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5 Predication

Predication may involve a Verb Phrase (VP) that is predicated of an argument. The relation between the predicate, the VP, and the argument may be modified by an auxiliary verb like a copula, which provides an outer structure for the predicate and the argument. An example of a predication is provided below, in which the defining elements of a predication have been identified:

[Ju Ku](argument) [blift](auxiliary) [stounden](predicate).
the cow keeps standing
The cow keeps on standing.

In generative grammar, predication is often formally described in terms of raising from the subject position of the predicate to the subject position of the auxiliary. There are three types of predicative constructions. In a complementive construction, the presence of the predicate is required (selected) by the verb. Auxiliaries may be involved in a relation of intransitive predication between a predicate and an argument. This argument functions as the subject in simple clauses. The set of auxiliaries involved includes: weze ‘to be’, gunge ‘to go’, blieuwe ‘to stay’, kume ‘to come’ and the auxiliaries of body posture such as sitte ‘to sit’. Modals such as moute ‘must’ and konne ‘can’ can likewise mediate in a predication relation between an argument and a predicate. It is investigated here if and to what extent these auxiliaries combine with ordinary infinitives, gerundial infinitives, to-infinitives and infinitival clauses.

Auxiliaries of body posture may also have an aspectual interpretation. In that case, they are more appropriately referred to as copulas of quasi body posture. This is the case if they combine with to-infinitives. Their locative, body posture, interpretation may be downplayed, and they acquire an aspectual interpretation. Two examples are given below:

Do Tuwwelke stounde ap ’t Fjuur.
the potatoes stand on the fire
The potatoes are on the fire.
Dät jie mie deer ätters nit aal herume stounde tou jankjen.
that you me R.it later not all around stand to long
That you all later don’t stand around it longing for it.

In the first example above, the auxiliary of body posture is an auxiliary relating an object to a location. The vertical dimension is due to the pan containing the potatoes. In the second example, the auxiliary refers both to the standing position of the children, but it also has an overtone of progressive aspect (on ongoing activity). A transitive predication consists of a transitive auxiliary such as häbe ‘have’ or kriege ‘get’, selecting a predicate, of which the subject is realised in the direct object position of the transitive auxiliary. The embedded predication consists of a direct object and a predicate. Two examples are given below:

Hie hät Ielt in de Hounde.
he has callus in the hands
He has callus in his hands.
Ju hät dut Wieuwmoanske nit fuul in Rekenge.
she has this woman not much in account
She holds this woman in low esteem.

The examples above involve a complementive predication, that is, the predicate is a complement to the selecting auxiliary. In supplementive and appositive constructions, there is no auxiliary to join predicate and argument. The supplementive predicate is an optional addition to a nominal argument. In appositive structures, the predication is not integrated in the syntactic structure, which is usually signalled by the comma intonation.

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