• Dutch
  • Frisian
  • Afrikaans
Show full table of contents heel

We can be brief about purely adjectival heel. The semantics of adjectival heel is rather varied. Depending on the entity it modifies, it can be translated by English adjectives like whole, intact, complete, not broken, or full. Some examples are given in (177).

Example 177
a. een hele taart/appel
  whole  cake/apple
  'a cake/apple that has not been (partially) eaten or cut into slices'
b. een hele baan
  whole  job
  'a full-time job'
c. een hele radio
  whole  radio
  'a radio that isnʼt broken'

Since adjectival heel attributes a property to the noun it modifies, it can best be considered a set-denoting adjective. If this is indeed the case, we would expect that it could be used in a predicative function as well. As can be seen in (178), however, this prediction is only partially borne out. Of the three examples, only (178c) seems to be fully acceptable.

Example 178
a. ?? De taart/appel is heel.
  the cake/apple  is whole
b. * De baan is heel.
  the job  is whole
c. De radio is (weer) heel.
  the radio  is again  intact
  'The radio is intact (again).'

      Purely adjectival heel makes no quantificational contribution. There are three ways in which this can be demonstrated.

[+]  I.  Adjectival heel can be combined with pre-determiner bare heel

The first indication that adjectival heel is non-quantificational in nature comes from the fact that it combines with quantificational pre-determiner heel, as illustrated in the examples in (179).

Example 179
a. Heel deze hele taart is beschimmeld (maar die is nog goed).
  all  this  whole  cake  is moldy   but  that.one  is still fine
  'This complete cake is moldy in its entirety, but that one is still fine.'
b. Heel mijn hele baan wordt wegbezuinigd.
  all  my  whole  job  is  economized.away
  'My full-time job is being cut in its entirety.'
[+]  II.  Adjectival heel can be combined with niet helemaal

Another indication comes from example (180). The first conjunct Hij at de hele taart is ambiguous between a quantificational and an adjectival interpretation for heel, that is, between “He ate the entire cake” and “He ate (of) the cake that was complete/had no slice missing”. The second conjunct disambiguates the example, since it contradicts the first conjunct under the quantificational reading: He ate the entire cake but not entirely.

Example 180
Hij at de hele taart, maar niet helemaal.
  he  ate  the whole cake  but  not  entirely
'He ate [of] the cake that was complete, but he didnʼt finish it.'
[+]  III.  Adjectival heel alternates with the adjective half'half'

Adjectival heel alternates with half'half', which can also receive a purely adjectival interpretation and which, like adjectival heel in (179), can be combined with pre-determiner bare heel into a single noun phrase.

Example 181
a. Heel deze halve taart is beschimmeld.
  all  this half cake  is moldy
  'This complete half cake is moldy in its entirety.'
b. Heel mijn halve baan wordt wegbezuinigd.
  all  my half job  is  economized.away
  'My half-time job is being cut in its entirety.'

For completeness’ sake, note that predicative use of half results in a severely degraded result, just like the predicative use of heel in (178a&b).

Example 182
a. * De cake is half.
  the cake  is half
b. * Mijn baan is half.
  the cake  is half

      Example (183) shows that adjectival heel/half can be immediately preceded by post-determiner quantificational heel/half: although they need highly specialized contexts to be usable, these examples seem perfectly grammatical. This option unambiguously shows that a distinction should be made between adjectival and quantificational instantiations of inflectible heel (and half). Note that quantificational heel/half is always the first in sequence, the second being the purely adjectival form, which is, of course, in full conformity with the fact that post-determiner quantifiers precede attributive adjectives in Dutch.

Example 183
a. Hij at de hele/halve hele taart.
  he  ate  the  whole/half  whole  cake
  'He ate all/half of the cake that was complete.'
b. Hij at de hele/halve halve taart.
  he  ate  the  whole/half  half  cake
  'He ate all/half of the cake that was half.'