The Infinitive Marker across Scandinavian

  • Ken Ramshøj Christensen Dept. of English, Inst. for Language, Literature and Culture, University of Aarh
Keywords: adverbs, Danish, English, Faroese, feature checking, head movement, Icelandic, infinitive marker, negation, Norwegian, strong features, Swedish, weak features


In this paper I argue that the base-position of the infinitive marker in the Scandinavian languages and English share a common origin site. It is inserted as the top-most head in the VP-domain. The cross-linguistic variation in the syntactic distribution of the infinitive marker can be accounted for by assuming that it undergoes head movement. This movement is optional in Danish, English, Norwegian, and Early Modern Danish and is not feature-driven. In Faroese, Icelandic, and Swedish, on the other hand, it is triggered by φ-feature checking on Finº. In Icelandic and Swedish these φ-features are strong and induce obligatory vº→Finº movement, whereas they are weak in Faroese and do not induce vº→Finº movement.