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Adjuncts

Adjuncts are elements of phrases which are not dependent on a subset of the heads of those phrases. Therefore a verbal adjunct is an element of a verb phrase which is not dependent on a subset of verbs - and can therefore combine freely with verbs regardless of their valency.

Temporal adjuncts (time phrases) are a good way of illustrating this phenomenon (see Engel 1988). The following table illustrates that a temporal adjunct such as zweimal im Jahr "twice a year" can be added to each of the sentence patterns regardless of the valency of the verb.

- Es schneit (zweimal im Jahr). "It snows (twice a year)."
sub Der Mandelbaum blüht (zweimal im Jahr). "The almond tree is in bloom (twice a year)."
sub acc Wir bauen ein Haus (zweimal im Jahr). "We build a house (twice a year)."
sub acc acc Sie hat Herrn Kramatschek Polnisch (zweimal im Jahr) gelehrt. "She taught Mr Kramatschek Polish (twice a year)."
sub acc gen Man beschuldigt ihn des Mordes (zweimal im Jahr). "They are accusing him of the murder (twice a year)."
sub acc dat Sie übergab dem Direktor die Nachricht (zweimal im Jahr). "She passed on the message to the director (twice a year)."
sub acc dat prp Man bot ihm einen lächerlichen Preis für das Land (zweimal im Jahr). "They offered him a ridiculous price for the land (twice a year)."
sub acc dat dir Mein Bruder bringt mir den Wagen (zweimal im Jahr) an die Bahn. "My brother brings the car to the station for me (twice a year)."
sub acc dat adj Sie haben ihm seine Treue (zweimal im Jahr) schlecht gelohnt. "They repaid him badly for his loyalty (twice a year)."

If the resulting sentences sound odd, this is because the meanings of the adjunct and the verb phrases do not always match up. In other words, the restrictions which apply to the placing of adjuncts are semantic rather than syntactic.


Bibliography