Phasehood of infinitives

Title: Phasehood of infinitives
Source document: Linguistica Brunensia. 2017, vol. 65, iss. 1, pp. 97-114
Extent
97-114
  • ISSN
    1803-7410 (print)
    2336-4440 (online)
Type: Article
Language
License: Not specified license
 

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Abstract(s)
This paper focuses on the status of infinitivals with regard to their potential phasehood. First, our notion of phasehood derives from but also departs from Chomsky's (2000) analysis of finite VPs, as it is adjusted for infinitivals. This adjustment strengthens the original theory because it successfully incorporates an account of several properties of different types of English infinitives. Secondly, a major part of our approach is based on the premise that an infinitive’s status as a phase depends on how that clause is lexically selected. If the selected head is an open class lexical item, the infinitive will be a phase, whereas an infinitive that is selected otherwise will not be a phase. Thirdly, the infinitival marker 'to' functions in our theory as the head of the infinitival, which means that every to-infinitive is at least a vP. We thus follow and develop Wurmbrand's (2001) idea that infinitives are basically vPs. Finally, we divide infinitivals according to their sizes (CP, IP, vP, VP) and subjects (obligatory control, raising, exceptional case marking) and argue that some of them qualify as phases while others do not.