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Hinnegean go

The copula hinnegean go selects a Verb-Initial infinitival clause. The infinitival verb in clause-initial position has neither the form of an ordinary infinitive nor that of a gerundial infinitive. Instead, it is homophonous to the imperative form of the verb. An example is given below:

Example 1

Men koe ommers dochs hinnegean en stjoer in briefke of in boade
one could after.all DcP go and send.II a note or a messenger
After all, they could go and send a note or a messenger, could not they

The example cannot be analysed as a coordination of two tensed verbs, since the second verb does not bear third person agreement nor does it exhibit past tense morphology. Furthermore, the meaning of the sentence is such that the verb stjoer send is semantically in the scope of both the modal verb koe could and the copula verb hinnegean go. It can further be shown that the infinitival verb stjoer send is selected by hinnegean go and not by the modal, since the modal does not select Verb-Initial infinitives, as shown below:

Example 2

*Men koe stjoer twa briefkes
one could send-II two notes
They could send two notes

A Verb-Initial ordinary infinitive is similarly excluded, as is a gerund, since these types of infinitives are not allowed to precede the arguments which they subcategorize for:

Example 3

a. *Men koe stjoere twa briefkes
one could send.OI two notes
They could send two notes
b. *Men koe stjoeren twa briefkes
one could send.OG two notes
They could send two notes

It must be mentioned that the use of hinnegean go is quite old-fashioned, being restricted to older written Frisian.


The copula hinnegean go is used as an almost meaningless auxiliary, usually in its infinitival form. It can select a Verb-Initial infinitival clause. Two examples are presented below:

Example 4

a. Dan moat men hinnegean en lear in mannich fan Gysbertomme moaiste dichten
then must one to.go and learn a number of Gysbert.uncle best poems
Then one must go and become acquainted with a number of uncle Gysbert's best poems
b. As wy noris hinnegean en keapje fjouwer wat behindiger stuollen
if we DcP to.go and buy four a.bit smaller chairs
Suppose we go and by four somewhat smaller chairs

It is almost always possible to replace a Verb-Initial infinitival clause with a Verb-Final to-infinitival clause introduced by the non-finite complementiser om for. Two examples are given below:

Example 5

a. Lit ús hinnegean om oan ús God te offerjen
let us to.go for to our God to sacrifice
Let us go and sacrifice to our Lord
b. Soe ik hinnegean om te sweevjen oer de beammen?
would I go for to float above the trees
Should I go and float above the trees?

In general, Verb-Final om te-infinitival clauses are more frequent than Verb-Initial infinitives. It is remarkable that this situation is reversed for the copula hinnegean go. The Frisian Language Corpus has only three examples of Verb-Final om te-infinitival clauses, and it has around 40 examples of Verb-Initial clauses.