De om-alternantie een verkennende casestudy


Amélie Van Beveren

Timothy Colleman

Gert De Sutter


This paper focuses on the Dutch om-alternation, i.e. the variation between infinitival
complements (=IC) with and without the prepositional complementizer om, as demonstrated
in Hij beloofde om op tijd te komen vs. Hij beloofde op tijd te komen ('He promised
to be on time'). The choice between one of the two alternating constructions is not random
as it depends on different syntactic, semantic and pragmatic factors. We test the
effects of a series of potential factors culled from the literature through a multifactorial
corpus investigation on the basis of real-language examples from the Dutch Parallel Corpus,
with special attention for register effects - the possible influence of register on this
alternation has not been addressed before. This attention for register can be related to the
emerging Cognitive Sociolinguistics movement, which has led to a new or renewed attention
for the possible influence of all kinds of lectal factors on syntactic alternation phenomena.
The analysis will reveal that both register and complexity-related factors play a
significant role in the choice between the two alternants.