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4.3 Subject oriented to-infinitives with clause union

Reduced infinitives express their object argument in the subject or object position of the auxiliary verb by which they are selected. In contrast, there are also subject-oriented reduced infinitives. These express their subject argument in the subject position of the auxiliary verb by which they are selected.


The verb kume ‘come’ may select a to-infinitive, as in the example below:

Die Bauheer un sien Moanske komen ap dät Speer tou sitten.
the architect and his people came on the truss to sit
The architect and his employees came to sit on the truss.

The example seems to be a bit bookish. The following examples are more natural and idiomatic:

Tou ieten kume. Tou läzen kume.
to eat come to lie come
Come to eat (as a guest).To fall down

These to-infinitives are reduced infinitives. There are two analyses for these cases, which are associated with different meanings. The first analysis is that the auxiliary kume ‘come’ has one NP argument, which is realised in the structural subject. No NP argument of the to-infinitive is expressed, but the subject argument of the infinitive is controlled by (identified with) the subject of the auxiliary. Instead of control, we may also say that the infinitive involves a selected predication of its subject on the subject of the auxiliary. Under this analysis, the examples above involve volition on the part of the subject. The second analysis is a raising analysis. The auxiliary has no NP argument of its own. The subject argument of the infinitive is realised in the structural subject position of the auxiliary. This would yield the possibility of a non-volitional reading of the type “it came to pass”. Now, the examples above involve typical human activities like eating, sitting and lying. Hence we adopt the control analysis. A characteristic subtype is the construction in which kume ‘come’ selects a verb of movement introduced by the bare adposition oun ‘to’, as in examples like the following:

Oanticheljen kume.
to.walk.GI come
To come walking swiftly.
Hie koom deer ounlopen.
he came there to.walk.GI
There he came walking.

The verb is variable, but the adposition is almost always oun ‘to’. Thus kume ‘come’ selects both the bare adposition and the verb. The lexical content of the adposition is selected, whereas the lexical content of the verb is free, provided it meets the semantic selection requirement of being a verb of movement. The latter requirement is obviated in rare cases like the following:

Hie koom deer oanbabbeljen.
he came there to.chattering.GI
There he came chattering.

Here the verb is not a verb of movement, but it denotes an activity taking place at the same time as the movement, and perceived as indistinguishable from it. Thus we could say that the selected verb must semantically denote a specification of the event described by the verb kume ‘come’. In actual practice, the selected verb denotes the manner of the movement, as the idea of movement itself is already expressed in the verb kume ‘come’. In an old source, we find a related construction. An example has been given below:

Dät keem him so munter jun klingen.
it came him so lively against sound
The sound came so lively to him.

The example involves the movement of an inanimate subject (a sound), and the impression it makes on the experiencer.

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