Imperative morphology in diachrony evidence from the Romance languages

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This paper presents an initial comparative-historical synthesis of Romance affirmative imperative morphology. It explores its implications for morphological change generally. Imperatives emerge as a recurrent locus of suppletion and defectiveness, which can uniquely escape morphological changes affecting other parts of the paradigm, yet provide the basis for analogical remodelling and compound noun formation. We compare our findings with some made for imperatives in non-European languages and with evidence from acquisitional literature, to suggest that imperative forms are learned earlier than other wordforms in the paradigm, and may become primary exponents of the lexical meaning of the verb.


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