Semi-insubordinate dat-constructions in Dutch | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online
Volume 22, Issue 3
  • ISSN: 1384-5845
  • E-ISSN: 2352-1171



This paper discusses one subtype of semi-insubordination in Dutch, viz. adverbial and adjectival semi-insubordinate -constructions (e.g. ‘Maybe/nice that he comes’). These constructions display an unusual syntactic status in that they consist of a (formally) subordinate -clause which is preceded by just one adverb or adjective, instead of a full matrix clause. In this study, I will outline the semantic, structural and functional properties of semi-insubordinate -constructions by reviewing previous accounts of this phenomenon against empirical corpus data. The data show that there are basically two types of initial elements in semi-insubordinate -constructions: evaluative and discursive ones. Both subtypes challenge traditional syntactic analyses in that they extend beyond the sentence level: they represent syntactically independent units, but pragmatically they are highly dependent on prior discourse. It will therefore be argued that it is essential to include aspects of discourse organization in the analysis of semi-insubordinate -constructions.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): corpus investigation; discourse; Dutch; semi-insubordination; syntax
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