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Article

What is the jussive for? A study of third person commands in six Caucasian Languages

Linguistics. 2012. Vol. 50. No. 1. P. 1-25.

The form whose main function is to express indirect commands, called the third person Imperative, Jussive or Exhortative, when compared to the prototypical (second person) Imperative, shows semantic and formal similarities and distinctions at the same time. The study describes formal and functional patterns of Jussive and places this category within the typology of the related categories, such as Imperative and Optative, based on data from six East Caucasian languages (Archi, Agul, Akhvakh, Chechen, Icari and Kumyk). Five formal patterns of Jussive are attested in these languages, including a specialized form, constructions derived from want, from tell him to do and from make him do and the Optative. Jussive forms may express such meanings as third person command, indirect causation, permission, indifference towards the accomplishment of an action and an assumption. While the Jussive is crucially different from the second person Imperative in that it introduces a third participant, this article shows that it is the addressee, not a third person, who is the central participant of a Jussive situation from both formal and functional points of view.