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10.2. Verbal (X+V) collocations and verb-first/second

Verb-first/second is normally obligatory in main clauses, but there are cases in which it seems only marginally possible. A typical example is (25), with the N+V collocation touwtje springen'to (rope) skip'.

a. dat Peter op straat touwtje springt.
  that  Peter in the.street  rope  skips
  'that Peter is skipping in the street.'
b. ? Peter springt op straat touwtje.
c. * Peter touwtje springt op straat.

Collocations like touwtje springen denote conventionalized activities and have word-like status, as is clear from the fact illustrated in (26) that this collocation can be placed as a whole in the verbal position of a progressive aan het + Vinfinitive phrase. However, the fact that the nominal part touwtje can also be separated from the verbal part springen suggests that wecannot analyze this collocation as a regular compound. For this reason, we will diverge from the orthographic convention to write such N+V collocations as a single word in order not to bias the discussion below towards a compound analysis for such collocations.

dat Peter <touwtje> aan het <touwtje> springen is.
  that  Peter    rope  aan het  skip  is
'that Peter is skipping.'

Examples such as (25) can be approached in several ways. One possibility is to deny that collocations like touwtje springen have finite forms, as is claimed for a large set of such N+V collocations at taaladvies.net/taal/advies/vraag/703, probably on the basis of information provided by the Van Dale Dictionary. For many of these verbs, this cannot be maintained given that their finite forms are easy to find on the internet. A Google search (11/11/2013) on [touwtje springt] resulted in more than 300 hits, and a cursory inspection of these results showed that most of them indeed involve embedded clauses such as (25a). Actually, it is not difficult either to find past-tense examples: our Google searches on the strings [ touwtje sprong] and [ touwtje sprongen]resulted in more than 200 hits, two of which are given in (27).

a. de buurmeisjes waarmee ik touwtje sprong of hinkelde
  the girls.next.door  with.whom  rope  skipped  or played.hopscotch
  'the girls next door with whom I skipped or played hopscotch'
b. Er waren [...] een paar meisjes die touwtje sprongen.
  there  were  a couple [of] girls  who  rope  skipped
  'There were a couple of girls who were skipping.'

A second possibility is to deny that the contrast between examples like (25a&b) is real and to assume that both types of examples are equally acceptable. This position can be supported by the fact that verb-second examples such as (25b) can indeed be found on the internet. The number of such examples is relatively small, however: our Google searches on [springt touwtje] and [springt * touwtje] resulted in, respectively, 136 and 56 hits, many of which were irrelevant or duplicates. Verb-second constructions with touwtje springen are especially popular in headlines, headers, captions of pictures and movies, etc. In regular texts, verb-second seems relatively frequent in sentences with a habitual reading and in sentences in which the collocation is used as part of a list (often in brief summaries of certain events); two typical examples are given in (28).

a. Sylvia Goegebuur (sic) [...] springt touwtje als de beste ter wereld.
  Sylvia Goegebuur  skips  rope  like  the best in.the world
b. Hij kruipt over de piano, trekt zijn hemd uit en springt touwtje met de microfoon.
  he  crawls  over the piano  takes  his shirt  off  and  jumps  rope with the microphone
  'He crawls all over the piano, takes off his shirt and skips with the mike.'

The past tense strings [sprong touwtje]and [sprong* touwtje]resulted in 95 hits in total, many of which were again irrelevant or duplicates: our estimate is that there were about 20 genuine cases of verb-second. Sentences in which the collocation is used as part of a list, as in Hij liep, hij rende en sprong touwtje'he walked, (he) ran and skipped', again seem to be relatively frequent.
      The results of our Google searches suggest a third possibility: for most speakers, verb-second of the finite form of the verbal part of N+V collocations like touwtje springen is disfavored, and since non-finite forms do not occur in second position, this verb is normally used in clause-final position only. Since these collocations express conventionalized activities, verb-second can easily be avoided in many cases by employing the progressive aan het + Vinfinitive construction in (29a) instead of the verb-second construction in (29b).

a. Peter is/was <touwtje> aan het <touwtje> springen.
  Peter is/was     rope  aan het  skip
  'Peter is/was skipping.'
b. ?? Peter springt/sprong touwtje.
  Peter skips/skipped  rope

A similar conclusion was drawn by Booij (2010:114) for the N+V collocation stijl dansen, despite the fact that some speakers seem to be able to treat this collocation as a true (inseparable) compound: examples such as (30b) can again normally be avoided by using the progressive construction Hij is/was met zijn nichtje aan het stijldansen'He is/was ballroom dancing with his niece'.

a. dat hij met zijn nichtje stijl danst/danste.
  that  he  with his niece  ballroom  dances/danced
  'that he is/was ballroom dancing with his niece.'
b. ?? Hij stijldanst/stijldanste met zijn nichtje.
c. * Hij danst/danste met zijn nichtje stijl.

      Certain particle verbs have also been reported to disfavor verb-second. Such particle verbs are characterized by the fact that their particles are complex, like voor-aan in vooraanmelden'to preregister', or preceded by the prefix her-, as in herinvoeren'to reintroduce'; see Koopman (1995), Den Dikken (2003), and Vikner (2005), who discusses similar cases for German. In (31), we provide examples with the verb (her)invoeren. Bennis (1993) reports that some speakers consider examples like (31b'&c') marginally acceptable, and taaladvies.net/taal/advies/vraag/377 reports that the split patterns occurs in Belgium.

a. dat hij die regel invoert.
  that  he  that rule  prt.-introduces
  'that he introduces that rule.'
a'. dat hij die regel herinvoert.
  that  he  that rule  reintroduces
  'that he reintroduces that rule.'
b. Hij voert die regel in.
b'. ?? Hij voert de regel herin.
c. * Hij invoert die regel.
c'. *? Hij herinvoert die regel.

      The discussion above strongly suggests that there is a set of verbal (X+V) collocations that resist verb-second; following Vikner (2005), we will refer to such collocations as immobile verbs. The fact that it is not difficult to find cases such as (29b) and (30b) on the internet suggests, however, that collocations like touwtje springen and stijl dansen are sometimes also treated as separable or compound verb forms. This raises the question as to whether we are dealing with a syntactic/morphological restriction or whether some other restriction is involved. For example, it might be the case that verb-second is syntactically possible but restricted for some reason to cases in which the speaker cannot resort to the aan het + Vinfinitive construction, as might be the case in the examples in (28), or that verb-second is restricted to sports jargon, that is, used by individual speakers who are involved with the activity denoted by the collocation in question on a more regular basis.
      In order to shed more light on this issue, the following subsections will investigate the properties of verbal collocations in more detail. Our point of departure will be that such collocations can be divided into the three main types in (32): inseparable collocations are compounds that undergo verb-second as a whole, separable collocations are phrase-like constructions that split under verb-second, and immobile collocations tend to resist verb-second.

a. Inseparable verbal collocations (compounds): bekN + vechten 'to squabble'
b. Separable verbal collocations: ademN + halen 'to breathe'
c. Immobile verbal collocations: touwtjeN + springen 'to (rope) skip'

Subsections I-V investigate the properties of inseparable and separable verbal collocations. We will show that the set of verbs that are traditionally assumed to be separable is in fact not a unitary class but falls apart in at least two subgroups, one of which is separable under verb-second and another which is not; the latter group will be shown to be immobile in the sense of Vikner (2005), subsection V concludes this part of the discussion with an attempt at an analysis. The results of the investigation in Subsection I-V will be applied to various types of immobile verbs: Subsections VI-VIII focus on three different subtypes of immobile N+V collocations while Subsection IX investigates inseparable complex particle verbs; Subsection X concludes with a brief discussion of a type of immobile verb that has received relatively little attention in the literature so far.

[+]  I.  Separable and inseparable verbal collocations

This subsection discusses verbal collocations with a noun, adjective or a verb as their first member. Generally speaking, we find two syntactically relevant types: inseparable and separable collocations. It seems that this distinction weakly correlates with the semantic/syntactic status of the left-hand member, as Ackema (1999) notes that in separable collocations the left-hand member is normally an argument of the verbal part. This is illustrated in (33). The verb vechten'to fight' in (33a) is intransitive and N-part bek'mouth' is interpreted as having the semantic role of instrument; cf. met de bek vechten'to fight with the mouth'. The verb halen'to get' in (33b) is transitive and the N-part adem'breath' is interpreted as a theme argument. The primed examples show that only in the latter case can the N+V collocation be split.

a. dat deze jongens voortdurend bek vechten.
  that  these boys  continuously  mouth  fight
  'that these boys squabble continuously.'
a'. Deze jongens <bek> vechten voortdurend <*bek>.
  these boys  mouth  fight  continuously
b. dat de patiënt moeilijk adem haalt.
  that  the patient  with.difficulty  breath  takes
  'that the patient is breathing with difficulty.'
b'. De patiënt <*adem> haalt moeilijk <adem>.
  the patient      breath  takes  with.difficulty

In (34), we provide a sample of the two types of N+V collocation, based on De Haas & Trommelen (1993) and Booij (2010). We do not include inseparable verbs such as voetballen'to play soccer' that are (potentially) derived via conversion from complex nouns (here: voetbal'football') or formations like raadplegen'to consult' with a non-transparent or non-compositional meaning for present-day speakers because these are expected to be inseparable anyway. Recall that we diverge from the orthographic convention to write the N+V collocations in (34b) as a single word in order not to bias the discussion below towards a compound analysis for these collocations.

N+V collocations
a. Inseparable: beeldhouwen'to sculpture', bekvechten'to squabble', rangschikken'to group', redetwisten'to argue', slaapwandelen'to walk in oneʼs sleep', zegevieren'to triumph'Inseparable: beeldhouwen'to sculpture', bekvechten'to squabble', rangschikken'to group', redetwisten'to argue', slaapwandelen'to walk in oneʼs sleep', zegevieren'to triumph'
b. Separable: adem halen'to breathe', auto rijden'to drive a car', brand stichten'to raise a fire', deel nemen'to participate', dienst weigeren'to refuse conscription', feest vieren'to celebrate', kaart lezen'to read maps', koffie zetten'to make coffee', les geven'to teach', piano spelen'to play the piano', recht spreken'to administer justice', ruzie maken'to quarrel', televisie kijken'to watch television'Separable: adem halen'to breathe', auto rijden'to drive a car', brand stichten'to raise a fire', deel nemen'to participate', dienst weigeren'to refuse conscription', feest vieren'to celebrate', kaart lezen'to read maps', koffie zetten'to make coffee', les geven'to teach', piano spelen'to play the piano', recht spreken'to administer justice', ruzie maken'to quarrel', televisie kijken'to watch television'

Note that we used the notion "weak correlation" in order to characterize Ackema's hypothesis. The reason is that it is not the case that N+V collocations are always separable if the N-part functions as a theme. This can be readily illustrated by means of the collocation stof zuigen'to vacuum', which can be used either as a separable or as an inseparable collocation by many speakers. There is reason, however, for assuming that the N-part has lost its argument status in the inseparable form; see Ackema (1999) and the discussion of the examples in (44) in Subsection II.

a. dat Jan elke week stof zuigt.
  that  Jan  every week  dust  sucks
  'that Jan vacuums every week.'
b. Jan <stof> zuigt elke week <stof>.
  Jan    dust  sucks  every week

We should further raise a warning flag and note that there are a number of cases of separable N+V collocations for which it is less clear that the N-part functions as a (direct) argument of the V-part. This holds for, e.g., piano spele n'to play the piano' and televisie kijken'to watch television', given that spelen and kijken select a PP-complement in examples such as (36). In order to maintain the claim that the N-part is an argument of the V-part, we have to assume that the PP-complement is reduced in the separable N+V collocations piano spele n and televisie kijken; see Ackema (1999) and Booij (2010) for a discussion of these forms.

a. Jan speelt *(op) een Steinway.
  Jan plays    on a Steinway
  'Jan is playing on a Steinway.'
b. Jan kijkt *(naar) de televisie.
  Jan looks     at the television
  'Jan is looking at the television.'

      The examples in (37) illustrate that the two main types can also be found in the case of A+V collocations: (37a) is an example with the inseparable (compound) verb liefkozen'to fondle' and (37b) with the separable collocation bekend maken'to make known'.

a. dat Jan zijn hond vaak liefkoost.
  that Jan his dog often  fondles
  'that Jan often fondles his dog.'
a'. Jan <lief>koost zijn hond vaak <*lief>.
  Jan    fondles  his dog  often
b. dat Jan zijn besluit morgen bekend maakt.
  that  Jan his decision  tomorrow  known  makes
  'that Jan will make his decision public tomorrow.'
b'. Jan <*bekend> maakt zijn beslissing morgen <bekend>.
  Jan      known  makes  his decision  tomorrow

When we exclude examples such as blinddoeken'to blindfold', which is derived from the complex noun blinddoek'blindfold', and cases such as dwarsbomen'to thwart' with a non-transparent or non-compositional meaning for the present-day speaker, there are very few inseparable A+V collocations; the examples in (38a) are again taken from De Haas & Trommelen (1993). For the separable A+N collocations in (38b), Ackema's hypothesis that the left-hand member of the collocation is normally an argument of the verbal part of the collocation seems too strict, but we can easily repair this by loosening the statement slightly by requiring that the left-hand member must be a complement of the verbal part, as this will also include complementives. Again, we diverge from the orthographic convention to write separable A+V collocations as separate words in order not to bias the discussion below towards a compound analysis for these collocations.

A+V collocations
a. Inseparable: fijnproeven'to test the taste of something', liefkozen'to fondle'
b. Separable: dood zwijgen'to hush up/smother', droog leggen'to reclaim/impolder', dwars liggen'to be contrary', fijn malen'to grind', goed keuren'to approve', groot brengen'to bring up', klaar komen'to complete oneʼs work/have an orgasm', los breken'to break loose', stuk lezen'read to pieces', vol gieten'to fill up', vreemd gaan'to be unfaithful', wit wassen'to launder (black money)', zwart maken'to blacken'Separable: dood zwijgen'to hush up/smother', droog leggen'to reclaim/impolder', dwars liggen'to be contrary', fijn malen'to grind', goed keuren'to approve', groot brengen'to bring up', klaar komen'to complete oneʼs work/have an orgasm', los breken'to break loose', stuk lezen'read to pieces', vol gieten'to fill up', vreemd gaan'to be unfaithful', wit wassen'to launder (black money)', zwart maken'to blacken'

The proposed revision of Ackema's hypothesis, which we will from now on refer to as Ackema's generalization, also accounts for the fact that particle verbs (P+V collocations) like opbellen'to call up' and overstromen'to run over' in (39) are normally separable because Section 2.2 has shown that verbal particles also function as complementives. Although there are a number of inseparable P+V collocations, we will not digress on this here, as this would simply repeat the discussion in Section P1.2.4, sub IV. We will in fact ignore P+V collocations altogether until we return to them in Subsection IX.

a. Jan belde me op.
  Jan called  me up
b. De emmer stroomde over.
  the bucket  ran  over
  'The bucket overflowed.'

There are very few inseparable V+V collocations like hoesteproesten'to cough and splutter' in (40a); more transparent cases such as zweefvliegen'to glide (in a sailplane)' belong to the set of immobile collocations, which will be discussed in Subsection IV. Separable V+V collocations are also rare and may in fact not exist at all: a potential case is laten vallen'to drop' in (40b), but the fact that the dependent verb vallen'to fall' does not precede but follows the causative verb laten'to make/let' suggests that we are not dealing with a verbal collocation but with a regular causative laten-construction. We therefore will not discuss such cases here but in Section

a. dat Jan voortdurend hoesteproest.
  that  Jan continuously  splutters
  'that Jan is continuously coughing and spluttering.'
a'. Jan hoesteproest voortdurend.
  Jan splutters  continuously
b. dat Jan de theepot liet vallen.
causative laten-construction
  that  Jan the teapot  let  fall
  'that Jan dropped the teapot.'
b'. Jan liet de theepot vallen.
  Jan let  the teapot  fall

This subsection has shown that separable verbal collocations require their first member to function as a complement of the verbal part: the N-part in N+V collocations has the function of a direct (and sometimes prepositional) object of the V-part, and the A-part in A+N collocations functions as a complementive, that is, a predicative complement of the V-part. Since there are no clear cases of separable V+V collocations and since particle verbs are discussed separately in Subsection IX, the following subsections will be concerned with N+V and A+V collocations.

[+]  II.  Differences between separable and inseparable verbal collocations

On the assumption that inseparable X+V collocations are true compounds, their syntactic behavior can be accounted for by appealing to the lexical integrity constraint, according to which syntactic operations cannot apply to subparts of words. An inseparable N+V collocation like bekvechten'to squabble' should then be analyzed as [ bekvechten], in which the label Vº stands for a word boundary. By the same logic, separable N+V collocations cannot be analyzed as compounds but should be phrasal in nature: a separable N+V collocation like adem halen should then be analyzed as [V' adem [ halen]], in which the label V' stands for some phrasal projection of the verb that contains a direct object.
      There is morphological and syntactic evidence in favor of this distinction. First, we would expect inflectional material to attach at the Vº- and not at the V'-level, and thus we predict that the nominal part follows preverbal inflectional material in the case of (inseparable) compound verbs but precedes such material in the case of (separable) phrasal collocations. The examples in (41) shows that this prediction is correct: the preverbal part of the participial circumfixge-...-d/t and the infinitival prefix te must precede the nominal part in bekvechten but must follow it in adem halen for most speakers.

a. De jongens hebben de hele dag gebekvecht/*bekgevecht.
  the boys  have  the whole day  squabbled
  'The boys have squabbled all day.'
a'. De jongens liepen de hele dag te bekvechten/*bek te vechten.
  the boys  walked  the whole day  to squabble
  'The boys were squabbling all day.'
b. Jan heeft twee keer diep adem gehaald/*geademhaald.
  Jan has  two time  deep  breath  taken
  'Jan has taken a deep breath twice.'
b'. Jan probeerde diep adem te halen/*te ademhalen.
  Jan  tried  deep  breath  to take
  'Jan tried to take a deep breath.'

Note in passing that there seems to be some variation among speakers, especially with regard to the infinitival marker te. For example, a Google search (11/5/2013) showed that the form bek te vechten is occasionally used on the internet (perhaps in jest), whereas we did not get any hits for the strings [ heb bekgevecht] and [ heb * bekgevecht], in which the asterisk functions as a wild card. Similarly, the form te ademhalen is not difficult to find (albeit with a far lower frequency than adem te halen), whereas we found only a handful of genuine cases with the form geademhaald. The judgments in (41) reflect our own acceptability judgments and may thus be an idealization of the actual situation in Standard Dutch.
      The form of the past participle gebekvecht in (41a) constitutes an additional argument in favor of a compound analysis, given that the participle of the simplex verb vechten has the irregular form gevochten. De Haas & Trommelen (1993:441) claim that a hallmark of compounds is that they have a regular declension; this is illustrated again in (42), in which glimlachen is an inseparable N+V compound and paard rijden is separable phrasal N+V collocation; only in the former case does the collocation have the regular declension ge-...-d/t.

a. lachen — gelach-en
  laugh  laughed
a'. glimlachen — geglimlach-t
  smile  smiled
b. rijden — gered-en
  ride  ridden
b'. paard rijden — paard gered-en
  horseback  ride  horseback  ridden

A rather spectacular illustration of De Haas & Trommelen's claim is stof zuigen. The examples in (35) have shown that this collocation exhibits mixed behavior for many speakers: the N+V collocation can be split under verb-second, but it can also be moved as a whole. The simplex verb zuigen'to suck' has an irregular declension: zuig- zoog- gezogen. The predictions made by De Haas & Trommelens hypothesis are clear. First, we predict that stof zuigen'to vacuum' is associated with two past participial forms, depending on the position of the nominal part. The primeless examples in (43) illustrate that this prediction is indeed correct. Second, we predict that the split under verb-second is possible only if the finite verb has the irregular declension; the primed examples show that this predication is also correct.

a. Jan heeft gisteren stof gezogen/*gezuigd.
  Jan has  yesterday  dust  sucked
  'Jan vacuumed yesterday.'
a'. Jan zoog/*zuigde gisteren stof.
  Jan sucked yesterday  dust
b. Jan heeft gisteren gestofzuigd/*gestofzogen.
  Jan has  yesterday  dust.sucked
  'Jan vacuumed yesterday.'
b'. Jan stofzuigde/*stofzoog gisteren.
  Jan dust.sucked  yesterday

Note in passing that we have ignored the fact that the form sto fzoog is occasionally found in second position on the internet, which is in fact to be expected given that speakers are quite uncertain about the "correct" form of the past tense, as is clear from the fact that it is a recurring topic of discussion on the internet. Note that there is also normative pressure to use the inseparable form, as is clear from the fact that taaladvies.net/taal/advies/vraag/755 and the Van Dale Dictionary only give the regular declension.
      The claim that stof zuigen allows two different analyses is also confirmed by the examples in (44), adapted from De Haas & Trommelen (1993:442). These examples show that this collocation can be used with the direct object de kamer'the room' when it has a regular declension, but not when it has an irregular declension.

a. dat Jan de kamer stofzuigt/*stof zoog.
  that  Jan the room  dust.sucks/dust sucks
  'that Jan is vacuuming the room.'
b. dat Jan de kamer heeft gestofzuigd/*stof gezogen.
  that  Jan the room  has  dust.sucked/dust  sucked
  'that Jan has vacuumed the room.'

This contrast follows immediately on the analysis proposed above: if stof zuigen is phrasal, the bare noun stof functions as a direct object, and thus blocks the addition of another direct object such as de kamer'the room': if it is a compound, however, it might simply be stored in the lexicon as a transitive verb, and, consequently, the use of a direct object such as de kamer is fully licit. Other cases of such transitive, inseparable N + V collocations mentioned by Ackema (1999) are: beeldhouwen'to sculpture' (lit: statue + chop) stand hersenspoelen'to brainwash'.
      In (45) we provide similar examples for A+V collocations: liefkozen'to fondle' (lit.: sweet + caress) is a compound and the adjectival part lief must therefore follow the preverbal part of the participial circumfix ge-...-d/t and the infinitival prefix te; bekend maken'to make public', on the other hand, is phrasal and the adjectival part must therefore precede these elements.

a. Jan heeft zijn hond de hele dag geliefkoosd/*liefgekoosd.
  Jan has  his dog  the whole day  fondled
  'Jan has fondled his dog all day.'
a'. Jan zit zijn hond de hele dag te liefkozen/*lief te kozen.
  Jan sits  his dog  the whole day  to fondle
  'Jan has been fondling his dog all day.'
b. Jan heeft zijn beslissing bekend gemaakt/*gebekendmaakt.
  Jan has  his decision  known  made
  'Jan has made his decision public.'
b'. Jan weigert zijn beslissing bekend te maken/*te bekend maken.
  Jan refuses  his  decision  known  to make
  'Jan refuses to make his decision public.'

      This subsection has shown that there are reasons for assuming that inseparable verbal collocations are compounds whereas separable verbal collocations are phrasal in nature. The reasons for assuming this are mainly morphological in nature. The first involves the placement of the (preverbal part of) the inflectional affixes ge-...-d/t and te. The second is that the inseparable verbal collocations always have a regular declension, which has been claimed to be a hallmark of compounds; the declension of the verbal part of separable verbal collocations, on the other hand, is fully determined by the verbal part.

Table 1: Differences between inseparable and separable verbal collocations
  inseparable separable
participial affix ge-X+V-d/t X ge-V-d/t
infinitival prefix te X+V X te V
declension always regular depends on verbal part

[+]  III.  Similarities between separable and inseparable N+V collocations

Although the discussion in Subsection II strongly suggests that separable N+V collocations are phrasal and that the N-part normally functions as a direct (or, perhaps, a prepositional) object of the V-part, the collocation has a number of properties normally not found with verb phrases consisting of a verb and an object. With regard to these peculiarities, separable N+V collocations rather behave like N+V compounds. We will illustrate this compound-like behavior of separable N+V collocations by comparing the separable collocations adem halen'to breathe' and piano spelen'to play the piano' with the regular verb phrase iets halen'to fetch something' and iets spelen'to play something (e.g., a sonata)'.
      A first property is that the N-part of a separable N+V collocation is normally bare, that is, not accompanied by a determiner, whereas singular regular direct objects are normally not bare, that is, they require a determiner. Notice that this difference is not observable if the N-part is plural, as in aardappels schillen'to peel potatoes', given that indefinite plurals take a phonetically empty article.

a. dat Jan (*een) adem haalt.
  that  Jan     a breath  gets
  'that Jan is breathing.'
a'. dat Jan *(een) boek haalt.
  that  Jan      a book  gets
  'that Jan is fetching a book.'
b. dat Marie (*de) piano speelt.
  that  Marie    the piano  plays
  'that Marie is playing the piano.'
b'. dat Marie *(de) sonate speelt.
  that  Marie     the sonata  plays
  'that Marie is playing the sonata.'

Related to this difference concerning the determiner is the fact that the nominal part of the N+V collocation is not referential. This can be shown by comparing the examples in (47): example (47a) cannot be uttered out of the blue given that the reference of the deictic pronoun hij cannot be properly determined by the bare noun piano; example (47b) with the regular direct object de sonate'the sonata', on the other hand, is fine since the pronoun can take this object as its antecedent.

a. $ dat Jan niet graag piano speelt, want hij is vals.
  that  Jan not  gladly  piano plays,  because  he is off-key
  'that Jan doesnʼt like to play the piano, because it is off-key.'
b. dat Jan niet graag de sonate speelt, want hij is te moeilijk.
  that  Jan not  gladly  the sonata  plays  because  he is too difficult
  'that Jan doesnʼt like to play the sonata, because it is too difficult.'

For the same reason it is normally impossible to modify the nominal part of an N+V collocation by an attributively used adjective, whereas this is, of course, possible with regular direct objects, as shown by the examples in (48).

a. dat Jan niet graag (*nieuwe) piano speelt
  that  Jan not  gladly     new  piano plays
b. dat Jan niet graag de (nieuwe) sonate speelt.
  that  Jan not  gladly  the new sonata  plays
  'that Jan doesnʼt like to play the new sonata.'

In passing, it should be noted that attributive modification of the nominal part of a separable N+A collocation is marginally possible if the modifier-noun combination has a type reading: Booij (2010), for example, provides examples such as dat Jan klassieke piano speelt. However, the fact that Booij translates this example as "that John plays classical piano music" suggests that we may simply be dealing with a regular direct object in the form of a mass noun, comparable to Hij speelt klassieke muziek/jazz'He plays classical music/jazz'. We will leave this issue for future research and simply conclude from the examples above that nominal parts of N+V collocations are not referential. In this respect they are similar to the first members of N+V compounds like beeldhouwen'to sculpture', N+A compounds like boterzacht'soft as butter', and N+N compounds like huissleutel'latchkey', but unlike regular direct objects.
      A second property of the N-part of separable N+V collocations is that speakers allow them to permeate clause-final verb clusters. This is, of course, obligatory for the nominal parts of N+V compounds, but for regular direct objects this is allowed by a subset of Flemish speakers only; see Sections 5.2.3 and 6.2, and Barbiers (2008:ch.2).

a. dat Jan diep <adem> moet <adem> halen.
  that  Jan deeply    breath  must  get
  'that Jan must breathe deeply.'
a'. dat Jan <een boek> moet <%een boek> halen.
  that  Jan     a book  must  get
  'that Jan must fetch a book'
b. dat Marie graag <piano> wil <piano> spelen.
  that Marie  gladly    piano  want  play
  'that Marie is eager to play the piano.'
b'. dat Marie graag <de sonate> wil <%de sonate> spelen.
  that Marie  gladly    the sonata  want  play
  'that Marie is eager to play the sonata.'

      A third property of the N-part of a separable N+V collocation is that it can be left-adjacent to the main verb in the progressive aan het + Vinfinitive construction; regular direct objects, on the other hand, must precede the aan het + Vinfinitive phrase.

a. Jan is verkeerd <adem> aan het <adem> halen.
  Jan is wrongly   breath  aan het  get
  'Jan is breathing in the wrong way.'
a'. Jan is <een boek> aan het <*een boek> halen.
  Jan is  a book  aan het  get
  'Jan is fetching a book.'
b. Marie is <piano> aan het <piano> spelen.
  Marie is   piano  aan het  play
  'Marie is playing the piano.'
b'. Marie is <de sonate> aan het <*de sonate> spelen.
  Marie is    the sonata  aan het  play
  'Marie is playing the sonata.'

      A final property in which N-parts of separable N+V collocations differ from regular direct objects is that they cannot easily occur as part of a postnominal van-PP in nominalizations, as is illustrated in (51).

a. [Het halen van een boek/??adem] is gemakkelijk.
  the getting of a book/breath  is easy
  'Getting a book is easy.'
b. [Het spelen van een sonate/??piano] is niet gemakkelijk.
  the playing of a sonata/piano  is not easy
  'Playing of a sonata isnʼt easy.'

The discussion above has shown that the N-part of N+V collocation has various properties that are unexpected for regular direct objects but resemble the properties of the N-part of a N+V compound: (i) it is not referential, (ii) it is allowed to interrupt clause-final verb clusters, and (iii) it can be left-adjacent to the main verb in the progressive aan het + Vinfinitive construction. The first property is, of course, inapplicable to A+V collocations, but the examples in (52) show for fijn malen'to grind' that the latter two properties can also be established for such cases.

a. dat Jan de peper <fijn> moet <fijn> malen.
  that  Jan the pepper  to.a.powder  must  grind
  'that Jan must grind the pepper.'
b. that Jan de peper <fijn> aan het <fijn> malen is.
  that Jan the pepper  to.a.powder  aan het  grind  is
  'that Jan is grinding the pepper.'

The findings from our discussion above are summarized in Table 2.

Table 2: Similarities between inseparable and separable verbal collocations
  inseparable separable
N is referential no no
verbal clusters V X Vmain V X VmainorX V Vmain
aan het-construction aan het X Vmain aan het X Vmain or X aan het Vmain
[+]  IV.  Immobile verbal collocations (1): introduction

Table 2 shows that separable X+V collocations like (34b) and (38b) exhibit variable behavior with respect to the placement of the X-part vis-à-vis the verbal part in constructions with a clause-final verb cluster or a progressive aan het-phrase. This raises the question as to whether it is justified to consider separable X+V collocations as a single class, or whether we should distinguish two subtypes. This question has been investigated for N+V collocations, and it seems that there is reason for assuming the latter; see Booij (2010: Section 4.3). The argument is based on the morphological expression of sentence negation. In Dutch, sentence negation can be expressed by means of the independent negative adverb niet'not', as in (53a), but it is often obligatorily merged with some existentially quantified element in the clause, as is illustrated in (53b&c). Here, negation is expressed on, respectively, a frequency adverb (neg + ooitnooit'never') and an indefinite direct object (neg + een autogeen auto'no car').

a. Peter kan niet komen.
  Peter is.able  not  come
  'Peter canʼt come.'
b. Peter kan nooit/*niet ooit komen.
  Peter is.able  never/not  some.time  come
  'Peter is never able to come.'
c. Peter kan geen auto/*niet een auto kopen.
  Peter is.able  no car/not a car  buy
  'Peter canʼt buy a car.'

The examples in (54) further show that the merger of sentence negation is optional in the case of N+V collocations like auto rijden'to drive a car' and piano spelen'to play the piano'; it can either be expressed by means of the adverb niet'not' or be expressed by the negative article geen'no'.

a. Peter kan niet/geen auto rijden.
  Peter be.able  not/no  car  drive
  'Peter isnʼt able to drive a car.'
b. Peter kan niet/geen piano spelen.
  Peter be.able  not/no  piano  play
  'Peter isnʼt able to play the piano.'

The examples in (55) show that the choice between the two options depends on the placement of the N-part of the collocation in clauses with a verb cluster: negation seems preferably expressed by means of the negative article geen, but if the N-part remains adjacent to the V-part the negative adverb niet must be used. Although Booij considers the options marked with a number sign acceptable, there may be reasons for rejecting his claim; we postpone the discussion of this to Subsection V.

a. dat Peter geen/#niet auto kan rijden.
  that  Peter  no/not  car  be.able  drive
  'that Peter isnʼt able to drive a car.'
a'. dat Peter niet/*geen kan auto rijden.
  that  Peter  not/no  be.able  car  drive
  'that Peter canʼt drive a car.'
b. dat Peter geen/#niet piano kan spelen.
  that  Peter  no/not  piano  be.able  play
  'that Peter isnʼt able to play the piano.'
b'. dat Peter niet/*geen kan piano spelen.