Posted by Panu Petteri Höglund on 5:32 9/14/01

In reply to: Pangram posted by Mark Rosenfelder on 1:11 9/13/01

I would just like to point out that the Modern Icelandic equivalents to will/would (mun/mundi) and shall/should (skal/skyldi) do have infinitives. My Icelandic is too rusty to give you examples of actual usage, but there is a big Icelandic grammar in English, printed, if I remember right, in the fifties, which includes lots of texts (it is called "Icelandic - Grammar, Texts, Glossary").

Even in Finnish, the equivalent verbs have infinitives, at least in the dictionary - they are impersonal and belong to mainstream conjugations, so that the infinitive could be inferred even if it did not exist in actual usage. But I am hard pressed to find any real usage outside contrived and unnatural examples.

5:34 9/14/01

Oh, sorry - I didn't notice it was IMPERATIVE not INFINITIVE. But modal auxiliary verbs could definitely have an imperative, I think - to add nuances.

Mark responds:

I think so too, though the meanings requires some convoluted thought. Lachane seems to be a meta-moral statement: it should be the case that something ought to be! Pragmatically, maybe it would just serve as an intensive. But perhaps this is why the language creator shouldn't write paindromes and pangrams; it's too easy to change the language, even subtly, to make them work!

In some English dialects, the modals seem to function as their own infinitives, as in "I might could do that."

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