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17. Exclamatives, imperatives, optatives

Xavier Villalba


We provide a summary of the main syntactic features of exclamative, imperative, and optative sentential modality across Romance. It is shown that in order to isolate a coherent set of defining grammatical properties for each category, it is important to distinguish between form and function. Exclamatives involve a high range of syntactic variation, particularly in the list of exclamative words, subject-verb inversion, and the presence of a complementizer and/or expletive negation. In contrast, they are homogenous in having speaker orientation and expressing a high degree of a property. Imperatives, which typically involve orders and requests, are quite similar across Romance in restricting the presence of the subject to contrastive uses and in preferring enclisis, but they differ substantially in negated orders, where Romance languages and dialects resort to different forms from the verbal paradigm. Finally, optatives, which express desires, are typically found in the subjunctive and either they are introduced by a complementizer or they involve verb movement to a left peripheral position, yielding subject-verb inversion and enclisis.

© 2017 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Munich/Boston
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