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7.2.4.Distribution of heel and its alternants as independent constituents

This section discusses the syntactic distribution of the various forms of heel examined in Section 7.2.2 as independent syntactic constituents (arguments, predicates and adjuncts), as well as their use as so-called floating quantifiers.

[+]  I.  Distribution as arguments

This subsection briefly discusses the use of pre-determiner bare heel, post-determiner inflectible heel and geheel as independent arguments. The conclusion we may draw from the discussion in the following subsections is that the possibilities for independent uses of these elements are quite limited.

[+]  A.  Bare heel

The bare form heel does not readily occur in argument position. Examples of the type in (288a), where een heel is a noun phrase denoting a whole loaf of bread, do occur, but it is doubtful that heel functions as an argument here; een heel is optionally accompanied by wit/volkoren, which can function as nouns themselves, so that when een heel occurs on its own, one may assume there to be a null noun present in the structure. Note that the bare form half occurs in the same syntactic context; it can also be affixed with the diminutive suffix -je here (which would be awkward for heel: *een heeltje (wit)).

a. Ik wil graag een heel (wit/volkoren).
  want  please  a whole white/whole-wheat
  'I would like to have one loaf of (white/whole-wheat) bread, please.'
b. Ik wil graag een half/halfje (wit/volkoren).
  want  please  a half/halfdim white/whole-wheat
  'I would like to have half a loaf of white/whole-wheat bread, please.'
[+]  B.  Inflected hele

The schwa-inflected form hele sporadically shows up in argument positions, as in (289), but for such cases, it can again plausibly be argued that there is a null noun in the noun phrase containing hele.

a. Dit is een hele, en dat is een halve.
  this  is a whole  and  that  is a half
b. Hij speelde de bal over de hele.
  he  played  the ball  over the whole
  'He played a passing shot which crossed the full width of the soccer field.'
[+]  C.  Geheel

The variant of heel prefixed with ge- also shows up independently in noun phrases, in which case it arguably functions as the head of the noun phrase. Examples are given in (290). That geheel is a noun is especially clear from (290a), taken from the internet, where it is contrasted with the noun delen'parts'.

Wat is de relatie tussen het geheel/*heel en zijn delen?
  what  is the relation  between  the whole/whole  and  its parts
'the whole and its parts'

In clause-adverbs like in zʼn geheel in (291a), geheel only shows up in possessed noun phrases; zʼn'its' does not alternate with het. By contrast, if the PP in question functions as an adverbial intensifier of negation, as in (291b&c), it is only het that is possible. The distribution of zʼn and het seems to correlate with the fact that in zʼn geheel always has an antecedent in the clause (the noun phrases het huis in (291a)), while in het geheel does not.

a. Ik heb het huis in zʼn geheel een opknapbeurt gegeven.
  have  the house  in its whole  a cleaning  given
  'I gave the house in its entirety a cleaning.'
b. Dat heb ik [in het geheel niet] gezegd.
  that  have   in the whole not  said
  'I didnʼt say that at all/I didnʼt say any such thing.'
c. Ik heb [in het geheel geen] vertrouwen in hem.
  have   in the whole no  trust  in him
  'I donʼt trust him at all.'
[+]  II.  Distribution as predicates

As already pointed out in the discussion of the semantics of heel, purely adjectival heel occurs as a predicate; in example (292a) heel functions as the predicate of a copular construction, and in (292b) as a supplementive. In contexts like these, heel does not alternate with hele or geheel.

a. Die vaas is gebroken, maar deze is nog heel.
  that vase  is broken  but  this.one  is still  whole
  'That vase is broken but this one is still unscathed.'
b. De archeoloog had de vaas graag heel gevonden.
  the archeologist  would.have  the vase  prt  whole  found
  'The archeologist would have liked to have found the vase in an unbroken state.'
[+]  III.  Distribution as adjuncts and floating quantifiers

One respect in which heel and hele differ robustly from geheel is the fact that heel/hele cannot be construed as a floating quantifier at all. That is, sentences of the type in (293a) are entirely impossible. The grammaticality of (293b), on the other hand, may seem to suggest that geheel can be a floating quantifier, but claims to this effect are immediately refuted by the fact that geheel (in contradistinction to heel/hele) cannot be construed with noun phrases; cf. *geheel dat boek'whole that book'. Rather than functioning as a floating quantifier, geheel in (293b) is an adjunct, replaceable with the PP in zʼn geheel (discussed at the end of Subsection I) or the adverb helemaal. From (293b) we conclude, then, that geheel can occur on its own as an adjunct, and differs in this regard from heel and hele.

a. * Ik heb dat boek gisteren heel/hele gelezen.
  have  that book  yesterday  all/whole  read
b. Ik heb dat boek gisteren geheel gelezen.
  have  that book  yesterday  whole  read
b'. Ik heb dat boek gisteren in zʼn geheel/helemaal gelezen.
  have  that book  yesterday  in its whole/altogether  read

The form geheel and the adverb helemaal also show up in a number of other adverbial contexts of a highly idiomatic character. Some examples are given in (294). It is difficult to tell whether geheel/helemaal in (294) are constituents of the noun phrases/PPs with which they combine, or whether they are constituents of the VP or clause in which these expressions occur; the examples in (295) show that topicalizing the noun phrase/PP and pied piping geheel/helemaal is not very felicitous, although stranding geheel/helemaal under topicalization is appreciably worse.

a. Ik ben geheel/helemaal/*heel de Uwe.
  am  whole/altogether/whole  the yours
  'Iʼm entirely/all yours.'
b. Ik ben geheel/helemaal/*heel in de war.
  am  whole/altogether/whole  confused
  'Iʼm entirely completely confused.'
a. ?? Geheel/Helemaal in de war bleek hij te zijn.
  whole/altogether  the sucker  turned.out  he  to be
b. * In de war bleek hij geheel/helemaal te zijn.
  the sucker  turned.out  he  whole/altogether  to be

      To conclude this discussion of adverbially construed heel forms, we return to an observation made in the discussion of the semantics of heel in Section 7.2.1. We observed there that adnominal heel sometimes seems to quantify a constituent larger than the noun phrase that it is syntactically construed with, and contributes a semantics which is essentially the same as that of adverbial helemaal. Examples of the type in (296) illustrate this. The interpretation of helemaal in (296c) is that of a VP-level adverb; the semantic contribution of heel and hele in (296a&b) seems to be completely on a par with that of helemaal.

a. Heel de tafel zit onder de vlekken.
  all the table  sits  under the stains
  'The whole table is stained.'
b. De hele tafel zit onder de vlekken.
  the whole table  sits  under the stains
  'The whole table is stained.'
c. De tafel zit helemaal onder de vlekken.
  the table  sits  altogether  under the stains
  'The table is profusely covered with stains.'

In (297c), on the other hand, helemaal is not interpreted as a VP-level adverb but as a modifier of in de hoek'in the corner'; helemaal in de hoek can be translated as all the way in the corner. Correlated with the fact that helemaal is a PP-modifier rather than a VP-level adverb is the fact that (297c) has no counterparts with adnominal heel/hele: the examples in (297a&b) are entirely unacceptable.

a. * Heel de tafel staat in de hoek.
  all the table  stands  in the corner
b. * De hele tafel staat in de hoek.
  the whole table  stands  in the corner
c. De tafel staat helemaal in de hoek.
  the table  stands  altogether  in the corner
  'The table is standing all the way in the corner.'

That helemaal and adnominal heel/hele cannot always be used interchangeably can also be shown in the other direction by means of the examples in (298).

a. Heel de stad ontwaakte.
  all the town  woke.up
b. De hele stad ontwaakte.
  the whole town  woke.up
c. * De stad ontwaakte helemaal.
  the town  woke.up  altogether

      For completeness’ sake note that we analyzed helemaal as a VP-modifier, while allemaal has been analyzed in Section 7.1.5 as a floating quantifier (with scope over the antecedent noun phrase only). There are a number of syntactic and semantic differences between these two elements that justify this difference in analysis. First of all, allemaal can only be used with a plural antecedent, whereas helemaal can be used with both plural and singular count-nouns, as illustrated in example (299).

a. Ik heb de boeken/*het boek allemaal gelezen.
  have  the books/the book  all  read
b. Ik heb de boeken/het boek helemaal gelezen.
  have  the books/the book  completely  read

Second, helemaal readily combines with substance nouns, whereas allemaal seems to give rise to a degraded result in such constructions (although judgments differ; Haeseryn et al. (1997: 350) give (300a) with allemaal as fully acceptable).

a. De alcohol was helemaal/??allemaal verdampt.
  the alcohol  was  completely/all  evaporated
  'The alcohol had completely/all evaporated.'
b. De boter was helemaal/??allemaal gesmolten.
  the butter  was  completely/all  melted

These differences can, of course, easily be accounted for: if helemaal has scope over the entire VP, it is unlikely to impose constraints on any noun phrase within that VP, while allemaal obviously does impose constraints on its antecedent. We may therefore conclude that helemaal and allemaal differ both in scope and in meaning. This conclusion leads to the expectation that it should be possible for the two elements to occur in one and the same construction. As shown in example (301a) this expectation is indeed borne out. Note, finally, that the two quantifiers cannot appear in the order given in example (301b), which suggests that helemaal does indeed have scope over the entire VP.

a. Ik heb de boeken allemaal helemaal gelezen.
  have  the books  all  completely  read
b. * Ik heb de boeken helemaal allemaal gelezen.
  • Haeseryn, Walter, Romijn, Kirsten, Geerts, Guido, Rooij, Jaap de & Toorn, Maarten C. van den1997Algemene Nederlandse spraakkunstGroningenNijhoff
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