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BARE INFINITIVAL COMPLEMENTS IN DUTCH

Lyda Ruyter

Ph.D. Dissertation, 1987

Abstract

Bare Infinitivals (BI) are the complements that lack the infinitival marker 'te' in Dutch, 'to' in English, etc. The BI exhibit a variety of distinct syntactic traits across languages: they are alternatively opaque and transparent for movement and binding; they block passivization of the embedded subject; and they don't tolerate participle forms. The objective of the study was to develop a uniform explanation for this cluster of properties as they appear in Dutch, and to identify the extent to which universal and language particular features play a role. Theoretical arguments based on the role of INFL, the notion of government, and subcategorization restrictions, as well as empirical evidence support an IP (bare S) analysis of the BI. The distribution of parasitic gaps is shown to be compatible with a COMP-less structure. The unmarked surface order of the BI-constructions, (i.e. the 'verb-raised' order) is the result of a reanalysis process that operates on the matrix and embedded verb(s) and which involves no actual movement. The interaction of the principles of grammar and general well-formedness conditions on phrase markers restrict the possible output of the reanalysis operation. The reanalysis process accounts for the relative transparent status of the complement, the inability to tolerate participle forms, as well as for the ungrammaticality of the passive, while it avoids the problems associated with a movement analysis. The effects of reanalysis can be observed in the BI as well as in the control and raising complements. The apparent ability of the control constructions to resist reanalysis in some environments is the result of general restrictions on reanalysis and of the requirement that PRO remains ungoverned. In English, the restructuring that accompanies the reanalysis process in Dutch can not occur due to the VO word order, explaining the different behavior of the BI-constructions in the two languages.

 
 
Department of Linguistics University of Wisconsin-Madison

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