Grammaticalization and Infinitival Complements in Dutch

Author: Aniek IJbema
LOT Number: 54
ISBN: 90-76864-15-2
Pages: 174
Year: 2002
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In the first chapter of this dissertation, I have discussed several cases of further
grammaticalization of items that have already to a certain extent undergone
grammaticalization, and can be taken to correspond to one of the functional projections
in Cinque’s (1999) hierarchy of functional projections. On the basis of data from
several unrelated languages, I concluded that grammaticalization invariably involves
raising of a functional element to a higher functional head. The unidirectionality of
(further) grammaticalization of functional items follows from the fact that items cannot
be lowered. I concluded that the hierarchy proposed by Cinque (1999), which is based
on synchronic data, is also valid in the diachronic dimension.
In the chapters 2 and 3, I discussed historical developments in the domain of Dutch
infinitival complements. In chapter 2, I showed that there is diachronic and synchronic
variation in the meanings that modal verbs can express in Middle and Modern Dutch. I
argued that this variation can be described by assuming that these modal verbs are
generated in ModPs that are hierarchically ordered, and that modal verbs can be moved
from one modal head to another modal head. The restriction to leftward movement
accounts for the restrictions in the meanings that modals can express (both
diachronically and synchronically). In chapter 3, I discussed te-infinitival complements
in Dutch. In 3.4, I described the historical development of the infinitival marker te ‘to’
in Dutch. I showed that te, when it began to precede infinitives, started out as an irrealis
marker. Since te does not have the distribution of a preposition in Middle Dutch
infinitival complements, I proposed in 3.5 that te is a functional head lexicalizing
Moodirrealis. In the course of time, te extended its use from irrealis to realis
complements. Since realis complements have independent time reference, and arguably
contain a T(Past) node, I concluded that in the course of time, te has raised from
Moodirrealis to T(Past). In this way, the development of te presents another example of
grammaticalization as raising in the functional hierarchy. In section 3.6, I focussed on
the synchrony of te-infinitival complements in Dutch. I proposed that two kinds of
infinitival complements must be distinguished: realis and irrealis infinitival
complements. In irrealis complements, te occupies Moodirrealis. In realis complements, te
is situated in the T(Past) node. I argued that since in realis complements T(Past) is
present, they can contain more grammatical elements than irrealis complements,
namely time adverbials referring to the past (gisteren ‘yesterday’), epistemic modals,
and the auxiliary verbs hebben ‘have’ and zijn ‘be’ as temporal auxiliaries. In section
3.7, I discussed (te)-infinitives in non-selected environments, namely subject clauses
and infinitival main clauses. I pointed out that there appears to be a parallel between the
the phenomenon of Root Infinitives in child Dutch and the infinitive in earlier stages of
Dutch: both typically have a modal, irrealis interpretation. Following Hoekstra &
Hyams (1998), I proposed that the infinitival ending -en in child Dutch and in earlier
stages of Dutch has the feature [-realized]. In a later stage (both in child Dutch and in
the history of Dutch), -en becomes underspecified in the sense that it can occur in
contexts which can refer to the future, the present tense, and the past. In other words,
both from a diachronic perspective and from a language acquisition perspective, -en
grammaticalizes. I furthermore showed that in non-selected contexts, the occurrence of
te-infinitives is restricted: they only appear in irrealis contexts. I argued that in these
contexts, te provides the irrealis interpretation.

In the first chapter of this dissertation, I have discussed several cases of further
grammaticalization of items that have already to a certain extent undergone
grammaticalization, and can be taken to correspond to one of the functional projections
in Cinque’s (1999) hierarchy of functional projections. On the basis of data from
several unrelated languages, I concluded that grammaticalization invariably involves
raising of a functional element to a higher functional head. The unidirectionality of
(further) grammaticalization of functional items follows from the fact that items cannot
be lowered. I concluded that the hierarchy proposed by Cinque (1999), which is based
on synchronic data, is also valid in the diachronic dimension.
In the chapters 2 and 3, I discussed historical developments in the domain of Dutch
infinitival complements. In chapter 2, I showed that there is diachronic and synchronic
variation in the meanings that modal verbs can express in Middle and Modern Dutch. I
argued that this variation can be described by assuming that these modal verbs are
generated in ModPs that are hierarchically ordered, and that modal verbs can be moved
from one modal head to another modal head. The restriction to leftward movement
accounts for the restrictions in the meanings that modals can express (both
diachronically and synchronically). In chapter 3, I discussed te-infinitival complements
in Dutch. In 3.4, I described the historical development of the infinitival marker te ‘to’
in Dutch. I showed that te, when it began to precede infinitives, started out as an irrealis
marker. Since te does not have the distribution of a preposition in Middle Dutch
infinitival complements, I proposed in 3.5 that te is a functional head lexicalizing
Moodirrealis. In the course of time, te extended its use from irrealis to realis
complements. Since realis complements have independent time reference, and arguably
contain a T(Past) node, I concluded that in the course of time, te has raised from
Moodirrealis to T(Past). In this way, the development of te presents another example of
grammaticalization as raising in the functional hierarchy. In section 3.6, I focussed on
the synchrony of te-infinitival complements in Dutch. I proposed that two kinds of
infinitival complements must be distinguished: realis and irrealis infinitival
complements. In irrealis complements, te occupies Moodirrealis. In realis complements, te
is situated in the T(Past) node. I argued that since in realis complements T(Past) is
present, they can contain more grammatical elements than irrealis complements,
namely time adverbials referring to the past (gisteren ‘yesterday’), epistemic modals,
and the auxiliary verbs hebben ‘have’ and zijn ‘be’ as temporal auxiliaries. In section
3.7, I discussed (te)-infinitives in non-selected environments, namely subject clauses
and infinitival main clauses. I pointed out that there appears to be a parallel between the
the phenomenon of Root Infinitives in child Dutch and the infinitive in earlier stages of
Dutch: both typically have a modal, irrealis interpretation. Following Hoekstra &
Hyams (1998), I proposed that the infinitival ending -en in child Dutch and in earlier
stages of Dutch has the feature [-realized]. In a later stage (both in child Dutch and in
the history of Dutch), -en becomes underspecified in the sense that it can occur in
contexts which can refer to the future, the present tense, and the past. In other words,
both from a diachronic perspective and from a language acquisition perspective, -en
grammaticalizes. I furthermore showed that in non-selected contexts, the occurrence of
te-infinitives is restricted: they only appear in irrealis contexts. I argued that in these
contexts, te provides the irrealis interpretation.

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