Complementizer Agreement in the Flemish Dialects

Gunther de Vogelaer; Annemie Neuckermans (Universiteit Gent); Guido Vanden Wyngaerd (UIA)


The topic of complementizer agreement has received a fair amount of attention in the dialectological literature (e.g. Van Ginneken 1938, Van Haeringen 1939, Vanacker 1949, Goeman 1979, Hoekstra & Smits 1997; see also the references in Goeman 1997). In this article we start out by considering the question to what extent verbal and complementizer agreement paradigms are similar. In doing so, we shall be testing the validity of the Inversion Generalisation proposed by Hoekstra & Smits (1997). A proper evaluation of this generalisation will require us to make a distinction between the phenomena of cliticisation of a weak pronoun onto a complementizer or finite verb on the one hand, and that of complementizer agreement on the other. As the difference between both phenomena is not always obvious, we shall look at the evidence in a rather detailed way, focusing in particular on complementizer agreement (and cliticisation) as it is found in the Belgian provinces of West- and East-Flanders. We shall also look at two other generalisations: the Identity Generalisation formulated by Hoekstra & Smits (1998), and the Monosyllable in Clitic Group Generalisation proposed by Goeman (2000). We argue that the concepts in terms of which these generalisations are formulated are too wide, and that the relevant concept is the narrower one of a verb with a CV-stem.

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