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General properties of nominalization

This section briefly introduces four aspects that will be discussed in the following sections for all types of nominalization in Table 7. Furthermore, in order to avoid unneeded redundancy we will discuss a number of general restrictions concerning the types of verb that can be used as input for nominalization.

[+] The form of the derived noun

The subsections devoted to the morphological properties of derived nouns briefly discuss the affixes (suffixes or prefixes) used and the distribution and productivity of the morphological processes by which they are derived.

[+] The relation of the derived noun to the base verb

The subsections on the relation between the derived noun and the base verb are mainly concerned with the effects of the derivational process, in particular concerning the inheritance of arguments (with or without a selected preposition) and the semantic roles of these arguments. The discussions of these matters will only be brief, as a more extensive discussion can be found in Chapter 2.

[+] Restrictions on the derivational process

None of the nominalization processes in Table 7 is fully productive in the sense that it can take any (type of) main verb as input. Restrictions on the nominalization process relate to the type of input verb and, in some cases, to the thematic role(s) of the argument(s). It will be shown that the different types of deverbal noun impose different restrictions on the types of input verb they allow. Almost all these processes are restricted, both in terms of type of input verb and in terms of the thematic role of the external argument (the subject) of the input verb. There exist also a number of general restrictions on the input verbs that are common to all types of nominalizations. Rather than discussing these in each of the following sections, the crucial points will be summarized here.

[+] Auxiliary and modal verbs

The auxiliaries het and is and modal verbs like kan'to be able' allow (only) infinitival nominalization, but some of these nominalizations are only marginally gramatical. Some examples are given in (1). The primeless examples are bare-inf nominalizations: in these cases the complements of the input verb appears as a noun phrase to the left of the derived nouns. The primed examples are det-inf nominalizations: in these cases the complements of the input verb appears as a postnominal van-PP. All other types of nominalization resist the auxiliary and modal verbs as their input.

Example 1

a. [Om soʼn boek te gelees het] is nie genoeg om jou ’n taalkundige te noem nie.
such a book read have is not enough to yourself linguist to call
'To have read such a book isnʼt enough to call yourself a linguist.'
b. ?[Die gelees het van soʼn boek ] is ...
the read have of such a book is
'Having read such a book is ...'
c. [? ’n Lorrie kan bestuur] is ’n voorwaarde vir hierdie werk.
with a truck be able drive is a requirement for this job
'To be able to drive a truck is a condition for this job.'
d. [?Die kan bestuur van ’n lorrie] is ’n voorwaarde vir hierdie werk.
the be.able drive with a truck is a requirement for this job
'Being able to drive a truck is a condition for this job.'
[+] Copular verbs

Copular verbs allow only infinitival nominalization. As can be seen from the examples in (2), the predicate normally precedes the noun both in bare-inf and in det-inf nominalizations. However, det-inf nominalization in which a nominal predicate is realized as a postnominal van-PP occurs often; cf. (2a'). Realizing of a non-nominal predicate as a postverbal van-PP, as in (2b'), is categorically impossible.

Example 2

a. [ ( ’n) Moesliem wees] is nie maklik in die Weste nie.
 a Muslim be is not easy in the Western world
'Being a Muslim isnʼt easy in the Western world.'
b. [Die wees van (’n ) Moesliem] is nie maklik in die Weste nie.
 the be of a Muslim is not easy in the Western world
'Being a Muslim isnʼt easy in the Western world.'
c. [Siek wees] is nie pret nie.
  that ill be is no fundim
'Being ill is no fun.'
d. [Die wees van siek] is nie pret nie.
 the/that be of ill is no fundim
[+] Raising verbs

So-called raising verbs like skyn/lyk'to seem' and blyk'to appear' are categorically rejected as input verbs for nominalization. As shown by (3), the ban on nominalization extends to infinitival nominalization, regardless of whether Subject Raising has taken place, as in (3b'), or not, as in (104a').

Example 3

a. Dit lyk of Jan siek is.
it seems that Jan ill is
'It seems that Jan is ill.'
b. (die) lyk dat Jan siek is
 the seem that Jan ill is
c. ?dat Jan siek skyn te wees.
that Jan ill seems to be
'that Jan seems to be ill.'
d. (die) siek lyk van Jan
 the ill seem to be of Jan
[+] Object-experiencer verbs

None of the nominalization types can take object-experiencer verbs as their input. Object-experiencer verbs can be divided into two groups, depending on the case assigned to the non-nominative argument in languages like German, which do express case morphologically: with the nom-dat verbs (cf. Section V2.1.3), the object is assigned dative case, whereas with nom-acc verbs, the object is assigned accusative case (cf. Section V2.5.1.3). Neither of these types can be nominalized. Verbs like slaag/werk'to succeed' and (dit) spyt (my)'to regret' in (4) and (5) are (unaccusative) verbs, whose nominative argument is not an agent but a theme (it is the object experienced). They take an experiencer NP-complement .As is shown by the primed examples, these verbs cannot be the input for bare/det-inf, ing- or ge-nominalizations.

Example 4

a. Al sy planne het (vir hom) gewerk.
all his plans worked for him
'He succeeded in all his plans.'
b. [(Die) (vir hom) werk van al sy planne] is nogal irriterend.
  the him work of all his plans is rather annoying
c. [Die vir hom werking van al sy planne] is nogal irriterend.
 the him working of all his plans is rather annoying
d. [Die vir hom gewerk van al sy planne] het hom verheug.
 the him working of all his plans delighted him
Example 5

a. Oor sy lafhartige gedrag het hy baie spyt./ Hy het baie spyt gehad oor sy lafhartige gedrag.
his cowardly behavior regretted him much
'He regretted his cowardly behavior very much.'
b. [(Die) vir hom spyt oor sy lafhartige gedrag] is nie opreg nie.
  the him regret of his cowardly behavior is not sincere
c. [Die vir hom spyting oor sy lafhartige gedrag] is nie opreg nie.
 the him regretting of his cowardly behavior is not sincere
d. [Die vir hom gespyt oor sy lafhartige gedrag] is nooit opreg nie.
 the him regretting of his cowardly behavior is never sincere

Er-nominalization is also excluded, which is of course due to the fact that the resulting noun must refer to the agent of the input verb, which is lacking with these verbs. So even for those verbs that have a +human subject, er-nominalization is excluded. This is illustrated in (6) for the verbs opval'to strike' and beval/hou van'to please'.

Example 6

a. Die man het haar opgeval (deur sy gedrag).
the man struck her prt.  by his behavior
'The man struck her (because of his behavior).'
b. ’n haar opvaller (deur sy gedrag)
a her strik-er  by his behavior
c. Die nuwe werknemer het ons geval/aangestaan.
the new employee pleased us 
'We were pleased with the new employee.'
d. * ’n ons gevaller
an us pleas-er

The verbs also known as psych-verbs take an object which has the thematic role of experiencer (it is the argument which experiences the psychological state denoted by the verb), while the subject does not perform the role of agent. Examples with the psych-verbs amuseer/vermaak'to amuse' and irriteer'to irritate' are given in (7) and (8). As can be seen, neither bare/det-inf nor ing- nor ge-nominalization of these verbs is possible.

Example 7

a. Daardie boek/Hy het my baie geamuseer/vermaak.
that book/he amused me much
b. [(Die) my amuseer/vermaak van/deur die boek/hom] was die bedoeling.
 the me amuse of/by the book/him was the intention
c. [Die amusering/vermaking van/deur die boek/hom] was die bedoeling.
the amusing of/by the book/him was the intention
d. [Sy geamuseer/vermaak van/deur my] was die bedoeling.
his amusing of me was the intention
Example 8

a. Daardie boek/Hy het Marie geirriteer.
that book/he irritates Marie
b. [(Die) Marie irriteer van/deur daardie boek/hom] het my verbaas.
  the Marie irritate of/by that book/him surprises me
c. [Die irritering van Marie van/deur daardie boek/hom] het my verbaas.
the irritating of Marie of/by that book/him surprises me
d. [Sy ge-irriteer van Marie] het my verbaas.
his irritating of Marie surprises me

These verbs cannot constitute the input to er-nominalization. This is shown in (9) for the +human versions of examples (7a) and (8b). These examples again suggest that it is the lack of agentivity of the subject that plays a role here, and not the animacy of the subject.

Example 9

a. ’n <my> amuseerder <van my>
a   <me> amus-er  <of me>
b. ’n <Marie> amuseerder/vermaker <van Marie>
a   Marie irritat-er    of Marie
[+] The degree of verbalness/nominalness of the nominalization

Nominalization results in forms that have the syntactic distribution of a noun. However, these forms retain a number of the syntactic and semantic characteristics of the input verb. They are in a sense a hybrid category, partly nominal and partly verbal. For each type of nominalization, we will discuss the degree of verbalness/nominalness on the basis of the features in Table 8; cf. (Dik 1985), and also (Hoekstra and Wehrmann 1985).

Table 1: Table 8: Verbal and nominal characteristics of nominalizations
Verbal Properties presence of arguments
prenominal theme/recipient with objective case
prenominal recipient-PP
adverbial modificatio
Nominal properties adjectival modification
theme with genitive case
theme/recipient realized as postnominal PP

Er-nominalizations come closest to what may be thought of as prototypical nouns in the sense that they have all the relevant nominal properties, with the addition of one verbal feature, namely the presence of arguments. Bare infinitival nominalizations, on the other hand, retain almost all verbal features, while exhibiting none of the listed nominal characteristics. They are nominal in the sense that they have the distribution of nouns and that they lack the grammatical features of verbs such as tense. The other types of nominalizations hold an intermediate position. The overall picture of nominal and verbal characteristics of deverbal nouns is presented in Section

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