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Two types of infinitives

There are two types of infinitives:

  • ordinary infinitives
  • gerundial infinitives


The ordinary infinitive ends in schwa, spelled -e. The gerundial infinitive ends in -en. The only exception is a group of seven monosyllabic verbs of which both infinitives end in -n: jaan give, dwaan do, slaan hit, stean stand, gean go, sjen see, tsjen go. The choice of infinitive is a matter of selection. Modal verbs and the causative verb litte let select the ordinary infinitive, which is glossed as OI. Two examples are given below:

Example 1

a. De manlju sille laitsje
the men will laugh.OI
The men will laugh
b. Hja lit se laitsje
she lets them laugh.OI
She lets them laugh

Verbs of perception and the infinitival marker te to (among others) select the gerundial infinitive, which may be shorted to 'the gerund', glossed as GI:

Example 2

a. Hja sjocht de manlju laitsjen
she sees the men laugh.GI
She sees the men laugh
b. Om te laitsjen
for to laugh.GI
To laugh

The definite article and the demonstrative article select the gerund, which is illustrated below for the definite article:

Example 3

a. It laitsjen
the laugh.GI
The laughing
b. *It laitsje
the laugh.OI
The laughing