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Infinitives & gerunds (was: How to kick the infinitive habit)

From:R A Brown <ray@...>
Date:Tuesday, October 3, 2006, 18:48
I've changed the subject line, as this part of the thread is clearly not
about kicking the infinitive habit. Rather, it is about interesting and
different uses of infinitives    :)

H. S. Teoh wrote:
> On Tue, Oct 03, 2006 at 10:40:02AM +0100, R A Brown wrote:
>>But the gerundive a NP! This is a bit hard for us who have been >>brought up with the Latin gerundive which is a verbal _adjective_. Are >>you sure you're using the best terminology. > > Maybe not. In which case, I'd like to be enlightened as to what is > better terminology to describe what TF is doing. :-) > > Maybe "participle" is a better term for the "infinitive"? Or maybe not.
Having looked more carefully at your examples, and looking at the TF grammar, I think they are indeed infinitives - but TF's way of handling relative clauses is certainly unusual! But why not? :) Just to recap your examples from your previous mail: {quote} tara' kei uenai ibuneis ka'aman ia. (she ORG) want (AUX_CVY:mushroom eat:INF_RCP) COMPL She wants to eat the mushroom. ..... huu sa tapa tun na ibuneis arapan bata. 1sp CVY go slope RCP CVY:mushroom pick_up:RCP COMPL I go to the slope (of a mountain) to pick mushrooms. {/quote} I have no problem with these. The words concerned are clearly nouns as they have the noun case postclitics; but they also have verbal functions in that they have their own verb arguments. that is, they are verbal nouns - i.e. infinitives. But: {quote} Notably, the infinitive clause is identical in form and construction to a relative clause modifying a noun: baan ikaren muras kuinin sei tanap buta' fei imi tsi. (old_lady (CVY:shoe black own:RCP) CVY) dwell hut that in COMPL The old lady who owns the black shoes lives in that hut. {/quote} Well, yes, this is TF's infinitive. It is AFAIK a quite unique way of handling relative clauses - as I said, I familiar with the idea of using a participle clause to express this idea (The old lady, the [one] owning the shoes, lives in that hut), but you haven't use a participle. It's certainly an interesting way of dealing with things :)
> And perhaps I should just call the "gerundive" a plain ole gerund, > because that's really what it is, except that the nouns that modify it > appear in secondary forms.
Yes, I think it would be better called just the plain ole gerund :) They are definitely verbal nouns, as far as I can see, so I definitely think 'gerund' would be a better term. ([snip]
> NP's in embedded/subordinate clauses. The arguments to a gerundive, or a > gerund, are marked using the latter.) Thus, it is possible to speak of a > gerundive phrase (or gerund phrase?) comprising of the gerund itself > plus its arguments, which are overtly distinct from the other NP's in > the main clause. What is the best terminology to describe this?
gerund phrase, or maybe 'gerundial phrase'?
> > >>>The infinitive is used when the subject NP inside the sub-clause is >>>the same as the subject NP of the main clause. >> >>Sort of like we find in certain constructions in ancient Greek :) > > Article + infinitive?
No - I was thinking of clauses expressed with acc+infinitive, like they have in Latin. If the subject of the infinitive is the same as that of the main verb, Latin a reflexive pronoun, but Greek simply used the infin. with no 'accusative subject'. Cf. English: I want us to go. But I want to go (Not: *I want me to go)
>>>The gerundive is used when the action is independent of the subject >>>NP of the main clause. >> >>OK - but why isn't it called a gerund? > > Maybe it should be? :-) The main thing, I think, is that TF gerunds can > take NP arguments,
So could Latin gerunds and so do English gerunds (tho not subject arguments, but both can take all other verbal arguments). [snip]
> So maybe I should just call it a gerund.
Yes, I think so.
>>>More examples of the infinitive: >>> huu sa tapa tun na ibuneis arapan bata. >>> 1sp CVY go slope RCP CVY:mushroom pick_up:RCP COMPL >>> I go to the slope (of a mountain) to pick mushrooms. >> >>Ah! An infinitive to show purpose. Not uncommon - but there are >>languages with infinitives that do not allow them to be used this way. > > > Interesting. There is actually another way to indicate purpose in TF, > using the postpositional _utu_ ("for the purpose of"): > > huu sa tapa tun na ibuneis arapan utu bata. > 1sp CVY go slope RCP (CVY:mushroom pick:RCP for) COMPL > I go to the slope for the purpose of picking mushrooms. > > One could argue that the so-called "infinitive" in the previous example > is really just an abbreviated form of this latter construction, with > _utu_ elided.
I guess one could. In English dialect, forms like "I go to the slope of the hill [all] for to pick mushrooms" were still around in the early 20th cent - but probably died out now :=( [snip]
> >>BTW some prescriptive grammars will tell you that (b) is >>'ungrammatical' and that you must use (c). But the ancient authors >>themselves were not aware of that rule ;) > > Hehe... makes one wonder where the prescriptivists got that 'rule' from. > :-)
They have a habit of turning _tendencies_ into fixed 'rules' - even if it means saying things like "Caesar's Latin is not as good as Cicero's" - crazy ;) -- Ray ================================== ================================== Nid rhy hen neb i ddysgu. There's none too old to learn. [WELSH PROVERB}


H. S. Teoh <hsteoh@...>