The present paper examines the variation between finite and infinitive complements of the Portuguese perception/causation verbs ver ('see'), ouvir ('hear'), sentir ('feel'), deixar ('let') and fazer ('make') from a cognitive grammar perspective. It is argued that the distribution of the structures main verb + finite /infinitive complement can be explained by iconicity and subjectification. The hypothesis is put forward that the structure perception verb + infinitive complement designates direct physical perception, while the structure perception verb + finite complement designates an inferential relation between the main verb and the complement event. In addition, the structure causation verb + infinitive complement designates direct causation, whereas causation verb + finite complement designates an indirect causation with inferential features. Further, it is claimed that the inferential and conceptually more complex character found in the structure main verb + finite complement represents a prime example of subjectification. Being so, it is argued that Portuguese complementation provides a remarkable connection between iconicity and subjectification.
- Cognitive grammar