Semantics

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By Jary M., Kissine M.

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Extra info for Imperatives (Key Topics in Semantics and Pragmatics)

Sample text

So, should we say that, unlike Irish, English lacks a genuine imperative mood? 3), this question is by no means easy to answer. But, for the time being, the crucial point is that if English does have an imperative mood, this mood has to be realised sententially, that is, singled out by a combination of morpho-syntactic and functional considerations. Leaving English aside for the moment, there are compelling reasons to think that characterising the imperative as being exclusively a verbal mood would be a misleading and arbitrary move.

35 Note that the negation with do is unacceptable in combination with another auxiliary: (84) *You did not be careful. (85) You weren’t careful. (86) *We did not have read the book. (87) We haven’t read the book. In stark contrast, imperatives must be negated with the auxiliary do form, even in presence of the auxiliaries have and be: (88) Don’t be shy. (89) *Be not shy. (90) Don’t have eaten all the food before we arrive. (91) *Have not eaten all the food before we arrive. This sets negated imperatives apart from ordinary negation.

Let us wait until Nua comes. tuu PART. Nua po nei, he turu night DET. ACTN go down he hi. ACTN fish When it gets dark, we’ll go down and fish. (132) ka mai a Nua. INCL. (133) ka oho ena koe, e to´o go DET. 2SG. ST. bring PREP. te ka SPCF. fish When you go there you might bring me some fish. 16 There are also languages that exhibit a rich inflectional system but nevertheless fail to dedicate an inflected form to directive speech acts. A very well-known example is the Australasian language Nunggubuyu. ’ (Heath 1984: 343; Verstraete 2005).

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