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The Infinitive

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Chapter Summary

Stinespring argued that some active infinitives have passive meaning. However, infinitives are verbal nouns. Therefore, the author says that an infinitive is neutral in terms of voice when functioning nominally. Haspelmath has demonstrated that infinitives develop from nominal forms that denote purpose. That is, along the path of grammaticalization, purpose markers tend to develop into markers of complements of various types of verbs, such as directive verbs, potential verbs, verbs of thinking, and verbs of cognition, each type being increasingly different from the earlier purposive meaning, until finally they are recognized as markers of the infinitive rather than purpose markers.

Keywords: Haspelmath; infinitives; purpose markers; Stinespring



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