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Al + definite article
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The complex quantifier consisting of (the predeterminer) alall + the definite article is closely related to the simple quantifier alleall, though it is not exactly identical in meaning to it. For example, the simple quantifier can receive a generic interpretation whereas the complex quantifier cannot:

Example 1

a. Alle kij hawwe fjouwer poaten
all cows have four legs
All cows have four legs
b. *Al de kij hawwe fjouwer poaten
all the cows have four legs
All the cows have four legs

Yet, the ungrammatical example would be grammatical if a specific context is created. Say, a farmer is accused of buying genetically modified cows with five legs. In that case, a newspaper man could felicitously utter the otherwise ungrammatical sentence in the example above, after having verified that all the farmer's cows have four legs.

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The complex quantifier must be specific, whereas the simple quantifier may, but need not be specific. This ties in with the fact that the complex quantifier can also consist of al + demonstrative:

Example 2

a. Al dit bidden en smeken
all this praying and begging
All this praying and begging
b. Al dizze swierrichheden
all these difficulties
All these difficulties

The simple quantifier cannot be combined with a demonstrative:

Example 3

*Alle dizze swierrichheden
all these difficulties
All these difficulties

In fact, the complex quantifier also combines with some other elements the simple quantifier cannot combine with. For example, the complex quantifier can combine with a possessive pronoun, whereas the simple quantifier cannot:

Example 4

a. Al myn triennen
all my tears
All my tears
b. *Alle myn triennen
all my tears
All my tears

The complex quantifier can combine with a non-pronominal possessor, whereas the simple quantifier cannot:

Example 5

a. Al Hylkjes triennen
all Hylkje's tears
All Hylkje's tears
b. *Alle Hylkjes triennen
all Hylkje's tears
All Hylkje's tears

The complex quantifier al + definite article can be followed by a numeral, al + demonstrative is also possible:

Example 6

a. Al de trije boeken
all the three books
All the three books
b. Al dizze trije boeken
all these three books
All these three books

The element al cannot be followed by a numeral, as in (a) below. Instead, the meaning of the ungrammatical phrase must be expressed as in (b) below:

Example 7

a. *Al trije (de) boeken
all three the books
All three books
b. Alle trije (de) boeken
all three (the) books
All three books

Alall never occurs as a floating quantifier, nor does alle. Instead, the form allegear is used (see Alleall.

Example 8

a. *Dizze trije boeken binne al djoer
these three books are all expensive
These three books are all expensive
b. *Dizze trije boeken binne alle djoer
these three books are all expensive
These three books are all expensive
c. Dizze trije boeken binne allegear djoer
these three books are all expensive
These three books are all expensive

It seems that al + definite quantifier cannot occur with singular count nouns. The following contrast shows this:

Example 9

a. Al dit gebak
all this pastry
All this pastry
b. *Al dit gebakje
all this pastry
All this piece of cake

The use of al + definite quantifier is fine with the mass noun, but not with the count noun. The following contrast shows that it is fine with plural count nouns:

Example 10

a. *Al dit gebakje
all this pastry
All this piece of cake
b. Al dizze gebakjes
all these pastries
All these pieces of cake

The counterpart of the quantifier alall is the quantifier hielwhole.

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