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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 in Wolaitta

Commands in Wolaitta

Chapter:
(p.283) 14 Commands in Wolaitta
Source:
Commands
Author(s):

Azeb Amha

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198803225.003.0014

This chapter examines expressions of commands (imperatives) in Wolaitta and the ways in which the imperative is distinguished from statements and questions. Although each sentence type is formally distinct, imperatives and questions share a number of morpho-syntactic properties. Similar to declarative and interrogative sentences, imperatives in Wolaitta involve verbal grammatical categories such as the distinction of person, number, and gender of the subject as well as negative and positive polarity. In contrast to previous studies, the present contribution establishes the function of a set of morphemes based on -árk and -érk to be the expression of plea or appeal to an addressee rather than politeness when issuing a command. Instead, politeness in commands is expressed by using plural (pro)nominal and verbal elements. The imperative in Wolaitta is a robust construction which is also used in formulaic speeches such as leave-taking as well as in blessing, curses, and advice.

Keywords:   Ethiopian language, Wolaitta, directives, commands, person marking, imperatives

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