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  • Van Olmen JoP

    Rights statement: 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

    Accepted author manuscript, 458 KB, PDF-document

    Embargo ends: 26/11/19

    Available under license: CC BY-NC-ND: Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License

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

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>01/2019
<mark>Journal</mark>Journal of Pragmatics
Volume139
Number of pages17
Pages (from-to)146-162
Publication statusPublished
Original languageEnglish

Abstract


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.

Bibliographic note

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