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Te-raising is clitic climbing

Cora Pots

Abstract: In contrast to finite verb clusters, non-finite verb clusters have thus far received little attention in the literature. In this paper, I present new data from a large-scale questionnaire study on variation in non-finite three-verb clusters in Dutch, investigating the position and presence of the infinitival marker te ‘to’. The results reveal that a group of Dutch speakers allows te to occur in a higher position than it should based on selection requirements. I propose that for these speakers te has the morphosyntactic status of a clitic, whereas for all other speakers te is a verbal prefix. I analyse Dutch verb clusters as cases of functional restructuring and te-raising as an instance of clitic climbing, a well-known phenomenon from other languages with restructuring, such as Italian.
Keywords: verb clusters / finite verb / functional / clitic climbing / restructuring

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