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Mood, Aspect, Modality RevisitedNew Answers to Old Questions$
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Joanna Blaszczak, Anastasia Giannakidou, Dorota Klimek-Jankowska, and Krzysztof Migdalski

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780226363523

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226363660.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 21 May 2022

Imperatives as (Non-)modals

Imperatives as (Non-)modals

(p.255) Chapter Seven Imperatives as (Non-)modals
Mood, Aspect, Modality Revisited

Mikhail Jary

University of Chicago Press

The principal research question of this chapter is the issue of whether the imperative can be treated as a genuine modal category on the semantic side. According to the authors, the main property that speaks against such a treatment is the resistance of the imperative to truth judgments. By and large, modal categories can be easily analyzed in truth-conditional terms. Imperatives are different as they cannot be judged as true or false. This is because normally their aim is not to convey information, but merely to perform an illocutionary function through a directive speech act, such as an order, a request, or a command. Jary and Kissine scrutinize a recent modal theory of imperatives by Kaufmann (2012), which suggests that imperatives are disguised must-sentences. Elegant as Kaufmann’s account is, it does not predict the impossibility of judging an imperative as true or false. Jary and Kissine argue instead that a crucial property of imperatives is their inherent “potentiality,” that is, that they are constrained by the current situation even though they make no claims about it.

Keywords:   imperative, semantics, modal category, potentiality

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