The Morpho-Syntax of Imperatives


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships




This dissertation explores the morpho-syntax of imperative clauses, advancing several interrelated hypotheses. First, it offers substantial empirical evidence that imperative clauses can be syntactically embedded in a number of languages. It argues that syntactic variation with respect to embedding can be reduced to two properties, namely overt morphological variation and the independently motivated theory of Feature Transfer (Chomsky 2008). It further argues that imperative subjects must be case valued (i.e. null imperative subjects are pro). The study proposes a model of imperatives at the syntax-semantics interface based on modals, according to which imperative semantics results from the interaction of a directive speech act operator (if present) and a modal.