This dissertation deals with infinitival constructions in standard Dutch.
There are three types: some infinitivals are obligatorily transparent,
others are (apparently) optionally transparent, and still others are
opaque. An in depth study of the fine structure of the obligatorily and
optionally transparent complements shows that the possibility of
transparency does not correlate with the presence of functional heads. In
the class of obligatorily transparent complements, we find complements as
small as VP, but also complements as large as TP. As both obligatorily
transparent VPs and TPs show the same range of transparency phenomena, the
possibility of transparency phenomena does not depend on the presence of
particular functional heads. The same holds for the optionally transparent
complements: within this class, the fine structure of the complement may
range from vP to TP, but regardless of the fine structure, the same
transparency effects arise.
Transparency is instead ascribed to the absence of phase heads between the
complement and the matrix clause. Phase heads being locality boundaries, a
relation between the matrix and the complement cannot cross a phase head.
This explains the observation that opaque infinitivals are CPs. The status
of a head as a phase is argued to be variable. It is proposed that standard
Dutch v is a phase head only if it checks accusative case. With this
assumption, the observation that the various transparency phenomena
correlate with the possibility of long object raising follows