• Dutch
  • Frisian
  • Afrikaans
Show full table of contents
Combining with to-infinitives
quickinfo

The copulas of body posture may be used as auxiliaries expressing duration when combined with to-infinitives, while they still retain to a greater or lesser extent their locative interpretation. An example is given below:

Example 1

As er dêr sa yn 'e doar stie te kjeldskypjen
when he there so in the door stood to cold.catch
When he stood there in the door, catching a cold

The Frisian verbs of body posture retain their locative interpretation more than their Dutch counterparts. The Dutch counterparts have become more aspectual. As a consequence, colloquial regional (western) Dutch may feature examples in which the verb of lying is used as an aspectual, even though the subject may be standing or sitting. In colloquial Dutch, the verb of sitting is used as an aspectual verb of duration, although the subject is question need not be sitting. Frisian only recently developed a productive aspectual use of verbs of body posture, as is impressionistically confirmed by the examples from the Frisian Language Corpus, though this should be further investigated.

readmore

Verbs of body posture may function as aspectual auxiliaries when they combine with to-infinitives. Clause-union is obligatory, as is clear from the cases in the example below:

Example 2

a. In fanke, dat op in stik kaugom stie te wjerkôgjen
a girl that on a piece chewing.gum stood to chew
A girl that stood chewing on a piece of gum
b. *In fanke, dat stie op in stik kaugom te wjerkôgjen
a girl that stood on a piece chewing.gum to chew
A girl that stood chewing on a piece of gum

If the copula of body posture takes a locative complement, however, it is possible to provide it with an optional full infinitival clause. An example is given below:

Example 3

In fanke, dat op 'e brêge stie op in stik kaugom te kôgjen
a girl that on the bridge stood on a piece chewing.gum to chew
A girl that stood chewing on a piece of gum on the bridge

The infinitival clause presumably functions as an adjunct in case there is a locative complement. No extraction is allowed from the infinitival clause:

Example 4

*Wêr hat it fanke op 'e brêge stien op te kôgjen?
What.R has the girl on the bridge stood on to chew
What did the girl standing on the bridge chew on?

Extraction is licit if there is clause-union and the infinitival verb is clustered with the body posture copula, so that the arguments of the infinitival verb are realised to the left of the copula of body posture, as in the sentence below:

Example 5

Wêr hat it fanke op 'e brêge op stien te kôgjen?
What.R has the girl on the bridge on stood to chew
What did the girl standing on the bridge chew on?

clause-union and verb-clustering always appear together with auxiliaries of body posture. So auxiliaries of body posture do not allow of the third construction, in which arguments of the main verb may appear both to the right and to the left of the copula. The following sentence illustrates that verbs of body posture resist the third construction, regardless of whether a locative phrase is present:

Example 6

a. *Omdat ik Aalt stie mei syn ferline te konfrontearjen
because I Aalt stood with his past to confront
Because I was confronting Aalt with his past
b. *Omdat ik yn 'e tûn Aalt stie mei syn ferline te konfrontearjen
because I in the garden Aalt stood with his past to confront
Because I was confronting Aalt with his past in the garden

Such sentences are allowed with verbs selecting the third construction:

Example 7

?Omdat ik juster Aalt besocht mei syn ferline te konfrontearjen
because I juster Aalt tried with his past to confront
Because I tried to confront Aalt with his past yesterday

The grammaticality of such examples indicates that the presence of the third construction is independent of the presence of the IPP effect, seeing that the IPP-effect is absent in Frisian. Furthermore, examples of the third construction can even be found in the nineteenth-century (in the work of the writer Waling Dykstra, for example). If the third construction in Frisian is an interference from Dutch, it is an old one.

To sum up, auxiliaries of body posture may take a locative complement and a full infinitival adjunct clause, or the infinitival clause functions as the complement, but in that case clause-union and verb clustering must take place. If verb raising takes place, the copula of body posture is invariably adjacent to the main verb, which has the form of a to-infinitive. This observation holds true in clauses in which no verb-second has taken place, since verb-second obscures the visibility of this generalisation, that is, verb-second breaks up the adjacency of the two verbs by moving the tensed verb to the beginning of the clause.

There is one exception, though, concerning the adjacency of the aspectual copula and the to-infinitive. Verbal particles may intervene between the aspectual copula and the to-infinitive, as shown below, in case the to-infinitive follows the copula, which is the unmarked word order:

Example 8

a. De finzene yn Ommen dy't ien fan de wachters dêr stie út te gnizen
the prisoner in Ommen who one of the guards there stood out to laugh
The prisoner in Ommen who stood laughing at one of the guards
b. Doe't wy op in kear op in heech stek sieten út te pûsten
when we on a time on a high fence sat out to pant
When once we sat on a high fence, panting and recovering

However, the to-infinitive occasionally is found to precede the aspectual copula, as in the example below:

Example 9

De grize grouwer dy't mei de hannen foar de eagen te gûlen siet
the grey growler who with the hands for the eyes to cry sat
The grey growler who sat crying while covering his eyes with his hands

If the verb cluster has a head-final order, as in the example above, it is impenetrable to non-verbal material such as particles, as illustrated by the minimal pair below:

Example 10

a. Doe't wy op in kear op in heech stek út te pûsten sieten
when we on a time on a high fence out to pant sat
When once we sat on a high fence, panting and recovering
b. *Doe't wy op in kear op in heech stek te pûsten út sieten
when we on a time on a high fence out to pant out sat
When once we sat on a high fence, panting and recovering

Aspectual auxiliaries of body posture are rarely used in the perfect tense, the examples from the Frisian Language Corpus (FLC) tend to be recent and, moreover, they have been produced by only a few writers. The FLC contains a lot of Frisian from before the eighties, so that it may well be telling that the examples encountered are quite recent:

Example 11

a. En nei't se in skoftke tegearre op 'e bank sitten hiene te praten
and after they a while together on the bench sat had to talk
And after they had sat talking on the bench a while
[(1987)]
b. De doar dêr't dat hiele skoft in klasse foar stien hie te wachtsjen
the door which that whole time a class in.front.of stood had to wait
The door which a school class had stood waiting in front of the whole time
[(1986)]
c. In plan dat al in skoftke yn har lein hie te slûgjen
a plan which DcP a while in her lain had to slumber
A plan which had lain slumbering inside her for quite a while
[(1987)]

The fact that such examples are of a recent date suggests that this use of aspectual auxiliaries is due to interference from Dutch, although the examples do not have the feel of interference, that is, they seem to be well entrenched in Frisian.

The to-infinitive accompanying the verb of body posture is commonly a verb of activity which is compatible with the meaning of the verb of body posture. A person can talk while standing, or slumber while lying, and so on. The to-infinitive following the aspectual verb of body posture must exhibit incorporation of the direct object if the subject is inanimate:

Example 12

It strykizer dat op de boppeste planke al jierren lein hie te neatdwaan
the iron which on the top shelf DcP years lain had to nothing.do
The iron which had been lying idle on the top shelf for years

It should be noted that it does not seem grammatical to realise the direct object as a syntactic Noun Phrase (NP) in (12), as shown below:

Example 13

*It strykizer dat op de boppeste planke al jierren neat lein hie te dwaan
the iron which on the top shelf DcP years nothing lain had to do
The iron which had been lying idle on the top shelf for years

Most examples in the FLC involve intransitive to-infinitives. Transitive to-infinitives are rarely found as the complement of body posture auxiliaries, they have a decidedly Dutch feel and they are all recent. It seems that they must involve animate subjects. Some examples are given below:

Example 14

a. Dat in NSB-faam hjir goede wurken stie te dwaan om letter frij te kommen
that a NSB-girl here good works stood to do for later free to come
That a girl of the NSB stood here doing good works in order to be released later on
[(1986)]
b. It ûntgyng Tietk net, hoe begearich hja alles stie te besjen
it fail.see Tietk not how avidly she everything stood to see
Tietk did not fail to notice how avidly she was looking at everything while standing there
[(1988)]
c. Se hie wolris sjoen, dat mem mei de blaker op in stove noch wat siet te dwaan
she had DcP seen that mother with the candle on the brazier something sat to do
She had seen that her mother sat doing something with the candle on the brazier
[(1989)]

In these examples, it sounds better to leave out the aspectual copula all together and turn the infinitival verb into the tensed verb, as in the example below:

Example 15

It ûntgyng Tietk net, hoe begearich hja alles beseach
it fail.see Tietk not how avidly she everything saw
Tietk did not fail to notice how avidly she was looking at everything

Transitivity can also be avoided by incorporating the direct object, resulting in a perfectly sounding sentence, as in the following examples:

Example 16

a. Piet Paaltjens wie in jonge, bleke dichter, dy't op in pealtsje siet te krinkjespuien
Piet Paaltjens was a young pale poet who on a pole sat to circle.spit
Piet Paaltjens was a young pale poet, who sat on a pole spitting circles
b. It suterich âld wyfke dat by de grutte tobbe siet te termskrabjen
the slovenly old woman that at the big tub sat to gut.scrape
The slovenly old woman who sat scraping guts at the big tub

Incidentally, particles can also be incorporated, as in the following example:

Example 17

Joukje stie te ôfwaskjen en Hepke droege it spul ôf
Jouke stood to up.wash and Hepke dried the things up
Jouke stood doing the dishes and Hepke dried them up

To sum up, auxiliaries of body posture select intransitive verbs of activity, in case they select infinitival clauses as their complement. It seems to be a recent development that auxiliaries of body posture are found with transitive complements, that is, without incorporation. The relevance of intransitivity is intimately bound up with object incorporation, since object incorporation makes a transitive verb intransitive. More specifically, the kind of intransitivity involved is not the removal of the logical subject (the agent) from the subject position, but it involves the removal of the logical object (the theme) from the object position. This process, when marked by a systematic morpheme, is called a syntactic antipassive. The Frisian examples involve an antipassive that is realised by noun incorporation. Consequently, it could be said that various Frisian copulas and auxiliaries select an antipassive complement, and that antipassivity is lexically realised by means of noun-incorporation, see incorporating to-infinitive.

References:
    Suggestions for further reading ▼
    phonology
    • Dutch
    • Frisian
    • Afrikaans
    Show more ▼
    morphology
    • Dutch
    • Frisian
    • Afrikaans
    • Weak verbs
      [88%] Frisian > Morphology > Inflection > Verbs
    • Strong and other irregular verbs
      [88%] Frisian > Morphology > Inflection > Verbs
    • General categories
      [87%] Frisian > Morphology > Inflection > Verbs
    • -k
      [86%] Frisian > Morphology > Word formation > Derivation > Suffixation > Verbal suffixes > Noun as base
    • Degree
      [86%] Frisian > Morphology > Inflection > Adjectives
    Show more ▼
    syntax
    • Dutch
    • Frisian
    • Afrikaans
    Show more ▼
    cite
    print