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CommandsA Cross-Linguistic Typology$
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Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald and R. M. W. Dixon

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198803225

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198803225.001.0001

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Commands as a form of intimacy among the Karawari of Papua New Guinea

Commands as a form of intimacy among the Karawari of Papua New Guinea

Chapter:
(p.266) 13 Commands as a form of intimacy among the Karawari of Papua New Guinea
Source:
Commands
Author(s):

Borut Telban

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198803225.003.0013

Over three thousand Karawari-speaking people live in the East Sepik Province, Papua New Guinea. Among the Ambonwari, who belong to one of four dialectal groups, canonical imperatives can be marked with -ra or -nda (‘do it!’), with -n (‘come to do it!’), and with potential -mbi (‘should do it!’). Non-canonical imperatives directed toward first person can be marked either with -n (‘let’s go to do it’) or with -mba and potential prefix and- (‘let’s do it’, ‘should do it’). Imperatives directed toward third person are marked with -mba and imperative prefix ka- (‘let them do it’). Negative imperatives have fewer forms than positive imperatives. For an egalitarian kinship-based society, where people’s lives depend on sharing, exchange, and cooperation, commands are a common way of daily communication. Being used as directives, demands, requests, instructions, exhortations, advice, and even greetings, they generate and reflect close relationships and intimacy between people.

Keywords:   Karawari language, commands, imperatives, intimacy, Papuan languages, Ambonwari, Papua New Guinea

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