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Reproachatives and imperatives

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>01/2018
Issue number1
Number of pages48
Pages (from-to)115-162
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date14/12/17
<mark>Original language</mark>English


This paper studies constructions dedicated to the expression of an after the fact reprimand to a second person in the languages of Europe. Taking a usage-based perspective, it argues against earlier analyses of these reproachatives as imperatives, optatives or conditionals, which fail to capture their idiosyncrasies and overpredict both their cross-linguistic frequency and the grammaticality of types of imperative in a language. Based on a closer examination of Dutch, the paper assumes a middle position between the existing views in that it argues for an account of the Dutch reproachative as the hybrid outcome of the interaction of the aforementioned constructions and of processes such as analogy, conventionalization and insubordination. It explores to what extent such an analysis applies to the other European languages featuring a reproachative and what its implications are for our understanding of imperative semantics.