Locative Prepositions and Adverbs in Danish


  • Tavs Bjerre University of Southern Denmark




Prepositions, Spatial Adverbs, Complex Predicates, Danish Language


Danish has a small group of words traditionally referred to as spatial adverbs. These adverbs are characterized by having three distinct forms, two directional forms, -Ø (1a) and -ad (1b), and a stative form –e (1c) which also occurs in source PPs (1d):
    1. Hunden løb ind i haven.
      ’Dog_the ran into garden_the’
    2. Vi gik hjemad.
      ’We went homeward’
    3. Børnene legede ude i haven.
      ’The children played out in garden_the’
    4. Hunden kom løbende inde fra haven.
      ’Dog_the came running within from garden_the’
The paper investigates the relationship between these adverbs and locative prepositions within an event based semantics. It is suggested that adverb + preposition form a complex predicate denoting a state temporally related to another event. In most cases the preposition specifies the locative relation, while the temporal relation is determined compositionally. Thus a number of prepositions, i, ‘in’, , ‘on’, over, ‘over’, etc., are ambiguous between a directional and a stative reading, but unambiguous in combination with adverbs: ind i: directional, inde i: stative. Similarly, as mentioned above, the –e form of adverbs is compatible with a source and a stative reading, but unambiguous in combination with a preposition, 1c. being stative and 1d. source. Locational adverbs furthermore express a relation between two locations. In directionals the two related locations are goal and source. 2a. says that the garden is ‘in’ in relation to the source of the motion, for instance the street, in 2b. the garden is ‘out’ so the source could for instance be the house.
    1. Hunden løb ind i haven.
      ‘Dog_the ran into in garden_the’
    2. Hunden løb ud i haven.
      ’Dog_the ran out in garden_the’
In statives the location denoted by the PP is normally related to the location of the speaker, 3a, or the addressee, 3b.
    1. Ole sidder ude i haven.
      ’Ole sits out in garden_the’
    2. Vi sidder her ude i haven.
      ’We sit here out in garden_the.