A three-fold approach to the imperative's usage in English and Dutch

Van Olmen, Daniel (2019) A three-fold approach to the imperative's usage in English and Dutch. Journal of Pragmatics, 139. pp. 146-162. ISSN 0378-2166

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The English imperative and its Dutch counterpart have seldom been studied and compared from a quantitative, usage-based perspective. This article fills the gap by examining what three different approaches to spoken corpus data can reveal about the construction in the two languages and evaluates their usefulness. The collostructional approach shows that, contrary to the traditional view of the imperative, it is not typically used to obtain concrete results. Distinctive collexeme analysis in particular also suggests that the English imperative is somewhat more open to non-agentive verbs. The discourse contexts in which imperatives occur are taken into account more by the speech act approach, in a holistic manner. The English imperative is found to serve so-called non-willful and expressive directive purposes more often than the Dutch one. The parametric approach, developed within cognitive linguistics and systematically applied for the first time here, considers features such as power and cost separately. It suggests that the higher degree of overall force exertion in Dutch is mainly due to differences in the extent to which the speaker desires the proposed event to be realized and to which it is to their own benefit. The results are argued to illustrate the complementary nature of the three approaches and to have important implications for a better understanding of the imperative in general and in the two languages.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Journal of Pragmatics
Additional Information:
This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Journal of Pragmatics. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Journal of Pragmatics, 139, 2019 DOI: 10.1016/j.pragma.2018.11.006
Uncontrolled Keywords:
?? imperativeenglishdutchconstructional analysisspeech act theorycognitive linguisticsartificial intelligencelinguistics and languagelanguage and linguistics ??
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Deposited On:
09 Nov 2018 08:42
Last Modified:
22 Jul 2024 00:13