Elements of Control

Structure and Meaning in Infinitival Constructions

  • Idan┬áLandau

Part of the Studies in Natural Language and Linguistic Theory book series (SNLT, volume 51)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-ix
  2. Idan Landau
    Pages 1-25
  3. Idan Landau
    Pages 26-91
  4. Idan Landau
    Pages 92-128
  5. Idan Landau
    Pages 129-154
  6. Idan Landau
    Pages 155-203
  7. Back Matter
    Pages 205-215

About this book


1. THE FUNDAMENTAL QUESTIONS OF CONTROL Imagine you are a child faced with the daunting task of acquiring the grammar of control in your language. You toddle around buoyantly (you should be past 3 by now), occasionally bumping into acoustic signals that miraculously map to "linguistic input". Some of them sound like this: (1) a. Robin, do you want _ to play with Kittie together? b. Come on, let me show you how _ to feed her. c. No Robin, Kittie doesn't like _ to be smacked. d. Robin, look what you've done! Bad boy! Time _ to go to bed. From your shelter under the kitchen table, you may draw the following conclusions: i) Mommy is very mad now; ii) Kittens make rotten toys; iii) My name must be Robin. Apart from the lesson in parental control, you also ought to learn something about grammatical control. In each of the sentences above, an element is missing (from the underlined position) that is nonetheless "filled-in" by your target grammar. This is what linguists term the "understood subject" of the infinitive. In order to be able to understand such sentences and produce similar ones yourself, you have to figure out the reference of the understood subject in every case. Thus, unless you are after some big trouble with Mommy, you had better conclude that the understood subject is Robin and Mommy in (la), Robin in (Ib), Kittie in (Ic) and everyone (especially Robin!) in (ld).


Extraposition Index Modus Syntax adjective complements derivation infinitive semantic semantics syntactic

Authors and affiliations

  • Idan┬áLandau
    • 1
  1. 1.Ben Gurion UniversityBeer ShevaIsrael

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Kluwer Academic Publishers 2000
  • Publisher Name Springer, Dordrecht
  • eBook Packages Springer Book Archive
  • Print ISBN 978-1-4020-0293-9
  • Online ISBN 978-94-011-3943-4
  • Series Print ISSN 0924-4670
  • Buy this book on publisher's site