Don't Negate Imperatives! Imperatives and the Semantics of Negative Markers

  • Hedde Zeijlstra

Abstract

Languages cross-linguistically differ with respect to whether they accept or ban True Negative Imperatives (TNIs). In this paper I show that this ban follows from three generally accepted assumptions: (i) the fact that the operator that encodes the illocutionary force of an imperative universally takes scope from C°; (ii) the fact that this operator may not be operated on by a negative operator and (iii) the Head Movement Constraint (an instance of Relativized Minimality). In my paper I argue that languages differ too with respect to both the syntactic status (head/phrasal) and the semantic value (negative/non-negative) of their negative markers. Given these difference across languages and the analysis of TNIs based on the three above mentioned assumptions, two typological generalisations can be predicted: (i) every language with an overt negative marker X° that is semantically negative bans TNIs; and (ii) every language that bans TNIs exhibits an overt negative marker X°. I demonstrate in my paper that both typological predictions are born out.
Published
2019-08-19
How to Cite
Zeijlstra, H. (2019). Don’t Negate Imperatives! Imperatives and the Semantics of Negative Markers. Proceedings of Sinn Und Bedeutung, 10(2), 421-436. https://doi.org/10.18148/sub/2006.v10i2.742