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3.3.4.A special case: clauses referring to a proposition

Clauses referring to a proposition serve to specify the contents of a head noun. The propositional clause is obligatorily introduced by a complementizer and does not contain a gap. Propositional clauses can be restrictive and non-restrictive. When they are restrictive, propositional clauses function as complements of the head noun and are as such treated in Section 2.3. This section will therefore only address non-restrictive propositional clauses like (548).

a. Zijn opmerking, [dat verder gaan zinloos was], veroorzaakte verwarring.
  his remark   that further go useless was  caused  confusion
  'His remark, that it was useless to go on, caused confusion.'
b. De conclusie, [dat de ramp onvermijdelijk was], leek voorbarig.
  this conclusion   that the disaster inescapable was  seemed  premature
  'The conclusion, that the disaster was inescapable, seemed premature.'
c. Het bericht, [dat Jan ernstig ziek was], schokte ons zeer.
  the message   that Jan seriously ill was  shocked  us  very
  'The message, that Jan was ill, shocked us very much.'
d. Deze mededeling, [dat de reis was afgezegd], kwam onverwacht.
  this announcement   that the trip was cancelled  came  unexpectedly
e. Naar onze mening, [dat het plan te riskant is], werd niet geluisterd.
  to out opinion   that  the plan too risky  is  was  not  listened
  'Our opinion, that the plan is too risky, was not taken into account.'

As in the case of propositional complement clauses, non-restrictive propositional clauses only follow a noun denoting a proposition. As can be seen from the examples in (548), the antecedent of non-restrictive clauses is typically definite. This is as expected given that the use of a non-restrictive modifier suggests that the message, announcement, etc. conveying the proposition can be regarded as known to the addressee or, at least, identifiable from the context. It is, however, also possible for the head to be indefinite. This occurs especially if there is uncertainty as to the correctness of the specified contents. In the constructions in (549), this uncertainty is expressed by the (obligatory) use of modal zouden'would' and the use of the conjunction als instead of dat.

a. Een nog onbevestigd bericht, [als zouden de rebellen de hoofdstad hebben ingenomen], heeft ons vannacht bereikt.
  a yet unconfirmed message  comp should the rebels the capital have  prt.-taken  has  us  tonight  reached
  'An as yet unconfirmed message, to the effect that the rebels have taken the capital, has reached us tonight.'
b. Het gerucht, [als zou er informatie achtergehouden zijn], bleek later op waarheid berusten.
  the rumors  comp  would  there  information  withheld  be  proved  later  on truth  to based
  'The rumor, to the effect that information had been withheld, proved true later.'
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