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The Freezing points of the (Dutch) adjectival system

From the book Freezing

  • Norbert Corver


This article examines the freezing behavior of displaced constituents that find their origin in a base position within the Extended Adjectival Projection (XAP). On the basis of data from Dutch, it is shown that both constituents in a derived XAP-internal position and constituents in a derived XAP-external position display freezing behavior. An important ingredient of my analysis of the Dutch adjectival system concerns the distinction between “regular” (i.e. structurally non-composite) adjectives (e.g. bang ‘afraid’), on the one hand, and deverbal (i.e. structurally composite) adjectives (e.g. afhankelijk), on the other hand. The former class takes its (base-generated) PP-complement to the right (i.e. A + PP). The latter class has two options: The base-generated PP-complement occurs either to the left of an XAP-internal verbal root (i.e. PP + V) or to the right of a derived deverbal adjective ([A V+elijk] + PP). It is further shown that adjectives such as afhankelijk can also behave like “regular” adjectives (like bang ‘afraid’). In that case, they are non-composite adjectives (i.e. [A afhankelijk]) that take their complement to the right (i.e. A + PP). A consequence of this mixed behavior of adjectives such as afhankelijk is that there is more than one structural base position for PP-complements. Thus, the word order variation displayed by adjectives such as afhankelijk (i.e. A + PP and PP + A) does not result from PP-displacement. PP is in its base position, and, consequently, there is no freezing effect. Subextraction from both PP-positions is possible.

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