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Direct object thematic role
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Modal te-infinitives assign to the noun which they modify the thematic role associated with direct objects.

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Modal te-infinitives assign to the noun which they modify the thematic role associated with direct objects. The example below has a modal interpretation of (negated) ability:

Example 1

De net út te hâldene neargeastigens
the not ADP to suffer narrow-mindedness
The insufferable narrow-mindedness
Narrowmindedness, which is too much to stand

The example below has a modal interpretation of (negated) necessity:

Example 2

Dizze noait te ferjittene jierdeifiering
this never to forget anniversary
This never to be forgotten anniversary

These phrases can be paraphrased with the verb of the passive voice, wurdebecome, which only occurs with transitive verbs:

Example 3

a. De te settene nammen
the to jot.down names
The names which must be jotted down
b. De nammen dy't set wurde moatte
the names which jotted.down become must
The names which must be jotted down

This ties in with the fact that intransitive verbs do not enter the construction:

Example 4

a. *De (nea) te ferstjerren(e) smjunt
the never to die crook
The (never) to die crook
b. *It (nea) te laitsjen(e) publyk
the never to laugh audience
The (never) to lauhg audience

Attributive te-infinitives receive a modal interpretation, which expresses either ability or necessity, depending on the presence of other elements such as choice of article (definite, indefinite):

Example 5

a. Ajax is in te ferslane tsjinstanner
Ajax is a to defeat opponent
Ajax is an opponent that can be defeated
b. Ajax is de te ferslane tsjinstanner
Ajax is the to defeat opponent
Ajax is the opponent that is to be defeated
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