Endorsement of inconsistent imperatives

Cleo Condoravdi, Rebecca Jarvis, Sunwoo Jeong


There is an ongoing debate regarding how imperatives convey speaker endorsement. One line of approach builds it into the imperative meaning. Another posits weaker meanings. Indifference uses, like 'Go right! Go left! I don't care!', pose a challenge to the endorsement account. We reconcile the endorsement approach with such uses and argue that they can reduce to the speaker endorsing disjunctive prejacents, which results from one imperative operator taking a list of prejacents under its scope. This analysis predicts that intonational patterns that signal lists will facilitate disjunctive interpretations. We test and confirm this prediction in an experimental study.


imperatives; clause-type conventions; intonational meaning; experimental pragmatics

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.3765/plsa.v4i1.4562

Copyright (c) 2019 Cleo Condoravdi, Rebecca Jarvis, Sunwoo Jeong

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