LINGUIST List 9.17

Thu Jan 8 1998

Disc: Infinitives

Editor for this issue: Elaine Halleck <>


  1. David Harris, definition of infinitives

Message 1: definition of infinitives

Date: Wed, 17 Dec 1997 16:40:12 -0500
From: David Harris <>
Subject: definition of infinitives

Re: the very use of the term `infinitive-splitting'. Why
call "to /go" an infinitive? Its etymological counterparts in the
other /Germanic languages (such as German "zu gehen") are never
called that. What? "zu gehen" is not an infinitive? Perhaps you
mean to say that "gehen " is the infinitive by itself, ie. that it
doesn't need the "zu" portion to be an infinitive. Incidentally,
it's interesting you should mention German in this conversation - a
language in which a split infinitive (or whatever you want to call
the situation that would occur when something intruded between "zu"
and "gehen") absolutely never occurs. (At least I can't for the life
of me think of an utterance where this does occur. Maybe you can.)

David Harris Language Analysis Systems Voice: (703)
834-6200 ext. 242 2214 Rock Hill Road, Suite 201 Fax: (703) 834-6230
Herndon, VA 22070
"A multi viseres nulum es visebli exept li ja viseti. " -D Harris

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