Date: Fri, 4 Apr 1997 15:16:27 -0500
Subject: Re: for-to

Like Bethany, I remember the for-to infinitive analysis from Jacobs and
Rosenbaum: the Equi-NP drops out of the S', and then the 'for'
complementizer is deleted--in modern _standard_ English, but not
necessarily in "nonstandard" dialects or in creoles. I recall, more
vaguely, Bickerton's analysis of the fi/tu complementizer in Guyanese
Creole, and I'm aware that 'for' is kept and 'to' is deleted in (many?)
English creoles. An interesting sidenote: When I was in high school a
new student moved up to Minnesota from South Carolina (I believe), and
I was struck by her use of 'for,' as in "I want for go," "He likes for
play." She was a white German-surnamed farm girl, and I wondered (but
never asked) where she got that construction--maybe from Black or
Gullah-speaking friends? Or is the form used by others in the South?
Perhaps that experience was the genesis of my interest in linguistics!

Peter Patrick asked about mapping syntactic variation in dialects. A
few of us are indeed beginning to do that, believing that lexical and
phonological mappings are not enough. My students and I are working on
Ohio, and others on this list are doing other areas. I suspect we're
all willing to share!
Beverly Flanigan