• Dutch
  • Frisian
  • Afrikaans
Show full table of contents
Postposition + complement that is an prepositional phrase

In most cases, the complement of a postposition is a prepositional phrase.


The complement of a postposition must be an Adposition Phrase (PP), but the preposition of a PP may under certain circumstances be omitted, as in the following cases (see also no complements that are NPs):

Example 1

a. Ik rûn it hûs yn
I walked the house in
I walked into the house
b. De kat skeat de beam út
the cat shot the tree out
The cat shot out of the tree
c. Se skopten him it toaniel op
they kicked him the stage up
They kicked him onto the stage

Such examples often involve the postpositions yn in, út out, troch through, often in combination with a verb denoting motion in space or time. The prepositions yn in, út out are sometimes accompanied by the preposition ta to, as in the following example:

Example 2

a. Ik rûn ta it hûs yn
I walked to the house in
I walked into the house
b. De kat skeat ta de beam út
the cat shot to the tree out
The cat shot out of the tree

The preposition ta to does not seem to make a significant semantic contribution in these examples, intuitively speaking. In this respect, the role of ta to is different from the role of the postposition in the following example, which makes a clear semantic contribution to the utterance:

Example 3

Ûnder it hûs troch
beneath the house through
Beneath and past the house

Leaving out the preposition in this example results in a different meaning:

Example 4

It hûs troch
the house through
Through the house

Extraction is possible from postpositional phrases containing a prepositional phrase, as shown in the three cases below:

Example 5

a. Wêr rûn er [ûnder ] troch?
what.R walked he beneath through
What did he walk beneath (and pass)?
b. Dan geat mem in fikse skoat wetter der boppe [ta] yn
then poured mother a big dash water it.R above to in
Then mother poured a big dash of water from the top side into it
c. Wêr namen se him mei [nei] ta?
where took they him along to to
Where did they take him to?

Note that the R-pronoun must be glossed and translated as a locative pronoun in the last example, not as a prepositional object, even though it functions as a prepositional complement. So no translation like the following is possible: What did they take him to? This is a matter which must be further investigated. The Prepositional Phrase can be topicalised in case the postpositional phrase containing it is selected by the verb, as the following contrast makes clear:

Example 6

a. By de terp rûnen hja op
at the mound walked they up
The mound, they walked up
b. *Nei Babel namen se him mei ta
to Babel took they him along to
To Babel, they took him along (with them)

The last example behaves differently.