Dutch subordinate clauses are verb-final. Furthermore, if the clause is headed by a modal, an auxiliary, or a verb such as horen (to hear), proberen (to try), helpen (to help) or laten (to let) (these are the so-called ``verb-raising'' verbs), the head of its non-finite VP-complement must occur right of the head of the main clause. This is illustrated in (1a,b). As the head of the non-finite VP can be a verb-raising verb itself, the construction can (in principle) lead to an arbitrary number of crossing dependencies between pre-verbal complements and verbs subcategorizing for these complements. This is illustrated in (1c), where subscripts are used to make the dependencies explicit.
In the remainder of this introduction, we review previous non-transformational accounts of the cross-serial dependency construction. In particular, we argue that in categorial and HPSG accounts, characterizing what counts as a verb-cluster is problematic. Next, we argue that there is little evidence for the existence of partial VP's in clauses with normal (i.e., non-topicalized and non-extraposed) word order. We conclude that our analysis, in which the verb cluster is not a constituent and partial VP's are not derivable in clauses with normal word order is an attractive alternative.