(2,509 words)

1. Definition 

Just looking at a language like English, one easily gets the impression that “tensed” equals “finite” and one may wonder why we actually need two separate notions. However, taking a wider perspective, it becomes clear that tense and finiteness are different after all: not only do some languages (like Latin) have tensed infinitives, in others, such as Dravidian, finiteness is expressed thr…

Cite this page
Rint SYBESMA, “Finiteness”, in: Encyclopedia of Chinese Language and Linguistics, General Editor Rint Sybesma. Consulted online on 16 February 2019 <>
First published online: 2016

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