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The Rise of the To-Infinitive$
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Bettelou Los

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780199274765

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199274765.001.0001

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The rise of to-infinitival Exceptional Case-Marking

The rise of to-infinitival Exceptional Case-Marking

(p.233) 9 The rise of to-infinitival Exceptional Case-Marking
The Rise of the To-Infinitive

Bettelou Los (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses the rise of to-infinitival Exceptional Case-Marking (ECM) constructions as in, He believes the results to be unscientific, in late Middle English. It argues that a distinction should be made between the construction after verbs like want (I want you to do it), which appears to arise out of a reanalysis of the to-infinitive as THEME with verbs of commanding and permitting, and the construction after verbs like believe (‘the verbs of thinking and declaring’). It is argued that emergence of ECMs with believe-verbs is connected with changes in information structure causes by the loss of verb-second. The register restriction on this type of ECM, as well as the restriction on embedded subjects (witness *They alleged the results to be unscientific), appears to suggest that the construction is still outside the core grammar of English and requires additional routines (viruses) that are acquired after the core grammar is in place.

Keywords:   infinitival marker, commanding and permitting, verb complement, AcI, Exceptional Case-Marking, virus theory, information structure, discourse prominence, textual cohesion, passive

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