Gurmeet Kaur (Göttingen)

The declarative-imperative switch in an allocutive language

In this talk, I present imperatives in Punjabi (Indic) which arise when declaratives surface with allocutive/addressee agreement. Specifically, Punjabi has a standard imperative composed of a bare verb stem bearing meager 2nd person agreement. In addition, it has a non-canonical imperative/NCI, which prima facie, appears to be a declarative composed of a perfective verb form and addressee/allocutive agreement, but can only receive an imperative interpretation. Examining the NCI, we find that it is composed of a unique 2nd person feature on T, which can occur only in the absence of a subject-agreement hosting auxiliary — these characteristics are shown to ensue from the syntax of addressee agreement. Crucially, however, the declarative-imperative switch is possible only when the 2nd person feature on T also agrees with the subject, failing which the same structure is interpreted as a declarative. I end the talk with an investigation into the future-related temporal orientation of the NCI vis-à-vis the present-oriented standard imperative in the language.