject-oriented/ propositional modal > clause-degree > aspectual > focus > negation
b. VP adverbials: contingency > volition > temporal > locational > manner/predicate-degree > agentive > comitative > instrument/means > domain.

Because the ordering of clause adverbials has not been studied in very great detail so far in the literature on Dutch, the proposed ordering should be considered preliminary, pending further investigation. Cinque’s (1999) typological work suggests, for example, that (222a) can be fine-tuned by adding more fine-grained distinctions. Other problems complicating the investigation are the (semantic) co-occurrence restrictions we occasionally find as well as the fact that sometimes more than one linear order is fully acceptable.

References:
  • Cinque, Guglielmo1999Adverbs and functional heads: a cross-linguistic perspective.Oxford studies in comparative syntax.
  • Cinque, Guglielmo1999Adverbs and functional heads: a cross-linguistic perspective.Oxford studies in comparative syntax.
  • Cinque, Guglielmo1999Adverbs and functional heads: a cross-linguistic perspective.Oxford studies in comparative syntax.
  • Cinque, Guglielmo2006Complement and Adverbial PPs: Implications for Clause StructureRestructuring and Functional HeadsOxford/New YorkOxford University Press
  • Koster, Jan1974Het werkwoord als spiegelcentrumSpektator3601-618
  • Schweikert, Walter2005The order of prepositional phrases in the structure of the clauseAmsterdam/PhiladelphiaJohn Benjamins
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