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1.4.Borderline cases

This section is concerned with certain elements that resemble adpositions, but also differ from them in several ways. We just report the differences here.

[+]  I.  Als/dan'as/than'

Just like adpositions, als and dan may take a noun phrase as their complement. They differ from adpositions since, in at least some cases, they do not assign case; in a sense they are “case-transparent”. This is clearest in comparison constructions. The noun phrase complement of als/dan in (395) has the same case as the noun phrase in the main clause to which it is compared: if it is compared to the subject of the clause, as in (395a), it is assigned nominative case; if it is compared to the object of the clause, as in (395b), it is assigned accusative case.

a. Marie is even intelligent als hij/%hem.
  Marie is as intelligent  as he/him
a'. Marie is intelligenter dan hij/%hem.
  Marie is more intelligent  than he/him
b. Ik vind Marie even intelligent als hem/*hij.
  I consider  Marie as intelligent  as him/he
b'. Ik vind Marie intelligenter dan hem/*hij.
  I consider  Marie more intelligent  than him/he

The percentage sign in the (a)-examples indicate that non-nominative pronouns are frequently found in speech, but generally considered substandard. The fact that such examples are common indicates that for many speakers of Dutch the element als may also act as a regular preposition.
       Als can also be used in other constructions. In (396a) and (396b), for example, it is used as, respectively, a complementive and a supplementive. In these cases, we cannot check whether these elements assign case since the nominal complements cannot be replaced by a pronoun. That we are not dealing with adpositions, however, is suggested by the fact that the nominal complement in (396a) can be replaced by an adjective, which is certainly not common in adpositional phrases.

a. Ik beschouw hem als held/intelligent.
  I consider  him  as hero/intelligent
b. Als student woonde hij in Amsterdam.
  as student  lived  he in Amsterdam
[+]  II.  Behalve/uitgezonderd'except'

Like als and dan discussed in Subsection I, behalve is “case-transparent”: if the phrase headed by behalve excludes entities from the set denoted by the subject of the clause, its complement is assigned nominative case; if it excludes entities from the set denoted by the object, its complement is assigned accusative.

a. Alle studenten zijn aanwezig behalve hij/*hem.
  all students  are present  except he/him
b. Ik heb alle studenten gezien behalve hem/*hij.
  have  all students  seen  except him/he

The same thing holds for he somewhat formal form uitgezonderd; just as in (397a), the pronoun in (398a) is assigned nominative case. Note that the more colloquial phrasal adposition met uitzondering van in the primed examples does assign objective case.

a. Alle studenten zijn aanwezig uitgezonderd hij/*hem.
  all students  are present  except  he/him
a'. Alle studenten zijn aanwezig met uitzondering van hem/*hij.
  all students  are present  with the exception of  him/he
b. Ik heb alle studenten gezien uitgezonderd hem/*hij.
  have  all students  seen  except  him/he
b'. Ik heb alle studenten gezien met uitzondering van hem/*hij.
  have  all students  seen  with the exception him/he
[+]  III.  Van die + NP

The phrase van die + NP can be used in regular nominal positions; it is used as a direct object in (399a) and as a subject in (399b). In the latter case, the verb agrees with the noun in number, which clearly shows that van is a spurious preposition in these examples. Note that the expletive er is used in (399b), which shows that the phrase van die + NP functions as an indefinite noun phrase.

a. Ze verkopen hier van die lekkere broodjes.
  they  sell  here  van those nice buns
  'They sell these nice buns here.'
b. Er wordenpl hier van die lekkere broodjespl verkocht.
  there  are  here  van those nice buns  sold
  'These nice buns are sold here.'

Generally, the noun phrase is plural in this construction. The only exception is the case in which the noun phrase is headed by a substance noun. The examples in (400) show that the determiner die/dat'that' agrees in gender with the mass noun then, just as in the case of regular demonstratives.

a. Ze hebben daar van die lekkere limonade[-neuter].
  they  have  there  van that tasty lemonade
  'Theyʼve that tasty lemonade there.'
b. Ze hebben daar van dat lekkere bier[+neuter].
  they  have  there  van that tasty beer
  'Theyʼve that tasty beer there.'
[+]  IV.  Wat voor + NP'what kind of NP'

As in the case of the van die + NP construction, number agreement on the verb is triggered by the nominal complement of wat voor. Again, this suggests that voor does not act as a regular adposition; see Section N4.2.2 for a more extensive discussion of this construction.

a. Wat voor boeksg issg dat?
  what voor book  is  that
  'What kind of book is that?'
b. Wat voor boekenpl zijnpl dat?
  what voor books  are  that
  'What kind of books are that?'
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