The upcoming Syntax Interface Lecture will take place on Thursday, March 7th of 2019. We will host a talk by Myrthe Bergstra (Utrecht University).
Micro-variation, contact and change: the absentive in Frisian and Dutch
In both Frisian and Dutch we find the absentive, a syntactic construction to express the absence of a subject. The absentive is formed (in these languages) by a finite form of to be and an infinitive (a bare infinitive in Dutch, a te-infinitive in Frisian).
In this talk, I will argue that the absentive can be analyzed by means of a silent verb GO, following Abraham (2008). Besides being able to explain the meaning of the absentive, I will argue that this analysis is the key in another problem: it explains the differences that we find between the Dutch and Frisian absentive: 1) why Frisian included a te-infinitive, rather than a bare infinitive, 2) why the finite verb in the absentive can also be gean (“go”) or a modal verb in Frisian, and 3) why the Frisian absentive can have a passive interpretation. Finally, I will present some data showing that the absentive in Frisian is changing under influence of Dutch, but that this does not mean that the Frisian variant is lost.
Time and location
The lecture will take place at the University of Utrecht from 16.00 until 17.00
Address: Trans 10, room 0.19 (A.W. de Grootkamer).