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A lexicalist account of the Dutch verbal complex

Gosse Bouma and Gertjan van Noord
Alfa-informatica and
Behavioral and Cognitive Neurosciences
Rijksuniversiteit Groningen


This paper presents a categorial analysis of several types of verbs selecting a verbal complement in Dutch. In particular, we demonstrate that the various word orders found in the verbal complex can be accounted for by mechanisms operating in the lexicon only. Our theoretical starting point is the proposal of [10], who accounts for `verb raising' by stipulating a polymorphic category for verbs inducing this type of word order. The effect of polymorphism is equivalent to using a categorial rule of division in the lexicon. We implement this rule as a recursive constraint. The coverage of the analysis is extended by showing that various other word order possibilities within the verb cluster imply that harmonic and disharmonic versions of division are needed. Finally, we argue that overgeneration can be avoided by requiring that the argument of a `verb raising' verb must be a `verbal complex'.

Noord G.J.M. van