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Directive Constructions in Ancient Semitic  

Bearbeiter: Abdullah S. A. Khasawneh

The dissertation is a treatment of directive constructions (imperatives &c.) in keeping with the continuing trend in cross-linguistic studies. The primary approach follows from the work of C. Mauri and A. Sansò [1] within the historical-pragmatic framework. It is a contribution to the work aiming to better understand the emergence and development of directive forms and constructions, and the inference of the concepts essential to their meaning. Another key study utilized is A.Y. Aikhenvald’s 2010 typological survey [2], which presents many proposals relevant to these aims.

The work is also a contribution to the diachronic study of Semitic languages and the reconstruction of the relevant forms and syntagmata. It includes a revision of previous reconstructions of forms like the jussive, subjunctive, hortative and energicus forms in light of the aforementioned cross-linguistic studies. Presuming the soundness of older theories, this should mostly lead to reformulations of previous scenarios in pragmatic terms. In the case(s) of some Central Semitic ‘volitive’ forms, however, the study is already promising improved reconstructions, synthesising some previous hypotheses and addressing fallacies in others.

Some focal points under investigation are: the paradigmatisation of directives of different sources; the nature of the relationship between directives and deixis, including and beyond the category of person; the relation between counterfactuality and directives, including the syntax of negative imperatives and the question of whether/how counterfactual constructions can become positive directives; the marking of modality and modal complexity; verbal hypotaxis and the grammaticalisation of adverbial imperatives.

Beginning with Arabic and the Canaanite languages, the aim is to cover the ancient Semitic corpora including the classical languages and epigraphic material. Separate chapters are intended for the description of the phenomena within each linguistic phylum in addition to the comparative part of the study.

[1] 2011. ‘How directive constructions emerge: Grammaticalization, constructionalization, cooptation’. In Journal of Pragmatics 43: 3489–3521. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pragma.2011.08.001; 2012. ‘The reality status of directives and its coding across languages’. In Language Sciences 34: 147–170. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.langsci.2011.08.002; 2014. ‘Go and come as sources of directive constructions’. In M. Devos and J. van der Wal (eds.). Go and Come Off the Beaten Grammaticalization Path. 165-184; 2015/6 ‘The linguistic marking of (ir)realis and subjunctive’. In J. Nuyts and J. van der Auwera (eds.). The Oxford Handbook of Modality and Mood. DOI: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199591435.013.9.

[2] 2010. Imperatives and Commands. In Oxford Studies in Typology and Linguistic Theory (R. Cann &c. Series eds.).

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