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Două inovaţii în istoria infinitivului românesc şi explicaţiile lor

Publication: Studii și cercetări lingvistice, LXVII (2), p. 179-193
Publisher:Editura Academiei
Abstract:[Two innovations in the history of the Romanian infinitive and their explanations]
The paper approaches the two innovations in the history of the infinitive in (Daco)Romanian, namely the apocope that led to the short infinitive (cântare > cânta) and the ‘prefixation’ of the preposition a (a + cântare > a cântare; a + cânta > a cânta). It is shown that, whereas the explanation adopted for the apocope of the infinitive is confirmed by an analysis which projects historical data into the system of the functions of the infinitive, the explanation put foward for the prefixation of the preposition a cannot be maintained any longer. This explanation holds that prefixation took place, in order to mark the distinction between nominal and verbal infinitives. Our analysis is based on the identification of the functions of the infinitival forms at the time when prefixation took place and shows that at that time (probably, the end of the XIIIth century) Romanian infinitive was in need of a form which should have been used as a dependent verbal. This functional need has been satisfied exactly by the birth of the prepositional infinitive, which is overwhelmingly used with this function in the XVIth century and after.
Our analysis also mentions a combinatorial peculiarity of the prepositional infinitive. The prepositional infinitive is available to the combination with negation and pronominal clitics, which is not the case with the other functional forms (nominal infinitive, ‘incorporated’ infinitive etc). We identify in this respect a relationship between this combination and the dependent function of the prepositional infinitive. Namely, the combination with negation and pronominal clitics appears to be a mark of the dependent function of the prepositional infinitive. We thus account for a well-known combinatorial property of the dependent infinitive forms which, by now, has been merely ascertained but not also explained.

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