Date: Thu, 3 Apr 1997 16:08:28 -0500
Subject: For-To again

I'm not sure what the original interest in these was-- location of
"for to" constructions regionally or ethnically, I suppose, for which
E. W. Gilman is certainly right to point us to DARE and other
published sources. But as I hazily recall my syntax courses of a
decade ago, the non-acceptability of "for to" (or "for __ to", as they
would have it) constructions in standard English was important
evidence motivating the distinction between S and S' complement
clauses, and restrictions on the occurrence of "big PRO". (This was in
the days of Chomsky and Lasnik '77 and filter theory, and I have no
idea what the current view is.)
So far as I know, though Chomskyan syntax recognized that
"for to" occurred in non-standard dialects, the consequences of these
dialects for the organization of grammar were not explored. More to
the point of this list, I don't know of a source for exploring the
regional distribution of such syntactic constructions in a systematic
way-- a syntactic atlas of English dialects. Those with dictionary
entries can be traced through dictionaries, but what does one do with
more abstract items? Any suggestions? Sure there are a few articles
here and there, and Trudgill edited a book on regional syntax a few
years ago; and I've heard of an Italian syntactic atlas, I believe;
but what about our own much-examined language? Has the opposition
between traditional dialectology and generative syntax prevented the
emergence of such reference works?