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Spreading PatternsDiffusional Change in the English System of Complementation$
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Hendrik De Smet

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199812752

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199812752.001.0001

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(p.73) Chapter 5 For…to-infinitives
Spreading Patterns

Hendrik De Smet

Oxford University Press

Forto-infinitives are interesting for a number of reasons. First, within the present-day system of complementation, the use of forto-infinitival complements is fairly regular. Second, from a diachronic perspective, the spread of forto-infinitives within the system of verbal complementation is part of a much more extensive diffusional change, involving the spread of forto-infinitives over an impressive range of different environments. Third, the current state of forto-infinitival complementation and its historical development demonstrate the multifactorial character of both synchronic grammatical organization and diachronic diffusion, as well as the fundamental homology between the principles of usage and the principles of change. This chapter is organized as follows. Section 1 addresses the development of forto-infinitives in general, with particular attention to how forto-infinitives diffused over their current range of grammatical environments. Section 2 then covers the more specific development of forto-infinitives within the system of verbal complementation.

Keywords:   for…to-infinitives, diffusional change, grammatical organization, verbal complementation, complement

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