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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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Linguistic expression of commands in Lao

Linguistic expression of commands in Lao

(p.189) 9 Linguistic expression of commands in Lao

N. J. Enfield

Oxford University Press

This chapter undertakes a survey of commands and similar speech acts in Lao, the national language of Laos. The survey draws upon a corpus of naturally occurring speech in narratives and conversations recorded in Laos. An important linguistic resource for expressing commands is a system of sentence-final particles. The particles convey subtle distinctions in meaning of commands, including matters of politeness, urgency, entitlement, and expectation. These distinctions are illustrated with examples. Forms of person reference such as names and pronouns also play a role in the formulation of commands, particularly in so far as they relate to a cultural system in which social hierarchy is strongly valued. Various other linguistic issues related to commands are examined, including negative imperatives, complementation, indirect strategies for expressing commands, and serial verb constructions.

Keywords:   sentence-final particles, Lao, social hierarchy, indirect speech acts, verb serialization

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