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The PPI-B construction
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The following is an example of the PPI-B construction:

Example 1

Soe hy dat dien ha kinnen?
would he that done have could.PfP
Could he have done that?

PPI is an abbreviation of the Latin phrase Participium pro Infinitivo (PPI). The term is used to refer to a construction in which two perfect participles show up, where just one participle and an infinitive are expected. In the B-construction, the modal selects the infinitive realised as the auxiliary of the perfect.

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The PPI-B construction displays the presence of two participles while there is only one instance of hahave. Furthermore, the participle kinnencould occurs on the wrong (that is: right) side of hahave, since the auxiliary of the perfect licenses a perfect participle on the left, in keeping with the head-final character of Frisian verb clusters without teto. This statement holds true, if we abstract away from the disruptive effect of verb-second applying to tensed instances of the auxiliary of the perfect. So we conclude that the participle on the right is the parasitic participle, whereas the participle on the left is the true participle.

The PPI-B construction is reminiscent of the nineteenth-century B construction. Consider a reconstructed nineteenth-century counterpart:

Example 2

Koe hy dat dien ha?
could he that done have.PfP
Could he have done that?

Impressionistically, it seems that the tensed irrealis modal verb koecould in nineteenth-century (2) has been broken into two elements in Modern Frisian (1): the irrealis verb soeshould and the modal kinnecan. so the syntactic information packaging has become more analytic. The similarity with the nineteenth-century B-construction goes further than a mere impression, seeing that the PPI-B construction above is restricted to main clauses. As the PPI construction belongs to Modern Frisian, we can with some confidence tap into living speakers' grammaticality judgments. So, embedding of the PPI-B construction is very ungrammatical:

Example 3

*Omdat er dat dien ha kinnen soe
because he that done have could.PfP should
Lit. Because he could have done that

The ungrammaticality disappears if we remove the parasitic participle and replace it with an infinitive, as in (4):

Example 4

Omdat er dat dien ha kinne soe
because he that done have could.OI should
Because he could have done that

This provides us with a further indication that it is the participle to the right of the auxiliary of the perfect which is the parasitic one, not the participle occurring on the left of the auxiliary of the perfect. Correspondingly, it is ungrammatical to replace the 'real' participle with an infinitive, as in (5):

Example 5

*Omdat er dat dwaan ha kinne soe
because he that do.OI have could.OI should
Because he could have done that

Of course, this ungrammaticality is not affected by the presence of the parasitic participle:

Example 6

*Omdat er dat dwaan ha kinnen soe
because he that do.OI have could.PfP should
Because he could have done that

It might also be questioned whether the word order in the verbal cluster reflects the hierarchical selection relation between the verbs. That is, it might be questioned whether the verb cluster is consistently head-final. It can be shown that the cluster is consistently head-final by applying an idiom test. The idiom útstean kinnecan stand does not allow any other verb to intervene, not even the auxiliary of the perfect:

Example 7

a. Nimmen hie it útstean kinnen
nobody had it bear could.PfP
Nobody could have borne it
b. *Nimmen koe it dus útstien ha
nobody could it so borne have
So, nobody could have borne it

So, the idiom cannot be found in the logical B-construction, as shown above, which is still current in Modern Frisian (see a different B-construction: the logical B-construction). The ungrammaticality is due to the strict character of this idiom. If we replace the idiomatic verb by another verb, the sentence is fine, as (8) shows:

Example 8

Nimmen koe it dus ferneard ha
nobody could it so stood have
So, nobody could have stood it

The idiom will help us to determine the structure of the verb cluster. If the linear order reflects the hierarchical order, then the idiom will not be able to occur in the PPI-B construction, because the auxiliary of the perfect structurally intervenes in the idiomatic cluster. This is in fact the case, as the following sentences make clear:

Example 9

a. *Soe hy dat útstien ha kinnen?
would he that stood have could.PfP
Could he have stood that?
b. Soe hy dat dien ha kinnen?
would he that done have could.PfP
Could he have done that?

The first sentence in (9) is ungrammatical because the auxiliary of the perfect structurally intervenes in the idiom, which does not allow this. Hence the order reflects the underlying hierarchical relation, whereas the morphological ending is misleading in the case with the parasitic participles.

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