LINGUIST List 11.513

Thu Mar 9 2000

Qs: Pre-infinitival "prepositions", Citation Update

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  1. Neil Coffey, Pre-infinitival "prepositions"
  2. Adam Glaz, Citation in *Intro to Functional Grammar*

Message 1: Pre-infinitival "prepositions"

Date: Wed, 08 Mar 2000 22:53:58 -0500
From: Neil Coffey <>
Subject: Pre-infinitival "prepositions"

Dear linguists,

I'd be interested in some cross-linguistic feedback
on pre-infinitival "prepositions" (PIP), and specifically
on syntactic situations where an otherwise lexically
chosen PIP can be neutralised to a 'default' PIP. For
example, in French, the language I'm primarily working
on, there seem to be cases where a lexically specified
'�' can be neutralised to the default 'de' (and in some
cases, this is more or less obligatory):

 J'ai demand� � voir un m�decin.
 *J'ai demand� de voir un m�decin.
 ?Ce que j'ai demand�, c'est � voir un m�decin.
 Ce que j'ai demand�, c'est de voir un m�decin.

 J'ai appris � sauvegarder mon document toutes
 les 10 minutes.
 *J'ai appris de sauvegarder mon document...
 Ce que j'ai appris, c'est de sauvegarder mon

 Je continue � travailler.
 %Je continue de travailler.
 J'y continue, �/de travailler.

[In these cases of default 'de', it could perhaps
be argued that the infinitival phrase takes on a
slightly more nominal interpretation.]

In some cases, it seems that if enough lexical
content is inserted between coordinated 
infinitives, the second infinitive can have a
tendency to revert to having the 'default' PIP
(NB though the '�' in this example probably doesn't
have the same status as that in the previous

 Je me suis habitu� � prendre des notes en
 cours ainsi que de les taper � l'ordinateur.

My question, then, is: in other languages (both
Romance and non-Romance), how does this choice of
elements with a similar syntactic function to
Fr '�'/'de' compare? For example, German has
presence or absence of 'zu', and there seem to be
cases where 'zu' as a "default" element can be

 Ich muss rad(*zu)fahren und Obst (*zu) essen.
 Was ich tun muss ist folgendes: rad(?zu)fahren
 und Obst (?zu) essen.
 Was ich zu tun hoffe ist folgendes: rad(zu)fahren
 und Obst (zu) essen.

In addition, I'd be interested in information about
what syntactic status has been posited for PIPs in
these other languages. For example, in French,
both complementizer and [Spec, CP] positions have
been positied for '�' and 'de'.

I will, of course, post a summary if requested.

With thanks,


Neil Coffey
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Message 2: Citation in *Intro to Functional Grammar*

Date: Thu, 9 Mar 2000 14:06:55 +0100
From: Adam Glaz <>
Subject: Citation in *Intro to Functional Grammar*

Dear Linguist Users,

I'd be very grateful for help in finding a citation. In
the 1985 edition of M.A.K. Introduction to Funtional
Grammar, on p. xvii one can read: 'meanings are
realized through wordings; and without a theory of
wordings ... there is no way of making explicit one's
interpretation of the meaning of a text.' Does anyone
know how, if at all, this is formulated in the 1994
edition (2nd ed.)? The volume is unavailable in our
library and in a few others I have tried.

Thanks very much in advance.

Adam Glaz
Department of English, UMCS
Lublin, Poland
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