Waar is je velo? Buiten staan | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online
Volume 21, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 1384-5845
  • E-ISSN: 2352-1171



This paper describes the properties of a construction in a specific Flemish dialect, in which infinitives are used in fragment answers in contexts where this would be unacceptable in Standard Dutch or other varieties. Questions such as ‘Where are my glasses?’ and ‘Where is your bicycle?’ can be answered in this dialect with infinitival constructions such as ‘lay on the table’ and ‘stand outside’. We apply an analysis of fragment answers in terms of ellipsis (based on Merchant 2004) to these infinitival constructions. However, we find fragment answers with infinitives in contexts where the assumption of ellipsis is highly problematic, since there is no plausible underlying structure available in the dialect. We show that the construction has extended its use to contexts in which the infinitive independently expresses the tense features of the sentence. The description of the properties and restrictions of the construction is based on a survey in which more than thirty speakers were tested for their judgements of fragment answers depending on the features in the grammatical context of the infinitive.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): ellipsis; fragment answers; infinitival tense; microvariation
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