Narrative infinitives, narrative gerunds, and the features of the C-T system

  • Gabriela Alboiu York University, Toronto
  • Virginia Hill University of New Brunswick, Saint John
Keywords: narrative infinitives, narrative gerunds, assertion, C-T feature transfer


This paper discusses narrative infinitives (NIs) and narrative gerunds (NGs) in Romance by looking at Middle French (MF), Acadian French (AF) and Old Romanian (OR) data. The focus is on constructions where clauses with non-finite verb forms are coordinated with declaratives that contain indicative, hence finite, verbs. We show that NIs/NGs yield exclusively declarative (rather than interrogative) readings and argue that an Assert OP (Meinunger 2004) is mapped in Spec,CP/ForceP of these derivations thus recategorizing an otherwise non-finite derivation into a finite, realis clause. Conversely, we argue that root indicatives achieve the assertion reading in the absence of any clause typing operator.The paper identifies a series of shared properties in these derivations, as follows: (i) exclusive assertion semantics; (ii) projection to a phasal CP; (iii) verb movement outside of vP. By capitalizing on the two types of Agreement properties (i.e. φ-features and δ-features) and the 4-way language typology proposed by Miyagawa (2017), the paper discusses these core properties while also accounting for the empirical variation illustrated in the grammar of NIs/NGs in MF, AF, and OR (i.e. level of verb movement, presence versus absence of independent lexical subjects and clitics).

Author Biographies

Gabriela Alboiu, York University, Toronto
Associate Professor of Linguistics,Dept of Languages, Literatures and Linguistics
Virginia Hill, University of New Brunswick, Saint John
Department of Humanities and Languages.Full Professor