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On participial imperatives

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Abstract

Apart from bare imperatives and infinitival imperatives, Dutch features a third type, the participial imperative, with a syntax quite different from the other types. First we present an inventory of the properties of the participial imperative. It will turn out that (the core set of) these imperatives observe pragmatic restrictions (they are restricted to the here-and-now), semantic restrictions (having to do with temporal and locational specification; incompatibility with negation), syntactic restrictions (they instantiate a distinctive type of verb fronting), morphological restrictions (they tend to be particle verbs with the particle <i>op </i>), and lexical restrictions (they comprise only ‘go away’ and ‘look out’ verbs). We will show that these imperatives contain the ‘speaker-oriented particle (SOP)’ <i>op </i>, fi rst discovered by den Dikken (1998) . We hold the presence of this particle responsible for most of the restrictions on these imperatives. We will argue that den Dikken’s identifi cation of this SOP as being speaker-oriented should be modified to a speech-act orientation, i.e. it is oriented to the speaker and the here-and-now.

References

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