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Modern Dutch Grammar: The Syntax of Adverbials


Admission requirements

BA Dutch language and culture, Linguistics or equivalent


Adverbials have long been a slightly neglected residual category including all kinds of hard to categorize constituents. Recent comparative and theoretical research shows, however, that precisely the syntax of adverbials sheds an interesting light on the building principles that languages have in common. In language after language we find the same hierarchy of types of adverbials (such as honestly, unfortunately, probably, possibly, yesterday, often, completely, etc.). In this course we investigate the validity of this hierarchy for Dutch, which is a challenge given the large number of ordering possibilities in the middle field of the Dutch clause. We will focus more specifically on a number of special phenomena, such as adverbials that surface in the wrong clause, adverbials that can occur in more than one position, adverbials that need an auxiliary morpheme to be able to modify a clause and adverbials that have been stranded after movement of an associated constituent.

Course objectives

The student

  • has a deep knowledge of the syntax of adverbs in Dutch from a comparative and theoretical perspective.

  • is able to understand syntactic articles, question and present them.

  • is able to participate in a scientific discussion

  • is able to write a description of an aspect of the Dutch adverbial system as a contribution to the electronische Algemene Nederlandse Spraakkunst (eANS)

  • is able to carry out a research project on an aspect of the syntax of adverbs in Dutch and report on this research in a presentation and a paper.


The timetable is available on the MA Neerlandistiek website

Mode of instruction


Course Load

280 uur, of which

  • Seminar: 26 hrs

  • Prepartion seminar (literature): 78 hrs

  • Preparation presentation article: 30 hrs

  • Preparation and writing contribution to eANS: 40 hrs
    Research, presentation and paper: 106 hrs

Assessment method

  • Research, talk and paper: 60%

  • Contribution to eANS: 30 % (will be translated into Dutch for students who do not know Dutch)

  • Presentation article: 10%


A resit is only possible for the paper, if it is graded lower than 5,5


A full course description will be made available on Blackboard. The literature for each meeting will be announced on Blackboard. Blackboard will also be used to exchange further information between students and instructor.

Reading list

Provisional reading list:

  • Cinque, Guglielmo, 1999. Adverbs and functional heads: a cross-linguistic perspective. Oxford studies in comparative syntax. Oxford University Press.

  • Ernst, Thomas, 2002. The syntax of adjuncts. Cambridge (UK)/New York. Cambridge University Press.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.
General information about uSis is available in English and Dutch

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable


Contact information Sjef Barbiers

For practical matters please contact the secetarial office Opleiding Nederlandse taal en cultuur/neerlandistiek. This is located at Onderwijsadministratie P.N. van Eyckhof 4, first floor room 101A. Tel. 071-527 2604."


Not applicable