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Mapping of postpositional arguments onto syntactic structure

A postposition has two arguments: a direction and an entity. The directional argument is realised as the prepositional phrase that functions as the complement to the postposition. The other argument, the entity, is realised external to the postpositional phrase, in the position of subject or object.


The mapping of meaning onto syntactic structure is addressed by means of a concrete example. Consider the following sentence:

Example 1

Jouke wol ta de timpel yn
Jouke wants to the temple in
Jouke wants to go in the temple

The postposition expresses a relation between two elements which participate in a directional relation. The directional argument is expressed syntactically as the prepositional phrase. The preposition phrase can be preposed out of the postpositional phrase:

Example 2

Ta de timpel wol Jouke yn
to the temple wants Jouke in
Inside the temple, Jouke wants to go

The external argument of the preposition is identical to the external argument of the postposition: it is the entity Jouke, which is realised as the external argument in the subject position of the clause. The external argument of a postpositional phrase can also be realised as a direct object. The external argument and the postpositional phrase are bracketed in the example below:

Example 3

Harke en ik hawwe [de kij] [om ús hinne]
Harke and I have the cows around us to
Harke and I have the cows around us