Distribution of infinitive markers in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales


  • Frančiška Trobevšek Drobnak University of Ljubljana




Distribution of infinitive markers in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales


Three formal markers occur in Middle English infinitives: the suffix -e(n) from the Old English -an of the uninflected infinitive, the particle to of the Old English inflected infinitive, and, as a new Middle English formation, the for to marker. The six marking patterns of the infinitive were: [+to, -(e)n], [-to, +(e)n], [+to, -(e)n], [+ to, +(e)n], [+for to, -(e)n], and [+forto, +(e)n]. After the 13th century, they displayed no consistent semanticor grammatical contrast. The semantic content of verbs, the type of verbal complementation, physical distance from the matrix verb, metric and rhyme patterns have all been considered as potentially instrumental in the actual choice of individual markers. The author of this paper explores to which extent, if at all, the marking of the Middle English infinitives covariates with their respective syntactic functions, as well as with the grammatical properties of their immediate contextual environment. For this purpose, the distribution of infinitive markers, in particular of the marker is explored through the analysis of samples taken from Chaucer's Canterbury Tales.


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29. 12. 2010

How to Cite

Trobevšek Drobnak, F. (2010). Distribution of infinitive markers in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. Linguistica, 50(1), 179-195. https://doi.org/10.4312/linguistica.50.1.179-195

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