• Dutch
  • Frisian
  • Saterfrisian
  • Afrikaans
Show all
4.4 Subject oriented to-infinitives without clause union

Apart from reduced infinitives, there are also infinitives which are perfectly capable of expressing their own internal arguments. Such infinitival clauses can either undergo clause union with their selecting auxiliary or not. Here we will focus on the absence of clause union.


The following examples involve to-infinitival clauses which have not undergone clause union.

Du koast fersäike, [dät hele Wierk tou ferkoopjen].
you can try the whole work to sell
You can try to sell the whole work.
Wie häbe fersoacht, [dän Dreguner tou beräkken].
we have tried the police to reach
We tried to contact the police.
Deer häbe jo fersoacht, n Diek an ju Äi aptousmieten.
there have they tried a dyke at the Äi up.to.throw
There they have tried to build up a dyke against the Äi.

The infinitival clause, bracketed in the examples above is separate from the main clause. It is placed at the end of the main clause, following the verb cluster. The middle field of the infinitival clause is clearly distinguishable from the middle field of the main clause. The two are separated from each other by the verb cluster of the middle field of the main clause. In other examples, it cannot be acertained whether or not clause union took place, because the middle field and the verb cluster are empty. An example is given below:

Wie fersoachten uus Babe tou traasten.
we tried our dad to comfort
We tried to comfort our dad.

The tensed verb is placed in the second position of the clause, and there is no verb cluster marking the end of the middle field. Hence it cannot be determined whether clause union took place. Below are some further examples of auxiliary verbs which characteristically take full-fledged to-infinitival clauses without clause union:

Ap ’n hät Woud fon uus Babe häbe wie Wäänte apheelden mäd ’n Slingerlappe ap do Spräien tou skjoten.
on a harsh word of our father have we boys up.hold with a sling at the sparrows to shoot
After a harsh word from our father, we boys stopped shooting at the sparrows with a slingshot.
Un wiel jo sik waigerden, God antoukannen.
and because they REFL refused God acknowledge
And because they refused to acknowledge God.
Iek roate him ‘n Nuk, as hie ounfäng, sljucht uur sien Moanske tou balen.
I gave him a shove when he began bad about his wife to speak
I gave him a shove when he started badmouthing his wife.

The last example involves the auxiliary ounfangen. What is interesting about this auxiliary is that it is a separable verb: the adposition oun ‘at, to’ remains at the end of the middle field when the verb occurs at the beginning of the middle field in main clauses. It is unusual for auxiliaries to consist of a verb and a bare selected adposition, but compare aphoolde ‘stop’. The to-infinitival clause has its own middle field in all examples. The subject of the infinitive is controlled by the subject of the auxiliary.

    printreport errorcite