|From:||J Matthew Pearson <pearson@...>|
|Date:||Thursday, January 18, 2001, 5:11|
Lars Henrik Mathiesen wrote:
> > Date: Wed, 17 Jan 2001 07:49:18 -0800
> > From: Marcus Smith <smithma@...>
> > Pavel wrote:
> > > >In English, for example, the marker of the
> > > >INFINITIVE, _to_, is often called a particle because, despite its surface
> > > >similarity to a PREPOSITION, it really has nothing in common with it.
> > >
> > >Why "nothing in common"? Compare:
> > >
> > >I am going to the bedroom. (preposition)
> > >I am going to sleep. (particle)
> > >
> > >The function of "to" is essentially equal in both cases. The infinive with
> > >"to" IMHO has the same meaning as dative (allative, illative) of abstract
> > >noun derived from verb.
> > >Instead of "to sleep" we could say "to the sleeping state".
> > They only look like they have something in common here because you used the
> > verb "going" in two different senses in each sentence. In the first one,
> > this is a genuine verb of movement, but in the second it functions more as
> > a tense. We can see that "to" does not have a prepositional meaning from
> > the following sentences.
> > I have to empty the trash.
> > I want to fly like an eagle.
> > Not knowing how to waltz, Cinderella looked like a fool at the ball.
> > To be or not to be, that is the question.
> However, historically the infinitive marker and the preposition are
> the same. Back when the current infinitive was more a sort of verbal
> noun, it got construed with different prepositions in various contexts
> --- but very commonly with to after verbs like want or intend, and
> from there it got extended to all contexts except after modal verbs.
> And not only in English. The North Germanic infinitive marker (Danish
> at, Norwegian å) also comes from a preposition. (Danish ad, now
> meaning something like along, cognate with English at).
Infinitival verb forms resemble dative/benefactives (prepositions/cases meaning "to"
or "for") in a large number of languages. This pattern is found not only in
Indo-European languages like English, French, and Sanskrit, but also in Malagasy,
Bantu, and Warlpiri (Australian). I don't know why this should be, but there
appears to be some deep connection...