This is the first cross-linguistic study of imperatives, and commands of other kinds, across the world's languages. It makes a significant and original contribution to the understanding of their morphological, syntactic, semantic, and pragmatic characteristics. The author discusses the role imperatives and commands play in human cognition and how they are deployed in different cultures, and in doing so offers fresh insights on patterns of human interaction and
Alexandra Aikhenvald examines the ways of framing commands, or command strategies, in languages that do not have special imperative forms. She analyses the grammatical and semantic properties of positive and negative imperatives and shows how these correlate with categories such as tense, information source, and politeness. She looks at the relation of command pragmatics to cultural practices, assessing, for example, the basis for Margaret Mead's assumption that the harsher the people the more
frequently they use imperatives. Professor Aikhenvald covers a wide range of language families, including many relatively neglected examples from North America, Amazonia, and New Guinea. The book is accompanied by illustrations of some conventional command signs.
Written and presented with the author's characteristic clarity, this book will be welcomed by linguists of all theoretical persuasions. It will appeal to social and cultural anthropologists and cognitive and behavioural scientists.
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Number of pages: 520
Weight: 924 g
Dimensions: 241 x 162 x 35 mm
The book is very well equipped ... The main contribution of Aikhenvald's book ... is its descriptive side. The impressive overview it provides of the crosslinguistic variation and tendencies pertaining to imperatives and commands makes it a must for anyone interested in either of these two subjects. So, if you are interested, read Aikhenvald's book! * Kasper Boye, Functions of Language *
Imperatives and Commands offers a wealth of empirical data and covers almost every relevant topic imaginable. Unlike any article or book before, it describes the crosslinguistic variation in imperatives and alternative directive strategies in a clear and thorough way. ... [It] constitutes a reference work for field workers, who will welcome the appended checklist "of what kind of features need to be described, analysed, and illustrated" (p. 418), and for
anyone interested in imperatives and directives. Researchers will also enjoy the extensive author, language, and subject indexes and the vast bibliography. * Linguistic Typology *