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LINGUIST List 23.4217

Tue Oct 09 2012

Calls: Syntax, Morphology, Pragmatics, Typology/Croatia

Editor for this issue: Alison Zaharee <alisonlinguistlist.org>

Date: 09-Oct-2012
From: Simone Heinold <heinoldlingua.uni-frankfurt.de>
Subject: Imperatives and other Directive Strategies
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Full Title: Imperatives and other Directive Strategies

Date: 18-Sep-2013 - 21-Sep-2013
Location: Split, Croatia
Contact Person: Simone Heinold
Meeting Email: < click here to access email >

Linguistic Field(s): Morphology; Pragmatics; Syntax; Typology

Call Deadline: 05-Nov-2012

Meeting Description:

Imperatives and other Directive Strategies
Workshop for the 2013 Annual Meeting of the Societas Linguistica Europaea (SLE), in Split, Croatia, September 18-21

Of late, the traditional discussion about the role and function of imperatives in the languages of the world has been complemented by their comparison to other, mostly less frequent functional equivalents that exist in different forms in many languages (Birjulin & Xrakovskij 2001, Aikhenvald 2010, Devos & Van Olmen forthc.). These functional equivalents are not only of interest from the point of view of typology, in which reasons for their emergence and existence alongside the imperative are discussed. Formal research in this domain also shows that such alternatives offer a challenge for traditional analyses at the syntax-pragmatics interface. Here, topics such as non-finiteness, agreement and different types of addressees play a central role in the literature (Fries 1983, Donhauser 1986, Wunderlich 1994, Gärtner (to appear)).

Call for Papers:

For our workshop at the 2013 Annual Meeting of the Societas Linguistica Europaea (SLE) in Split, Croatia, we are looking for papers from all linguistic frameworks that deal with imperatives or other directive strategies such as infinitives, participles, free subordinate clauses, verbless constructions and the like.

We would like to invite researchers that work on one or several of the following topics:

1. Do imperatives cover the same pragmatic functions in all languages?

In most languages, imperatives can express more than just the prototypical speech act of order. They can also be used for advice, wishes, permissions and the like (De Clerck 2006, Van Olmen 2011, Kaufmann 2011, Heinold 2012). We welcome papers that discuss not only methods for the classification of the functions that imperatives have but also corpus-based analyses that show how imperatives work in different languages, which functions they fulfill and how frequent they are.

2. What are the differences between imperatives and alternative constructions?

This research question has to do with the formal difference between imperatives and their functional equivalents. In many languages the alternatives pose theoretical problems due to their non-finite morphology (infinitives, participles) or/and their origin as non-directive dependent units inside more complex syntactic constructions (infinitives, participles, subordinate clauses). We invite speakers who deal with one or several of the following questions: in which way -morphological or syntactic - are the alternative forms different?; are they able to syntactically omit or realize the addressee of the action expressed by the verb?; which types of addressees can they be directed at (1., 2., 3. person; singular/plural)?; are there morphological particularities of the verb (finite/non-finite/semi-finite forms) and which conclusions can be drawn from this for a definition of finiteness?; what pragmatic effects do these morphological or syntactic properties have?

3. What motivates the use of alternative constructions?

Equivalence, also the functional kind, might be expected to be a rare phenomenon. So when two or more forms seem to compete for the same meaning or function in one language, as it seems to be the case with directives, it is appropriate to ask if they are really interchangeable or if one of the forms can do things that the other cannot. We are looking for explanations (mostly of a pragmatic or semantic nature) for the presence of alternative forms. The typological literature in particular regards the existence of functional equivalents to the imperative as a matter of politeness (Aikhenvald 2010, Van Olmen 2010). But their pragmatic properties too seem to differ from those of the imperative (Van Olmen 2011, Heinold 2012): some forms are restricted to or extremely frequent with one particular speech act while other forms can cover a large array of meanings. The morphological and syntactic properties of the functional equivalents also differ from those of the imperative. For prohibitive structures, for instance, the negation first principle seems to play a role as well.

4. Do similar alternative constructions do the same thing in different languages?

This last question again has to do with the comparison of languages. In German, for instance, infinitives can occur in positive as well as negative contexts while, in Dutch, they strongly correlate with negation. German past participles, by contrast, cannot co-occur with nicht-negation and other strategies are developed to indicate that an action is supposed to be terminated. Here, we are interested in papers that discuss the behavior of alternative forms in different languages and in different environments such as negation or modification (e.g. by modal particles).

Please send an abstract of 300 words (without references) as a pdf-document to both Simone Heinold (heinoldlingua.uni-frankfurt.de) and Daniël Van Olmen (daniel.vanolmenua.ac.be) by no later than November 5, 2012. The language of both the abstract and the presentation is English.

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