Institut de Lingüística Aplicada

Third Mediterranean Meeting on Morphology (MMM3)


Sjef Barbiers and Marc van Oostendorp (Meertens Instituut)
Deriving speaker-oriented evaluative adverbs in Dutch: -erwijs, -weg, -genoeg

In the literature on Dutch morphology (e.g. De Haas and Trommelen 1993, Haeseryn et al. 1997), two adverbial suffixes are distinguished that we might qualify as speaker-oriented: -weg and -erwijs express the attitude of the speaker towards the content of the proposition. In this paper, we discuss the morphological and syntactic properties of these two suffixes, and show that there is a third, much more productive suffix -genoeg. As a matter of fact, we argue that -weg is a non-productive suffix and -erwijs is productive only in a rather specific domain. -genoeg, on the other hand, is a very productive suffix that can be used with virtually any adjectival basis, as long as the adjective is interpretable as evaluative. Speaker-oriented adverbs with suffix -weg, -erwijs, -genoeg have a restricted syntactic distribution: they can only occur in the left-hand part of the so-called Mittelfeld, e.g. to the left of negative elements such as nooit. Many other types of adverbs (such as dom 'stupidly') appear in the right-hand part:

  1. Hij kan redelijkerwijs nooit praten.
    It is reasonable that he cannot talk
  2. Hij kan domweg nooit praten.
    He can simply never talk
  3. Hij kan vreemd genoeg nooit praten.
    Strangely enough he can never praten
  4. Hij zal nooit dom praten.
    He will never talk stupidly

The morphosyntactic behaviour of these adverbializing suffixes so far has not been the topic of systematic investigation. In this paper we argue that genoeg in the construction in (3) (henceforth 'adverbial -genoeg'), unlike most other instances of genoeg (and in spite of the fact that it is written as a separate word according to the rules of Dutch orthography) demonstrably is a suffix alongside -erwijs en -weg.

We argue that the differences between -erwijs and -weg on the one hand and -genoeg on the other can be accounted for if we assume that the former two are morphological suffixes, attached to the stem already in the lexicon, before insertion into syntactic structure, whereas genoeg is added to the stem by syntactic movement. We show that a similar analysis holds for the Frisian cognate -genôch, which can be phonologically fused with the stem, such that grappich genôch 'funnily enough' becomes grappigernôch.

While the fact that German and Frisian indisputably have or can have suffixes where Dutch has adverbial -genoeg already provides circumstancial evidence for the claim that adverbial -genoeg is a suffix, a comparison between the distribution of Dutch genoeg in the nominal domain and genoeg in the adverbial/adjectival domain brings to light that in the latter genoeg has all the properties commonly attributed to suffixes: (i) genoeg can either precede or follow the noun that it is combined with, but it can only follow an adjective; (ii) genoeg can be stranded when the noun that it is combined with is preposed; this is impossible when genoeg is combined with an adjective; (iii) while most speakers allow the arguments of a noun to occur between the noun and postnominal genoeg, and the position of adverbs modifying other adverbs or adjectives is usually in front of the modified element, the arguments of an adjective that is combined with genoeg invariably follow genoeg.

The fact that adverbial -genoeg cannot be combined with comparatives and superlatives strongly suggests that adverbial -genoeg is a syntactic, not a morphological suffix. We propose that adverbial -genoeg should be analyzed on a par with comparative and superlative suffixes, which have been convincingly argued to be functional syntactic heads (cf. Abney 1986, Corver 1991). The same should incidentally hold true for -erwijs.

Although -genoeg in constructions like (3) is an adverbializing suffix, it does not have the same status as English -ly or French -ment. The latter suffixes are necessary in order for adjectives to be used as adverbs; i.e., even adjectives used as manner adverbs require these suffixes. In Dutch, adjectives can be used as manner adverbs without requiring any suffix. It is only when an adjective is used as a speaker-oriented adverb that an adverbializing suffix has to show up. We claim that an adverbializing suffix has to be present in Dutch when an adjective, according to its lexical specification, cannot have a proposition as its argument. The fact that English enough is optional (strange enough/strangely enough) will be shown to follow from this analysis. This line of reasoning explains why present participles derived from psych verbs can be combined with genoeg if the experiencer of the verb normally occurs in object position (Jan heeft Piet verrassend genoeg gekust 'John kissed Peter, surprisingly', where the experiencer of verrassen 'to surprise' is the object, vs. *Jan heeft Piet bewonderend genoeg gekust, where the experiencer of bewonderen 'to admire' is the subject).