Imperatives and Commands

Paperback | December 15, 2012

byAlexandra Y. Aikhenvald

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This is the first cross-linguistic study of imperatives, and commands of other kinds, across the world's languages. It makes a significant and original contribution to the understanding of their morphological, syntactic, semantic, and pragmatic characteristics. The author discusses the roleimperatives and commands play in human cognition and how they are deployed in different cultures, and in doing so offers fresh insights on patterns of human interaction and communication.Alexandra Aikhenvald examines the ways of framing commands, or command strategies, in languages that do not have special imperative forms. She analyses the grammatical and semantic properties of positive and negative imperatives and shows how these correlate with categories such as tense,information source, and politeness. She looks at the relation of command pragmatics to cultural practices, assessing, for example, the basis for Margaret Mead's assumption that the harsher the people the more frequently they use imperatives. Professor Aikhenvald covers a wide range of languagefamilies, including many relatively neglected examples from North America, Amazonia, and New Guinea. The book is accompanied by illustrations of some conventional command signs.Written and presented with the author's characteristic clarity, this book will be welcomed by linguists of all theoretical persuasions. It will appeal to social and cultural anthropologists and cognitive and behavioural scientists.

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This is the first cross-linguistic study of imperatives, and commands of other kinds, across the world's languages. It makes a significant and original contribution to the understanding of their morphological, syntactic, semantic, and pragmatic characteristics. The author discusses the roleimperatives and commands play in human cogniti...

Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald is Professor and Research Leader (People and Societies of the Tropics) in the Cairns Institute, James Cook University, Australia. She has worked on descriptive and historical aspects of Berber languages and has published, in Russian, a grammar of Modern Hebrew (1990; second edition 2009). She is a major authorit...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:520 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.01 inPublished:December 15, 2012Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199665559

ISBN - 13:9780199665556

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Table of Contents

1. Imperatives and Commands: Setting the Scene2. Imperatives Worldwide3. How Imperatives are Special4. Imperatives and Other Grammatical Categories5. 'Don't do it': a vista of negative imperatives6. Imperatives and Their Meanings7. Imperatives Which do not Command8. Imperatives in Disguise9. Imperatives we Live by10. Where do Imperatives Come From?11. Imperatives in Contact12. The Ubiquitous ImperativeAppendixGlossary of TermsReferencesIndex of AuthorsIndex of Languages, Linguistic Families, and AreasIndex of Subjects

Editorial Reviews

"[This book] covers almost every relevant topic imaginable. Unlike any article or book before, it describes the cross-linguistic variation in imperatives and alternative directive strategies in a clear and thorough way ... Aikhenvald's monograph constitutes a reference work for field workers,who will welcome the appended check-list of 'what kind of featurs need to be described, analysed and illustrated." --Linguistic Typology