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Syntax of Croatian and German verbs of incomplete meaning exemplified on modal verbs

Vladimir Karabalić

Puni tekst: hrvatski pdf 240 Kb

str. 171-185

preuzimanja: 3.997



The first chapter gives a definition of so called verbs of incomplete meaning and suggests two
criteria for their distinction from lexical verbs. Firstly, one must distinguish between the usage
of infinitives as verbal additions to verbs of incomplete meaning within a complex predicate and
the usage of infinitives as valency complements to lexical verbs. So for instance in the sentence
Boji se priznati što se dogodilo ((He) is afraid to admit what happened) the infinitive phrase
and the implicit subject are valency complements to the verb boji se (to be afraid of) since they
are specific in the sense that all other complements apart from the subject denoting a human
agent and the objective genitive denoting the cause of emotion are ruled out. As opposed to
this, in the sentence Mora priznati što se dogodilo ((He) has to/must admit what happened) the
infinitive is not a valency complement to the modal verb since this verb is not selective towards
its complements (apart from their necessary infinitive form): theoretically every modal verb can
be combined with every lexical verb in the infinitive form.
The second chapter explains the basic syntax of modal verbs as a subgroup of verbs of
incomplete meaning. Firstly, chapter 2.1. gives a definition and a classification of modal verbs in
the Croatian language. In chapter 2.2. on the syntax of modal verbs in the Croatian language
we discuss among other things the use of modal verbs with or without the infinitive form,
parts of sentence claimed to be introduced by the modal verb itself, the syntax of the Croatian
verbs željeti (wish) and htjeti (want) which differ in certain aspects from other modal verbs,
the structure da + infinitive as an alternative to the infinitive form used with the modal verb
and finally the status of sentences in which both modal and lexical verbs are used (simple or
complex sentence). Chapter 2.3. gives a contrastive overview of certain syntactic aspects of modal
verbs in the German language.
The theoretical background for the analysis is provided by the dependence grammar and the
valency theory combined with a synchronic, descriptive and contrastive approach.

Ključne riječi

modal of verbs, syntax, Croatian language, German language, dependency grammar

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Podaci na drugim jezicima: hrvatski

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