LINGUIST List 12.2553

Sat Oct 13 2001

Qs: Imperative Unaccusatives, "Grandmother"

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  1. Jasper Holmes, Imperative unaccusatives
  2. Nancy Duncan, Grandparent

Message 1: Imperative unaccusatives

Date: Thu, 11 Oct 2001 15:02:32 +0100
From: Jasper Holmes <>
Subject: Imperative unaccusatives

It has been suggested to me that (non-stative) unnaccusative verbs
cannot be used in imperative constructions.

Does anyone have a view on whether this is so, and how it might be
explained if it is?

I have checked Levin's 'Verb of Change of State' (1993: 240-248), of
which there are 368, and only very few of them appear to tolerate
intransitive imperatives. One such imperative is shown in (1).

(1) [to kettle:] Boil, you blighter!

Is there a 'genuine' principle that blocks these imperatives or is it
'merely' a plausibility effect (eg use of the imperative implies the
possibility of agentive control)?

Replies please to:

[Levin, Beth. 1993. _English verb classes and alternations_. Chicago, UCP.]

Jasper W Holmes
3F Ltd
POBox 245
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Message 2: Grandparent

Date: Fri, 12 Oct 2001 07:21:06 -0700
From: Nancy Duncan <>
Subject: Grandparent

I'm working on a book for baby boomer grandparents. I'd like to find
someone who has knowledge of the word: grandmother. By that I mean, the
historical perspection of the word, how grandmother is perceived in a
social context, with younger people, etc. Given agism is rampant, is the
word grandparent being percieved differently socially as baby boomers age
and enter this new role?

I would appreciate any input or help regarding this topic. Anything related
to this particular word would be most helpful.

I also wish to thank Ms. Speas for pointing out this site.

Nancy Duncan, MSW

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