Adverbial pronouns?

[voornaamwoorden]
A pronoun replaces a noun or another pronoun. E.g. 'he', 'which', or 'her'. There are different types of pronouns: personal, possessive, indefinite, relative... You can post your questions about Dutch pronouns here.
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ngonyama
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Adverbial pronouns?

Post by ngonyama » Sat Nov 25, 2017 5:08 pm

There is a group of words that occurs in (afaik all ) Germanic languages that are usually called pronominal adverbs or voornaamwoordelijke bijwoorden in Dutch. They are pretty old; you can already see them in what little we have left of the Old Dutch period prior to 1150. In English they play a minor role today. although there is still quite a few of them. See e.g. https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Category ... al_adverbs

They are words that straddle the boundary between pronouns and adverbs, just like participles are a mix of verb and noun. The name pronominal adverb does try to convey this dual citizenship, but is imho rather poorly chosen, because the emphasis of the name is on "adverb". This suggests that the word is "just some kind of adverb". And often this is how these words are treated in grammars, like stepchildren. The reason for this is that adverbs are typically thought of as words that are simply added to the sentence without affecting its grammar or syntax all that much.

But that is definitely not true for words like ervan, daardoor, waarom in Dutch. In fact, as any of you know when you try to learn our language these words play a big role in our grammar. Just like pronouns do in any other language. This is why I think swapping the name and calling them "adverbial pronouns" would be more appropriate. The name would do more justice to the importance of this class of words, because in many cases they really function like pronouns. This is especially true in Dutch.

:The house has a roof.-> Its roof ==> Its = possessive pronoun
:Het huis heeft een dak -> Zijn dak --> Het dak ervan ==> ervan=possessive adverbial pronoun

:He comes with a proposal -> The proposal with which he came ==> which= relative pronoun
:Hij komt met een voorstel -> Het voorstel met hetwelk hij kwam --> Het voorstel waarmee hij kwam ==> waarmee=relative adverbial pronoun

Notice that the (normal, non-adverbial) Dutch pronouns "zijn" and "hetwelk" are pretty uncommon in these phrases. "Zijn" is often avoided when referring to inanimate objects and "hetwelk" is very stuffy and archaic.

My question to you learners: does this renaming make sense? Makes it easier to understand?

estarling
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Re: Adverbial pronouns?

Post by estarling » Sun Nov 26, 2017 11:00 am

Hello Ngonyama,

Personally, I find it easier to talk over these words as over 'adverbial pronouns'.
At least the term 'adverbial pronoun' sounds more suggestive to me.
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ngonyama
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Re: Adverbial pronouns?

Post by ngonyama » Wed Nov 29, 2017 2:29 am

Thanks

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