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Incorporation into to-infinitivals as compared to tensed verbs

Frisian was seen to exhibit incorporation with to-infinitives, whereas Dutch lacks incorporation with to-infinitives. The phenomenon of incorporation in itself is also found in other syntactic contexts beside to-infinitivals.


Incorporation may take place with ordinary infinitives, as shown below:

Example 1

a. Ik sjoch him fotoynplakken
I see him photograph.in.glue
I see him sticking photographs in an album
b. Se liet him fotoynplakke
she let him photograph.in.glue
She let him stick photographs in an album

As can be seen from the examples above, incorporation may take place both with the ordinary infinitive, which normally ends in sjwa, and with the gerundial infinitive, which always ends in a nasal. Incorporation is also found inside a nominalisation:

Example 2

a. It fotoynplakken is hast dien
the photograph.in.glue is almost done
They have almost finished sticking photographs in an album
b. It oprêden fan it hûs is hast dien
the up.clean of the house is almost done
They have almost finished cleaning up the house

Incorporation may also target finite verbs, as in the following examples:

Example 3

a. Heit ierappeldolt de hiele dei
father potato.digs the whole day
Our father is digging potatoes all day long
b. Ik ha noch net messeslipe
I have yet not knife-sharpened
I have not been sharpenign knives

On the whole, incorporation targets collocational activity verbs which have a habitual implication. So it is the same combinations of verb and object which are found in incorporated structures, regardless of whether these structures are to-infinitivals, normal infinitivals, nominalisations or tensed verbs.

In one respect, incorporation targeting tensed verbs differs from incorporation targeting untensed structures. Incorporation targeting tensed verbs cannot just target a particle:

Example 4

a. Hâld ris op te oprêden
hold DcP up to up.clean
Stop cleaning up (all the time)
b. *Hy oprêdt de hiele dei
he up.cleans the whole day
He is cleaning up the whole day

The ungrammatical example improves in case an incorporated object is added:

Example 5

?*Hy hûsoprêdt de hiele dei
he house.up.cleans the whole day
He is cleaning up the house the whole day

The ungrammaticality may be due to some aspectual matter. What is even more remarkable, is that noun incorporation into the tensed verb is allowed below the particle, so that the noun intervenes between particle and verb, but in that case the particle is not selected by the verb. An example is given below, involving the intensifying particle oan to:

Example 6

Moatst mar oan-prikkebarne
must.2SG DcP to-stick.burn
You must burn lots of sticks

The incorporated object shows up between the particle and the untensed verb. Normal cases of particle and object incorporation feature the order in which the particle precedes the object, as in the example below:

Example 7

Moatst mar fotoynplakke
must.2SG DcP photograph.in.glue
You must stick photographs in an album

It is not allowed with a tensed verb:

Example 8

?*Hy fotoynplakt mar raak!
he photograph.in.glue DcP a.lot
He is intensively sticking photographs in an album

Combination of the two particle structures is ungrammatical:

Example 9

*Moatst mar oan- fotoynplakke
must.2SG DcP to- photograph.in.glue
You must stick lots of photographs in an album

A similar example of incorporation below the particle involves the intensifying particle ta to:

Example 10

No kinne wy mar ta-brijite
now can we DcP to-porridge.eat
Now we can eat lots of porridge

The verb must be untensed:

Example 11

*Do ta-brijytst mar raak!
you to-porridge.eat DcP a.lot
You eat quite a lot of porridge

A related case involves the detensifying particle om around, which can be viewed as the contrary of intensifying particles. This particle also allows object incorporation below it, as shown below:

Example 12

Ik lit net mei my om-kedsjemenne
I let not with me around-cob.drive
I do not let myself be pissed around

Again the incorporating verb may not be tensed:

Example 13

*Se om-kedsjemenne mei my
they around-cob.drive with me
They piss around with me

So, object incorporation into untensed verbs is allowed below intensifying and detensifying particles, provided the verb is untensed, just as particle incorporation itself is allowed with untensed verbs only.

On the whole, tensed verbs are more restrictive with respect to the elements which may undergo incorporation than infinitives, as was shown above with respect to particles. The same observation can be made for obligatory adjuncts. They may incorporate into infinitives, but not into tensed verbs, as shown below:

Example 14

a. Omdat se oan in trapeze hong te gefaarlik-dwaan
because she to a trapeze hung to dangerous-do
Because she was courting danger, hanging from a trapeze
b. *Se gefaarlikdocht no al de hiele dei
she dangerous.do now DcP the whole day
She has been courting danger the whole day
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More details can be found in Dyk (1997).

  • Dyk, Siebren1997Noun incorporation in FrisianLeeuwardenFryske Akademy