Magdalena Kaufmann of UConn will be giving a talk in the Linguistics department titled “Embedded imperatives: venturing into the cross-linguistic picture” on Tuesday 21 April at 4:00pm in ILC N400. Abstract follows. All are welcome.
Embedded imperatives: venturing into the cross-linguistic picture
Many languages are taken to have grammatical marking of imperative clauses (verbal morphology, clause type particles). For a long time, the standard assumption had been that such markers cannot occur in embedded sentences (“Imperatives cannot be embedded”). More recent research has discovered a series of counter-examples to this generalization. At the same time, it remains to be acknowledged that embedding is severely restricted cross-linguistically. Building on, and extending, what I discussed in Kaufmann (2012, ch. 6.1), I investigate patterns in the exceptions to the putative ban on embedded imperatives. I focus on data from English, German, Japanese, Korean, and Slovenian (specifically, the interpretation of the imperative subject), and I suggest an account in terms of clashes between shiftable (in the sense of Schlenker 2003) and unshiftable indexicality. While the talk will focus mostly on imperatives in reported speech, I will discuss some connections to imperative marking in relative clauses and in matrix wh-sentences.