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Selecting a to-infinitive

Komme come combines with various types of to-infinitives so as to express an unaccusative inchoative aspect. Two examples are given below:

Example 1

a. Doe't syn skoanmem yn novimber 1951 kaam te ferstjerren
when his mother-in-law in november 1951 came to decease
When his mother-in-law died in November 1951
b. Dy't letter op 'e pleats Dunegea kaam te wenjen
who later on the place Dunegea came to live
Who later on came to live on the farm Dunegea

The locative aspect of the auxiliary may be absent to a greater or lesser extent.


Komme come combines with the four verbs of body posture. Two examples are given below:

Example 2

a. Skriuwe dat der in glâns oer komt te lizzen, dy't je je hiele libben bybliuwt
write that R.there a glow about comes to lie which you your whole life P.stays
Write in such a way that it acquires a glow which stays with you all your life
b. As de ûntwikkeling fan 'e froulike haadpersoan sintraal komt te stean
when the development of the female main.character central comes to stand
When the development of the female main character comes to occupy a central position

The subject is conceived of as not being agentive in such examples, so that it tends to be inanimate. To the extent that subjects can be animate, they get an unagentive interpretation.

The infinitival verb can be an agentive verb, as in the following two examples:

Example 3

a. Der stiet gjin hûs tusken de Lemmer en Warkum, dêr't er net komt te nijjierjen
there stands no house between the Lemmer and Warkum where he not comes to new.year
There is no house between De Lemmer and Warkum, where he does not come to celebrate new year
b. Foardat se yn dy rike húshâlding komt te wurkjen
before she in that rich household comes to work
Before she comes to work in that rich household

In the first example, the copula of coming still has a locative meaning alongside an aspectual meaning or entailment involving an inchoative aspect. In the second example in (3), the locative meaning has disappeared, and the copula only has its inchoative aspect.

The third group of verbs which the verb of coming combines with comprises the unaccusative verbs. Two examples are given below:

Example 4

a. Mei't Brand syn beppe hommels komt te ferstjerren
as Brand his grandma suddenly comes to die
As Brand's grandma suddenly comes to die
b. De sûnder komt te fallen troch syn eigen kwea
the sinner comes to fall through his own evil
The sinner comes to a fall by his evil-doing

The verb of coming lacks a locative meaning component, having a purely aspectual interpretation which can be translated by the phrase it happens that.

The infinitival verb is always intransitive, that is, it may not be accompanied by arguments, unless the argument has been incorporated:

Example 5

a. *Omdat er it hier komt te knippen
because he the hair comes to cut
Because he comes to have his hair cut
b. Omdat er komt te hierknippen
because he comes to hair.cut
Because he comes to have his hair cut
c. *Omdat er de fûken komt te fandeljen
because he the fyke.nets comes to collect
Because he comes to collect the fyke nets
d. Omdat er komt te fûkfandeljen
because he comes to fyke.collect
Because he comes to collect the fyke nets

So it seems that some verb clusters in Frisian do not allow the arguments of the to-infinitival verb to be realised, so that recourse must be had either to incorporation or to a non-clustering for to-infinitival clause (see accompanied by a to-infinitive of purpose) or to a verb which does not have any internal arguments.

The to-infinitive usually occurs to the right of the verb of coming, but it is occasionally found on the left side:

Example 6

a. Doe't er te ferstjerren kaam
when he to die came
When he came to die
b. Doe't Sigrid hjir foargoed by har te wenjen kaam
when Sigird here permanently with her to live came
When Sigrid came to live with her permanently