Workshop: Workshop on Non-Canonical Imperatives

Workshop on Non Canonical Imperatives

Dates: May 25 – 26, 2018

Location: Berlin, Germany.

Workshop website:

Organizers:Artemis Alexiadou and Despina Oikonomou (Humboldt Universität zu Berlin, Research Unit on (Experimental) Syntax and Heritage Languages)

Funded by: AL 554/8-1 (DFG Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Preis 2014 to Artemis Alexiadou)


Workshop theme:

Imperatives have always attracted attention in linguistics and philosophy (Schmerling 1982, Wilson and Sperber 1988, Sadock and Zwicky 1985, Han 2000 a.o.). Particularly over the last decade or so, there has been a growing interest in the study of imperatives per se (Schwager 2006/Kaufmann 2012, Portner 2004, 2007, 2015, Grosz 2009, Condoravdi and Lauer 2012, Roberts 2015, von Fintel and Iatridou 2017 a.o.) but also of speech acts in a broader perspective (Krifka 2013, Lauer 2013 and the references therein).

Much progress has been made in evaluating particular hypotheses regarding the syntax-semantics of imperatives and their similarities or differences from other speech acts. However, there are still many aspects of imperatives that remain under-investigated both in syntax and semantics. The aim of this workshop is to shed more light on two such aspects of imperatives:

“Non-canonical” uses of imperative forms which seem to deviate from the meaning/function/syntax of imperatives, e.g. IaDs (see a.o. Han 2000, Kaufmann 2012, Keshet 2013, von Fintel and Iatridou 2017), embedded imperatives (Crnic & Trinh 2008, Kaufmann 2012, Kaufmann & Stegovec 2015, Zanuttini et. al 2012)

Non-imperative forms which seem to have an imperative meaning/function, e.g. infinitives in German (Gärtner 2014), optative constructions (Grosz 2012 and the references therein)

We hope that by investigating these “non-canonical” aspects of imperatives we can gain further insight regarding the analysis of “canonical” imperatives. Moreover, we hope that our workshop can encourage the discussion of cross-linguistic patterns in imperatives which syntactically or semantically deviate from what is known as the imperative in English and other languages.

Confirmed invited speakers

Hans-Martin Gärtner (Research Institute for Linguistics of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences)
Caroline Heycock (University of Edinburgh)
Sabine Iatridou (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
Magdalena Kaufmann (University of Connecticut)
Manfred Krifka (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin & ZAS)
Hjalmar Petersen (University of the Faroe Islands)

Call for papers

We invite submissions of abstracts related to this workshop’s theme, discussing cases in which either an imperative form deviates from the standard imperative function/syntax or a non-imperative form functions as an imperative.

We especially encourage submissions which explore such issues from a cross-linguistic point view, expanding knowledge to yet unexplored constructions across languages which function as imperatives or imperative forms which seem to have a different function.

We also welcome submissions which account for otherwise observed non-canonicalities in imperatives (e.g. IaDs) or which compare imperatives to other forms with which they share common properties/functions but also differ (e.g. infinitives, optatives, promissives).

Abstract Guidelines:

We invite submissions for 30 minute presentations (plus 10 min discussion).

We may add a poster session in the program depending on the number of submissions. Please indicate whether you would be willing to present your work as a poster.

Submissions are limited to two per author, and only one paper being single-authored.

Abstracts should at most be two pages A4 (including examples and references) with 2.5 cm (1 inch) margins on all sides, set in Times New Roman with a font size no smaller than 12pt.

Please submit your abstracts via the following Easychair link:

Important dates

Deadline for submission of abstracts: January 5, 2018

Notification of acceptance: March 5, 2018

Date of the workshop: May 25-26, 2018