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Re: THEORY: third-person imperatives

From:Raymond A. Brown <raybrown@...>
Date:Friday, April 30, 1999, 6:10
At 2:23 am -0400 29/4/99, Nik Taylor wrote:
>"Raymond A. Brown" wrote: >> Ah - now that last 'give' will still be addressed to God's will! We'll >> need a change of subject, which the Greek does not need. > >Well, call it an "imperative case", and use a basic infinitive form. >"Your name-IMP hallow-PASS". Second-person imperatives can be done >similarly, "You-IMP give"
Yes, but then one might as well have a verb which has only a basic infinitive form which can, maybe (as you imply), show a difference of voice, i.e. active & passive, but will presumably leave it to the subject noun/pronoun to show the mood - imperative, indicative, conditional, subjunctive etc. Maybe, indeed, the indicative is shown by a zero suffix, but that doesn't alter the underlying principle. It is not clear what whether tense will be shown by the infinitive or the subject noun/pronoun BTW. I know of no natlangs which behave like this and as difference of mood affects the meaning of the whole clause, it would seem to me to be more logical to express it in the verb either by some form of affixation (as in ancient Greek) or by some analytical use of particles and/or auxiliary verbs as, generally, in English.
>> And to take up a >> point the politeness point (which IIRC Padraig made) isn't it a little >> impolite to greet a person and then go onto to address some of their >> attributes? > >Hmm, perhaps. But, politeness is a relative quality. What's polite in >one culture may be rude in another.
Basically, I agree and I think the politeness issue is a different issue and one which does pose cross-cultural problems.
>So, forget the "vocative" label. In other words, is there any problem >with imperative being indicated on the noun rather than the verb?
Yep - I really don't think the vocative will work. On my way into work yesterday I thought: 'Why didn't I think of Marie Antoinette's apocryphal "Qu'ils mangent de la brioche!"? ' Eux, mangez de la brioche! Ach y fi! (I'll leave the even more expressive Gallic exclamations to our Francophone members - the Welsh is expressive enough for me ;) I know that in our conlangs we do not always follow natlang practice & indeed for special reasons (e.g. Tom Breton's AllNoun) deliberately go against certain natlang usages. So there may be a good reason for seeking some way of expressing modal distinctions by changes in the verb's subject rather than some modification of the verb (whether the modification be synthetic or analytic); but I must confess it seems to me to be making things more complicated. Ray. PS - I'll just re-iterate what I said in another post: _I_ am not insisting on calling these things 3rd person imperatives. Indeed, calling them imperative may possibly be misleading. It is just that some languages, e.g. ancient Greek [which started this thread] do have 3rd person forms of the imperative mood as well the normal 2nd person forms (some, tho' not ancient Greek, have 1st person forms). Other languages double up on the use of another mood, typically the subjunctive, or use modal auxiliary verbs. But they have a way of expressing the thing. Whether one calls them 'hortative' or 'jussive' seems to me largely a matter of taste. I'm not worried if you use all three terms, as some people indeed do, thus: 1st person - hortative: let's eat the cake now! 2nd person - imperative: eat it up! 3rd person - jussive: let them eat cake!