AdvisorOehrle, Richard T.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThis dissertation examines imperative constructions within English and across languages. Cross-linguistically, I define the strong imperative to be a unique sentential construction compatible with a direct command and not with an assertion. I show that strong imperatives are not universal: languages exist which can only be characterized as having weak imperatives--sentential constructions ambiguous between assertions and direct commands. The strong imperative lacks both modal elements and elements indicating past tense, and uses formal strategies to mark itself as distinct form non-imperatives. Such formal strategies fall into three types: (i) imperative-marking elements, (ii) the manipulation of subject, and (iii) intonation. Languages use either one of the types or combinations of them to mark the strong imperative. Several implicational universals are drawn from the study, ranging over imperative types, combinations of formal strategies, imperative negatives and the types of subjects. The dissertation proposes to treat the English imperatives as forming a clause type distinct from both tensed clauses and untensed clauses in terms of abstract properties and structures. Two analyses are given, one consistent with Government and Binding Theory (GB), and the other consistent with Extended Categorial Grammar (CG). In GB, imperatives are formally derivable from a single structure underlying both imperatives and non-imperatives only if adjustments to requirements by theta-theory, Case-theory and quantification-variable binding are provided. Negative imperatives are derived by construction-specific rules. In CG, imperatives are taken to be a basic sentence type parallel to declaratives, questions and various other sentence types which all have different clausal structures. The analysis uses lexical types, together with pragmatic issues like the distinction in force between requests and commands, to specify the particular syntactic properties associated with the imperative negatives don't and do not, do and please, accounting for their complex interactions with overt or null subjects. The dissertation also examines the relation between imperatives and tenseless exclamatives--Mad Magazine sentences (MMs). I conclude that MMs and imperatives are not an instance of one sentence type having two distinct pragmatic functions: imperatives have the clause structure of S (TP) and MMs are an instance of S' (CP) structure.