This article offers an analysis of the function of the second person subject of the imperative in Russian. Apart from expressing contrast, the subject of the imperative is used for various pragmatic functions. It is shown that these functions can only be accounted for by looking both at the information structure of the sentence as a whole (word order and sentence stress), and the vocative-like properties of the subject. The specific analysis of these functions is supported by corpus data, more specifically the use of lexical verbs and the use of modal particles. Finally, the function of the subject of the imperative in Russian is compared to the function of the subject of the imperative in English. This comparison shows that the pragmatic functions of the imperative subject in English differ significantly from those of Russian. It is suggested that the difference between Russian and English may be partly due to the fact that English has a relatively rigid word order, whereas Russian word order is largely determined by information structure.
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