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Chapter 5. The Narrative Infinitive Construction in French and Latin

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Abstract

This chapter offers a Sign-Based Construction Grammar analysis of the French and Latin Narrative Infinitives, that is, syntactically independent infinitival structures that express assertions. The main claim is that these languages exhibit two types of fully formed infinitival words (feature structures) licensed by two different inflectional constructions, the regular infinitive and the narrative infinitive. Only in the latter do the morpho-syntactic features ensure that the clausal construction in which the infinitival word participates is temporally specified, informationally structured and has an overt referentially independent subject. In this it does not differ from finite clauses. According to the present analysis, finiteness is not defined by inflectional morphology: the verbal form is finite if it is associated with relevant functional information.

References

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