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1.3.3.Relational adjectives

This section discusses various types of relational adjectives. As we have noted in Section 1.3.1, relational adjectives differ from set-denoting adjectives in that they do not denote a property of the noun they modify, but express a relation between two entities; cf. also Heynderickx (1992). Compare the two typical examples in (119a&b), which can be paraphrased as shown in the primed examples.

a. vaderlandse geschiedenis
  national  history
a'. geschiedenis over het vaderland
  history  of  the native country
b. normatief taalgebruik
  normative  usage
b'. taalgebruik volgens de norm
  usage  according.to  the norm

Section 1.3.1 has shown that the relational adjectives (i) cannot be used predicatively, (ii) are not gradable, that is, have no comparative/superlative form and cannot be modified by means of an intensifier, and (iii) cannot be prefixed by means of the negative affix on-. However, these adjectives occasionally have a tendency to shift their meaning in the direction of the set-denoting adjectives. As a consequence, the distinction between qualifying and relational adjectives is not always easy to make. Whenever this is the case, we will point this out in the more comprehensive discussion in the following subsections.

[+]  I.  A morphological classification

As will be clear from the examples in (119), the relation expressed by the relational adjectives involves the entity denoted by the modified noun and an entity denoted by the adjective itself. In view of this, it is not surprising that relational adjectives are generally denominal. Some systematic morphological classes of denominal relational adjectives are given in the first four rows of Table 9. Some less systematic cases are given in the final row. The abbreviations g and n in the column labeled affix indicate whether we are dealing with an affix of a Germanic or non-Germanic origin; cf. De Haas and Trommelen (1993) for discussion.

Table 9: Morphological classification of the relational adjectives
type adjective type stem affix example translation
geographical (see sub II) person noun -s g Turks Turkish
    -isch n Aziatisch Asiatic
    -er g Groninger from Groningen
movement or trend (see sub III) person noun -s g chomskiaans Chomskyan
    -isch n kapitalistisch capitalistic
    -er g dominicaner Dominican
time or frequency (see sub IV) time noun -(e)lijk g nachtelijk nocturnal
    -s g zaterdags Saturday-s
    -(e)lijks g wekelijks weekly
substance (see sub V) substance noun -en g houten
other cases (see sub VI) native noun -ig g taalkundig linguistic
    -(e)lijk g vrouwelijk feminine
  non-native noun -isch n morfologisch morphological
n fiscaal
    -air n primair primary
    -ief n administratief administrative
    -iek n diplomatiek diplomatic
    -iel n tactiel tactile

Note that most affixes in the final row can also be used to derive set-denoting adjectives; some examples are misdad -ig'criminal', vriend -elijk'friendly', symbol -isch'symbolic', paradox -aal'paradoxical', and element -air'elementary'.

[+]  II.  Geographical and place adjectives: Turks'Turkish'

The geographical adjectives are generally derived from nouns by means of affixation. In De Haas and Trommelen (1993), three typical cases are distinguished, which we will discuss in the following subsections. We will not discuss the exceptions to the general rules, but simply refer the reader to the comprehensive list of person nouns and geographical adjectives in Haeseryn et al. (1997:748-782) for details.

[+]  A.  Type Turks'Turkish'

Table 10 shows that adjectives of the type Turks are derived from geographical person nouns, which in their turn can be derived from geographical names. The geographical adjective is derived by means of suffixation of the person noun with -s, unless the latter already has an -s ending; cf. the examples in rows (i) and (ii). If the person noun is derived from the geographical name by means of the nominal suffix -er (or more incidentally -ing, -(e)ling, -(e)naar), the corresponding geographical adjective is derived by means of truncation, that is, the person affix is replaced by the adjectival suffix -s; cf. row (iii). Adjectives like buitenlands'foreign', binnenlands'domestic' and vaderlands'national' probably also belong to this class.

a. buitenland 'foreign country'
a'. buitenlander
a''. buitenlands
b. binnenland 'home land'
b'. binnenlander
b''. binnenlands
c. vaderland 'native country'
b'. vaderlander
c''. vaderlands

If the person noun is not morphologically derived from the geographical name, the adjective can still be derived from the person noun by means of the suffix -s; cf. row (iv).

Table 10: Geographical adjectives ending in -s derived from person nouns
  geographical name translation person noun adjective
(i) Amerika America Amerikaan Amerikaans
  Palestina Palestine Palestijn Palestijns
(ii) China China Chinees Chinees
  Libanon Lebanon Libanees Libanees
(iii) Nederland the Netherlands Nederlander Nederlands
  Gent Gent Gentenaar Gents
  Vlaanderen Flanders Vlaming Vlaams
(iv) Zweden Sweden Zweed Zweeds
  Zwitserland Switzerland Zwitser Zwitsers
  Wallonië Wallonia Waal Waals

[+]  B.  Type Aziatisch'Asiatic'

Table 11 shows that geographical adjectives ending in -isch are all derived from person nouns, which in their turn are normally derived from geographical names.Row (i) of this table shows that, if the geographical name ends in -ië and the person noun is derived by means of the Germanic person suffix -er, the resulting complex -iër is replaced by -isch. Otherwise, the affix -isch is simply added to the person affix, as shown in rows (ii) and (iii). Occasionally, the -isch ending is also possible if the person noun is not morphologically derived from a geographical name, as shown in row (iv).

Table 11: Geographical adjectives ending in -isch derived from person nouns
  geographical name translation person noun adjective
(i) Australië Australia Australiër Australisch
  Ethiopië Ethiopia Ethiopiër Ethiopisch
(ii) Azië Asia Aziaat Aziatisch
(iii) Moskou Moscow Moskoviet Moskovitisch
  Monaco Monaco Monegask Monegaskisch
(iv) Rusland Russia Rus Russisch
  Koerdistan Koerdistan Koerd Koerdisch

[+]  C.  Type Urker'from Urk'

When we are dealing with a Dutch geographical name, the geographical adjective can occasionally be formed by means of the affix -er. These adjectives are generally used in fixed collocations; two examples of such collocations are given in (121b&c). The geographical adjectives with -er are special in that they never allow the attributive -e inflection; cf. Section 5.1.2, sub II.

a. het Urker Mannenkoor
  'the male voice choir from Urk'
b. Edammer kaas
  'cheese from Edam'
c. Groninger koek
  'gingerbread from Groningen'
[+]  D.  Other cases

Occasionally, place adjectives occur that do not have a clear nominal stem, are not semantically transparent, or do not fall into the classes A to C. Often, these involve elements that are mostly used as adverbs of place. Examples are given in (122).

a. buitengaats 'offshore'
b. ginds 'yonder'
c. plaatselijk 'local'

Further, there are adjectives that seem to have been derived from a preposition or a particle by means of the affix -ste, which is also used to derive superlatives. Some examples are given in (123). Like superlatives, which are derived by means of the suffix -ste, these adjectives do not readily appear in indefinite noun phrases: de/??een onderste plank'the/a bottom shelf'.

a. onderste 'bottom/undermost'
b. bovenste 'top/upmost'
c. middelste 'middle'
d. buitenste 'outermost'

It should be noted, however, that it is not clear whether the adjective middelste is indeed derived from a preposition, given that the corresponding preposition would be midden, not middel. Similar doubt may arise for the other cases given that their meanings are only loosely related to the meanings of the presumed input prepositions onder'under', boven'above' and buiten'outside'.

[+]  E.  The meaning contribution of the geographical adjectives

Instead of denoting a set, the geographical adjectives seem to express an underspecified kind-of relation in the sense that they can express almost any conceivable relationship between the head of the modified noun phrase and the input noun of the adjective: the noun phrases in (124a-c) refer to, respectively, the dunes situated in the Netherlands, the lifestyle that is common in the Netherlands or typical of the Dutch, and cheese made in the Netherlands. Example (124d), finally, may be construed as involving a thematic relation: this relation is preferably agentive in nature, in which case the noun phrase refers to the repression by the Dutch of, e.g., the Netherlands Indies, but, for at least some speakers, the adjective may also express the theme of the input verb of the deverbal noun, in which case the noun phrase refers to the repression of the Dutch by, e.g., the Spaniards in the sixteenth century.

Attributive use of the geographical adjectives
a. de Nederlandse duinen
  the  Dutch  dunes
b. de Nederlandse levensstijl
  the Dutch  lifestyle
c. Nederlandse kaas
  Dutch  cheese
d. de Nederlandse onderdrukking
  the  Dutch  repression

      The examples in (125) show that geographical adjectives cannot readily be used predicatively. This is due to the fact that it is not clear to what set of entities an adjective such as Turks should refer: it is not evident that there is a set of entities that can be properly characterized as being “Turkish".

Predicative use of the geographical adjectives
a. de Turkse vloot
  the  Turkish  fleet
c. Edammer kaas
   from.Edam  cheese
a'. * Deze vloot is Turks.
c'. * Deze kaas is Edammer.
b. de Aziatisch kust
  the  Asiatic  coast
d. de plaatselijke krant
   the  local  newspaper
b'. * Deze kust is Aziatisch.
d'. * Deze krant is plaatselijk.

Nevertheless, in certain contexts the meaning of the geographical adjectives tends to shift in the direction of the set-denoting adjectives. This tendency can be enforced by adding the adverb typisch'typically' to the adjective, as in (126).

a. ? Deze duinen zijn typisch Nederlands.
  these dunes  are  typically  Dutch
b. Deze levensstijl is typisch Nederlands.
  this lifestyle  is typically  Dutch
c. Deze kaas is typisch Nederlands.
  this cheese  is typically  Dutch
d. ? Deze onderdrukking is typisch Nederlands.
  this repression  is typically  Dutch

Occasionally, as in (127), the prefix on- yields a reasonably acceptable result, too, in which case an intensifier can also be added; the meaning of onnederlands is approximately “not typically Dutch". This “extended" use is especially common with the adjective types discussed in Subsections A and B, and completely excluded with the adjectives of the type discussed in Subsection C.

a. ? Deze duinen zijn (erg) onnederlands.
  these dunes  are  very  un-Dutch
b. Deze levensstijl is (erg) onnederlands.
c. Deze kaas is (erg) onnederlands.
d. ? Deze onderdrukking is (erg) onnederlands.
[+]  III.  “Movement/trend" adjectives: kapitalistisch'capitalist'

Table 12 shows that, like geographical adjectives, “movement/trend" adjectives are derived from person nouns. Three subclasses can be distinguished: suffixation with -s, with -isch and with -er. The person nouns from which the “movement/trend" adjectives are derived are often morphologically complex themselves.

Table 12: Movement/trend adjectives derived from person nouns
  stem person noun movement/trend adjective
(i) Chomsky chomskiaan chomskiaans
  Popper popperiaan popperiaans
  Freud freudiaan freudiaans
(ii) kapitaal
  commune communist communistisch
  Marx marxist marxistisch
(iii) Dominicus dominicaan dominicaner
  Franciscus franciscaan franciscaner

Occasionally, it is not clear (at least not from a synchronic point of view) what the stem of the person noun is; cf. (128a). In other cases, the person noun seems to be lacking or the adjective seems to be derived from the stem directly; cf. (128b'). Seemingly simple adjectives of this type occur as well; cf. (128c).

Irregular cases
  stem person noun adjective translation
a. (protest) protestant protestants protestant
a' fascist fascistisch fascist
b. Elizabeth ?elizabethaan elizabethaans Elizabethan
b'. Siegenbeek ??siegenbekiaan siegenbeeks
c. katholiek katholiek catholic
c'. (Rome) rooms roman catholic

      The “movement/trend" adjectives are used to express relations of several kinds, and a proper interpretation often requires substantial knowledge of the world. Some examples are given in (129).

Attributive use of “movement/trend" adjectives
a. een elizabethaans toneelstuk
  an  Elizabethan  drama
  'a drama from the Elizabethan era'
b. de popperiaanse aanpak
  the  Popperian  method
  'the method described by Popper'
c. een dominicaner monnik
  Dominican  friar
  'a friar of the Dominican order'

      Although “movement/trend" adjectives cannot readily be used predicatively, they may shift their meaning towards the set-denoting adjectives, especially if they are used to refer to a certain cultural or scientific period or movement, as in (130a&b). In these cases, modification by an intensifier such as zeer'very' or on- prefixation is allowed, too.

Predicative use of “movement/trend" adjectives
a. Dit toneelstuk is (zeer) (on-)elizabethaans.
  this drama  is very  (un-)Elizabethan
b. ? Dit denkbeeld is (typisch) communistisch.
  this concept  is  typically  communist

This predicative use of “movement/trend" adjectives is blocked, however, if the lexicon contains a set-denoting adjective that is derived from the same nominal stem, as in the case of dominicaner. This is shown in (131).

a. * Deze opvatting is typisch dominicaner.
  this concept  is typically  Dominican
b. Deze opvatting is typisch dominicaans.
  this concept  is typically  Dominican
[+]  IV.  Time/frequency adjectives: maandelijks'monthly'

This subsection discusses the class of adjectives that express a temporal notion. These adjectives can be derived from nouns in various ways, as exemplified in (132a-c). Next to these main types there are several other time adjectives: some of these, like regelmatig'regular' in (132d), are also derived from a nominal base, whereas others, like voormalig'former' in (132e), are simply basic forms.

Attributive use of time adjectives
a. het nachtelijk bezoek 'the nocturnal visit'
Type : -(e)lijk
b. de zaterdagse bijlage 'the Saturday supplement'
Type : -s
c. zijn maandelijkse column 'his monthly column'
Type : -(e)lijks
d. de (on)regelmatige klachten 'the (ir)regular complaints'
e. de voormalige president 'the former president'
[+]  A.  Type nachtelijk 'nocturnal'

The first type is derived by means of the suffix -(e)lijk from nouns denoting certain parts of the day, like ochtend'morning', nacht'night', and middag'afternoon'. These adjectives are especially used as modifiers of nouns that denote “events" that occur at the time denoted by the input noun of the derived adjective. The examples in (133) are all taken from the internet, but it should be noted that the frequency with which they occur varies tremendously: whereas nachtelijk is very frequent (over 100,000 hits), avondlijk is clearly less common (4,000 hits), and middaglijk is simply rare (just a few hits). Note that these adjectives all frequently occur as a modifier of the noun uur, e.g. middaglijk uur'some time during the afternoon'.

a. nachtelijk debat 'debate during the night'
b. avondlijk vertier 'pleasure during the evening'
c. middaglijk pintje 'a glass of beer drunk in the afternoon'
[+]  B.  Type zaterdags'on Saturdays'

The examples in (134a) show that time adjectives can readily be derived from the names of days by means of the suffix -s: maandags. This is harder if the input noun is the name of a month of the year, although the adjective maarts derived from maart'March' is fairly common in fixed collocations like maartse buien'spring rains' or names such as maarts viooltje'Sweet Violet'. Other forms are much rarer but do occur in, e.g., weather reports: some examples taken from the internet are given in (134b). The derivational process seems to be phonologically restricted in the sense that the input noun must end in a consonant; we did not find any adjectives derived from januari'January', februari'February', mei'May', juni'June', and juli'July'. Furthermore, we did not find any form derived from augustus'August', which might be related to the fact that this form already ends in /s/. Time adjectives can also be derived from the names of the seasons of the year: the adjectives zomers'summery' and winters'wintery' are very common; the adjective herfsts (lit.: fall-s) does occur, but seems to give rise to a more marked result; the adjective * lentes (lit.: spring-s) is not attested, which seems to fit in with our earlier observation that names of the month of the year must end in a consonant in order to enter the derivational process.

a. Days of the week: maandags'on Monday', dinsdags, woensdags, donderdags, vrijdags, zaterdags, zondags
b. Months of the year: maartse buien'spring rains'; aprilse grillen'changeabilities', septemberse nazomerdag'an Indian summer day in September', oktoberse temperaturen'temperatures that are typical for October', novemberse storm'storm in November'Months of the year: maartse buien'spring rains'; aprilse grillen'changeabilities', septemberse nazomerdag'an Indian summer day in September', oktoberse temperaturen'temperatures that are typical for October', novemberse storm'storm in November'
c. Seasons; zomers weer'summery weather', herfstse kleuren'the color of autumn leaves', winterse kou'wintery cold'

More complex combinations also occur; common examples are cases like zeventiende-eeuws'from the seventeenth century' (lit.: seventeenth-century-s) and driedaags'three-day'.

a. een zeventiende-eeuws schilderij
  'a painting from the seventeenth century'
b. een driedaags bezoek
  'a visit that lasts three days'
[+]  C.  Type maandelijks'monthly'

The third type of time adjective is also derived by means of the suffix -(e)lijks. This group is derived from nouns like dag'day', week'week', maand'month', and jaar'year', and is used to indicate some notion of frequency.

a. ons dagelijks brood 'our daily bread'
b. het wekelijks uitje 'the weekly outing'
c. het maandelijkse tijdschrift 'the monthly journal'
d. het jaarlijks bal 'the yearly ball'

More complex combinations like driemaandelijks'three-monthly' are also possible. Again, these formations indicate some notion of frequency; in this respect the formations tweejaarlijks'biennial' and halfjaarlijks'half yearly' in (137b&c) differ from their counterparts ending in -ig in een tweejarig/halfjarig verblijf in het buitenland'a two years'/six months’ stay abroad’, which denote a certain span of time.

a. een driemaandelijks tijdschrift
  'a journal that appears once in every three months'
b. een tweejaarlijkse bijeenkomst
  'a meeting that is held once in every two years'
c. een halfjaarlijkse bijeenkomst
  'a meeting that is held once in every six months'
[+]  D.  Other cases

Occasionally, time adjectives occur that have no clear nominal stem, are not semantically transparent, or do not fall into the classes discussed in the previous subsections. Generally, these involve elements that are mostly used as adverbial phrases of time, such as tijdelijk'temporary(-ily)', ( on) regelmatig'(ir)regular(ly)', and onmiddellijk'immediate(ly)'. Not surprisingly, therefore, the primeless examples can often be paraphrased by means of a clause in which the adjective is used adverbially. The (b)-examples in (138) show that if the adjective can be prefixed with on- on its adverbial use, this is also possible on its attributive use.

a. een tijdelijke maatregel
  temporary  measure
a'. een maatregel die tijdelijk van kracht is
  a measure  that  temporarily  in force  is
b. (on)regelmatige gezondheidsklachten
  (ir)regular  health problems
b'. gezondheidsklachten die regelmatig optreden
  health problems  that  regularly  prt.-occur
c. een onmiddellijke terugtrekking
  the  immediate  retreat
c'. een terugtrekking die onmiddellijk plaatsvindt
  a retreat  that  immediately  takes.place

Furthermore, there are some isolated cases like huidig'present(-day)' and voormalig'former', which cannot be used adverbially; see Section 1.3.5 for further discussion.

de huidige/voormalige president
  the  present/former  president
[+]  E.  Predicative and adverbial uses of time/frequency adjectives

The examples in (140) show that time and frequency adjectives generally cannot be used as predicates, which is clearly related to the fact that there is no set of entities that can be characterized as being, e.g., “monthly" or “former". Similarly, comparative and superlative formation, modification by an intensifier and on- prefixation are excluded (with the exception of regelmatig'regular' in (138b), which allows on- prefixation and comparative formation on its adverbial use, too).

Predicative use of time adjectives
a. *? Zijn column is/lijkt maandelijks.
  his column  is/seems  monthly
b. * De bijlage is/lijkt zaterdags.
  the supplement  is/seems  Saturdays
c. * De terugtrekking is/lijkt dadelijk.
  the retreat  is/seems  immediate
d. ?? Deze klachten zijn/schijnen (on)regelmatig.
  these complaints  are/seems  (ir)regular
e. * Deze president is/lijkt voormalig.
  this president  is/seems  former

Occasionally, however, the time adjectives do occur in predicative position, which shows that they tend to shift their meaning towards the set-denoting adjectives. As is shown in (141), whether predicative use of the adjective is possible often depends on the nature of the subject of the clause.

a. een zomerse bui
  summery  shower
c. de voorlopige/tijdelijke voorzitter
   the  provisional/temporary  chairman
a'. * De bui is zomers.
c'. * De voorzitter is voorlopig/tijdelijk.
b. zomers weer
  summery weather
d. een voorlopige/tijdelijke oplossing
   a  provisional/temporary  solution
b'. Dit weer is erg zomers.
  this weather  is very summery
d'. Deze oplossing is voorlopig/tijdelijk.
   this solution  is provisional/temporary

If predicative use of the adjective is possible, the time adjective can often also be modified by means of an intensifier, as shown by (142a). If the adjective refers to a certain historical or cultural period, the predicative use of the time adjective is always fully acceptable; cf. (142b).

a. Een dergelijke opvatting is/lijkt (typisch) middeleeuws.
  such an opinion  is/seems   typically  medieval
b. Dit schilderij is/lijkt zeventiende-eeuws.
  this painting  is/seems  seventeenth-century

      The examples in (138) have already shown that many time adjectives can also be used adverbially. This seems especially common with those adjectives that express frequency: the examples in (143) show that the adjectives dagelijks and maandelijks have meanings comparable to those of the adverbially used noun phrases elke dag'every day' and elke maand'every month'.

a. We gaan dagelijks/elke dag naar de bioscoop.
  we go  daily/every day  to the cinema
b. Dit tijdschrift verschijnt maandelijks/elke maand.
  this journal  appears  monthly/every month

For completeness’ sake, note that copular constructions such as (140a) should not be confused with expletive constructions such as (144), in which the time adjective is used adverbially. A clear difference between the two constructions is that the time adjective is optional in (144) but not in (140a).