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8.3.Modification of adjectival phrases

With the exception of adjectival intensifiers used to modify (pseudo-)participles and deverbal adjectives like those given in (72), which are more extensively discussed in Section 9.5, there are very few adjectival downtoners; cf. Section 3.1.2, sub II.

Example 72
a. Jan is zwaar/licht gehandicapt.
  Jan is severely/lightly  handicapped
b. Jan is zwaar/licht behaard.
  Jan is severely/lightly  hairy

This section will therefore be mainly concerned with adjectives like waanzinnig and ernstig in (73), which function as amplifiers. Section 3.1.2, sub I, has shown that adjectival amplifiers fall into two separate classes. First, adjectival amplifiers of the type waanzinnig in (73a) just have an amplifying effect; the original meaning of the adjective “insane" has disappeared: (73a) simply expresses that the book is very good. Adjectival amplifiers of the type ernstig in (73b), on the other hand, have more or less retained their original meaning “serious": (73b) expresses not only that Jan is very ill, but also that the illness is serious. In other words, an adjectival adverb can occasionally act as a second order predicate, denoting a property that is predicated not of entities but of the properties of entities (such as those denoted by set-denoting adjectives).

Example 73
a. Dit boek is waanzinnig goed.
  this book  is insanely  good
  'This book is extremely good.'
b. Jan is ernstig ziek.
  Jan is seriously  ill

In view of the preceding, it is not surprising that we also encounter adjectival adverbs like lekker'appetizingly', aandoenlijk'movingly' and mooi'beautifully' in (74), whose primary semantic contributions are not intensification but second order predication. See Section 6.7 for a discussion of predicatively used adjectives that seem to have a similar second order property.

Example 74
a. Dit gerecht is lekker zout/zoet.
  this dish  is appetizingly  salty/sweet
  'The saltiness/sweetness of the meal is appetizing.'
b. Het lam was nog aandoenlijk klein.
  the lamb  was still  movingly  small
  'The size of the lamb is moving.'
c. Deze bloem is mooi geel.
  this flower  is beautifully  yellow
  'The yellow color of the flower is beautiful.'

Finally, it can be observed that evaluative adjectives like verdomd'damned', deksels'confounded', verrekt'damned' can be used adverbially. In this use, these adjectives generally have an amplifying effect. See Section 3.1.2, sub IB, for more extensive discussion.

Example 75
a. Dit gerecht is verdomd lekker.
  this dish  is damned  nice
b. Dit boek is deksels goed.
  this book  is extremely  good
d. Deze oefening is verrekt moeilijk.
  this exercise  is damned  difficult