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On Thu, 25 Nov 2010 11:10:07 -0800, Gary Shannon <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

>Is the infinitive something a language MUST have?

No, not at all; a large number don't.  
To name a few familiar examples, I think standard Arabic lacks one.  
Infinitives are being or have been lost throughout the Balkan sprachbund,
through their replacement by the subjunctive: in Bulgarian, Macedonian, most
of Albanian, the loss is complete; in Modern Greek AIUI it would've been
except for the influence of the written standard, but still the old
infinitive is basically only a noun now.  
Or, going the other direction, PIE is thought not to've had an infinitive;
the daughters that developed ones did so from a variety of different
case-forms of verbal nouns.  

Alex