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--- On Thu, 2/10/11, Eldin Raigmore <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> Christophe Grandsire-Koevoets 
> <[log in to unmask]>
> wrote:
> >
> >Portuguese (at least in Europe, I don't know about
> Brazilian Portuguese) is
> >well known for having a so-called "personal
> infinitive", i.e. an infinitive
> >form that takes personal endings to indicate the
> subject of the infinitive.
> >Would this personal infinitive be allowed in this
> construction?
> >
> 
> Do "personal infinitives" really count as infinitives?

What else can you call them? They're the infinitive form + personal endings which, if I'm not mistaken, don't occur elsewhere. You might call them a "special tense" (but which one?); they may in fact derive from the Lat. imperf. subj. (as someone suggested) or the Port. "future subj." (which it seems to share with Spanish but no other Romance lang.) But it's not a "tense" as it has none of the usual qualities (time) of a tense.

Further, in some cases it apparently can replace a "that" clause, which would ordinarily be introduced by que and contain a finite verb (indicative or subjunctive)-- but the pers.infinitive is not introduced with que, and is tenseless-- one of the criteria for "infinitives".
> 
> I thought the main thing that distinguished infinitives
> from other verbal nouns 
> was that infinitives lacked any trace of a subject.

That could be arbitrary. For that matter, you could say that in Engl. "i want _you to go_" you is the "subject" of to go. And IIRC Latin had a common construction _Acc. + ininitive_ that stood in for many subordinate clauses ("that" clauses in Engl.), where the acc. noun was the subject of the clause/infinitive.
> 
> An infinitive that has to agree with its subject, even if
> only in person, wouldn't 
> quite be infinitive, would it?
> 
> It would be some other non-finite form of the verb, right?
> 
> Or is the terminology really that random from language to
> language and/or 
> linguist to linguist?

AFAIK, the term "personal infinitive" is unique to Portuguese, so I suppose they're free to call it whatever they want. Such a construction does not occur in any other Romance lang. to my knowledge.
> 


 
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