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Generally speaking, adpositional phrases resist modification with the exception of the spatial and temporal ones. So, whereas the non-spatial/temporal adpositional phrase in (1a) cannot be modified, the spatial and temporal adpositional phrases in (1b&c) can.

a. Vanwege de vakantie is de bibliotheek gesloten.
  because.of  the vacation  is the library  closed
  'The library is closed because of the vacation.'
b. (Vlak) voor de deur stond een grote lamp.
  just  in.front.of the door  stood  a big lamp
  'A big lamp stood just in front of the table.'
c. (Vlak) voor zijn vakantie moest hij plotseling naar het ziekenhuis.
  just  before his vacation  had  he  suddenly  to the hospital
  'Just before his vacation he suddenly had to go to the hospital.'

Note, however, that this does not hold for focus particles like alleen'only' and juist'especially' in (2a&b), nor for pas'only' in (2c), which can also be used to modify non-temporal/spatial PPs. We will not discuss this in the present chapter because these particles can be construed with all lexical categories (see Barbiers 1995:ch.3), and thus deserve a discussion in their own right .

a. Alleen vanwege de sneeuw blijf ik niet thuis.
  only because.of the snow  stay  not  home
  'I wonʼt stay at home just because of the snow.'
b. Juist vanwege de sneeuw wil ik wandelen.
  especially because.of the snow  want  walk
  'It is precisely because of the snow, that I want to make a stroll.'
c. Pas na de vakantie heb ik weer tijd.
  only after the vacation  have  again  time
  'I only have time after the holiday.'

Section 3.1 discusses modification of spatial adpositional phrases and will show that the hypothesis that spatial adpositions denote a set of vectors is very helpful in describing the modification possibilities. Section 3.2 will show that the description of the modification possibilities of the spatial adpositional phrases can be straightforwardly extended to the temporal ones. Section 3.3 concludes by discussing the rare cases of non-spatial/temporal adpositional phrases that may undergo modification.

  • Barbiers, Sjef1995The syntax of interpretationThe Hague, Holland Academic GraphicsUniversity of Leiden/HILThesis
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