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The Substance of Language Volume IThe Domain of Syntax$
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John M. Anderson

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199608317

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199608317.001.0001

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Finiteness and subordination

Finiteness and subordination

Chapter:
(p.290) (p.291) 7 Finiteness and subordination
Source:
The Substance of Language Volume I
Author(s):

John M. Anderson

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199608317.003.0008

This chapter examines various constructions types and their relationship to finiteness. Certain constructions, such as ‘indirect questions’ and relatives, are demoted finites: the properties that they display that are associated with finiteness do not save them from being necessarily subordinate. Indicatives, however, can typically be finite in subordinate clauses. Some other constructions are dedicated mood-markers: this is often the case with optative, hortative, and exclamative constructions, which are frequently highly idiomatic. Other constructions still, though often, even typically, occurring as subordinates, may be promoted to serve as less prototypical expressions of declarative or of more marked moods: this is characteristic of the basic non-finite construction that is usually called infinitive. Subjunctives, associated notionally with irrealis, and even counterfactuality, show properties often associated with the expression of declaratives, but are frequently demoted. Descriptions are offered for this range of construction types and their varying relationship with finiteness.

Keywords:   subordinates, non-finite, ‘indirect questions’, relative clauses, subordinators, infinitives, subjunctives, irrealis

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